Subscription free DVR with mCableCard support? (Or prebuilt HTPC less then $400-500?) - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 55 Old 01-30-2013, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post


Your estimates are too high, I just pointed my Dad to a Samsung laptop on sale at Best Buy for $300 shipped last weekend. 2.7Ghz AMD A6, 4GB RAM, 500GB drive which would be plenty for a basic DVR (500GB is what basic Tivos ship with now). Add in a SiliconDust Cablecard tuner which is routinely on sale for around $130 and a $20 USB remote/receiver kit and you're set for about $450. Not bad, but also not a Tivo - there are pros and cons to both.

 

Since it already has Windows 8 Basic ("Core") installed, you'll also need to upgrade to Pro, if you want to be able to install WMC - which is $70 through tomorrow, and $100 thereafter (for the "Pro Pack with Media Center" upgrade).

 

Those less-expensive upgrade deals they've had going are only for upgrading from pre-Windows 8 versions. I found that out the hard way myself, when I thought I was getting a great deal (an HP with the same specs as that Samsung, for $329).

 

I haven't noticed any store models for sale with Pro pre-installed as of yet. Maybe they'll release some that way eventually, but I expect them to be priced accordingly.

 

So, people, be forewarned.

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post #32 of 55 Old 01-31-2013, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for your feedback so far! Just kinda of putting an end to this thread (though feel free to keep talking among yourself) since I think I've found the solution I'm looking for...

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1455495/2-13ghz-atom-box-fast-enough-for-a-win7-mce-dvr

That ticks almost all the boxes I want. It's a bit out of my "ideal" price, but I probably could get back into that range if I dropped down to a 500Gig drive. (I forgot to mention that I've already got Win7 Pro so that helped my price but still it would save about $100 otherwise)

Big selling points are...

Small
Almost silent
Looks nice (almost set top box like)
$200 less then TiVo + Lifetime (Premiere4), and twice the storage (this makes it seem worth while)

Still kinda of surprised I haven't seen a builder out there basically package something with that with maybe a SLIGHTLY larger case to fit an internal Ceton or something... that would be a complete package and would be a good option other then TiVo.

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post #33 of 55 Old 01-31-2013, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by acarney View Post

Thank you guys for your feedback so far! Just kinda of putting an end to this thread (though feel free to keep talking among yourself) since I think I've found the solution I'm looking for...

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1455495/2-13ghz-atom-box-fast-enough-for-a-win7-mce-dvr

That ticks almost all the boxes I want. It's a bit out of my "ideal" price, but I probably could get back into that range if I dropped down to a 500Gig drive. (I forgot to mention that I've already got Win7 Pro so that helped my price but still it would save about $100 otherwise)

Big selling points are...

Small
Almost silent
Looks nice (almost set top box like)
$200 less then TiVo + Lifetime (Premiere4), and twice the storage (this makes it seem worth while)

Still kinda of surprised I haven't seen a builder out there basically package something with that with maybe a SLIGHTLY larger case to fit an internal Ceton or something... that would be a complete package and would be a good option other then TiVo.

I do know of a local computer store that builds HTPC's complete with a Ceton 4-tuner card.. I don't know where you live, but there probably is someone near you that does this. Of course building you're own isn't that difficult.
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post #34 of 55 Old 02-01-2013, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

It's probably the same reason that Ceton's Q DVR has been tabled - Media Center is strictly maintenance-mode now. Microsoft isn't developing it any more, and there's no future commitment to it at all. So while Media Center works for now, there's no guarantee it will later.

It works in Windows 8, and Windows 8 will be supported until 1/10/2023, so we have a few more years left even if it is completely gone in the next version of Windows. 7 has support through 1/14/2020. Where tech will be by then, who knows... If 2020 rolls around, and there is no replacement in sight, I'll upgrade to Windows 8 for another 3 years of DVR service...

I paid right around $900 for an HTPC, including peripherals and a Ceton 4 USB, but I didn't have to pay for Windows, as I had a license left from school. However, when you compare this to the $17/mo the DVR from Comcast cost, plus the $2.50 owned equipment rebate, within 4 years it will have paid for itself, for a FAR better box. Now if you take a 3 TV household, it would be $40/mo for equipment from Comcast, plus the $2.50 owned equipment rebate, OR $1260 up front for that same PC and two extenders (even without any XBOXes already in place), which would pay for itself in under three years.

When you're OTA, you're paying nothing for TV, so put some of the cash you're saving there towards a good DVR experience. By far the MOST expensive is TiVo.

Not including electricity (MCE wins here, with only one machine up all the time), cost over 48 months:

1 Room:
Comcast: $960
MCE: $780
TiVo: $530

2 Rooms:
Comcast: $1440
MCE: $960
TiVo: $1180

3 Rooms:
Comcast: $1920
MCE: $1140
TiVo: $1830

4 Rooms:
Comcast: $2400
MCE: $1320
TiVo: $2480

5 Rooms:
Comcast: $2880
MCE: $1500
TiVo: $3130

The data doesn't lie folks. And the longer you keep MCE or TiVo, the more you save. MCE and TiVo would have only slightly higher costs than listed here on OTA (due to not having a $2.50/mo negative cost from Comcast due to the owned equipment fee).
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post #35 of 55 Old 02-01-2013, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

It works in Windows 8, and Windows 8 will be supported until 1/10/2023, so we have a few more years left even if it is completely gone in the next version of Windows. 7 has support through 1/14/2020. Where tech will be by then, who knows... If 2020 rolls around, and there is no replacement in sight, I'll upgrade to Windows 8 for another 3 years of DVR service....
I don't think Win 7 support has ever been the issue. The big question is how long will MS continue to provide a free guide for an abandoned MCE product. W7MCE was never a big hit in the market place. Early 3rd party extenders came briefly and vanished. MCE development was stopped, the team disbanded and the product put on orphan status. If they don't get a lot of takers willing to now pay for a dead-end W8MCE, the writing may be on the wall. And with no team in place to support an abandoned product, nobody may be home to modify MCE for an alternate paid guide service.

If you are on cable, you unfortunately have no other choice for DVR software -- MCE is it. Being OTA, if I were to set up a Win 8 PC for DVR service, the last thing I would do is pay $100 for Win-8 Pro/MCE. I would put that money towards SnapStream's Beyond TV.

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post #36 of 55 Old 02-01-2013, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I don't think Win 7 support has ever been the issue. The big question is how long will MS continue to provide a free guide for an abandoned MCE product. W7MCE was never a big hit in the market place. Early 3rd party extenders came briefly and vanished. MCE development was stopped, the team disbanded and the product put on orphan status. If they don't get a lot of takers willing to now pay for a dead-end W8MCE, the writing may be on the wall. And with no team in place to support an abandoned product, nobody may be home to modify MCE for an alternate paid guide service.

If you are on cable, you unfortunately have no other choice for DVR software -- MCE is it. Being OTA, if I were to set up a Win 8 PC for DVR service, the last thing I would do is pay $100 for Win-8 Pro/MCE. I would put that money towards SnapStream's Beyond TV.

You could always hack your way around the guide data issue, as long as someone is out there to provide it. As long as you have support for the base OS... The Ceton Echo vanished??? It's going strong right now.

MythTV can handle CableCard, but only for channels that aren't copy-protected (everything except HBO on Comcast basically).

With cable you can do MCE or TiVo, but yes, there is no other PC software that you can run.

My guess is, one company, like Ceton or SiliconDust will write software to replace MCE if it ever is fully discontinued, as there would all of the sudden be a big (at least among enthusiasts) market for it.
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post #37 of 55 Old 02-01-2013, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

You could always hack your way around the guide data issue, as long as someone is out there to provide it. As long as you have support for the base OS... The Ceton Echo vanished??? It's going strong right now.

MythTV can handle CableCard, but only for channels that aren't copy-protected (everything except HBO on Comcast basically).

With cable you can do MCE or TiVo, but yes, there is no other PC software that you can run.

My guess is, one company, like Ceton or SiliconDust will write software to replace MCE if it ever is fully discontinued, as there would all of the sudden be a big (at least among enthusiasts) market for it.


Ya, I figure if the guide up and died someone would put together some super low cost or free replacement. Windows is pretty easy to hack compared to TiVi, etc.

Hackers, take note, $20 for a year of guide service if MCE goes down is set aside for you! Way more reasonable then TiVi, etc and probably covers bandwidth for that plus a little profit.

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post #38 of 55 Old 02-02-2013, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

You could always hack your way around the guide data issue, as long as someone is out there to provide it. As long as you have support for the base OS... The Ceton Echo vanished??? It's going strong right now.

MythTV can handle CableCard, but only for channels that aren't copy-protected (everything except HBO on Comcast basically).

With cable you can do MCE or TiVo, but yes, there is no other PC software that you can run.

My guess is, one company, like Ceton or SiliconDust will write software to replace MCE if it ever is fully discontinued, as there would all of the sudden be a big (at least among enthusiasts) market for it.

No hacking required - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd776338.aspx (almost like they want somebody to do it...)
just normal programming and a source like Schedules Direct for $25 a year
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post #39 of 55 Old 02-02-2013, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

My guess is, one company, like Ceton or SiliconDust will write software to replace MCE if it ever is fully discontinued, as there would all of the sudden be a big (at least among enthusiasts) market for it.
One would think that if their hardware sales were sufficient that they would commission a software house -- otherwise they exit the cable-card tuner business. Time will tell.

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post #40 of 55 Old 02-02-2013, 08:44 PM
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One would think that if their hardware sales were sufficient that they would commission a software house -- otherwise they exit the cable-card tuner business. Time will tell.

They could make money off of the software as well... vertical integration.
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post #41 of 55 Old 02-03-2013, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

The Ceton Echo vanished??? It's going strong right now.
Except for the whole "it doesn't work with MCE on Windows 8" thing. Unless Ceton has fixed that in the past week, but I'd think we'd have heard something about that if so. The only extender that I have heard works with MCE on Win8 is, of course, the Xbox 360.
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post #42 of 55 Old 02-03-2013, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

The data doesn't lie folks. And the longer you keep MCE or TiVo, the more you save. MCE and TiVo would have only slightly higher costs than listed here on OTA (due to not having a $2.50/mo negative cost from Comcast due to the owned equipment fee).

Where exactly are you getting these numbers for TiVo? The numbers you're quoting there could buy you a new TiVo unit every year with Product Lifetime Service (if you use the code I've seen mentioned) - which you shouldn't need. My 6 year old (and still perfectly operational) Series 3 says you're wrong.
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post #43 of 55 Old 02-03-2013, 12:36 PM
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Where exactly are you getting these numbers for TiVo? The numbers you're quoting there could buy you a new TiVo unit every year with Product Lifetime Service (if you use the code I've seen mentioned) - which you shouldn't need. My 6 year old (and still perfectly operational) Series 3 says you're wrong.
People can do anything they want with numbers which is why I just let it go. But from the context of his post -- putting capability in multiple rooms -- it looks like while he is adding XBox extenders to each room for the MCE numbers, he is adding a Premier 4/lifetime to each room. So for 5 rooms he has 20 tuners throughout his house.

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post #44 of 55 Old 02-04-2013, 03:07 PM
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Except for the whole "it doesn't work with MCE on Windows 8" thing. Unless Ceton has fixed that in the past week, but I'd think we'd have heard something about that if so. The only extender that I have heard works with MCE on Win8 is, of course, the Xbox 360.

Who cares? We still have 7. Given the install base of 7, and the newness of 8, it's not prudent to upgrade now anyways. You typically want to wait at least a year before using a new version of Windows (unlike Mac, where the same-day upgrades usually work fine).
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Where exactly are you getting these numbers for TiVo? The numbers you're quoting there could buy you a new TiVo unit every year with Product Lifetime Service (if you use the code I've seen mentioned) - which you shouldn't need. My 6 year old (and still perfectly operational) Series 3 says you're wrong.

TiVo is $150 plus $500 for service. That's the base model, I'm not account for any refurb sales they might have, which would drive the cost down closer to the $500 that the service costs.
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People can do anything they want with numbers which is why I just let it go. But from the context of his post -- putting capability in multiple rooms -- it looks like while he is adding XBox extenders to each room for the MCE numbers, he is adding a Premier 4/lifetime to each room. So for 5 rooms he has 20 tuners throughout his house.

I was adding a Ceton Echo for each room (XBOX wouldn't be off that much), and the base model Premiere with Lifetime for each room (although I think I forgot the extra cable cards, which would make TiVo perform even worse in the 2+ room comparisons). I used the most fair and realistic numbers I could. I'm not trying to slant anything here, the data tells the story. Until TiVo comes out with the little streamer box, their system is absurdly overpriced, and doesn't scale well past one room.
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post #45 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 12:03 PM
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Used TivoHD w/ lifetime service is $300 all day long off ebay.

Since I'm cheap (OTA-only) that's what I buy instead of the Premiere models (best price w/ lifetime about $450 off ebay, $600 w/ 2TB upgrade)

If you can live with two tuners a used TivoHD is the best value of the Tivo models right now.
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post #46 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 04:24 PM
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TiVo is $150 plus $500 for service. That's the base model, I'm not account for any refurb sales they might have, which would drive the cost down closer to the $500 that the service costs.
 

 

More like $80, plus $400 for service, right now. And that's new, and for new customers - which is what he's referring to.

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post #47 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 04:28 PM
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Used TivoHD w/ lifetime service is $300 all day long off ebay.

Since I'm cheap (OTA-only) that's what I buy instead of the Premiere models (best price w/ lifetime about $450 off ebay, $600 w/ 2TB upgrade)

If you can live with two tuners a used TivoHD is the best value of the Tivo models right now.

 

Also, between the two models, the OTA tuner performs noticably better in the TiVoHD.

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post #48 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 06:36 PM
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More like $80, plus $400 for service, right now. And that's new, and for new customers - which is what he's referring to.

It's $499 for the service, unless you already have boxes to do an MSD with, and $150 for a new box, unless you get a refurb. I got my MCE box up and running, and it really sucks. After a whole series of problems, I don't have any of the extra functionality that I wanted (i.e. commercial skipping), and the interface is, in many ways, behind that of Comcast's Sci Atlanta boxes, which were previously thought to be the lowest of the low. I kind of miss TiVo now, and I will probably eventually move that direction, as much as it would pain me to give money to a bunch of pseudo patent trolls.
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post #49 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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It's $499 for the service, unless you already have boxes to do an MSD with, and $150 for a new box, unless you get a refurb. I got my MCE box up and running, and it really sucks. After a whole series of problems, I don't have any of the extra functionality that I wanted (i.e. commercial skipping), and the interface is, in many ways, behind that of Comcast's Sci Atlanta boxes, which were previously thought to be the lowest of the low. I kind of miss TiVo now, and I will probably eventually move that direction, as much as it would pain me to give money to a bunch of pseudo patent trolls.

Thats not what I wanted to hear. I was hoping to match TiVo quality but with like a 1Tb hard drive and four tuners instead of the low end TiVo two tuner and 500Gig. Can I ask what your specs are on your box and roughly how much you spent?

It just feels like $550 to $600 for TV should be able to get me 1Tb plus four tuners if I build it myself... but that's proving a little hard to do.

All the ******* here (thanks :P ) have kind of actually made me start to think of increasing the budget to about $1000 and building a full on HTPC (fabless!) with a quad core i5 chip and 3Tb of storage. Would then be able to transcode my recordings to iPad format and stuff. Would be nice to across a year or something slowly capture all the old Good Eats episodes and then transcode down to a .mp4 to be able to stream to the iPad while in the kitchen, etc...

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post #50 of 55 Old 02-09-2013, 07:44 PM
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More like $80, plus $400 for service, right now. And that's new, and for new customers - which is what he's referring to.

 

I take that back - it's up to $95 new (w/no shipping), from eBay, now - and $100 off lifetime, using the promo code PLSR - for new customers.

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post #51 of 55 Old 02-10-2013, 08:20 AM
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Thats not what I wanted to hear. I was hoping to match TiVo quality but with like a 1Tb hard drive and four tuners instead of the low end TiVo two tuner and 500Gig. Can I ask what your specs are on your box and roughly how much you spent?

It just feels like $550 to $600 for TV should be able to get me 1Tb plus four tuners if I build it myself... but that's proving a little hard to do.

All the ******* here (thanks :P ) have kind of actually made me start to think of increasing the budget to about $1000 and building a full on HTPC (fabless!) with a quad core i5 chip and 3Tb of storage. Would then be able to transcode my recordings to iPad format and stuff. Would be nice to across a year or something slowly capture all the old Good Eats episodes and then transcode down to a .mp4 to be able to stream to the iPad while in the kitchen, etc...

I pretty much trash MCE here:

http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4466

I spend about $900 (the pictures are atrocious, but you get the idea):

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1455835/one-bedroom-apartment-setup

I found out that MCE is rather rudimentary compared to what TiVo can do just as a pure DVR. TiVo really needs TiVo Mini, as they have no scalability right now beyond Premieres at $650-$900 a room.
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post #52 of 55 Old 02-10-2013, 11:27 AM
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I pretty much trash MCE here:

 

I didn't read it as you trashing WMC... rather showing it wasn't for you for a variety of reasons. I won't bother addressing those reasons as they stand by themselves.

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post #53 of 55 Old 02-10-2013, 01:02 PM
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I take that back - it's up to $95 new (w/no shipping), from eBay, now - and $100 off lifetime, using the promo code PLSR - for new customers.
Unfortunately that promo code doesn't work to give me an additional discount off my multi-service discount.

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post #54 of 55 Old 02-10-2013, 03:53 PM
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Unfortunately that promo code doesn't work to give me an additional discount off my multi-service discount.

 

In the reviews where I got the promo code (retailmenot.com), the pre-existing customers were saying that it wouldn't work for them. But it does seem to be working more often than not for the new subscribers (80% chance overall).

 

I don't know if they're cross-checking that somehow, or if the people are entering in that info themselves.

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post #55 of 55 Old 02-10-2013, 06:24 PM
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I didn't read it as you trashing WMC... rather showing it wasn't for you for a variety of reasons. I won't bother addressing those reasons as they stand by themselves.

Yeah, I didn't mean that I was baselessly ranting against it, but rather slamming it for a lot of severe limitations in it's core DVR functionality. Of course the other posts in the thread are pretty biased towards MCE, but that should be expected on TGB, just as you would find the opposite on TiVoCommunity.
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