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Cable cutting - Which device setup?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I am moving in early June and it is a good time to make a clean break from the cable company. With simple.tv, Boxee DVR, and tivo's new 10 a month for antenna users all happening now or soon, it seems like it might be a good time to make the break.

My goal is to get Live TV and DVR with online streaming services in one single easy to use bulletproof interface.

So with that being said, here are the solutions I have come up with, trying to decide what to do:

Boxee box ($180) and Simple.tv ($150 x 2 if I want a second tuner to record) plus an external HD ($80ish) plus simple.tv and netflix subs (~$13 a month)

Pro:
-Boxee interface is supposedly the best, haven't used it myself though
-can get live TV and DVR video anywhere
-expandable DVR space
-can play any and all downloaded videos native over the network
-Can use Vudu to rent movies for $2.
-Can add another device to another room (a cheap roku) and be able to watch my DVRed stuff anytime there as well.
-Qwerty keyboard for searching
-Can play Spotify

Con:
-No hulu
-no amazon prime instant
-most expensive up front
-only one tuner DVR (second is another $150 for another box) so would need hulu to watch all the broadcast shows we watch without a second tuner (there are sometimes 2 things on different networks at the same time)
-simple.tv interface for boxee may not be available immediately in June, but coming "very soon"

Roku ($90) plus simple.tv ($150) plus simple.tv, hulu, netflix, and amazon subs (~$28 a month)

pro:
-Can get all the big streaming options
-can get live TV and DVR video anywhere
-expandable DVR space
-Can add another device to another room (a cheap roku) and be able to watch my DVRed stuff anytime there as well.
-simple.tv interface for Roku available in June

con:
-Roku interface is broken up between providers, so no unifying interface, have to switch "channels"
-No qwerty keyboard
-Can't play network stored videos easily, would have to use xbox which itself is limited
-No spotify


Boxee box ($180) plus Live TV dongle ($50) plus external hard drive ($80) plus boxee DVR sub and netflix (~$13-$23)

Pro:
-Boxee interface is supposedly the best, no idea though
-expandable DVR space
-can play any and all downloaded videos native over the network
-Can use Vudu to rent movies for $2.
-Qwerty keyboard for searching
-Can play Spotify

Con:
-No hulu
-no amazon prime instant
-only one tuner DVR so would need hulu to watch all the broadcast shows we watch without a second tuner (there are sometimes 2 things on different networks at the same time)
-Can't share DVR stuff in any other room
-No idea when it will actually be available


Tivo Premier ($150) + Tivo and Netflix sub ($17)

Pro:
-Unified interface
-Tivo DVR is the best so far
-Cheap startup cost
-Works with Netflix Hulu and Amazon
-2 tuners

Con:
-Slow slightly clunky interface (or so I hear)
-Can't play network video, have to use Xbox
-1 year contract
-Can't play amazon instant prime videos, only rentals
-No HBO go
-Most expensive monthly fee




So, what to do? Anyone have experience with any of these devices they can use to recommend a plan of action? Thanks for the help guys.
post #2 of 10
well Tivo Premier is fail in my opinion. I have 2 friends that hate it.
Not the unit they think its great but the high monthly fees and the warranty/contract that they finally purchased to avoid the monthly price is only good on the ORIGINAL unit.

The way I understand it (someone correct me) if that unit dies you are back to square 1 with a monthly fee until you buy out the new one.
post #3 of 10
There is no boxee dvr.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thugnerd View Post

There is no boxee dvr.

Not yet... but they have officially stated that they are working on adding DVR functionality to their live TV dongle. No idea when though, and it will probably only work as one tuner.
post #5 of 10
Just a few notes on the Roku...

While there is no qwerty keyboard, there is an app that you can download to your phone and/or tablet and I've found controlling the Roku that way to be a breeze including being able to use the keyboard.

As for playing network stored videos, just install Plex on to you PC, works great and very simple and easy to use.
post #6 of 10
tvix has a media player and dvr dual tuner box.
its talked about in the HDTV Recorders section.

found the link
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1195962
post #7 of 10
According to my searching on Google, the $150 simple.tv product will be shipping in June. Might be worth waiting for that.

Frankly, all the DVR products that I have seen to date have a major drawback in one way or another...
TiVO - gets rave reviews (including from my sister) about the ease of use, the dual tuner, and all the jazz. In my sister's case she didn't pay the upfront cost and doesn't pay for the monthly fee because her cable provider uses TiVO as its set-top box. So she doesnt own the TiVO Premier she has, just rents it from the cable company. As a non-cable subscriber, TiVO is going to cost me the upfront and the monthly cost (or the lifetime cost if I so choose). I'm just not too keen on the idea of a monthly tv cost, or in the case of a lifetime purchase the knowledge that if a newer improved TiVO unit comes out I cant just transfer the lifetime coverage to that new unit.

Any RealTek 1283 product, like the TVIX product mentioned earlier: This is the one chipset in these custom (mostly Chinese-made) media players that support DVR/PVR functions. Unfortunately, most of the units DVB-T. Those I have found to support ATSC run into some drawback somewhere. The TVIX product, for example is $500!!! Ridiculous. Moreover, the RTD1283 chipset is just outdated, no support for 3D content or other high-end features that users on this forum like. I generally find that the companies make newer models with the RTD1055/RTD1185/RTD1186 and forget to continue support the RTD1283 products. What good is a product with no support? Last firmware update on the TVIX was September 30, 2011, over 7 months old. Before that they were sticking to a very 2-3 month schedule. Not a good sign.

ChannelMaster TV: It is $400...lol. It relies on the programming information that is sent with the ATSC channel over the air, which generally can be spotty at best and offers only 2 days worth of information. Use of an EPG is $10/month. Engadget's review is pretty bad too, especially when I think of the ease of use with TiVO.

Monsoon Vulkano products: I have the version 1 of the vulkano. Version 2 is no different than Version 1 with regards to quality, it just locks down certain aspects (like the USB and SATA port) and makes the Android app cost money, but does add a couple nice features (unrelated to DVR). (future version 3 is just version 2 in a new smaller form factor). Specific models of these vulkano products are more than just a DVR, they act to stream HDTV over the net, like slingbox. Quality is not bad (although it is DVD 720x480, stretched to HD). I have never tested the DVR capabilities, but I would guess the quality of the recording is going to be sub par, but I don't know for sure. The problem with the Vulkano is that since the introduction of the version 2 line of products (Flow/Lava/etc.) the USB port has been locked down, as has the SATA port - they realized that they were losing out on potential money with users buying the old version 1 Platinum (which I have) which allows people to connect external drives. So your choices are to buy the Flow, which is a pure streamer with no HDMI port, the Lava which is a streamer with HDMI port, or the Blast which is a streamer with HDMI and DVR function with a paltry built-in 160GB HD for the high price of $250. My old platinum cost $100 and lets me hook up any SATA or USB device. Corporate greed, on Monsoon's part, at its worst.

Building a Home Theater PC (HTPC): this has all the upside (complete choice of software to run, no restrictions, your choice of hardware), but the huge downside of price, not to mention energy-wasting. Those DVR boxes are small, much much cheaper than any HTPC you could build (even on the cheap), and definitely use much less energy, especially if you plan on recording series (thus requiring the computer to sit powered-on with scheduling requests).

And that leaves the Simple.tv product which is supposed to come out in June. Looks like it could be a winner just based on reviews from CES and the sort.
post #8 of 10
Liberals are only concerned with energy consumption. Get the HTPC.
post #9 of 10
HBO Go should be a con under all the devices, you'll need an active HBO account and will need cable or satellite for that.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by etrin View Post

well Tivo Premier is fail in my opinion. I have 2 friends that hate it.
Not the unit they think its great but the high monthly fees and the warranty/contract that they finally purchased to avoid the monthly price is only good on the ORIGINAL unit.

The way I understand it (someone correct me) if that unit dies you are back to square 1 with a monthly fee until you buy out the new one.

That's why you get the box with lifetime, because it pays for itself with resale value when you want to upgrade to the latest - you can generally get the full cost of what you paid for lifetime back on fleabay/craigslist. IMO if you're paying $15 or more monthly for Tivo service, you're wasting money.

Premieres have been as cheap as $50 recently, hell they were that price shipped for a refurb on woot yesterday.

Fixing the box is very easy, because 90%+ of the time it's either the hard drive or the power supply. And Tivo will often let you have another refurb for $150 with transfer of lifetime service in any case.
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