Originally Posted by Joe Hendrix
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?
Originally Posted by jdcrox
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.