The Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes provided by Cox are horrible pieces of crap, and I’m considering buying a series 3 tivo and getting some cable cards.

Cox charges $12/mo DVR rental and $5 a month for DVR “Service” (which is a total racket as there is no service offered beyond what is built into the box, which should be covered by the increased rental charge over a normal cable box) totaling $17/mo for the privilege of having a HD DVR.

If I get the cheap Tivo HD, I can get it for roughly $260 from Amazon. Without a prepaid contract, “service” is $13 a month. Service in this case is providing channel listings and updates that fix bugs in their software, and hopefully will later enable features that the cable companies hate, like being able to move content from one tivo to another (whoops, looks like Tivo2Go is now enabled on the Tivo HD). Included with this fee is the “feature” of having all of your viewing habits reported back to Tivo so they can sell that information to marketers. Lets say we amortize that cost out to three years and sign a 3 year prepaid service deal. That comes out to roughly $15 a month. To which we will add $4 a month for the 2 cable cards from cox.

Getting really nerdy about this, if I pay out $550 up front for the box and service, I’m really giving up about $620 if we take into account the time value of money. This gives us a true monthly cost of about $21 a month for the Tivo vs. $17 for Cox. So the burning question is: is the Tivo functionality worth $4 a month more than the Scientific Atlanta suckbox?

The answer for me is, probably. Simply not dealing with the lameness of the Scientific Atlanta boxes is probably worth it alone, but with the ability to add a larger HD, and Tivo2Go that will probably push it over for me.

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