TiVo HD or Tivo Premiere vs Ceton HTPC - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 131 Old 12-12-2010, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

You can use one computer to record the shows and access them via media extenders at remote locations. The caveat of this setup is that you can't access programs in mkv and other formats due to codec limitations of the extenders. You also will not be able to play Blu-Ray discs or ripped DVDs stored on a server or HTPC via the extenders.
...
For full access to all program material from every TV in the house in a Media Center core setup, the only real solution I see is having both extenders and a small HTPC at each location, with one HTPC as the primary recording device.

Or you could just rip all of your content to a supported format other than just storing it in MKV. For example h.264 or wmv. Then you could use just extenders. It requires some encoding, and you only get dolby digital, but then you can watch it on any extender. It also gives you movie only rips which take up less space and don't have all of the other garbage that I don't ever watch anywa7.
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post #92 of 131 Old 12-12-2010, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
For full access to all program material from every TV in the house in a Media Center core setup, the only real solution I see is having both extenders and a small HTPC at each location, with one HTPC as the primary recording device.
And this is the reason Media Center aint more popular. Microsoft has it's head up their collective ass, when it comes to Media Center. I understand the whole profit motive (give away MC, but make the Xbox the only way to access the content, albeit in a crippled way/not all of it, and charge for the xbox), I just don't understand their complete and sheer stupidity. Either make everything accessible through Xbox, throw in a BD drive in there (and I'll happily buy 5) or just come out with softsled.

Is that SO difficult to understand for them??
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post #93 of 131 Old 12-13-2010, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JJHTPC View Post

Or you could just rip all of your content to a supported format other than just storing it in MKV. For example h.264 or wmv. Then you could use just extenders. It requires some encoding, and you only get dolby digital, but then you can watch it on any extender. It also gives you movie only rips which take up less space and don't have all of the other garbage that I don't ever watch anywa7.

I only have a few shows that I downloaded via torrents that are in mkv format. I always remove the extraneous crap from Blu-Rays and DVDs when I rip them so that's not an issue. Converting my vast library of ripped movies isn't worth the effort it would take just so I could watch one on an extender. I do the vast majority of my movie viewing via my primary HTPC.

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And this is the reason Media Center aint more popular. Microsoft has it's head up their collective ass, when it comes to Media Center. I understand the whole profit motive (give away MC, but make the Xbox the only way to access the content, albeit in a crippled way/not all of it, and charge for the xbox), I just don't understand their complete and sheer stupidity. Either make everything accessible through Xbox, throw in a BD drive in there (and I'll happily buy 5) or just come out with softsled.

Is that SO difficult to understand for them??

Amen to that. I think Microsoft's still pissed that they backed the losing HD disc format and are just too stubborn to give in and support Blu-Ray. They should take a lesson from Sony and Beta. Sony eventually relented and joined the VHS camp and started building some of the best VHS recorders on the market. If you can't beat them, then join them and beat them at their own game.
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post #94 of 131 Old 12-13-2010, 08:07 AM
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FWIW, I recently upgraded my HTPC from an AMD-based system to a CORE i5-660 CPU with 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM. My recordings are now rock solid with virtually no artifacts or pixelisation that I used to experience from either the Ceton InfiniTV 4 or my HP USB tuners. I used to use my S3 Tivo as a backup because many programs recorded with the Ceton were unwatchable. Now the Tivo is sitting there collecting dust.

The total cost of my PC is probably about $1200 with the following hardware:

CORE i5-660 CPU
Intel DH57DD motherboard with onboard graphics (capable of bitstreaming HD audio)
8GB Mushkin DDR3 1333 SDRAM
Corsair 520W PSU (I forget the exact model number)
WD 1.5TB hard drive (the AV model designed for PVR use
1TB Hitachi drive for OS and miscellaneous files
Blu-Ray combo drive (these are now as low as $39)
Ceton InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner
Four HP USB ATSC tuners (rebadged Hauppauge PVR-950Q tuners)
Silverstone HTPC case
External powered USB hub (for the USB tuners)
Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard and mouse

With eight tuners onboard and performance that now surpasses my Tivos, I've finally got an HTPC that meets all of the requirements I could ever want. I'm not a gamer so that's not important to me. If it is for you then a high performance graphics card and beefier i7 CPU may be what you need.

I can stream Blu-Ray rips and DVDs from my unRAID server. I can share live TV and recorded shows with media extenders throughout my house. I'll never have to worry about tuner conflicts, even with the extenders in use. In short, I don't ever see me using my Tivos for anything other than a doorstop. I loved them in the past, but I've outgrown them. Besides, everything I'm reading about the latest Tivo Premiere leads me to believe it's a total piece of crap and a giant step backwards for Tivo, Inc. If you really want a Tivo then I highly recommend looking for a Tivo HD or even an older Series 3.
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post #95 of 131 Old 12-15-2010, 02:02 PM
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I am very intrigued by the Ceton. What would be a good extender to get to couple with a Ceton? The TV's the extender(s) will go to will be 720p and the extender will be wired (no need for wireless). Out of curiosity, do extenders change resolution to match what you need to output? For example, if FOX is 1080p but the tv on the extender is only 720p, will it convert the signal? This might be a question for another thread (or more research).
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post #96 of 131 Old 12-15-2010, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mrted46 View Post

I am very intrigued by the Ceton. What would be a good extender to get to couple with a Ceton?

Considering WMC is the only thing that supports it, the Xbox 360 is really the only extender.*

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The TV's the extender(s) will go to will be 720p and the extender will be wired (no need for wireless). Out of curiosity, do extenders change resolution to match what you need to output? For example, if FOX is 1080p but the tv on the extender is only 720p, will it convert the signal? This might be a question for another thread (or more research).

Yes, it will scale everything to 720p.

*Now, some people are using the Ceton with SageTV via Andy's SageMC tuner, so if you go that route you can use Sage's (IMO much better) extenders. The problem is you're limited to Copy Freely content that way, which maybe a huge limitation depending on your provider.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #97 of 131 Old 12-15-2010, 02:20 PM
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The problem is you're limited to Copy Freely content that way, which maybe a huge limitation depending on your provider.

What do you mean by "limited to Copy Freely content" ?

ETA:
Nevermind I found it

Thanks for your input!
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post #98 of 131 Old 12-15-2010, 03:04 PM
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Considering WMC is the only thing that supports it, the Xbox 360 is really the only extender.*

There's also the option of tracking down one of the (discontinued) Linksys or Hewlett Packard Media Center Extenders.
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post #99 of 131 Old 12-15-2010, 03:20 PM
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The HP's are the best MCE's if you don't need any gaming options. Silent, good looking, work 100% of the time.
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post #100 of 131 Old 12-16-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Besides, everything I'm reading about the latest Tivo Premiere leads me to believe it's a total piece of crap and a giant step backwards for Tivo, Inc. If you really want a Tivo then I highly recommend looking for a Tivo HD or even an older Series 3.

The Premiere is not a total piece of crap, it's essentially a faster version of the Tivo S3/HDs (and much faster when doing transfers between Premieres or Premiere and a PC). The HD UI is crap right now, yes, but you can run the old Tivo interface and have no problems.

There is no reason to buy the older boxes - you get a faster box that uses less power, has twice the drive space, and works fine with the SD UI.
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post #101 of 131 Old 12-17-2010, 07:27 AM
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There is no reason to buy the older boxes - you get a faster box that uses less power, has twice the drive space, and works fine with the SD UI.

There's a huge reason if you don't want to get sucked into Tivo's current pricing structure. You can get the Tivo Premiere for next to nothing but then you're locked into paying $19.95 per month for the next two years. Guess what? After the two year period is over you're still stuck with the $19.95 monthly fee if you want to continue using it. It's much cheaper in the long run to buy a Tivo HD and add lifetime to it. I prefer the looks and features of the S3, but it requires two cablecards. Drive space has never been a selling point for me when it comes to Tivos. In fact, I've always bought the ones with the smallest capacities to save money. I upgrade the drives in every one I get my hands on right out of the box. I know it voids the warranty, but the vast majority of Tivo problems are drive related anyway so I just keep the original drive as a backup in the event something goes wrong. I've never had to deal with Tivo over warranty issues in the past 11 years or so.

On a related note, I swapped out one of my Linksys DMA2200's for a 4GB XBox 360. The UI on the XBox is nicer and it seems to be a better overall extender from a user standpoint. I'm not sure the differences are worth the extra cost if you can find a used Linksys or HP extender, but I'd say it's mostly a matter of personal preference. All of the extenders I've tried (XBox, Linksys, & HP) do what they're designed to do (i.e., view recorded content from a Media Center PC and utilize tuners from the same PC).

The one major shortcoming I saw with using an extender was that it did not allow me access to my vast library of media located on my unRAID server. I just picked up a Patriot Box Office media player and it's the perfect solution for allowing access to the server. The PBO can play most every media format and can play Blu-Rays ripped as iso images and DVDs ripped to folders. The one caveat is that it does not work with Blu-Ray menus so you need to strip them out from the iso. I always do this anyway using Clown_BD so I didn't have to do anything else to play my ripped Blu-Rays with the PBO. Newegg had it on sale the other day for $95 with a $45 rebate for a final cost of only $50. There are lots of other media players available that are similar, but the formats they can play and the prices are all over the place. The Missing Remote recently did a comparison of most of the currently available media players so if you're considering one you should check it out.
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post #102 of 131 Old 12-17-2010, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

All of the extenders I've tried (XBox, Linksys, & HP) do what they're designed to do (i.e., view recorded content from a Media Center PC and utilize tuners from the same PC).

Yeah, they do what they're designed to do, but they do not work as well as a Tivo nor are they as flexible when you add pyTivo, kmttg, or streambaby to the Tivos - you don't have to buy a separate 'media player' to access all your content this way.

You can still get a Premiere with lifetime service, but you might have to do some digging - any box originally purchased before 11/14 is eligible and folks have been selling lots of these on fleabay and craigslist. And the current whacked Tivo pricing scheme is only running until 12/31 anyway, so they might go back to the old one after the first of the year.
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post #103 of 131 Old 12-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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Yeah, they do what they're designed to do, but they do not work as well as a Tivo nor are they as flexible when you add pyTivo, kmttg, or streambaby to the Tivos - you don't have to buy a separate 'media player' to access all your content this way.

There are pluses and minuses to both options (Tivo and WMC). For me, the ability to have a single DVR with 8 (or more) tuners, virtually unlimited recording space, and 1 central recording schedule FAR outweighs any advantages the Tivo offers. Since I got my Ceton cards setup several months ago, my Tivo has gone unused and I really haven't missed it. Once I figured out how to work around a few relatively minor quirks in how WMC allocates tuners for back to back recordings on the same channel, I've had no problems - no lost recordings, no truncated recordings, no problems setting it up to record what I want, no playback issues, etc. Basically, the only thing it doesn't have that I might care about is the Tivo suggestions feature which was of questionable value anyway.

I have no problem with having another device in my system to play different media types (I've got a PS3, the XBOX used mostly as an extender, a HTPC (separate from the box that's used for recording), and an OPPO BDP-93, so I've got plenty of ways to play my media). I wouldn't use a Tivo, XBOX, or PS3 to play DVD's (the actual discs or rips) anyway as the HTPC and OPPO deliver superior picture quality.

For people with different priorities, Tivo might be the better option. What's really nice is that we have these options to choose from so nearly anyone can pick something they're happy with.
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post #104 of 131 Old 12-17-2010, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Yeah, they do what they're designed to do, but they do not work as well as a Tivo nor are they as flexible when you add pyTivo, kmttg, or streambaby to the Tivos - you don't have to buy a separate 'media player' to access all your content this way.

You can still get a Premiere with lifetime service, but you might have to do some digging - any box originally purchased before 11/14 is eligible and folks have been selling lots of these on fleabay and craigslist. And the current whacked Tivo pricing scheme is only running until 12/31 anyway, so they might go back to the old one after the first of the year.

A media extender and media player won't cost you anywhere near what a separate Tivo will for each TV. Each setup has its pros and cons so you'd have to decide which is right for you.

BTW, does either streaming app allow you to stream Blu-Rays to the Tivo for viewing on a remote TV? My media player does. That is a serious deal breaker for me. Tivos are extremely limited as to the types of video formats they will support. Having to transcode or convert existing media to a format compatible with a Tivo is a lot of unnecessary work and is just not worth the effort when you consider that I can stream them as is using my setup. I see that the Premiere now supports 1080P, but it still lacks support for HD audio.

I've been a loyal fan and user of Tivos for almost 11 years now and I've all but retired my last one. I've experienced long-term usage of Tivos and I prefer my Windows Media Center setup. Even with the apps for streaming shows to and from a Tivo, they simply don't compare to a Media Center PC for all it can do. When you consider the added features of a fully functional PC to the mix, Tivo doesn't even come close, IMHO. I used to be joined to my Tivos at the hip until I realized there are other methods to do the same things better and cheaper.
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post #105 of 131 Old 12-18-2010, 09:10 AM
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Do they compare to an MCE PC for all it can do? No. Do they compare to an extender? Yes, very favorably. If Microsoft had ever released softsled I would answer differently, but the current extenders are a poor solution to the problem (for a variety of reasons).

Agreed that this is all a matter of opinion on how you want to use them - for example, if I wanted to watch Blu-Rays I'd use a player local to the TV, not streaming. But I don't rip anything.

Neither solution is superior to the other for all uses, it's just a matter of opinion.
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post #106 of 131 Old 12-18-2010, 09:20 AM
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Basically, the only thing it doesn't have that I might care about is the Tivo suggestions feature which was of questionable value anyway.

I'm a big sports fan and Tivo's advanced wishlists are a feature that I use extensively - I have WL's set to record NASCAR, IndyCar, MotoGP, AMA, and F1 races but not qualifying or practices, and Tivo will do this automatically, every year, without me having to bother with anything. Nice to have boolean search options that are not available on 7MC.

And I have noticed that 7MC's guide is not as accurate as Tivo's - I've had shows set for new-only that have recorded repeats, and others that recorded shows that were pre-empted that Tivo did not record.
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post #107 of 131 Old 12-18-2010, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

I'm a big sports fan and Tivo's advanced wishlists are a feature that I use extensively - I have WL's set to record NASCAR, IndyCar, MotoGP, AMA, and F1 races but not qualifying or practices, and Tivo will do this automatically, every year, without me having to bother with anything. Nice to have boolean search options that are not available on 7MC.

And I have noticed that 7MC's guide is not as accurate as Tivo's - I've had shows set for new-only that have recorded repeats, and others that recorded shows that were pre-empted that Tivo did not record.

MCE also has a wishlist record feature. I can't say how it compares to Tivo's because I rarely use it on either platform. Guide accuracy depends entirely on the source. Neither Tivo or Microsoft generate the guide data. It all comes from third parties, and they're at the mercy of the programmers to provide them with correct and current data. I've had numerous instances where the guide data in MCE was more accurate than my Tivo, but obviously, YMMV.
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post #108 of 131 Old 12-18-2010, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

I'm a big sports fan and Tivo's advanced wishlists are a feature that I use extensively - I have WL's set to record NASCAR, IndyCar, MotoGP, AMA, and F1 races but not qualifying or practices, and Tivo will do this automatically, every year, without me having to bother with anything. Nice to have boolean search options that are not available on 7MC.

Features that I have no need for, so obviously a YMMV type of thing. With WMC, I'm able to setup the series recordings I need for "normal" TV shows like CSI and wishlists that handle recording hockey games (1 for "Bruins At" and another for "At Bruins" has been 100% reliable so far), so I'm good.

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And I have noticed that 7MC's guide is not as accurate as Tivo's - I've had shows set for new-only that have recorded repeats, and others that recorded shows that were pre-empted that Tivo did not record.

Another YMMV type of thing - I've found minor glitches in guide data on both and so far I've found that neither is better or worse than the other.

This really hasn't been pointed out yet, but it's actually not an apples to apples comparison to compare a single standalone Tivo system to a WMC system that's only accessed via an extender. The proper comparison would be a standalone Tivo compared to a standalone WMC system in which case the WMC system wins hands down in streaming support. The standalone WMC system can also have virtually unlimited storage and far more than the 2 tuners the Tivo will have.

If you add a 2nd Tivo and correspondingly a WMC Extender, then you have to compare how easy it is to configure TV recordings across all available tuners in the house (with Tivo, you need to go to each box which means manual conflict resolution is needed, while with WMC you can centrally configure all recordings from any extender or the main WMC box), sharing TV shows with any TV in the house (do the new Tivos stream the content or do they still copy the entire show to the 2nd Tivo and how much of a delay is there before you can start watching the show on the 2nd box?), AND streaming other content to make a valid comparison.

The Tivo solution is really dreadful if there are more than 2 things on at the same time that you care to record as the only way to handle that is to get a 2nd Tivo and then manually allocate the recordings across the 2 DVR's. Of course, if you never have the need to watch / record more than 2 things at a time, this is a moot point.

I think I can honestly say that I've used both solutions extensively. I've used Tivo since the initial DirecTV Tivo box (and did some amount of hacking to add extra disc space and some other functionality) and switched to a Tivo HD XL when I switched to FIOS a little over a year ago. I started using Windows Media Center early this year (with just OTA tuners while I waited for the Cetons) side by side with the Tivo (and my BeyondTV system which served mostly as a backup at that point). For my set of needs, WMC is the far superior option. If the advanced wishlist features that Tivo provides are needed by a particular user or the user isn't somewhat technically savvy, then Tivo may be the better choice.

The bottom line is that NEITHER solution is perfect, so each person should evaluate both and go with the option that best suits their particular needs and skill level.

Personally, I see the streaming comparison as a non-issue. I'm looking at these options primarily for their TV capabilities as neither is even close to being an ideal streaming solution for other content and my HTPC and OPPO BDP-93 are both far superior streaming solutions and neither the XBOX nor the Tivo can play Blu-rays so I need another box anyway.
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post #109 of 131 Old 12-19-2010, 09:03 AM
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MCE also has a wishlist record feature.

Simple WL's with a keyword or phrase, yes - advanced WL's with boolean search capability, no. They make things easier for certain recordings, that's all.

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This really hasn't been pointed out yet, but it's actually not an apples to apples comparison to compare a single standalone Tivo system to a WMC system that's only accessed via an extender. The proper comparison would be a standalone Tivo compared to a standalone WMC system in which case the WMC system wins hands down in streaming support. The standalone WMC system can also have virtually unlimited storage and far more than the 2 tuners the Tivo will have.

I think a simple setup with a couple of Tivos compares well with a 7MC Ceton box with one extender (same # of tuners, and it's very easy to upgrade the Tivos with 2TB drives). Once you move past two boxes I think 7MC has the edge, both cost and ease-of-management wise. But it means that you'll have to put up with all the shortcomings of extenders, and that's sad.
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post #110 of 131 Old 12-19-2010, 06:09 PM
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I think a simple setup with a couple of Tivos compares well with a 7MC Ceton box with one extender (same # of tuners, and it's very easy to upgrade the Tivos with 2TB drives). Once you move past two boxes I think 7MC has the edge, both cost and ease-of-management wise. But it means that you'll have to put up with all the shortcomings of extenders, and that's sad.

God help you if you ever have to deal with Tivo customer support. That is beyond sad to the point of being a complete travesty. The way I see it, Tivos are more likely to be used by the less technically inclined, mainly because they're easy to set up and use right out of the box. That's not meant to completely discount any Tivo geeks in the audience because there are many loyal Tivo followers that still think they're the best thing going. Had the Ceton InfiniTV never come to market, I'd be inclined to agree with that philosophy. The fact is, it is here and it is a serious contender as a Tivo replacement. I've already replaced mine and don't regret it one bit.

HTPCs and media extenders are for the more adventurous hobbyists and tweakers, mostly because the mainstream user simply isn't aware of what Media Center can do or that they even have it on their PCs. Microsoft has seriously dropped the ball when it comes to promoting Media Center. Those of us that have used both MCE and Tivos extensively know which works best for our needs. MCE is not for everyone, but you'll never know unless you give it a chance. My one regret is that I never tried it before Windows 7.
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post #111 of 131 Old 12-19-2010, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

I think a simple setup with a couple of Tivos compares well with a 7MC Ceton box with one extender (same # of tuners, and it's very easy to upgrade the Tivos with 2TB drives). Once you move past two boxes I think 7MC has the edge, both cost and ease-of-management wise. But it means that you'll have to put up with all the shortcomings of extenders, and that's sad.

Once you go beyond a single Tivo, managing recordings turns into a royal PITA because there's no feature that essentially merges the boxes into 1 big DVR with centralized recording management. If you want to watch something recorded on Tivo #1 in another room on Tivo #2, the way you go about that is inferior to how you do it with WMC extenders. I can (and have) also easily add a 2nd Ceton tuner to the WMC box to give me 8 tuners (using Tuner Salad to extend the 4 tuners per type limit to 8 tuners per type) which means you would need 4 Tivo's to get the same number of tuners and 4 versus 2 monthly CableCard rental fees. If you're only using a single TV, there's no need to worry about extenders. Remember, the extra tuners can be used to either feed live TV to extenders OR record more simultaneous shows, depending on what your needs are. I haven't needed 8 tuners at any given time yet, but I did get to 7 once and didn't need to manually balance the recordings across multiple Tivo's in the process.

You seem obsessed with the fact that the Tivo can stream some media formats that the XBOX doesn't support, but seem to be ignoring the fact that it's ultimately a poor solution because it can't handle the new HD audio formats (which means it's useless for streaming Blu-ray rips) and is really poor at upconverting content such as ripped DVD's when compared to better streamers such as a HTPC or one of the recent OPPO offerings. There are also plugins available for WMC that address some of the streaming limitations in the XBOX by transcoding to a supported format, though I'd still agree that the XBOX is far from a perfect streaming solution.
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post #112 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

God help you if you ever have to deal with Tivo customer support. That is beyond sad to the point of being a complete travesty.

And what support do you get with a Ceton/DIY HTPC? None?

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Microsoft has seriously dropped the ball when it comes to promoting Media Center.

They've dropped a lot more balls than that.

Now I don't like Tivo, but I don't really like WMC either. MS lost me when they wouldn't sell the original MCE to end users (even via OEM licenses). I had to find other solutions and I'm glad I did because IMO unless you absolutely need CableCard, there are better ones out there.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #113 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

And what support do you get with a Ceton/DIY HTPC? None?

Obviously you have not been following any of the Ceton threads over at the Green Button forums. Ceton has proven to have excellent support with timely responses to all support questions. They are a model that other companies should follow. Tivo, Inc., should take a serious lesson from them.

Most people that build their own HTPCs have enough savvy to troubleshoot their own problems. If they have problems with a specific piece of hardware then they need to contact that vendor for support. Google is your friend when it comes to finding solutions for PC problems. In other words, there's a plethora of support for DIY PCs if you just look around.

FWIW, many people buy pre-built PCs from HP or other brands and install the Ceton tuner to create an instant Media Center PC. The PC manufacturer has their own support system in place to aid their customers.

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Now I don't like Tivo, but I don't really like WMC either. MS lost me when they wouldn't sell the original MCE to end users (even via OEM licenses). I had to find other solutions and I'm glad I did because IMO unless you absolutely need CableCard, there are better ones out there.

That's the primary reason why I never got into using WMC until Win 7 was released. I had no desire to purchase a pre-built HTPC just to get an XP Media Center system. You couldn't force me to use Vista in any way, shape, or form.

I seriously doubt that you could find a better solution than a CableCARD PC that allows you to record HD content in full HD with 5.1 audio or provide support for Blu-Ray playback with bitstreamed HD audio. Streamed content from the internet is a tradeoff at best, and BT sources are a mixed bag. The HD-PVR is probably the next best thing to CableCARD, but it requires too much extraneous hardware. The expense of using four HD-PVRs and renting four HD cable boxes would more than pay for the Ceton and most, if not all, of the PC hardware you'd need for a full-blown HTPC.

I have not had the pleasure of using SageTV, MythTV, or any of the media center/DVR variants out there. If any of them supported CableCARD, then I'd agree that there may be better solutions available than WMC. Until that happens, WMC is the best choice out there for my needs.
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post #114 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by gsr View Post

Once you go beyond a single Tivo, managing recordings turns into a royal PITA because there's no feature that essentially merges the boxes into 1 big DVR with centralized recording management. If you want to watch something recorded on Tivo #1 in another room on Tivo #2, the way you go about that is inferior to how you do it with WMC extenders. I can (and have) also easily add a 2nd Ceton tuner to the WMC box to give me 8 tuners (using Tuner Salad to extend the 4 tuners per type limit to 8 tuners per type) which means you would need 4 Tivo's to get the same number of tuners and 4 versus 2 monthly CableCard rental fees. If you're only using a single TV, there's no need to worry about extenders. Remember, the extra tuners can be used to either feed live TV to extenders OR record more simultaneous shows, depending on what your needs are. I haven't needed 8 tuners at any given time yet, but I did get to 7 once and didn't need to manually balance the recordings across multiple Tivo's in the process.

You seem obsessed with the fact that the Tivo can stream some media formats that the XBOX doesn't support, but seem to be ignoring the fact that it's ultimately a poor solution because it can't handle the new HD audio formats (which means it's useless for streaming Blu-ray rips) and is really poor at upconverting content such as ripped DVD's when compared to better streamers such as a HTPC or one of the recent OPPO offerings. There are also plugins available for WMC that address some of the streaming limitations in the XBOX by transcoding to a supported format, though I'd still agree that the XBOX is far from a perfect streaming solution.

Do I wish that Tivo had centralized recording management (i.e., single-view of all DVRs)? Yes, of course. Is it a royal PITA to manage recordings on a couple of Tivos? No. More than a couple? Yes, but I was comparing two Tivos to an HTPC with an extender - I'll grant that once you move past that the HTPC setup has the edge.

I've already said that I don't rip or stream Blu-Rays - if I want to watch them I'll use a player. Tivo makes it easier to watch internet content (mostly BT'd stuff) than using an extender. We also use the YouTube and Pandora players on the Tivos.
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post #115 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 08:28 AM
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I don't recall exactly where I read it, but I believe I heard that Tivo is coming out with an update that will allow you to manage conflicts between multiple networked Tivos. This has always been a major issue when using multiple Tivos.
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post #116 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Is it a royal PITA to manage recordings on a couple of Tivos? No.

If the Tivos are hooked up to a single TV in the same room, it's a manageable problem. If they're in different rooms, it's a royal PITA to me compared to having it centralized.

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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

I don't recall exactly where I read it, but I believe I heard that Tivo is coming out with an update that will allow you to manage conflicts between multiple networked Tivos. This has always been a major issue when using multiple Tivos.

Hopefully that happens.

Tivo would also need to address multi-room viewing restrictions to make it a fully workable solution. Based on my understanding from here, you still have to transfer (rather than stream) the show to the Tivo you want to watch it on and copy protected content (which I assume would mean copy once programming) can't be transferred. At least for my needs, I would need to be able to watch recorded shows from any Tivo on any Tivo in the house (or at least on the Tivo that's hooked up to the primary TV in the house).

If they find a way to address these 2 items, N-Tivo's to get enough tuners to meet your simultaneous recording needs and/or enough Tivo's so each TV has one would make for a really nice whole house DVR system.
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post #117 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Obviously you have not been following any of the Ceton threads over at the Green Button forums. Ceton has proven to have excellent support with timely responses to all support questions. They are a model that other companies should follow. Tivo, Inc., should take a serious lesson from them.
No I haven't followed that, but that's not really my point. Ceton is only one small component of an HTPC, you've got WMC, ATI/nVidia/Intel drivers, decoders. There is no support (beyond forums) for integrating all of that, because you have to build it yourself (well unless you buy a Vidabox or something).

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Most people that build their own HTPCs have enough savvy to troubleshoot their own problems. If they have problems with a specific piece of hardware then they need to contact that vendor for support. Google is your friend when it comes to finding solutions for PC problems. In other words, there's a plethora of support for DIY PCs if you just look around.
But no official support, and the onus is still on you to narrow down the problem and identify it.

Quote:
FWIW, many people buy pre-built PCs from HP or other brands and install the Ceton tuner to create an instant Media Center PC. The PC manufacturer has their own support system in place to aid their customers.
Are they going to help you with a Ceton card in your Dell or HP? I doubt it. Now I'm sure Niveus or Vidabox give great support, but you pay for it there.

My point is only you're the integrator for your HTPC, so there's no one you can call up to get support for it. It's all on you.

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I seriously doubt that you could find a better solution than a CableCARD PC that allows you to record HD content in full HD with 5.1 audio or provide support for Blu-Ray playback with bitstreamed HD audio.
Except the extenders are worthless and there's still no satellite solution (I will not subscribe to cable, at least not with my current provider options). Of course I don't have the (IMO rather irrational) aversion to using a "box" and recording analog.

I've been doing everything you describe above (HD and 5.1 audio) for several years already, I didn't have to wait for CableCard, I don't have DRM problems, I'm not stuck with cable, and I can stream BDs (with bitstreamed audio) from extenders.

Quote:
Streamed content from the internet is a tradeoff at best, and BT sources are a mixed bag. The HD-PVR is probably the next best thing to CableCARD, but it requires too much extraneous hardware. The expense of using four HD-PVRs and renting four HD cable boxes would more than pay for the Ceton and most, if not all, of the PC hardware you'd need for a full-blown HTPC.
Too bad WMC extenders are crippled meaning you effectively need multiple HTPCs. Oh yeah, but you can't integrate them because there's no software extenders. So then you need extenders and HTPCs, or live with no live TV or scheduling from "clients".

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I have not had the pleasure of using SageTV, MythTV, or any of the media center/DVR variants out there. If any of them supported CableCARD, then I'd agree that there may be better solutions available than WMC. Until that happens, WMC is the best choice out there for my needs.
If all you care about is TV and CableCard, then yeah, WMC+Extenders is a pretty good solution. But given the pathetic extenders, DRM restrictions, and other limitations, I just don't see any benefit to WMC over something like a Moxi. In fact just looking, Moxi's "extenders" look better than WMC's.

Moxi has, expandable eSATA storage (up to 6TB they claim), 3 CC support, multi-room support, DLNA media support. Yeah, no HBR bitstreaming, but it seems Moxi is what WMC+CC is really up against.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #118 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 05:52 PM
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No I haven't followed that, but that's not really my point. Ceton is only one small component of an HTPC, you've got WMC, ATI/nVidia/Intel drivers, decoders. There is no support (beyond forums) for integrating all of that, because you have to build it yourself (well unless you buy a Vidabox or something).

You might as well say it's worthless to have a PC if that's your argument.

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But no official support, and the onus is still on you to narrow down the problem and identify it.

Seriously? You make me wonder why you own a PC if they're so much trouble.

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Are they going to help you with a Ceton card in your Dell or HP? I doubt it. Now I'm sure Niveus or Vidabox give great support, but you pay for it there.

Ceton has their own support and built-in diagnostics software included in the installation package. Just run it and post the log in their forums when you request a service ticket. They usually get back to you with a resolution within about 24-48 hours. They don't charge you anything for support. The fact that they're a small company means that they are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.

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My point is only you're the integrator for your HTPC, so there's no one you can call up to get support for it. It's all on you.

Anyone who builds their own PC understands this so I'm not sure why you keep beating the dead horse. I have no problem being my own PC support person.

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Except the extenders are worthless and there's still no satellite solution (I will not subscribe to cable, at least not with my current provider options). Of course I don't have the (IMO rather irrational) aversion to using a "box" and recording analog.

Of course there's a satellite solution. It's called digital cable or FIOS. I had DirecTV for over 10 years before switching to FIOS and Comcast for at least as many years prior to getting DirecTV. DirecTV customer service has gone way downhill since I first signed up with them I don't like any service provider that extorts customers into a commitment for signing up for any new service or making changes to an existing account. Perhaps you weren't around back in the day when the only way to record DirecTV HD channels was to pay $1000 for a DVR that was eventually abandoned, leaving countless customers with expensive paperweights. Talk about worthless. Now you have to pay hundreds of dollars for a HD-DVR you don't even own and then pay monthly fees to keep using it.

Extenders aren't perfect, but they're far from worthless. If that's your opinion, and it obviously is, then you're welcome to it. Many here would certainly disagree with it. They do have their shortcomings, but for what they're designed to do, they do it quite well.

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I've been doing everything you describe above (HD and 5.1 audio) for several years already, I didn't have to wait for CableCard, I don't have DRM problems, I'm not stuck with cable, and I can stream BDs (with bitstreamed audio) from extenders.

Glad to hear it. Same goes for me.

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Too bad WMC extenders are crippled meaning you effectively need multiple HTPCs. Oh yeah, but you can't integrate them because there's no software extenders. So then you need extenders and HTPCs, or live with no live TV or scheduling from "clients".

I've already mentioned at least one solution for accessing all types of media from each TV that doesn't require multiple HTPCs.

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If all you care about is TV and CableCard, then yeah, WMC+Extenders is a pretty good solution. But given the pathetic extenders, DRM restrictions, and other limitations, I just don't see any benefit to WMC over something like a Moxi. In fact just looking, Moxi's "extenders" look better than WMC's.

Moxi has, expandable eSATA storage (up to 6TB they claim), 3 CC support, multi-room support, DLNA media support. Yeah, no HBR bitstreaming, but it seems Moxi is what WMC+CC is really up against.

I just looked at the Moxi and it does look interesting, but it also has severe limitations for serious users. I do like the fact that it has no monthly fees attached. Aside from the ability to add more storage (which you can do with both Tivos and HTPCs), you're still locked into a specific hardware platform with little or no expandability beyond adding additional extenders. With Tivos, you at least have the ability to hack it to add more functionality over and above a stock unit.

The basic Moxi DVR has only three tuners and I didn't see if there is any provision for adding another base unit to increase the number of tuners. My HTPC has eight tuners (four digital cable and four ATSC) so I can not only share tuners between multiple extenders but I can also record additional FIOS and OTA HD channels at the same time. If you've got three people watching TV simultaneously on the Moxi system you can't record anything until a tuner gets freed up. That sounds pretty crippled to me.

I think we can both agree to disagree on the issue. There is no perfect solution for everyone. WMC does have its limitations, but there are numerous workarounds to fill in the gaps. Same holds true for Tivo or Moxi or whatever system floats your boat. Go with whatever suits your needs and desires. Just remember - it's only TV.
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post #119 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 06:11 PM
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wow....and all I said was softsled.....

(MSFT...please? Get off your ^%$# and release softsled! I'll say please again...and I know you have it...release the damn thing...)
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post #120 of 131 Old 12-20-2010, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

You might as well say it's worthless to have a PC if that's your argument.


Seriously? You make me wonder why you own a PC if they're so much trouble.

You miss my point, which is that your implied argument that Tivo's support is worse.

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Ceton has their own support and built-in diagnostics software included in the installation package. Just run it and post the log in their forums when you request a service ticket. They usually get back to you with a resolution within about 24-48 hours. They don't charge you anything for support. The fact that they're a small company means that they are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.

Doesn't do you any good if your problem lies somewhere else (as it usually will on a PC).

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Anyone who builds their own PC understands this so I'm not sure why you keep beating the dead horse. I have no problem being my own PC support person.

I don't either, but you brought up the issue of Tivo's support. Which while maybe not good, exits, it isn't you. That's my only point.

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Of course there's a satellite solution. It's called digital cable or FIOS.

Don't have FIOS here, and my Cable choice is the worst provider in the nation. I'd probably lose half to three quarters of the HD networks I've got now with Dish, it would cost more, and my use would be more limited.

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I had DirecTV for over 10 years before switching to FIOS and Comcast for at least as many years prior to getting DirecTV. DirecTV customer service has gone way downhill since I first signed up with them I don't like any service provider that extorts customers into a commitment for signing up for any new service or making changes to an existing account. Perhaps you weren't around back in the day when the only way to record DirecTV HD channels was to pay $1000 for a DVR that was eventually abandoned, leaving countless customers with expensive paperweights. Talk about worthless. Now you have to pay hundreds of dollars for a HD-DVR you don't even own and then pay monthly fees to keep using it.

No I signed up for Dish when I could get 70+ channels in HD vs like 7 on Mediacon.

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Extenders aren't perfect, but they're far from worthless. If that's your opinion, and it obviously is, then you're welcome to it. Many here would certainly disagree with it. They do have their shortcomings, but for what they're designed to do, they do it quite well.

If all you want to do is watch TV, they're fine, but then what's the point of using a PC backend. If MS hadn't (intentionally) crippled them it would be a different story.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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