Originally Posted by HDMI Guy To achieve the same with cable boxes, one would have to rent 6 cable boxes at $720/year.
Why would he need 6 cable boxes for two TV's. Just put a cable box near each TV. About $120 per year.
First of all, consider your self lucky if your provider offers cable boxes for $5/month, most are $10/month to rent which with 2 TV's comes out to $240/year.
Does the equipment that costs $240/year allow for time shift, recording, and scheduled recordings?
The answer is: NO
To get the ability to record, one would have to rent a DVR ($20/month) and a box ($10/month) and only have the ability to record 2 channels at once, and watch another on the Box for $360/year.
A quad tuner is $199, triple tuner is $170, and dual tuner is $130. A computer that has the horsepower to do this is about $300.
For $600 investment, one can have ability to record 4 channels at once, and ability to stream decrypted content to other TV's with no additional monthly fee.
Once you consider that typical life of a PC is 5-10 years, the $600 initial investment pays off in less than 1.5 years ($360/year to rent DVR and a Box from provider).
In addition, HTPC allows one to use free HULU service (no need for HULU+ since it is a PC after all), as well as a myriad of internet TV station, all with a click or a remote. And not to mention unlimited storage, and user gets to keep the recordings if they switch service providers.