I don't have pay TV & love my HTPC! Why does the average cord cutter not embrace the HTPC? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Why does the average Cord Cutter not use a HTPC?
up front cost is too high 4 12.50%
too techy/hard to use 22 68.75%
not educated to the benefits 5 15.63%
not easily available to the general public 1 3.13%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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In my opinion (if set up properly) the HTPC offers the most robust & easy to use solution available to drop Cable & Satellite but still get the things that most people care about: DVR, HD, TV Guide, Internet TV (Netflix, hulu, etc.), On Demand. I personally use WMC with an OTA antenna and the whole family thinks it's great! Since almost everyone watches TV, and Pay TV numbers are retreating, it would seem logical that folks would be looking for a similar experience to Cable & Satellite that the HTPC can offer-but free.

Please understand I am not talking about folks that still have Pay TV, or the techy types on AVS that already have a HTPC... cool.gif Rather I am talking about the movement happening currently in the US to drop Pay TV and why more average american's don't go the route of the HTPC to get their TV fix? I realize that since you are crawling in this HTPC forum that this probably isn't you, but we all know folks that watch TV but don't have Pay TV, so am more interested in why you think they don't just get a HTPC??? Please answer the poll question and let me know your thoughts!
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post #2 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 01:35 PM
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I do both. The HTPC has allowed the elimination of premium pay channels but there's still live sports that are only on Cable these days and the locals are included as part of getting that so there' no need for an antenna. While internet content is nice, I still like to channel surf through Discovery, History and such. Doing this on the internet is not as enjoyable to me.

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post #3 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 01:39 PM
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BTW, the poll answers are not mutually exclusive so there is no way to pick just one. A ranking poll would be better. Of course this is a poll of people that are not only browsing and HTPC forum but have actually signed up to be a part of it so its accuracy is completely worthless. If this were a properly conducted research the general public would probably pick "not educated on the benefits" because they probably wouldn't even know what it is. When I tell my friends of using and HTPC as my only source for CableTV and for watching movies they are in dis-belief until I open the cabinet doors and show them the computer and whip out the keyboard and load up youtube or something.

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post #4 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

BTW, the poll answers are not mutually exclusive so there is no way to pick just one. A ranking poll would be better. Of course this is a poll of people that are not only browsing and HTPC forum but have actually signed up to be a part of it so its accuracy is completely worthless. If this were a properly conducted research the general public would probably pick "not educated on the benefits" because they probably wouldn't even know what it is. When I tell my friends of using and HTPC as my only source for CableTV and for watching movies they are in dis-belief until I open the cabinet doors and show them the computer and whip out the keyboard and load up youtube or something.

Totally agree and understand everything you say-my Marketing Research teacher would be cringing at the validity of this poll... Never done a poll in AVS, just thought it would be interesting. Not sure if there is way to set up a ranking option, but was worried if I left multiple options available they would all be checked for every response. wink.gif I have also noticed the same thing. If you have never seen one in action, a HTPC is hard to grasp a good understanding of until you actually see it live then it all make sense.
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post #5 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 03:27 PM
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All of the above

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #6 of 62 Old 08-21-2013, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

All of the above

yep, I think if I had an "all of the above" it would win, but wanted to make people decide on the top answer...
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post #7 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 09:35 AM
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Here is my take on it.

There are people who think that they "know it all" and skip steps absolutely necessary required for a fully funcational, reliable and high WAF HTPC set up. Then, they come back and beyouch that it was not: Stable, reliable, not user friendly, ect.

We have been using HTPCs since the 90's, and there is absolutely no reason that a properly assembled and set up HTPC can not be as reliable and user friendly as your standard off the shelf audio/video component.
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6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #8 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:02 AM
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I think you're underestimating what's really involved in setting up and maintaining an HTPC. Yes, it's gotten a lot better over the years but when it comes down to it, it's a general purpose PC trying to act like a standalone device. That means someone has to be the IT person. There's no way I'd ever recommend an HTPC to a friend or family member because that means I become that IT person. I always recommend a Roku or Apple TV and in fact I prefer the latter these days to an HTPC myself.

Also, a lot of the things you mentioned can be done with other devices that are, IMO, easier to use and "just work". TV Guide? Any smartphone or tablet is a lot better IMO due to having a touchscreen. Internet TV is easy since just about every electronic device made these days can stream netflix, hulu plus and youtube. Out of what you listed, the DVR is the big question. Personally, I haven't had a need for a DVR since I cut the cord. It's probably been 2 years since I recorded a show. Almost everything I ever want to watch is already available on netflix or hulu. The rest we can almost always find on the station's website. Here's where you can argue that an HTPC would make it easier to watch that but we still prefer to use other means. We usually do something like watch it on TV via my MacBook and AppleTV (with the airplay feature). Whenever my wife wants to watch something that's only available like that (e.g. Lifetime show), she usually goes for her iPad and watches it on that.

HTPCs are for people who are really into this hobby and like to tinker. Everybody else is better off sticking with standalone devices.
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post #9 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:22 AM
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Personally, the biggest roadblock for me cutting the cord is Sports.

Of the 4 major sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey), only one (football) gets all games broadcast OTA.
All the others are cable only (aside from the nationally televised games).

Of course there are ways to get any game via the 'interwebs', but most of these sites are not on the up-and-up.

I'd gladly pay for the sports package(s) for my favorite teams (MLB, NHL, NFL) if I could watch them live, but unfortunately they (local teams) get blacked out.
Or, in the case of the NFL - unavailable w/o Direct TV.

In the interim, I only use my HTPC as a fully functional pre-recorded media player.
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post #10 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Same here, sports is what keeps me having the cord - that and as an employee of Verizon I get an amazing discount on the FiOS Ultimate HD Package.
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post #11 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:51 AM
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My HTPC is the only input device regularly used in my system for all sources. That is really cool as there's no input to switch from CableTV to a locally stored movie or streaming internet content..
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post #12 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

Same here, sports is what keeps me having the cord - that and as an employee of Verizon I get an amazing discount on the FiOS Ultimate HD Package.

In my area, only the local NFL team games are broadcast OTA, unfortunately at my house due to some rather large hills and trees in the way I can't get OTA. Everything else is a SAT/Cable only channel.

Looky here!
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post #13 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 10:52 AM
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I'm on FIOS and have no intention of "cutting the cord". That being said, I'd have to answer all of the above for the poll. I've gotten into many discussion over at the Tivo Community Forum with regards to this topic and, as you would suspect, the mere mention of a HTPC to replace a Tivo for cord cutting sends most of them into a tizzy. Some have actually tried it and usually come up with some lame excuse for not sticking with it, such as the UI is not as good as Tivo, etc. Others keep trying to convince me how much WMC flat out sucks, for which I get a bit of a chuckle and pity them for their ineptitude in setting up something that is relatively simple to do.

Considering the popularity of streaming services and the low cost of a Roku or WDTV Live media player, I'd assume that a lot of people use devices such as this to get their internet TV. Many consumer devices, such as the aforementioned Tivo as well as some of the smart TVs, all have the ability to connect to said streaming services.

Aside from NFL games on Thursday nights carried by the NFL Network, I can see all of the Ravens' NFL games via OTA antenna. The Orioles are covered by MASN, but I'm not into baseball as much as I once was. I like watching the Capitals on occasion, but not being able to watch them would not be a dealbreaker. I have zero interest in the NBA (bunch of street thugs with too much ink and freaky hairdos).

If I was into any sport other than football then some sort of provider subscription would be a necessity. What's ironic is that I could easily cut the cord and not lose anything or importance to me. OTOH, the wife would not be able to watch her old movies on AMC or Turner Classic so FIOS is mostly for her benefit.
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post #14 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 11:16 AM
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I think a lot of cord cutters do embrace PCs. But replace "dedicated htpc" with "laptop" and replace "dvr" with "torrent" or "their friend's HBO Go account."

I don't have a single friend with a desktop computer, much less custom built or custom purpose ones. They do all have laptops, docked tablets, game consoles, and smart tvs/bluray players.

Only recently did the quality of some of the streaming services on the PC match their performance on ce devices. Vudu HDX only recently became available on PC and Netflix 1080p w/ 5.1 is only available on Windows 8. They also aren't really remote-centric on the PC whereas they have to be on Roku, Apple TV, etc

The computer's only real advantage is that there are some sites open to them that aren't to things like Google TV. Hulu is a big one, and many of the network websites block ce devices or they use incompatible implementations of flash.


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post #15 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

I think you're underestimating what's really involved in setting up and maintaining an HTPC. Yes, it's gotten a lot better over the years but when it comes down to it, it's a general purpose PC trying to act like a standalone device. That means someone has to be the IT person. There's no way I'd ever recommend an HTPC to a friend or family member because that means I become that IT person. I always recommend a Roku or Apple TV and in fact I prefer the latter these days to an HTPC myself.

Also, a lot of the things you mentioned can be done with other devices that are, IMO, easier to use and "just work". TV Guide? Any smartphone or tablet is a lot better IMO due to having a touchscreen. Internet TV is easy since just about every electronic device made these days can stream netflix, hulu plus and youtube. Out of what you listed, the DVR is the big question. Personally, I haven't had a need for a DVR since I cut the cord. It's probably been 2 years since I recorded a show. Almost everything I ever want to watch is already available on netflix or hulu. The rest we can almost always find on the station's website. Here's where you can argue that an HTPC would make it easier to watch that but we still prefer to use other means. We usually do something like watch it on TV via my MacBook and AppleTV (with the airplay feature). Whenever my wife wants to watch something that's only available like that (e.g. Lifetime show), she usually goes for her iPad and watches it on that.

HTPCs are for people who are really into this hobby and like to tinker. Everybody else is better off sticking with standalone devices.

I really think that it's all relative to what one wants to watch, how they want to watch it, and what kind of electronics they have to work with or care to buy. Everyone is different so they obviously have different needs. I think Blue hit on a really good point that if it is done properly up front a HTPC can be very reliable, add in Sammy's point about a HTPC having everything all in one place without ever needing to switch inputs and it really can be a great experience for even a novice end user. cool.gif
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post #16 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I think a lot of cord cutters do embrace PCs. But replace "dedicated htpc" with "laptop" and replace "dvr" with "torrent" or "their friend's HBO Go account."

I don't have a single friend with a desktop computer, much less custom built or custom purpose ones. They do all have laptops, docked tablets, game consoles, and smart tvs/bluray players.

Only recently did the quality of some of the streaming services on the PC match their performance on ce devices. Vudu HDX only recently became available on PC and Netflix 1080p w/ 5.1 is only available on Windows 8. They also aren't really remote-centric on the PC whereas they have to be on Roku, Apple TV, etc

The computer's only real advantage is that there are some sites open to them that aren't to things like Google TV. Hulu is a big one, and many of the network websites block ce devices or they use incompatible implementations of flash.

Yep, I could see that, especially the single folks or younger crowd. Using a laptop with Torrents doesn't really work for the WAF... ;-)
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post #17 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 12:19 PM
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Time Warner's CEO recently said that he thinks cable tv is getting too expensive and they need to look and unbundling things. I think they are seeing really bad subscription numbers for college students and recent graduates who see little value in a $100 monthly cable bill with dozens of channels they wont watch. The providers are kind of trapped - the media conglomerates will only allow them to broadcast the popular channels if they also take the less popular ones.

Its like a lousy catch 22 for people who like specialty programming - if everything was ala carte you wouldn't pay for things you didn't want, but at the same time a lot of the niche channels like Military History or Nat Geo Wild would probably cease to exist.

HTPC is wonderful for me - I subscribe to cable from roughly October thru May (durings Penguins hockey season). I set WMC to record key words - "COLD WAR" "DINOSAURS" "WWII" "NASA" "EVOLUTION" "ANCIENT EGYPT" etc. It'll record hundreds of programs I that I have available to watch after I cancel the subscription.

When hockey season roles around I call again and get the 6 month new subscriber promo rate smile.gif


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post #18 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

Time Warner's CEO recently said that he thinks cable tv is getting too expensive and they need to look and unbundling things. I think they are seeing really bad subscription numbers for college students and recent graduates who see little value in a $100 monthly cable bill with dozens of channels they wont watch. The providers are kind of trapped - the media conglomerates will only allow them to broadcast the popular channels if they also take the less popular ones.

Its like a lousy catch 22 for people who like specialty programming - if everything was ala carte you wouldn't pay for things you didn't want, but at the same time a lot of the niche channels like Military History or Nat Geo Wild would probably cease to exist.

HTPC is wonderful for me - I subscribe to cable from roughly October thru May (durings Penguins hockey season). I set WMC to record key words - "COLD WAR" "DINOSAURS" "WWII" "NASA" "EVOLUTION" "ANCIENT EGYPT" etc. It'll record hundreds of programs I that I have available to watch after I cancel the subscription.

When hockey season roles around I call again and get the 6 month new subscriber promo rate smile.gif

I take it you are in PA, so get blacked out via NHL Center Ice online streaming...
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post #19 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 01:08 PM
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In the city of Pittsburgh Comcast internet only is $63 a month. If you subscribe to internet and another service (tv, phone) they drop the internet to $43 or something like that for a "mutli service discount". Limited basic cable is only $12, so its cheaper to subscribe to limited basic AND internet than just internet.

Last hockey season I think my bill was about $70 a month for six months - Digital Preferred and 20mbps internet. You figure even if I didn't have to deal with blackout restrictions It would still cost a bit more to buy Game Center Live than just to subscribe to the two channels they play on Root (locally) and NBC Sports Network (nationally). Plus I do get all those channels.

Another wrench for people who are able to subscribe to GCL is that the NHL Network (owned by Comcast, not the league) is able to pick any game any night and show it nationally. Given that the Penguins get the best tv ratings of all the US based teams they are often chosen. So the game is still on Root in the Pittsburgh market, and on NHL Network everywhere else. Since the NHLN is nationally available that game will be blacked out to the online Game Center Live and the Center Ice tv provider subscription service. Between NHLN, NBC Sports, and NBC Game of the Week about 35% of all Penguin games are blacked out to people who buy the out of market package.


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post #20 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 01:24 PM
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If you're not that way inclined, it's a lot of hassle

I bought a MacMini (run bootcamp and WMC with HomeRunHD's) about 3 years ago and love it

I think the new Tivo ROAMIO will be a hit with prospective cord cutters. Buy that and get a Mohu Sky HD antenna: job done.
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post #21 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're not that way inclined, it's a lot of hassle

I bought a MacMini (run bootcamp and WMC with HomeRunHD's) about 3 years ago and love it

I think the new Tivo ROAMIO will be a hit with prospective cord cutters. Buy that and get a Mohu Sky HD antenna: job done.

The Roamio looks interesting, if not a bit pricey at $700 minimum for the entry level + lifetime subscription. Heck if you are paying that kind of money why not just get a HTPC?
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post #22 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by freetvEE View Post

The Roamio looks interesting, if not a bit pricey at $700 minimum for the entry level + lifetime subscription. Heck if you are paying that kind of money why not just get a HTPC?
Exactly.
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post #23 of 62 Old 08-22-2013, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freetvEE View Post

The Roamio looks interesting, if not a bit pricey at $700 minimum for the entry level + lifetime subscription. Heck if you are paying that kind of money why not just get a HTPC?

You hear this same argument over the Network Streaming forum regarding Synology type NAS devices vs building your own media server. Some people want plug and play, some people want DIY. It's really as simple as that.

Looky here!
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post #24 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 12:27 AM
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Personally I view a htpc as the best solution for everything, but general joe bloggs wont accept it because there are very few out of the box solutions. As a consequence you are talking custom built pcs etc and alot (I do mean alot!) of tech fiddeling.

So it appeals to people who like to constantly tweak to get the very best setup.

I think if someone released a simple to use box that did everything well enough then people would never look back

1. could stream their choice from the internet (netflix, lovefilm, bbc iplayer etc etc.)
2. could play pause record etc live tv
3. Could play blu-rays
4. automatically retrieve meta data for any rips (nearly good enough now)
5. Automatcially correctly rip dvds/blu-rays put in (this needs fixing in general, it needs to be as simple as ripping a cd into mp3)
6. Price has to be right, or it needs to be included in their next cable subscription.

My wife is not techy at all but loves our htpc (unless I have been messing with it and broke something rolleyes.gif) She is even now getting her head around ripping new dvds we get.

My problem is that i'm never happy, always looking for the next, better solution smile.gif

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post #25 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 04:15 AM
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I would say sports would be at the top of the list for me. I watch a lot of sports mostly NFL, NHL, College Football, and Racing.
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post #26 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 04:56 AM
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I'm currently working my way toward something like a dedicated HTPC or something, just haven't ran across a detailed for dummies setup and explanation of things that is not to techy for myself yet.. have the OTA antennae set up in one room so far but just haven't quite got the WAF or 6yr old boy weened off the DTV yet...have a Roku box and stream here and there but still researching which route to go...
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post #27 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 05:29 AM
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Check out Assassin's HTPC blog. It's the most detailed set of tutorials you'll find for setting up a HTPC to do just about anything you want. It costs $25 to join for lifetime access, but it's money well spent, especially if you're new to HTPCs.
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post #28 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Check out Assassin's HTPC blog. It's the most detailed set of tutorials you'll find for setting up a HTPC to do just about anything you want. It costs $25 to join for lifetime access, but it's money well spent, especially if you're new to HTPCs.

Yes I planned on doing that recently just haven't bitten the bullet yet, still in the process of setting up my media closet and things....thanks for the input and link....
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post #29 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Check out Assassin's HTPC blog. It's the most detailed set of tutorials you'll find for setting up a HTPC to do just about anything you want. It costs $25 to join for lifetime access, but it's money well spent, especially if you're new to HTPCs.

Yes I planned on doing that recently just haven't bitten the bullet yet, still in the process of setting up my media closet and things....thanks for the input and link....
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post #30 of 62 Old 08-23-2013, 08:37 AM
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You hear this same argument over the Network Streaming forum regarding Synology type NAS devices vs building your own media server. Some people want plug and play, some people want DIY. It's really as simple as that.

In the DVR sense, the only true plug and play device is the one you rent from your provider. Even TiVO requires the end user to get off their butt and insert the cable card, call the provider to pair, and to connect to the network or set up MoCA network if they are using multiple units.

At this point, might as well get HTPC, or suck it up if one wanted to be lazy, and pay the cable company for their equipment.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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