Looking to duplicate "Whole House DVR" while cutting the cord with cable - need suggestions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-23-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm ready to "cut the cord" with the cable company.
What I'd like to do is be able to relatively easily watch on the 5 TV's in our house (not watch on PC's or devices).
We have about a dozen OTA stations in our area.
I also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and am considering Hulu Plus.
What I'd like to be able to do is this:
1. From any TV, go to the program guide and schedule the recording of any TV show I have access to and then later, be able to watch that show on any of the TV's in my house.
2. Be able to pause live TV on any TV in the house.
3. Be able to watch a show on live TV while recording another show.
4. Be able to watch shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc on any TV in the house.
5. Be able to do 1-4 with a remote control for the TV I'm sitting in front of at the time.

So, this leads to a number of questions.
A. Has anyone done this type of thing before?
B. What equipment would I need (less expensive the better)?
C. Can I get a free or cheap(ie: $30/yr) programming guide service to facilitate easy recording of TV shows? (I've had bad experiences with Tivo boxes, so they are not an option)
D. How can I get live streaming of channels like MSNBC, HLN, CNBC, etc.?

Any suggestions would be appreciated in helping me to cobble together this type of system.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-23-2013, 08:18 AM
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Ask in the Home Theater PC forum as well. Lots of us there are doing what you're asking. I use a PC running WMC with a Ceton tuner and several extenders. But I still have cable. XBMC is a better fit for you. Each TV could use a simple Raspberry Pi. In all cases, guide data is free. Saves me at least $40/month.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-23-2013, 01:46 PM
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I think mdavej is correct: you should ask the HTPC experts how they accomplish this. If you want to use a DVR, the easiest option is probably to continue your cable subscription. Most OTA DVRs do not provide whole-home solutions, although I think perhaps TiVo and TiVo Mini might, and the base TiVo Roamio offers four tuners.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-23-2013, 03:47 PM
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This company, Tablo is developing a new system to do what you are asking.

http://www.tablotv.com/

They are based in Kanata/Ottawa and the product is intended for both the Canadian and US markets.

 

I don't know what your time horizon is but they were to have a few prototypes ready for testing next month. They had an unsuccessful crowdsourcing drive recently but unfortunately it failed to raise the requisite $50,000 so they had a setback. If you're not in a hurry this one might bear watching.


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post #5 of 12 Old 12-26-2013, 08:16 AM
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OP you can do all of this with a Windows Media Center PC using Xboxes as the TV clients. All of the TV features you want plus all the streaming apps. You will have to pay a yearly fee for the Xbox live Gold subscriptions but this will be cheaper than renting a bunch of crappy cable boxes. The guide data is free as part of WMC, and you're looking at spending somewhere around $1500 for the whole setup depending on how cheap you can get the Xbox 360s for, and how many tuners you want.

I have a WMC PC with two Xboxes and a Linksys extender btw, and we prefer the Xboxes for TV use.

Another way to do this is with a Tivo Roamio Plus and 4 Tivo Minis, but you won't get Amazon Prime streaming with this. You could add Rokus to do this as needed, they're cheap. Cost-wise it's around $1800 for this setup.

I also have a Tivo Elite (model before the Roamio) and use it on my primary TV, WMC is for the secondary sets.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-26-2013, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

OP you can do all of this with a Windows Media Center PC using Xboxes as the TV clients. All of the TV features you want plus all the streaming apps. You will have to pay a yearly fee for the Xbox live Gold subscriptions but this will be cheaper than renting a bunch of crappy cable boxes. The guide data is free as part of WMC, and you're looking at spending somewhere around $1500 for the whole setup depending on how cheap you can get the Xbox 360s for, and how many tuners you want.

I have a WMC PC with two Xboxes and a Linksys extender btw, and we prefer the Xboxes for TV use.

 

I don't doubt that this would work but it does seem counter-intuitive that the solution would require game boxes, subscriptions and a computer!


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post #7 of 12 Old 12-26-2013, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laridae View Post

I don't doubt that this would work but it does seem counter-intuitive that the solution would require game boxes, subscriptions and a computer!
Seems like it. But the OP wants to do a whole lot more than he's doing today. Replacing a cable box with an OTA only, subscription free DVR can be done for $40. But add in the requirement for 5 TVs, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, multi-tuners, live and recorded TV on all, and that gets expensive and complicated pretty fast, especially when you want to do all of that with just one box at each TV. If you can live with 2 boxes, it's much easier. Then add the live streaming of MSNBC, HLN, etc., that's much harder to do without a PC at every TV and nearly impossible to do with just a 4-in-1 IR remote. If the OP can relax his requirements a bit, the price and complexity goes way down.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-27-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laridae View Post

I don't doubt that this would work but it does seem counter-intuitive that the solution would require game boxes, subscriptions and a computer!

*shrug* so get Tivo Roamio + Minis + Rokus (as needed) if you don't want to fool with a PC setup, as I said. Please don't use this as an excuse to start another OTA DVR rant.
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Replacing a cable box with an OTA only, subscription free DVR can be done for $40.
Dave I think you meant $400 for a simple OTA DVR setup, not $40. But it's really as cheap as $300 if you go with the new Channel Master DVR+.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-27-2013, 10:57 AM
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^^^ Dave is probably thinking of something like a iView or Homeworx tuner/DVR that go for ~$40, although to record you'd have to add a USB HDD which start ~$60, so with the HDD you'd be out ~$100.

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post #10 of 12 Old 12-27-2013, 07:12 PM
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And so it's nowhere near $40...
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-27-2013, 09:27 PM
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I stand by $40. Most probably already have a spare drive or could get a small one or an enclosure for next to nothing. I ran one of my old Dish DVRs on a ten year old drive from the trash heap and a $5 enclosure. Worked perfectly fine.
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-28-2013, 07:04 AM
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But folks coming here asking basic questions like this are not us Dave. But anyway, as you said above a single tuner el cheapo setup is really not what OP wants anyway so it's kinda pointless to continue down this road.
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