Virgin Media TiVo 500GB vs 1TB

Update: The TiVo price has been dropped to £99.95 for existing customers (I believe those who have bought at the higher price also get a refund). The extra £3 and XL TV package required are still going to sting a little, but this is a much more realistic price gap between the 500GB and 1TB. I now have somewhere in the region of 160 suggestions, plus plenty of recorded shows, with still only 33% usage of the 512mb box. Still, 1TB is probably going to prove a wise and suitably future proof purchase… at least for those of you who don’t plan on ultimately buying two. I didn’t think a price drop would come so soon!

It’s all too easy to sound like a shill when recommending the higher tier, more expensive version of a product. But when it comes to something like the TiVO which will be difficult to upgrade, and will likely remain your primary DVR for a number of years, it’s only logical to recommend the larger option- why?…

I’ve been reviewing the 500GB TiVo for a few days now ( I specifically chose this over the 1TB so I could see how it fares ), and with a wealth of content stored I’ve already surpassed 20% of its total capacity. Most of these shows are deleted as soon as they have been watched, but as many more are kept around to make sure the little one can only watch a very strictly allocated amount of television. It’s easy to fill up 500GB, even more so on the TiVo, and it makes the watching-recorded-content experience so much better that you’ll want to record as much as possible. 30-second-skip alone is a godsend; multiple button presses add intervals of 30 seconds making it a synch to skip adverts in record time.

At last count ( yesterday evening, in fact ) the box had packed 50 various episodes of cartoons, 12 suggestions and one HD movie into 19% of the capacity already, so if this sounds like a lot to you then you might be okay with the 500GB. But, if you can afford it, I couldn’t recommend the 1TB more.

I have issue with the price, though, the £150 up-front charge for that 1TB, versus the £50 for the 500GB leaves a £100 difference. With 1TB hard drives costing less than £50 in most cases, that’s a pretty hefty premium to stomach. But it’s there for a reason: any cheaper than the 1TB box would simply be in too high demand.

If you’re into your television, and really want to take advantage of the TiVo’s features then you’re going to need 1TB. Suggestions can quickly fill the box up, and any movies you might record will do so, too. Ultimately the more space you have, the less you’ll have to micro-manage that storage.

Remember, that with either of these options you’ll need both an XL TV package, a pretty expensive endeavour in and of itself, and you’ll also need to pay an additional £3 a month for the pleasure on top of that. Ultimately, this is the early-adopter stage and whilst the TiVo has started pretty cheap compared to the HD boxes when they first launched, it’s bound to go down in price sooner or later.

I re-iterate, if you want TiVo now, have even considered the 1TB option, and you can afford to drop £150 on it, then go for it! The box is not without its drawbacks (the inability to start a recorded programme “n” number of minutes in, for example), but hopefully software updates will soon take care of those soon.