TiVo Premiere Set Up and Migration from the Series3

June 9, 2011

Well, our TiVo Premiere has arrived! It’s taken its rightful place in our living room home theater replacing our loyal TiVo Series3. Don’t fret, the Series3 will be moving to its new home in the kitchen to replace the FIOS DVR. Here’s some tips we’d like to share with you about how to best migrate from your existing TiVo to the new Premiere.

In the Box
Since this is a refurb from Woot, it came in a plain cardboard box. Included is the TiVo Premiere unit, the set up poster, the manual, remote and a mess of cables. TiVo is one of the fewer vendors out there that actually includes an HDMI cable with their gear. Nice.

TiVo Premiere Contents
Contents of the TiVo Premiere (TiVo doll not included)

Before hooking up the TiVo, we went on-line to TiVo’s web site to activate the box. The current options for service plans are either monthly or a one-time fee for Product Lifetime. Since the existing Series3 is on Product Lifetime, we were eligible for the multi-service discount (MSD) for $15 a month or $399 for Lifetime. We went with Lifetime. With that rate, we’re paid off at 27 months versus the monthly plan. When compared to our FIOS DVR which costs $20 a month, it’s only 20 months till we start saving. The only downside is if we have a hardware problem. But with the cost of the box being so long (this refurb was only $60) and our in-house tech expertise, it’s less of a factor. Alternatively, you can purchase an extended warranty from TiVo.

If you’re not an existing subscriber, you can still get the $399 rate for Lifetime by using the coupon code PLSR. Unfortunately, you can’t combine it with the MSD offer.

After that, we unplugged our TiVo Series3. Our Series3 TiVo had two multi-stream CableCards (m-cards) in it. Normally, one m-card will let you tune two stations at once. However, the Series3 only supports one stream on a m-card, hence why we had two. So, we popped one CableCard out of the Series3 and placed it into the Premiere. Presto! Two live TV streams available. No visit from the FIOS man required! One of the nice things about FIOS is they simply activate their cable cards (it’s not paired to the actual box).

We plugged in our HDMI cable, digital optical cable, ethernet and power and we were off!

TiVo's Start-up Screen
TiVo’s Start-up Screen

We were greeted with the guided setup screens. After answering a few questions about our zip code, cable provider and TV resolution, TiVo was up and running. It took just under an hour from unboxing to get functional.

Only change we made in the set up was switching from the default high-def interface (HDUI) to the classic standard definition one (SDUI). Now, the HDUI has taken quite a beating in the forums and in reviews but it’s performed well for us and the graphics rendered quickly. I also like its live TV window. It doesn’t hurt that we have it hooked up to hardwire ethernet and our FIOS connection is a reliable 25 MBps. However, I do think the screen layout is busy and the Hub wanted to make this transition appear seamless to the family.

Chances are that your new TiVo does not have the latest version of its software.  Our Premiere needed two software upgrades to get up to date.  Usually, these happen in the middle of the night but since we wanted the latest and greatest ASAP, we forced it (“Messages & Settings”->”Settings”->”Phone & Network”->”Connect to the TiVo Service Now”). When the connection was complete, on the Network & Status screen, you will see the phrase “Pending Restart” which tells you there is new software to install. Restart your TiVo and get ready to wait. One of the updates took over an hour to complete!

Plush TiVo is waiting for TiVo
TiVo is waiting for TiVo

Now that our TiVo Premiere was up and running, it was time to migrate our season passes and unwatched shows from the Series3. Other settings such as what shows got the “thumbs up” cannot be migrated as far as we know.

TiVo provides a nice utility to copy your season passes from one DVR to another. You can access the TiVo season pass manager here. After your season passes are transferred, you may want to delete most or all of them from the original box. I’m leaving a handful active on the Series3 such as the nightly news in case I want to watch in the kitchen (What would I do without Diane Sawyer?).

TiVo's web-based Season Pass Manager
TiVo’s web-based Season Pass Manager

For both season pass manager and multi-room viewing to work properly, your original TiVo needs to connect to the TiVo service after the new TiVo is set up (or as we used to say “phone home”). Also on TiVo’s website, both video sharing and enable video downloads need to be turned on for both DVRs. Go to DVR preferences to do this (you can also change the DVR’s name here). If you are are not forcing calls, it may be a couple of days before both TiVos can see each other.

Multi-room viewing (MRV) allowed us to transfer our (un)watched shows to the new Premiere. From the new Premiere, we paged down to the bottom of  ”Now Playing” or “My Shows” screen and selected the other TiVo. You can then select the show(s) to transfer. What amazed us was the transfer speeds: over ethernet we could start to watch transferred shows within seconds. Transferring a one hour standard defintion show took about four minutes; a one hour high-def show took fifteen minutes.

Another nice feature of MRV is that it lets you transfer just the unwatched part of a show. Combined with the fast transfers, it’s a nice feature to let you begin watching in one room and finish in another.

First Impressions
The Hub and the family have been happy with the Premiere so far. First of all, it’s nice to have the extra storage for programs.  The most noticeable change from the Series3 is performance. The standard definition menus are definitely more responsive.  While there is no additional functionality in the Amazon video app, show downloads are faster than on the Series3. I can push a show from Amazon and it’s ready to watch in under a minute. It also nice that 6 free months of Hulu Plus are included with the box as well (even if you’re already a Hulu subscriber). If Hulu Plus gets integrated into TiVo Search, I will probably switch to the HDUI. Luckily, SameGame is still available (Home Media Applications need to be enabled). The only thing I miss from the Series3 is the handy OLED clock!  I wonder if there’s a USB powered clock I can pick up? Any other tips for new Premiere owners?

Tags: Amazon, dvr, FIOS, Hulu, Premiere, Series3, Series4, TiVo

One Response to TiVo Premiere Set Up and Migration from the Series3

  1. JohnOCFII on July 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Nice review.  I really appreciate the detailed TiVo information.

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