Mediacom - a tale of two TiVo


SatelliteGuys Master
Original poster
Lifetime Supporter
Jul 17, 2009
Herrin, IL 62948
Mediacom called me recently with a deal too good to refuse. A double-play (no phone) with their flagship Xstream Tivo stuff. Made my total bill for TV and 100/10 internet about $70 less than my Dish + internet bill.

Got the latest version of their Tivo, the Arris MG2/XG2 which is a 6 tuner, 4K capable Tivo. It was an excellent box that did what they allowed it to do quite well. But Mediacom has restricted it compared to a retail Tivo.
1. No ad skipping
2. No streaming to iOS/Android devices even though the mfg page shows it supports it.
3. No Amazon Prime video at all, and on the MG2 the Hulu app isn't on it yet.

So I turned that back in and dug out my Tivo Roamio Plus, got a cable card for it and am good to go. The retail Tivo won't work with Mediacom's VOD but these days that isn't a loss as way too much of Mediacom's VOD is SD and not nearly as extensive as either Dish's or DirecTV's.

The commercial version Tivo has quite a few streaming apps, including TubiTV and one of the biggest benefits of Tivo is the unified search over all the apps. Basically streaming and recorded shows are handled in the same, consistent manner. Really makes things nice.

From a cost standpoint it is nearly a wash between renting their units or paying Tivo for the service. It becomes cheaper in comparison when you have the retail version and the TIVO Mini clients as there is no charge for those outlets since as far as Mediacom is concerned, they don't actually exist.

While the Tivo units are excellent in their own right, overall the Dish Hopper 3 is still a superior box. Both have strengths and weaknesses.

Ad skipping on Tivo is better than Dish's though there is no automatic ad skipping. But most of the shows/channels that are supported will do the ad skipping very shortly after the recording is made, generally within a few minutes.

Dish's UI is better IMO, especially for recorded show management. Because Tivo handles streaming and recorded shows in a unified manner, it can be very busy.

Mediacom's HD video is slightly better than Dish's though not by enough to make it a determining factor. But Mediacom's SD is hands down better than either of the satellite service's SD.

The major downside to Tivo is that you have to buy the box and pay for service to them.
I had a similar problem a few years back. 3 registered TiVos, all way better than the garbage MC put out. MC has a vested interest in commercials, so you will never see their box with com skip. They also have a vested interest in keeping Netflix, Hulu, HBO now, etc, off of TiVo.
Had the same issue with TWC a few years ago. They provided a just released Samsung DVR that was packed with features. Commercial skip, favorite channel list, external HD support, etc. Over the next three months, they disabled pretty much everything so it worked just like their previous junk. Cut the cable and got a TIVO.
I had a similar problem a few years back. 3 registered TiVos, all way better than the garbage MC put out. MC has a vested interest in commercials, so you will never see their box with com skip. They also have a vested interest in keeping Netflix, Hulu, HBO now, etc, off of TiVo.

The MG1/XG1 has Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. The MG2/XG2 is missing the Hulu app for now. Of course all of them are missing Amazon Prime.

The Bolt is missing the Amazon Prime with 4K support though it does have some other apps with 4K support.
Took a look at it. Too geeky for me!

That it is.

I mainly use Pytivo and the even easier Pytivo Desktop.

Just having skipmode is enough for me, not hard to just push the channel up button at the breaks. I'm hoping Tivo eventually puts out an Alexa skill, so I can just tell Alexa to skip if I'm at the desk or in the kitchen without a remote handy. There are times voice control is helpful

I'm thinking about setting up jradwans little project to control Tivo with Alexa, but it's more geeky than moyeki's kmttg

Installation Instructions · jradwan/alexa_tivo_control Wiki · GitHub

original setup

latest version
After fiddling with Alexa and the Hopper, I decided I don't care for it at all for that use. So the one to control a Tivo doesn't excite me either.

I've expanded the system, found a Tivo Bolt 4-tuner, 1Gb for a really good price. Swapped the Roamio Plus to the master bedroom tv and put the Bolt on my main TV. The Bolt supports 4K and actually upscales better than the TV, so I'm really pleased with that. Here are some issues that I found and mostly solved when I made the changes.

1. The Bolt was pixelating and having audio breakups a lot. Checked the usual suspects (i.e.; loose connections) and called Mediacom's tech support. They weren't a whole lot of help, but offered a truck roll on my dime if it turned out it was my equipment, or free if it was theirs. Since the Roamio and Mini were not showing that problem, I figured it would be something on the Bolt. Did a bit of searching on the web and found that a cablecard can sometimes be the issue. So I unplugged the Bolt, removed and re-inserted the cablecard and everything cleared up. Problem solved.

2. I use a Harmony Elite universal remote. The damned thing just wouldn't control the Bolt! So I took it through the 5 step 'learning' procedure which basically just figures out the code set being used. That did it, so things are working right with it. That said, the Tivo remote is a great remote and I tend to just use the Harmony to get things going and use the Tivo remote after that.

3. The Mini can select either the Bolt or Roamio, but oddly when selecting it is bassackwards! Select the Bolt and it sees the Roamio and vice-versa. No clue why that is.

4. One thing that is irritating is that there is no unified view of recordings/streams that show both the Bolt and Roamio, you have to select which one you want to see. On the one hand that keeps the clutter down, but OTOH, you have to dig around looking for a recording you know you have but don't remember which box. Not a huge deal but I would like the option to have a unified list.

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