TiVo pros and cons vs. WMC HTPC - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 07:57 AM
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Ah, OK that makes sense. Too bad Tivo doesn't do better local media playback. Why can we not get one box that does it all? Every device has at least one shortcoming.
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post #32 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
I got in on the current $250 lifetime membership deal with a $50 Roamio cablecard refurb (looked brand new to me). I've never used a TiVo, only DirecTV and Comcast before WMC.

I was getting the occasional blank screen when turning on the TV to WMC which required workarounds that I could never automate into the remote. Sometimes when turning on to live TV and hitting Guide was crashing WMC, but it would automatically restart. The guide in WMC would sometimes decide to not update. I started with a Ceton 4 tuner PCIe and would get an error about not authorized or something when going to a channel, but going to a new one and back made it work. I don't recall that happening when a switched to a HDHR Prime a few months ago, but then I was downgraded from 4 to 3 tuners. There was probably never a month that went by during the years with WMC where there wasn't a glitch one way or another.

So far the TiVo just works all the time every time. It also supports streaming of Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix, Xfinity On-Demand, and others. When you add a series with TiVo Onepass it can include the streaming services as well. Add Spongebob and you'll instantly have many seasons available since those are on those services. New episodes will be recorded to further populate what isn't available from streaming. It seems like an upgrade to the Roku in that it not only searches all services, it builds the season and episode lists and merges it with recorded TV.

For extenders you can ditch all the 360s and Echos and use the $100 TiVo Minis.

I'm not sure I would have switched at the non-sale price of all this stuff, but the ~half off sale I feel it was worth it. What also pushed me over was hearing about the current state of the Silicone Dust DVR. It isn't shaping up to what I imagined. To seal the deal I upgraded my HTPC to Win10 and made the green button boot to PlexHT. No turning back (except I have a bare metal backup of the WMC setup).
Appreciate the input. I bought a HDHR Prime and a Chromebox in antipation of a homebrew solution. But wondering if a lifetime Tivo wouldn't make more sense. I like the idea of Chromebox as I thought it'd help connect Live TV, with DVR, with Netflix, with HBOGo. But it sounds like it doesn't really work that way . . .
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post #33 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by tai4de2 View Post
The MCE remotes were outstanding. The 'snowball' ones I used until last month were shaped similarly to tivo's, and had outstanding, intuitive button layout and response. I might agree that the ultimate final preference could be a matter of personal taste, but the MCE remotes were definitely not clunky or poorly thought out.
I'll have to take your word on that. No matter to me, as the decision was made when I discovered that in order to use MCE I had to go out and buy special Microsoft-blessed hardware, rather than keep my brand-new and perfectly good cards and remotes. And at that time, the remotes were the same ones that came with the non-crippleware Hauppauge tuner cards. It is a highly subjective matter though.


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This is another area where WMC excelled (remember this thread is specifically about WMC and not other DVRs). The Tivo and WMC functionality are actually very similar in this regard.
Since TiVo holds patents on this technology, and AFAIK they have not licensed it to Microsoft, once more it's really a subjective issue of what you think is close enough. Clearly the closest possible is the real McCoy...or TiVo as the case may be.

One final point: This is not a "Windows MCE" thread. Please re-read the title: "TiVo pros and cons vs. WMC HTPC"

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post #34 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 10:43 AM
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Do you have to put in a cable card for the Tivo to work? In other words, can these units pick up the unencrypted channels on their own?
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post #35 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Hendrix View Post
Do you have to put in a cable card for the Tivo to work? In other words, can these units pick up the unencrypted channels on their own?
Cable Card
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post #36 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Speed Daemon View Post
... the decision was made when I discovered that in order to use MCE I had to go out and buy special Microsoft-blessed hardware, rather than keep my brand-new and perfectly good cards and remotes.
I never used a Microsoft or even an MCE remote with any of my MCE related hardware. The same universals I'd been using for the past 15 years worked just fine, as they do with all my devices. I use the exact same universal remotes with my Tivo as well. All I did was add the new codes and a few new icons. My PC IR dongles have used Ortek, NEC1 and bizarre home grown Chinese protocols, all of which controlled WMC just fine, none of which have any affiliation to Microsoft.

If you happened to have other hardware incompatible with WMC, well, that's the way it goes in the software business. Not every device can be compatible with every program for all time. They supported all the major players at least.

In any case, everybody who makes DVRs probably has to license something from Tivo. That fact alone doesn't make WMC, DirecTV, Dish, Pace, Motorola, Cisco, Scientific Atlanta, etc. necessarily inferior. DirecTV and Dish DVRs have a number of features that I would consider superior to Tivo's implementation. If Microsoft has not licensed the relevant technology from Tivo, I'm sure they would have landed in court by now like everybody else Tivo has sued.
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post #37 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 12:47 PM
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I have posted this before, but Microsoft actually sued Tivo at one time:
"The suit targets such TV-related technologies as the program guide, schedule grid, remote control interfaces, and program delivery"
http://windowsitpro.com/windows/micr...-united-states
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post #38 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post
If you happened to have other hardware incompatible with WMC, well, that's the way it goes in the software business. Not every device can be compatible with every program for all time. They supported all the major players at least.
While I do not begrudge your fatalistic attitude towards vendor lock-in schemes, I do not subscribe to it either. Back when the deal was that we had to buy another, separate Windows distribution (forfeiting the Windows that came with the computer) and risk non-MCE branded hardware not working, that was a risk that I wasn't willing to take. I think my informed decision is every bit as valid as yours.


Quote:
In any case, everybody who makes DVRs probably has to license something from Tivo. That fact alone doesn't make WMC, DirecTV, Dish, Pace, Motorola, Cisco, Scientific Atlanta, etc. necessarily inferior. DirecTV and Dish DVRs have a number of features that I would consider superior to Tivo's implementation. If Microsoft has not licensed the relevant technology from Tivo, I'm sure they would have landed in court by now like everybody else Tivo has sued.
You seem to be implying that because "everybody licenses from TiVo" (a claim that I don't see supported, and don't blindly accept), that a TiVo DVR is nothing special. Well I disagree with that. In fact I know it's not true because I have significant experience that tells me otherwise.

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post #39 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 02:56 PM
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I've never heard of MCE branded hardware needed to work with WMC. The only thing close to that is a WMC remote, but even that can be worked as an alternative with keyboard shortcuts. You can even use EventGhost and map the commands to any remote you have access to.

WinXP had a special Media Center edition. Since then it was included in Vista and 7 and as an add-on to 8 and 8.1 pro.

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post #40 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Daemon View Post
You seem to be implying that because "everybody licenses from TiVo" (a claim that I don't see supported, and don't blindly accept), that a TiVo DVR is nothing special. Well I disagree with that. In fact I know it's not true because I have significant experience that tells me otherwise.
I'm not implying that. Tivo is special since they created the patents and have been at this a very long time. I'm just saying copy cats aren't necessarily inferior. Samsung is a copy cat of Apple, yet is superior in some ways. You're the one implying that every other DVR is inferior to Tivo. I disagree with that. But I honestly don't really care who was first or who is best at this point. All I care about is that the DVR I have right now does what I need at a price I'm willing to pay.

I still don't understand your compatibility issues. Microsoft didn't make any of my tuners or remotes, and they all worked fine. If I want to use a Samsung remote or run Mac OS on my Tivo, That's not going to work either. In spite having to use all Tivo hardware and software with my Tivo DVR, I don't feel locked into anything.

I don't know why I'm even engaged in this exchange. I have Tivo and like it very much. But I know from experience as well that other solutions are better in some respects.
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post #41 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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How about backing up/archiving from TiVo to a server? Anyone doing that?
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post #42 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 05:14 PM
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Don't want the hassle of running a PC just to watch TV and don't want to have to hassle with Windows.
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post #43 of 201 Old 08-28-2015, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkimbro View Post
How about backing up/archiving from TiVo to a server? Anyone doing that?
AFAIK there's no such thing as a TiVo service, so backing up to "a server" is a non sequitur. But I do use TiVo Desktop to back up TiVo recordings manually, and my Netgear ReadyNAS NAS appliances do automatic backups of TiVo recordings. Both methods get the files via the HTTP services running on my TiVo boxes, so that makes then the clients in the client/server model.

I can (and sometimes do) extract the MPEG-2 program streams out of the proprietary .TiVo files, and serve them up as .mpg files, DLNA streams etc.

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post #44 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dfkimbro View Post
How about backing up/archiving from TiVo to a server? Anyone doing that?
Tons of folks, using great user-developed apps like kmttg and pyTivo. kmttg in particular lets you automate all of your copying, commercial stripping etc. And now with the Plex client available on Tivo you can run Plex to serve up all of your media everywhere (including all your non-CP'd recordings). The main suckage with Plex on Tivo right now is that it's limited to 720p for media you serve to it, but Plex clients on other devices get the full transcode res from your recordings.

There's a Plex server plugin called TivoToGo that enables sharing of Tivo recordings to clients, btw.

In the past it was easy to argue that Tivo was too expensive and limited vs. WMC, but that is no longer the case (as of now). You couldn't put together a WMC server with a couple of extenders for less than $500, and that's what the entry cost for a Tivo and two Minis is now. Same for the limitations argument, Tivo has come a long ways towards a better whole-home/whole-media experience EXCEPT for the few that must have full bitrate streaming for everything. And Tivo's support of the most popular net streaming apps is much better than WMC.

Last edited by slowbiscuit; 08-29-2015 at 09:50 AM.
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post #45 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 09:57 AM
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First: Great thread. I appreciate all the input on this subject that I've read.

Here's my list of gear:
HTPC - AverMedia Duet (OTA), Hauppauge 2250 (OTA and cable)
Blu-ray - discs and Netflix
AVR - music streaming
WHS 2011 - Archived WMC recordings, Emby server for streaming to HTPC and Android tablets, music and ripped media storage

My situation: I'm trying really hard to cut the cord. I have a back-woods cable provider through which I've maintained their lowest tier of service (basically analog with unencrypted digital network channels). It's cheap...$20/month. Only in the last couple of years have they even offered digital cable, but the price is way more than I would ever pay, given the amount of programming I watch. So, no cablecards to deal with in my case.

I had been getting by with WMC for a few years (transitioning from Sony DHG DVR, which I LOVED, while it lasted). However, I'm one of the unlucky ones with a disappearing Duet tuner. It's been happening with greater frequency lately, which lowers WAF. This, coupled with the guide issues, has begun to sour me.

The OTA Roamio is attractive. If I shut off the cable, the thought would be to supplement with a Watch ESPN subscription...live sports would be the one thing I'd really miss from cable. I have a Roku sitting in the closet that I could use for that, or maybe continue to use the HTPC for that?

I figure that the Roamio would also consolidate the streaming services, to a degree (Netflix), and maybe I'd add Hulu or Amazon Prime to supplement.

What I'm unclear on: Will the TiVo let me side-load recorded shows to Android devices? Use TiVo Desktop to transfer to my server and stream through Emby client? As long as I can find a way to archive and stream to the Android tablets (and maybe a NUC), I think I can make everyone in the family happy.
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post #46 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 10:02 AM
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slowbiscuit: Saw your post after I was typing mine. I gave up on Plex a while back, and focused on MediaBrowser->Emby. Would I have to go back to Plex to handle Android devices?
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post #47 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 10:04 AM
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Much better to use kmttg with Tivo to transfer recordings to Android, if that's all you want to do, because you can setup whatever transcoding profiles you want, strip commercials etc. You can use any server you want on the PC to enable streaming to those clients.
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post #48 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
Tons of folks, using great user-developed apps like kmttg and pyTivo. kmttg in particular lets you automate all of your copying, commercial stripping etc. And now with the Plex client available on Tivo you can run Plex to serve up all of your media everywhere (including all your non-CP'd recordings). The main suckage with Plex on Tivo right now is that it's limited to 720p for media you serve to it, but Plex clients on other devices get the full transcode res from your recordings.

There's a Plex server plugin called TivoToGo that enables sharing of Tivo recordings to clients, btw.

In the past it was easy to argue that Tivo was too expensive and limited vs. WMC, but that is no longer the case (as of now). You couldn't put together a WMC server with a couple of extenders for less than $500, and that's what the entry cost for a Tivo and two Minis is now. Same for the limitations argument, Tivo has come a long ways towards a better whole-home/whole-media experience EXCEPT for the few that must have full bitrate streaming for everything. And Tivo's support of the most popular net streaming apps is much better than WMC.
Just installed TiVo To Go on Plex. Thanks. Now to make sure I'm not on my TiVo in the Plex app watching the TiVo To Go shows from my TiVo.

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post #49 of 201 Old 08-29-2015, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
Just installed TiVo To Go on Plex. Thanks. Now to make sure I'm not on my TiVo in the Plex app watching the TiVo To Go shows from my TiVo.
I think that could create an eddy in the space-time continuum, and either Captain Picard or Arthur Dent will materialize in your living room.
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post #50 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Hendrix View Post
Do you have to put in a cable card for the Tivo to work? In other words, can these units pick up the unencrypted channels on their own?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post
Cable Card
I'm pretty sure a Tivo will pick up clear QAM channels without the need for a cablecard.

If you saw my post earlier in this thread then you already know I'm a long time Tivo convert. I used them starting with the original Phillips HDR-112 model. I also used the ReplayTV DVR, which was actually a superior DVR, IMHO. Unfortunately, they ended up in a lot of legal hot water and went out of business. The irony is that some of the features that got them in trouble are now implemented in today's Tivos, but with the proper safeguards in place to make them legal.

For me, a WMC PC is the perfect all-in-one box solution. I basically just record and watch TV and stream content from my server. I don't use any online streaming services and I don't play physical optical discs of any format. Everything gets ripped to my server. I don't use extenders for my extra TVs. Instead, I use standalone Intel NUCs. Nobody else in the family watches or records the same shows I do. In fact nobody else records shows but me. My son will be moving out in a couple of months so it will just be the wife and me. I'm on FIOS so I don't have issues with flagged channels, although I'll admit I haven't tried watching a Fox TV show on another PC yet. Since most channels aren't flagged, I can simply add the Recorded TV folder from my primary HTPC to the Recorded TV Media Libraries on each of the NUCs to share recordings. The NUCs all share tuners from a HDHR Prime and several Dual/Connects. The primary HTPC uses a Ceton InfiniTV 6 and the Dual/Connects. I'm already fully invested in my current setup and perfectly happy with the way everything just plain works. The NUCs are awesome and will play anything I throw at them. Tivo can't play streamed content from a server, but I believe you can upload content to the Tivo for playback. That's just too much extra work considering all I have to do is open Kodi on any HTPC and select a movie or video and it starts playback immediately.

If having a sophisticated search engine is a top priority or you want access to streaming services then Tivo is the way to go. It has by far the most mature and feature laden search feature of any DVR software out there. Personally, I already know what shows I want to watch so I only use the WMC search feature to find it in the guide if I'm too lazy to scroll through it and find it manually. FYI, the service fee you pay to Tivo isn't just for guide data. It also unlocks the Tivo features that allow you to record. Without the Tivo service I believe you can watch live TV, but you can't record anything. You can actually download guide data without their service, or at least you used to be able to. One thing that always bugged me about Tivos is that they can download updates and reboot at any time. You have zero control over this whereas you can pick and choose what updates you want in WMC and when to install them and reboot. You can be in the middle of watching a show and all of a sudden your Tivo decides it needs to reboot. I don't know about the current models, but my series 3 Tivos could take up to 5 minutes to boot up. They have woefully underpowered CPUs and have very little memory.

There was mention of a Tivo forum that used to reside here. It split out about 15 years ago, IIRC, and became the Tivo Community Forum. It has since been sold off and is no longer affiliated with AVS.
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post #51 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Tivo can't play streamed content from a server, but I believe you can upload content to the Tivo for playback. That's just too much extra work considering all I have to do is open Kodi on any HTPC and select a movie or video and it starts playback immediately.
Plex is on Tivo for that.

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post #52 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post
Plex is on Tivo for that.
You're right. I knew they had added Plex but it didn't register for some reason. Nice to know they're filling in the missing pieces. I will say one thing about Tivo, they're always looking for ways to improve the product and stay competitive. Problem is, in order to get the newest features you usually have to invest in all new hardware. Plex is an exception because it's just software.
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post #53 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 02:03 PM
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Question Clear QAM Without a Cablecard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
I'm pretty sure a Tivo will pick up clear QAM channels without the need for a cablecard...
.
...The NUCs all share tuners from a HDHR Prime and several Dual/Connects...
.
Would you happen to know if a HDHR Prime will pick up clear QAM channels without a cablecard? I have two HDHR DUALs and picked up a PRIME on sale to replace my FiOS 7100 HD STD to Hauppauge PVR-1212 to Windows 7 laptop but due to severe health problems haven't been able to drive over to the local Verizon store to pick up a cablecard. I was wondering if I could test the PRIME without a cablecard.

Regarding FiOS and cablecards, somewhere in my 6+ hours of Roamio and WMC Guide Data research yesterday I read of someone getting the wrong cablecard for his TiVo. Unfortunately, I forgot to print it out - he gave two different model numbers, both Motorola IIRC. It's my impression that all cablecards are now multistream and the FiOS cablecard I get for my PRIME will work just fine in a Roamio if I decide to buy one (after I unpair / pair it of course).

Thanks!

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post #54 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 03:27 PM
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^^^
Qualified Yes on all accounts.

It is within the realm of possibility that you could end up with a non M (multi-stream) card (Motorola M cards are red and say "M-CARD" in big letters), but it's extremely unlikely. If it does happen, just exchange it. Safest bet would be to just go pick one up yourself from Verizon and a tuning adapter, if FIOS requires them.
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post #55 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 08:51 PM
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You don't need cable card to pick up clear qam on TiVo, however, you need it if you want the channel mappings to be correct for the guide to be correct

The thing is, it just has to be a cable card, it doesn't need to be activated. So if you find a cable card from eBay that's the same type (Motorola/arris versus scientific Atlanta/Cisco) and insert it, that will be enough to decode the channel to frequency mapping table.
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post #56 of 201 Old 08-30-2015, 09:29 PM
 
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Quote:
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Safest bet would be to just go pick one up yourself from Verizon and a tuning adapter, if FIOS requires them.
FiOS does not require a tuning adapter. It is one of the nice features of FiOS.
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post #57 of 201 Old 08-31-2015, 07:47 AM
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After reading through this thread I just want to make a couple of points. The tivo that's on sale right now for $300 will do OTA or Cable, but not both at the same time. Also, with the Roamio models, replacing the hard drive doesn't require an image. For some, getting the tivo open would probably be the hardest part about replacing a bad drive (and it's not really difficult).

Another plus about Tivo are the updates, they're automatic and rarely do anything bad. When it does go wrong, it doesn't kill the dvr and they're fairly quick at fixing significant problems. Despite those who are never happy, I think they've done well in keeping their machines up to date and adding features that were not expected- hoped for, yes, but not expected. If they ever do add HBOGo and Showtime Anytime, I'll be selling my Rokus. Where Plex is concerned, the Tivo app is the newest version of the service and I don't like it, but I figure it's a work in progress. I still use the old app on my Roku. I know that will change in the future.

BTW, for those penny pinchers the Priemere 4 and Premiere XL4/Elite might just be the best buy if you don't need 6 tuners and/or OTA. These units can be picked up on Ebay with Lifetime service for a decent and often lower price. The XL4 has a bigger hard drive than the basic Roamio and both the 4 and XL4 have moca bridge capabilities- unlike the basic and OTA Roamios.

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Last edited by sheshechic; 08-31-2015 at 07:52 AM.
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post #58 of 201 Old 08-31-2015, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htpcforever View Post
FiOS does not require a tuning adapter. It is one of the nice features of FiOS.
I'm with Charter and I don't need one either, which is not true for most of Charter... yet.

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post #59 of 201 Old 08-31-2015, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheshechic View Post
After reading through this thread I just want to make a couple of points. The tivo that's on sale right now for $300 will do OTA or Cable, but not both at the same time. Also, with the Roamio models, replacing the hard drive doesn't require an image. For some, getting the tivo open would probably be the hardest part about replacing a bad drive (and it's not really difficult).

Another plus about Tivo are the updates, they're automatic and rarely do anything bad. When it does go wrong, it doesn't kill the dvr and they're fairly quick at fixing significant problems. Despite those who are never happy, I think they've done well in keeping their machines up to date and adding features that were not expected- hoped for, yes, but not expected. If they ever do add HBOGo and Showtime Anytime, I'll be selling my Rokus. Where Plex is concerned, the Tivo app is the newest version of the service and I don't like it, but I figure it's a work in progress. I still use the old app on my Roku. I know that will change in the future.

BTW, for those penny pinchers the Priemere 4 and Premiere XL4/Elite might just be the best buy if you don't need 6 tuners and/or OTA. These units can be picked up on Ebay with Lifetime service for a decent and often lower price. The XL4 has a bigger hard drive than the basic Roamio and both the 4 and XL4 have moca bridge capabilities- unlike the basic and OTA Roamios.
Is that sale still on? I went to my link this morning and nothing seems to work. I was hoping to order the basic Roamio and the half price lifetime sub. Should have done it Friday . . .
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post #60 of 201 Old 08-31-2015, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post
Is that sale still on? I went to my link this morning and nothing seems to work. I was hoping to order the basic Roamio and the half price lifetime sub. Should have done it Friday . . .
Still works for me. Rumor has it sale runs through late Sept. Minis are cheaper on Amazon.
https://www.tivo.com/shop/promo/supersavings
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