TiVo For Dummies

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If you're thinking about a larger unit that promises faster performance and perhaps even onboard storage, you want the latest Amazon Fire TV or maybe the Apple TV 4K. Again, Roku makes an entire line of products like this, but our analysts haven't cared for some of the latest. Every single one of these products supports the holy trinity of cord-cutter video streaming apps: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video.

Other than that, if you've got a specific service you want to watch, be careful. Buying any media hub or console or smart TV doesn't guarantee access to every streaming service. The key to effective cord-cuttery is being aware of what apps are available on your hardware of choice, knowing the programming on the various services, and just how much they're going to cost you.

Netflix is the grand-pappy of online streaming. It started as a DVD-by-mail rental service, and while that's still part of its business, streaming is what it's known for now. It's got a slew of original shows , far too many to mention here. The problem with Netflix is that the catalog of non-original films and TV shows is constantly in flux as the studio and networks play games, look for better terms, or set up exclusives on other services.

We can't guarantee an entire series or movie will be there forever. But original programming makes Netflix a destination, giving it not only market share, but mind share, the likes of which only HBO can rival. Here's a complete list of devices with Netflix support.

Hulu is literally owned by companies that run three of the major TV networks. To view these shows on apps with media hubs, consoles, or smart TVs complete list here , you have to have the premium subscription which used to be called Hulu Plus, but is now just Hulu. Hulu carries many shows from other sources, like Syfy, that can only be viewed on the Hulu website via a browser, for some asinine reason. For original programming, it started weak, but upped it a notch with Casual , which got the critics interested and earned Hulu its first Golden Globe nomination.

Now it's got a real cool factor thanks to the multi-award-winner A Handmaid's Tale. It has a smattering of movies, but really, Hulu is all about the TV shows. That's cheaper than the standalone Showtime service more on that below and these options include the channels' whole back catalogs. This doesn't even cover the Live TV option from Hulu —more on that below. Prime Video is a nice hybrid of an all-you-can-eat streaming service like Netflix, plus a video-on-demand store, with plenty of original content to go with it.

Amazon has invested heavily in creating original TV shows, and often asks viewers to vote on the pilots they'd like Amazon to develop into full seasons supposedly they're doing away with "pilot season" in the future. Of course, if you want to rent or buy a movie to stream, you can do that even if it's not part of the Prime streaming—just rent it first on Amazon.

Want to add on services? If YouTube is a staple of your cord-cutting experience—and with millions of hours of video uploaded every second, it probably should be—then maybe this paid experience will be to your liking. After a one-month trial, 10 bucks a month gets you completely ad-free YouTubing—plus access to original shows behind the paywall. These aren't TV shows in the classic sense, but originals created by YouTube stars. Don't confuse it with YouTube TV , which we discuss below. Pretty ubiquitous among the streaming hubs, Sony-owned Crackle offers an eclectic selection of content for free, mostly with ads.

We are talking really bad commercials cut in at odd moments in movies—sometimes in the middle of a scene—as if an algorithm handles it rather than a human. The movies tend to be pretty craptacular with occasional gems. When you're the No. That's why CBS launched its own streaming service. You get one week to try All Access free before the fee is applied. That six-or-nine bucks a month gets you access to some of the most popular shows on TV the day after airing, including The Big Bang Theory , Mom , Elementary, Survivor, Amazing Race , even daytime shows.

You can insert your own joke here about how the Tiffany Network is for your grandparents, because I already made mine above. HBO GO has been around for a while, and is a great streaming service, but is only available to existing HBO subscribers with a cable plan. It has no limits on concurrent streams, though, so plenty of people without pay TV use shared passwords for their Game of Thrones fix. With HBO Now, however, the need for a pilfered password is removed. It's the only option if you don't have someone from whom to pilfer. Try it free for an entire month.

If you've already got Showtime via your cable or satellite subscription, that's all you need to watch it streaming—it's called Showtime Anytime it may be limited by who your provider is.

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Showtime has made itself an add-on with just about any service that offers the option. There are many apps allowing Starz viewing on almost any hardware except PS4, but you can get around that by using the Amazon Channel add-on option. The cost is the same no matter how you get Starz. A couple years ago, some services decided it wasn't enough to just provide some a la carte streaming of shows. They wanted to provide what is pretty much a full cable-television subscription experience over the internet.

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Getting Acquainted with TiVo - dummies

These are those services. They won't necessarily give you super-granular control over content like you'd have with a regular streaming service, or even moreso with a DVR recording stuff off the air, but they give you access to a lot of content you might not otherwise get without a cable subscription—especially news and sports. That's why it calls itself "a la carte tv. The channel selection is pretty extensive—but far from everything.

You won't find CBS on this service, naturally. Like with any of the live TV stream services, check the channel offerings thoroughly before you subscribe to make sure they have what you want.

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For the base price, you get on-demand stuff from almost all of the networks but not The CW and even get them live in some markets. Also, you can use the "TV Everywhere" apps that many cable channels have that require a cable subscription—but by authenticating them with PlayStation Vue.

And you can pause or rewind or fast forward on every channel. All of them. Not everyone thought this was a good service when it debuted , but it's so far stuck with that "introductory" price that would put it in line with icky cable subscriptions. Lacking however: DVR options. There's plenty of video on demand, but not for every show. Hulu is more than just a place to find some streaming originals and a lot of day-after-air shows. Sports and news stations galore. You can "record" 50 hours of programming to the cloud-based DVR or upgrade it to hours for extra; it also costs more to have access to Hulu with Live TV on multiple screens.

Try if free for one week. Red is more like an advanced, commercial-free version of regular ol' YouTube. The big plus: unlimited storage in the cloud-based DVR option. Sports first is the goal at fuboTV, even if it's not sports exclusive. Just because you subscribe to cable or satellite doesn't mean you have to use the provided set-top box.

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In an effort to become part of the cord-cutting landscape, many of the major cable and satellite providers, who double as internet service providers, let users subscribe and then access all programing via apps rather than the cable box or even the tuner in the TV. With Spectrum TV , for example, you get access to live TV streams for any of the networks in your tier of service. There's also lots of on-demand content for individual shows and some movies. If a channel or show on a channel that isn't available to you shows up on a menu, it's generally grayed out. And you can mark shows as favorites so they're easier to follow.

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But what's annoying is it takes a lot longer for a show to appear in the on-demand section—three or four days, instead of just one with a show on Hulu or even a network's own app, for example. The commercials are still there—and repetitive to the extreme. Each break may show the same commercials over and over, sometimes the same ad back-to-back, as if they couldn't find any sponsors who believe in streaming. Sometimes called "TV Everywhere" apps, these are the apps for individual networks or cable channels that provide video-on-demand of their current shows usually a day or two after they air.

All of them have wildly different interfaces. Almost all of them require you to sign in using existing credentials for a cable or satellite TV subscription. And even then, almost all force you to watch commercials while viewing shows, with no way to skip them. The CW has two—the second one is called CW Seed and is used to show almost all old shows they got the exclusive rights to.

There's even the occasional original-only on there CW Seed had most of the Arrow-verse animated shows like Vixen, for example. No two of these apps are alike in interface or even features. You'll learn to hate how some provide captions, love others that provide a usable fast-forward or rewind, etc. Find More Posts by skofarrell. Find More Posts by midtech. Jul 31, 13, am. There are a few considerations here that others have touched on but I want to lay it out a little more cleanly hopefully.


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First and foremost, you have to subscribe to the channels that contain the programing you want to watch from Comcast. Any new TiVo series 2 or higher will connect to this service via ethernet, no phone required. Third, most Comcast premium cable channels these days are encrypted.

This means that you will most likely need a cable card compatible TiVo, required if you want HD. I am not sure how you get your cable right now, but my guess is you probably plug it straight into your TV. This leads me to my final point as ScottC alluded to, my guess is the best bet is to go the cable company DVR route ie a cable company set-top box that records shows.