Originally Posted by sheshechic
I knew it! No TIVO.
I have 4 TVs so I'm not so sure that an HTPC setup can make me happy. If I'm wrong then point me in the right direction. Also, my TIVOs are lifetime AND stupid Charter requires an adapter for cable cards. To make matters even worse, some of my favorite channels aren't even digital and only about 54 channels are in HD. Charter isn't going to upgrade us anytime soon- probably never will.
That stinks. Charter recently went to 100 HD channels in my area and claims to do so in most markets by the end of the year. Hopefully your market will be one of them. If not, both satellite services are excellent and quite cheap the first 2 years at least. Ironically, Charter in my area has more HD than either satellite service I used to have, has better picture quality and is cheaper.
4 TV's isn't a problem with HTPC, but will require a big investment up front (2 quad tuner Ceton InfiniTV's at $200 a pop, plus 3 or 4 extenders at $100-$180 each depending on what you get, plus wired ethernet in all rooms or Moca over coax and possibly a new PC if you don't have one already). HTPC with cable was very limited and klunky not long ago, and I wouldn't touch it either. But now it works beautifully and can be made seamless to the end user, i.e., the user can't tell a PC is running the show. You use regular IR remotes, and the response and interface is very good. It's also fairly efficient since you can set your PC to sleep when not in use. It will automatically wake for all recording and viewing sessions. I thought HTPC would be a pain as well, but it turned out to be quite easy and reliable once I got everything set up properly. You could cut back on the tuners depending on how many simultaneous live viewers and recordings you expect. I use a single 4-tuner Ceton for my 6 clients since only 2 or 3 are ever watching simultaneously (3 TV's with extenders and 3 computers in my case).
That said, it's a shame to let that lifetime Tivo go to waste. The adapters are free and give you every channel. I'd try to go that route first. You have to use adapters if you go the PC route as well. As Sammy2 said, if cable companies don't use the adapters, there's no way they'd have enough bandwidth for all the HD they carry in most areas today. In case you don't know how they work, all they do is ask that the channel you just tuned gets put in the stream to your neighborhood. Your Tivo handles 100% of the video. So you're not losing anything but a little space and gaining a lot of channels and picture quality. So the adapter is a good thing.