No offense to your friend, but he sounds like a real goober. You don't spend all that time and money on something just to say to hell with it. It is only a pos if you want it to be a pos. Oh well, saves him from wasting massive amounts of money at the Rip Off Squad....errr, Geek Squad window at the Nice Try....errr, Best Buy. Maybe he is better off going with a pre-packaged consumer product like the TiVo. Who cares if it costs triple the amount the computer would have cost him in the long run. Just kinda irks me when people give up so easily on something like this. Wait, quick question, how old is he?? LOL I bet he is over 50. Older folks (not meaning that in a derogatory manner) tend to give up way too quickly when it comes to technology and troubles associated with it. I guess when you get older, you just don't wanna screw with stuff that is going to take a little longer to fix. It's easier just to go with pre-made, known working things. For those over 50 who actually work at it to learn it and get it working right, kudos to you! I congratulate you on learning and expanding.
Oh, and to be open, I will admit that I do have two TiVo's in my house.
Both have lifetime...well, one will in a month or so when my 1-year obligation is up and the lifetime fee goes through. I started getting them before I realized how easy CableCard devices for my computer would be. Maybe, at some point a long long time from now after we have gotten our moneys worth from the TiVo's, I will sell what we have and build custom machines for TV. Probably not, though, unless the wife lets me cut the cord on cable completely. I think I might be able to get every thing we want to watch one way or another. It just won't be as convenient. Would still have to have the rip-off that is cable Internet for a lot of it.
Oh, that's another point, I don't know how many folks here use Comcast for their Internet, but it appears they have bumped up our speeds yet again. I am getting a pretty regular 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. Seems kinda nice, but the risk of using "too much data" looms even bigger when you have a pipe that big.