Originally Posted by SJesMe
Glad I'm not the only one that sees the HTPC as costly and complex. For me it involves much more than a $2 cable card.
I suppose I would be more open to it if I had a tech-savvy friend and a newer computer/OS. I wonder also if this HTPC shouldn't be dedicated? I imagine the wiring would be a nightmare ... ?
Thanks TahoeJoe for your input.
I understand where you're coming from. I avoided HTPC for years. When I ultimately had no other choice, I found to my surprise, that it was far simpler and cheaper than any other alternative. Wiring is dirt simple. Connect incoming coax to PC. That's it (assuming you use extenders for your interface). No RCA cables or coax split among TV, cable box and DVD recorder, no figuring out all the correct inputs, powering up multiple devices or setting manual timers on 2 devices. Just highlight the program you want record in the guide and press the record button.
FWIW, my HPTC was a $25 piece of junk from goodwill. I added a $100 tuner, $20 worth of RAM, $80 hard drive, $15 video card and $15 remote, all of which ended up being much less than a Tivo lifetime and about the same as a good DVD recorder. Even if the hardware cost is much higher, it's paid for by savings in a matter of months. Granted, you need Win 7, which usually isn't hard to find. But the computer skills required are minimal. The hardest part is dealing with the cable company when trying to authorize your cable card. The rest of it is a cakewalk.
Will a DVD recorder work? Sure. But it's expensive and complicated to set up as well and far more limited and complicated to use since you have one tuner, no guide and no HD. As I said before, I used one for years. But when TVGOS went away, it became too big of a hassle, so I started renting my provider's DVR. That worked great for a few years, but prices slowly crept up until that was no longer an option. The only options left were Tivo or HTPC. Tivo was very expensive and couldn't do whole home at that time, so that was off the table. I reluctantly tried HTPC and haven't regretted it for a moment. It's easy to use, cheap and the interface is beautiful. It isn't perfect. I would still prefer a standalone DVR. But it really is the best option right now in terms of cost, ease of use and flexibility.
I know I can't convince you, SJesMe, but maybe someone else on the fence might consider it.