TiVo’s Best Holiday Deal Rewards Cord Cutters

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2016


TiVo’s out with their annual Thanksgiving / Black Friday deals… and they’re way more compelling than what we’ve seen in recent years, despite TiVo’s usual poor presentation. For example, their refurbished $200 TiVo Roamio OTA represents a stellar value. Although you might not realize it because they don’t clearly communicate it includes Lifetime All-In service. We’re Tablo homers here for antenna television, but if you don’t require streaming to smart phones, tablets, or 3rd party boxes like Roku or Apple TV, two hundred bucks for a 4-tuner, 500GB OTA DVR is pretty much an unbeatable value. Heck, it’ll even beam your programming to TiVo Mini set-tops and you can swap out that hard drive for something more spacious any time you like.

14 responses to TiVo’s Best Holiday Deal Rewards Cord Cutters

  1. Saw their email blast and you’re right, they didn’t tout Lifetime. How’d you see that? Click to buy fine print? Time to upgrade the OTA Premier!

  2. Why is it that they discount the OTA version so heavily as compared to cable/FIOS version, do you think? Doesn’t seem that the hardware or the guide data should be that much less expensive. Is it for fear of cannibalizing their existing customer base whereas they see the OTA customer as a segment with less penetration for their products?

  3. Dave, a ZNF reader pointed it out to me and once you add it to the cart you’ll see both the service details and drive capacity. Still no mention of tuners. Also, while this is a great deal for ourselves, you wouldn’t gift a refurbished device. TiVo marketing always baffles.

    Bill, they modestly refreshed the OTA model in going from a 500GB drive to 1TB drive. So this is older inventory they want to unload. Also the other models are Bolts, which include streaming, upgraded processors, more costly hard drives, etc. The Bolt deals aren’t bad but, at this stage of the game, I would go monthly.

  4. Dave, do you have an article the explains why you prefer Tablo over Tivo for OTA? I’ve been a tivo user since 2002, so I’m pretty comfortable with tivo. But know nothing about Tablo and would love to know what causes you to prefer that for OTA.


  5. It’s a very different approach (that TiVo looks to mimic to some extent with Mavrik) that I find effective and it appeals to the geek in me. The box is a basically a network tuner/DVR that ships video off to the set-top of your choosing, like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV. Those boxes are more versatile and many are less costly than the equivalent TiVo Mini. On the flip side, you have to be comfortable purchasing and connecting your own external storage and some things can be a bit rough around the edges.

    Adam reviewed the 2-tuner unit a couple years back and has since upgraded to the 4-tuner. I mention his coverage as I’m currently running a Tablo banner ad in the sidebar.


    Related, he and I are also quite gung-ho about Channels. It’s an Apple TV (and now iOS) app that pulls live television from a HDHomeRun network tuner. The software is built by TV lovers like us for TV lovers like us and they’re going to add a DVR component early next year that already looks promising. Wish they had more endpoints – I do know they tried some things with Roku once… but maybe it was underpowered?

  6. Man, this is an awesome deal!

    If I didn’t have an extra Roamio OTA I bought from Woot for spare parts with no contract, I’d buy one of these.

  7. I picked up a Bolt with lifetime for $452 with tax – just taxed on the $99 Bolt hardware in CO at 2%. I have a roamio plus with lifetime currently. So it is somewhat of a downgrade. Total cost will likely be a wash when all is said and done as I am selling the Roamio.

    Here is my line of thought and why I didn’t buy the OTA for $199.
    – I need MoCA. One mini is in a location where there is no ethernet.
    – Stream – Questionable value but I do use the download feature – wash
    – I have Comcast now for service but going OTA when the package is up in April. I have a really good package that includes premiums for $99.
    – Monthly vs lifetime was a tough call, but rolling the dice that guide data as a service will always continue as Rovi licenses it to other companies.
    – What if I want cable again?

    I didn’t look at Tablo because I already have the minis. I didn’t look at Channels because I don’t have an Apple TV. BTW there is some risk that those companies go under or are acquired too.

  8. Yep, there’s always risk. More so with newcomers and startups. As a Boxee TV and Logitech Revue owner, I know all about it. But beyond risk of survival is also performance risk. Will TiVo continue to improve Rovi’s inferior guide data and keep churning out commercial skip markers?

    As to Bolt vs Roamio Pro/Plus, I personally see no need to upgrade and am sticking with my Roamio and FiOS – my double play package costs the same with or without “cable” television. (While I too leverage MoCA, my FiOS router means I don’t actually need the bridge in the Pro/Plus/Bolt.)

  9. Does this support streaming via a Tivo Stream? I have a Premiere cable that I use with the stream. Can I use both with a single Tivo Stream?

  10. Yes, it’s compatible with the TiVo Stream. I didn’t point it out given it’s comparative expense as an accessory. I don’t know if you can link a Stream to multiple DVRs. That question is like two generations old for me. ;)

  11. I have the Roamio, too, and am satisfied with it. It can four programs which is plenty for me since I’m single. I looked at the Bolt but I don’t see much of an advantage over my Roamio. Oh, no one mentioned the TiVo app. I love it! When away from home I’ve used it several times to record a program I forgot about. I’m wondering how TiVo is going to progress now that Rovi owns them. They don’t seem to be interested in hardware.

  12. I bought a $200 Roamio OTA to replace one on subscription. Came in today in mint condition. I now have 4. I can confirm that I can access multiple Roamios through my Tivo Stream as well as watch the World Series when visiting parents that don’t have TV. Docs says it works with WIRED Premieres and Roamios. I use the app all the time to record shows, manage Onepasses, check guide, watch/delete shows.

  13. I’m looking to expand to another TV, but I’m not interested in renting another cable card from Verizon. I’ve got a 2 tuner Seres4 Premiere which is a no go for Tivo Mini, right? Would I be able to watch cable content on this OTA from my Premiere via Multi Room Viewing?

  14. I haven’t tried it myself, but I believe that should work. Although it looks like the deal is sold out…