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About to take Tivo Premier plunged, but a little hesitant

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The reason is that my replay can only record one show at a time since I only have only one machine. I'm also hesitant to purchase another replay since it's old technology.

New technology allows us to search for shows online, e.g. Hulu, but that's not always a guarantee that someone has it online with good quality.

Anyway, should I take the Tivo plunge? I don't care too much about HD, but it's a nice feature to have. I only use OTA.

Edit *plunge* (couldn't edit title)
post #2 of 14
If you can go without HD, single tuner series 2 tivo's withe lifetime service aren't that expensive.
post #3 of 14
Cableco went digital here, so they forced my hand. Replays would stop working, so I had to go to plan B. I had been considering Windows Media Center for some time, so I went ahead and built one.

I highly recommend looking hard into a Media Center configuration. Tuners are cheap, so it's easy and inexpensive to replicate what you have--and you can buy/install multiple tuners, so it's easy to build a four tuner box. Shoot, you could build an 8 tuner box--four analog and four digital (clear QAM) tuners, if your cableco does clear QAM.

This gets you going. If you want, you can expand your horizons and add a CableCARD tuner such as the Ceton, so now you can get the encrypted tier from your cableco for about nothing. My cableco charges $3.50/month for the cableCARD; I plug it into my own Media Center box, and that's that. My total outlay for the original standard basic (the old analog) lineup, the new digital basic lineup (both lineups include HD for no extra charge), and 15 megabit/2 megabit broadband is $80.

Yes, $80/month. It's so cheap because I'm using my own hardware, and not multiples of their $13/month horrid boxes. I have one box that's recording up to 6 streams simultaneously, plus I'm able to stream that to my other two TVs using Media Center extenders. And where else will you find 2TB (or more) of recording storage?

In other words, I have built my own whole house DVR with 4 full lineup streams via cableCARD and 2 additional clear QAM streams (standard def only) via a Hauppauge tuner to get the original 70 channel lineup.
post #4 of 14
What company do you have? Mine (Brighthouse) charges for the cards and separate for digital tier works out to be the same or a couple dollars more than using their equipment. I crunched all the numbers a few weeks ago and just decided to keep their DVR and will go get digital receiver for one of my own DVR's.
post #5 of 14
WOW. $3.50/month for the cableCARD, and that's it. That gives me the standard lineup that I'm currently getting from analog (which is going away by the end of May), plus it enables the high def counterparts of those channels.

Their extra 47 "digital basic" channels are another ten bucks a month, but she cut me a discount so I'm getting those now for no extra charge. Again, those come both SD and HD. WOW's philosophies are simple:

* the standard 70 channel lineup will continue to be available without any converter boxes, in the clear as standard def--but now you'll require a digital tuner, no more analog.

* if you get a channel, it's enabled in both SD and HD if you have the right equipment (their converter boxes or a cableCARD). No extra charge.

WOW's real cost comes from using their equipment--$13/month for their HD DVR, which is crap, or a couple bucks less for no DVR capability. Maybe even a couple bucks less than that if you don't want HD. Makes it awkward and expensive to have several TVs in the house. After years of ReplayTV, I would rather not watch TV than have their current crappy setup. That's why I jumped on it to build my own and duplicate the Replay experience as best possible (yeah, commercial skip and all...). Alternate plans included Moxi and Tivo. Frankly, the ability to have commercial skip drove me to Media Center.

I think WOW's current situation is legacy thinking, though, that will change dramatically when their whole house 6 tuner DVR system hits late this year.
post #6 of 14
Ok, it's all digital mine still also has a analog line up.
post #7 of 14
If you use Replays, you'll find Tivo an incredibly poor DVR, with non-existant navigation within shows, etc. The more of them you have, the poorer it becomes compared to a Replay network. The only claim to fame is HD. If your cable co offers a "deal" on their captive DVR you'll probably (depending on mfg) get a DVR with similar or better functionality than Tivo at a much cheaper cost.

What I did:

Built a media PC running SageTV. This unit has 6 HDHomerun tuners. My cable company has basic HD channels unscrambled on the wire. Sage has more features, etc, than even a Replayer could dream of.

I have a TivoHD with cablecard for dual tuner recording of scrambled channels. A program on the pc monitors the Tivo. If a new program shows up, it is copied to a Sagetv directory, DRM removed, commercials skipped, and it appears in the Sage listings.

So I can record 8 HD channels at once, skip commercials, and have no DRM.

Media extenders and/or Sage clients on all the TVs in house. I can do anything, anywhere, anyhow, from any TV.
post #8 of 14
Yes, my cableco also sends the local HD and local secondary digital OTA channels down the wire in the clear, in addition to the 70 "standard basic" lineup cable channels. So a clear QAM tuner (or four!) would have done me just fine. The only HD would have been the locals, and that's really fine with me. So the cableCARD is a $3.50/month extravagance, just to get the standard basic lineup in HD and to be able to order the extra digital channels if I decide I want them.

From what you're describing, Media Center equals Sage plus native cableCARD. If you already have a Tivo doing the cableCARD thing, then what you're doing with Sage makes great sense.

Once you've had Replay, you can't go back. Replay is the minimum feature set. Anything less is just...no good.
post #9 of 14
I've never used media center, but Sage has no DRM, client version with all features and hundreds of plugins you can choose from to do anything under the sun.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adone36 View Post

If you use Replays, you'll find Tivo an incredibly poor DVR, with non-existant navigation within shows, etc. The more of them you have, the poorer it becomes compared to a Replay network. The only claim to fame is HD. If your cable co offers a "deal" on their captive DVR you'll probably (depending on mfg) get a DVR with similar or better functionality than Tivo at a much cheaper cost.

What I did:

Built a media PC running SageTV. This unit has 6 HDHomerun tuners. My cable company has basic HD channels unscrambled on the wire. Sage has more features, etc, than even a Replayer could dream of.

I have a TivoHD with cablecard for dual tuner recording of scrambled channels. A program on the pc monitors the Tivo. If a new program shows up, it is copied to a Sagetv directory, DRM removed, commercials skipped, and it appears in the Sage listings.

So I can record 8 HD channels at once, skip commercials, and have no DRM.

Media extenders and/or Sage clients on all the TVs in house. I can do anything, anywhere, anyhow, from any TV.

How difficult is it to build an HTPC nowadays? I tried this about 5 years ago and gave up on it due to video card customize setting issues. Hauppauge has HD cards now, so I imagine that it would be a bit easier to set up HD display resolutions.

I have to revisit the idea again if it's easier this time around. I know that the HTPC forum has many posts regarding HTPC, but I'd like guidance here just to build one for specifically to work like a Replay. I rather do this than going....(taboo word)...ahem......Tivo.

For now, I will have to read the updated HTPC posts in that forum to have an idea of the latest technology of video cards.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by adone36 View Post

I've never used media center, but Sage has no DRM, client version with all features and hundreds of plugins you can choose from to do anything under the sun.

Sage also doesn't do cableCARD, while Media Center does that plus everything Sage does.
post #12 of 14
I believe MC has limitaions on the number of tuners and lineups and it does not have the options Sage does. Then you have DRM to possibly contend with.

I WAS thinking of using MC with a HDHomerun cable tuner, saving recordings to a Sage directory, etc, and replacing the Tivo, but this essentially does nothing for me. It's the same functionality.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkside View Post

How difficult is it to build an HTPC nowadays? I tried this about 5 years ago and gave up on it due to video card customize setting issues.

There are no video card "issues". Most mb have HDMI video outs now. You just connect the digital audio outs of the motherboard to the HDMI audio in and run a HDMI cable to your tv. You adjust the picture size and you're done.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by adone36 View Post

I believe MC has limitaions on the number of tuners and lineups and it does not have the options Sage does. Then you have DRM to possibly contend with.

MC is, out of the box, limited to four tuners of any given type--analog, clear QAM, cableCARD.

This is limit is easily moved up to 8 tuners of each type. And the only reason the number is 8 is because the guy who wrote Tuner Salad set it for 8. He can actually rewrite Tuner Salad to make that number higher.

What do you mean by "it does not have the options Sage does"? Specifics?

Anyway, it has one option unavailable with Sage: cableCARD.

As for DRM, that comes into play ONLY when you use a cableCARD tuner and ONLY if the cableco uses DRM on those channels (mine doesn't). If you limit your use of Windows Media Center to mimic what Sage can do, DRM doesn't come into play.


Quote:
I WAS thinking of using MC with a HDHomerun cable tuner, saving recordings to a Sage directory, etc, and replacing the Tivo, but this essentially does nothing for me. It's the same functionality.

Except you say you're using Tivo as your cableCARD device. It wouldn't be the same functionality. In addition, are you paying a monthly fee to Tivo for the pleasure of keeping the Tivo alive?

It's not as simple as you're describing.
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