Originally Posted by Kelson
[...]That sounds pretty magical to me.
It's pretty magical if it helps you reach your particular goal, of course. The TiVO>PC setup is about the easiest path there is to capturing full HDTV with 5.1 audio, and if you want to burn HD discs its kinda the only
option in North America short of a full-blown HTPC (with all that entails). For regular ordinary SD material and DVDs? The DVD/HDD standalone unit is much simpler and doesn't tie up your PC. Unfortunately the product failed to catch on in USA/Canada, the more evolved models were dropped, and our only choice now is the rather basic Magnavox.
Home video recordists fall into two distinct camps of people whose experiences don't necessarily coincide: one man's "wonder solution" is another man's total PITA. If you are very PC-oriented, and VERY lucky, using the PC as the linchpin of your video recording system can be an incredibly versatile option. But there is some weird degree of blind luck involved
: for many of us, video files on the PC frustrate with technical snarls at every turn. I'm certainly not the only one here who's utterly fed up with conflicting codecs, files that won't play on one software player but will on another, files that won't play on Macs or Linux but will on a PC (and then maybe only under XP or 7/Vista but not both). If you record the files yourself, sure you have more control, but there's still a lot of glitches which may not be obvious until its too late to fix them.
A standalone recorder/burner can be very limiting, but it can also be very liberating because those limits help force it to make a good DVD every time without fuss. I'd love to use my PC more for video work, especially editing and authoring, but I'm spoiled by the simplicity of the standalone and just don't have the patience. Pulling MPEG2s off the TiVO or video board output and into an authoring program to make DVDs isn't my idea of fun, no matter how reliable it might be. But then, I want discs as a result, not a fragile hard drive full of files: others who've had great
experience being PC-centric wouldn't dream of going "backwards" into the limits of a standalone recorder. The PC-centric will always have more options, if only because a PC is a universal generic tool whose availability is not subject to the whims of the consumer marketplace. Dell and Sony really could care less whether or not you use their PC for video, and making third-party tuner/video cards and software is much less of a $$$ risk than mfring complete dedicated standalone recorders. Given North American issues integrating cable and satellite with recorders or HTPCs, the TiVO>PC combo may wind up being the only credible long-term option for those who can't stand proprietary decoder box PVRs.