TiVo pros and cons vs. WMC HTPC - Page 6 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #151 of 201 Old 09-22-2015, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post
Many people have a second box to stream local files fine. Android TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox.
And don't forget that you can use some of those devices for local files and Tivo. For example, I sideloaded the Tivo app onto the FireTV.....so I can use that one box for local files, streaming services, and cable (Tivo).
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post #152 of 201 Old 09-22-2015, 06:22 PM
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Many people have a second box to stream local files fine. Android TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox.
Yes, we all do, but having everything on 1 box is the holy grail. Big reason I got into HTPC's in the first place.
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post #153 of 201 Old 09-22-2015, 06:23 PM
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Yes, we all do, but having everything on 1 box is the holy grail. Big reason I got into HTPC's in the first place.
Agree 100%.
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post #154 of 201 Old 09-22-2015, 08:46 PM
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Yes, we all do, but having everything on 1 box is the holy grail. Big reason I got into HTPC's in the first place.

Nice dream but will NEVER happen. Sorry.
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post #155 of 201 Old 09-23-2015, 12:39 PM
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Yes, we all do, but having everything on 1 box is the holy grail. Big reason I got into HTPC's in the first place.
Jack of all trades, master of none.

(I honestly fail to understand why having it all on one box is so necessary...)
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post #156 of 201 Old 09-23-2015, 12:46 PM
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(I honestly fail to understand why having it all on one box is so necessary...)
When you have a wife, young kids, a mother-in-law, and 8 TVs around the house it makes more sense.
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post #157 of 201 Old 09-23-2015, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post
When you have a wife, young kids, a mother-in-law, and 8 TVs around the house it makes more sense.
Understood. But if you get universal remotes, it doesn't matter how many sources you have. From the user's perspective, it's a single device. Plus there is a common interface for all 8 of those TVs. And it doesn't have to be expensive. A $3 JP1 remote at each location will do the job just fine. And if the young kids destroy a remote, no big deal.

With a universal, it's actually quicker and easier to fire up and control Netflix on a Roku than to dig for it in WMC (after you use the hack to reinstall it of course). Same goes for most other streaming apps. And non-WMC versions of Netflix have profiles so you can give all those users their own custom lists.
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post #158 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 04:09 AM
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Understood. But if you get universal remotes, it doesn't matter how many sources you have. From the user's perspective, it's a single device. Plus there is a common interface for all 8 of those TVs. And it doesn't have to be expensive. A $3 JP1 remote at each location will do the job just fine. And if the young kids destroy a remote, no big deal.

With a universal, it's actually quicker and easier to fire up and control Netflix on a Roku than to dig for it in WMC (after you use the hack to reinstall it of course). Same goes for most other streaming apps. And non-WMC versions of Netflix have profiles so you can give all those users their own custom lists.
In theory that's great, but in reality there's occasional (or often depending on the TV/receiver) HDMI handshake issues, WMC resolution issues, TVs without discrete inputs making macros tough, etc... If it was just me it would be a non-issue, but one of these things always seems to crop up when the mother-in-law is babysitting and just trying to watch some TV.

Once the Bolt is released my goal will be a TiVo/TiVo Mini setup and maybe a couple streaming devices. I will also likely keep my HTPC in my main theater room.
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post #159 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Boulanger View Post
In theory that's great, but in reality there's occasional (or often depending on the TV/receiver) HDMI handshake issues, WMC resolution issues, TVs without discrete inputs making macros tough, etc... If it was just me it would be a non-issue, but one of these things always seems to crop up when the mother-in-law is babysitting and just trying to watch some TV.

Once the Bolt is released my goal will be a TiVo/TiVo Mini setup and maybe a couple streaming devices. I will also likely keep my HTPC in my main theater room.

The HDMI handshake and WMC resolution issues would probably go away if you ditched the HTPC. I haven't had a handshake issue since moving to the Tivo.

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post #160 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 06:09 AM
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Nice dream but will NEVER happen. Sorry.
Hate to burst your bubble, but it's already happened. For me, I just want a box that lets me record and watch TV while having the ability to play videos and movies streamed from my server. A HTPC is the perfect one box solution for me. I've got a server with more videos and movies than I will ever have time to watch and four HTPCs that have the ability to watch live TV and share recordings made on the primary HTPC. They can also record locally, but nobody else in the house records shows but me. I don't stream from any services like Netflix or Hulu. Then again, you don't need a separate box for them because most Smart TVs have streaming functions built in these days.

I will concede that there will never be a one box solution for all possible functions since many of them are fixed platforms and aren't integrated into other devices, such as the Xbox or PS4. For basic TV functions, a HTPC works just fine.

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The HDMI handshake and WMC resolution issues would probably go away if you ditched the HTPC. I haven't had a handshake issue since moving to the Tivo.
I haven't had a handshake issue with a HTPC in years. Current hardware all but eliminates this problem. Every once in a while I'll turn on the TV and get a green screen. Changing the input on my pre/pro and back again fixes the problem. Sometimes the WMC window is displayed in a 4:3 format, but all I have to do is exit WMC and restart it to return to a 16:9 format. All of these are minor annoyances at best and remedied quite easily.

One of the things that used to annoy the crap out of me with Tivo is that they took forever to boot. My S3 Tivos took about 5 minutes to completely boot up whereas my HTPC is up and running in WMC in less than 30 seconds. I assume they've sped up the boot times in the latest Roamios, but I honestly don't know. Perhaps someone can shed some light on this that owns one.

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post #161 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
I haven't had a handshake issue with a HTPC in years. Current hardware all but eliminates this problem. Every once in a while I'll turn on the TV and get a green screen. Changing the input on my pre/pro and back again fixes the problem. Sometimes the WMC window is displayed in a 4:3 format, but all I have to do is exit WMC and restart it to return to a 16:9 format. All of these are minor annoyances at best and remedied quite easily.

One of the things that used to annoy the crap out of me with Tivo is that they took forever to boot. My S3 Tivos took about 5 minutes to completely boot up whereas my HTPC is up and running in WMC in less than 30 seconds. I assume they've sped up the boot times in the latest Roamios, but I honestly don't know. Perhaps someone can shed some light on this that owns one.
My HTPC seemed to mostly have handshake issues while I was away on travel or any time I wasn't home to fix it. Not good for the WAF (or family AF).

I guess my TiVo Roamio takes awhile to boot, but I don't turn it off so it doesn't matter. I haven't seen the boot screen since I swapped out the HDD.

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post #162 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 08:16 AM
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The boot times on a Tivo now are not that bad (around 3 mins. IIRC), but really not an issue with UPS'es anyway since they rarely need to be rebooted manually.

The bigger and more annoying issue for a WMC PC is the Xbox extender boot time, noise, and power usage (if you go that route) compared to Tivo Minis that you can leave on all the time because they are low-power and silent. The Linksys WMC extender has other issues too and it's discontinued.

Yeah I know the captain is going to jump in and say don't use extenders, SFF PCs are the way to go but they introduce a full set of other problems for WMC use.
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post #163 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 11:25 AM
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The HDMI handshake and WMC resolution issues would probably go away if you ditched the HTPC. I haven't had a handshake issue since moving to the Tivo.
I agree.


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Hate to burst your bubble, but it's already happened. For me, I just want a box that lets me record and watch TV while having the ability to play videos and movies streamed from my server. A HTPC is the perfect one box solution for me. I've got a server with more videos and movies than I will ever have time to watch and four HTPCs that have the ability to watch live TV and share recordings made on the primary HTPC. They can also record locally, but nobody else in the house records shows but me. I don't stream from any services like Netflix or Hulu. Then again, you don't need a separate box for them because most Smart TVs have streaming functions built in these days.
That's because your requirements are minimal. Most people do use streaming services nowadays, and no one wants to replace every TV in their house with smart TVs.


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I haven't had a handshake issue with a HTPC in years. Current hardware all but eliminates this problem. Every once in a while I'll turn on the TV and get a green screen. Changing the input on my pre/pro and back again fixes the problem. Sometimes the WMC window is displayed in a 4:3 format, but all I have to do is exit WMC and restart it to return to a 16:9 format. All of these are minor annoyances at best and remedied quite easily.
Sounds like you DO have handshake issues! They just don't bother you. I wouldn't mind doing those things myself, but asking my 6 year old or mother-in-law to change inputs on my receiver, or close WMC and re-open, is not realistic. In my theater I close/re-open WMC every time I switch to it but that's with a nice learning remote and a macro I have setup.

I have handshake issues when using a Roku or Fire TV Stick (I tried both) and 2 Insignia TVs (purchased a year apart) with my HTPCs. I tried 3-4 year old HTPC using an Intel mini-ITX board and also a 1 year old NUC and both have the same issue. Basically when switching to the Roku or Fire TV Stick, then going back to the HTPC I will get on-screen static. Sometimes if I hit the Live TV button on my remote the picture will pop up, otherwise I have to turn the TV off and back on. I tried a variety of configurations, HTPC video driver adjustments, HDMI cables, etc. and the problem remains on both TVs, multiple HTPCs, both streaming devices, etc. I installed a Geffen HDMI Booster I had kicking around on 1 of the TVs between it and the HTPC and sure enough it eliminates the issue 98% of the time - it must do something to the HDMI signal coming out of the HTPC enough to make a difference.

I could blame the Insignia TVs, but every other combination of devices I've tried (Xbox 360, WiiU, FireTV Stick, etc.) work fine. With the other shortcomings my HTPCs have around the house I would rather replace them than replace my TVs that I'm otherwise fine with. For all I know a different TV might have the same or similar trouble.


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My HTPC seemed to mostly have handshake issues while I was away on travel or any time I wasn't home to fix it. Not good for the WAF (or family AF).
Same here!!! Always when out on date night with my wife...


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Yeah I know the captain is going to jump in and say don't use extenders, SFF PCs are the way to go but they introduce a full set of other problems for WMC use.
I use small PCs and NUCs and have worked around most limitations. I'm pretty happy with my recorded TV, live TV and ripped movie streaming setup, but anxious to move forward with TiVos instead to improve things a bit more.
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post #164 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 11:37 AM
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When I was using WMC, I alleviated all handshake issues by going extenders at all the TVs and the HTPC itself became headless. Never had an issue with it again.
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post #165 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 12:43 PM
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One thing I'm really enjoying with the TiVo is the OnePass. I like that I can add a series and instantly watch any shows that are available on my streaming services (currently Amazon Prime and Xfinity OnDemand) from the same screen as if they were DVR recordings.

I've also noticed my kids seem to be using the Plex App instead of switching to PlexHT with the remote. It is good enough for them.

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post #166 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post
When I was using WMC, I alleviated all handshake issues by going extenders at all the TVs and the HTPC itself became headless. Never had an issue with it again.
My plan exactly (which is why I bought one of your 360's!). Plus I will get the benefit of all the streaming apps, which I actually prefer to those built into my Roku TV.


If you have a PC connected directly to the TV, another trick that worked for me was to use an HDMI switch in-between it and the TV (but not using it's switching capability). It seems to trick the PC into thinking it is always connected even when you switch inputs on the TV.
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post #167 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
Hate to burst your bubble, but it's already happened. For me, I just want a box that lets me record and watch TV while having the ability to play videos and movies streamed from my server. A HTPC is the perfect one box solution for me. I've got a server with more videos and movies than I will ever have time to watch and four HTPCs that have the ability to watch live TV and share recordings made on the primary HTPC. They can also record locally, but nobody else in the house records shows but me. I don't stream from any services like Netflix or Hulu. Then again, you don't need a separate box for them because most Smart TVs have streaming functions built in these days.

I will concede that there will never be a one box solution for all possible functions since many of them are fixed platforms and aren't integrated into other devices, such as the Xbox or PS4. For basic TV functions, a HTPC works just fine.



I haven't had a handshake issue with a HTPC in years. Current hardware all but eliminates this problem. Every once in a while I'll turn on the TV and get a green screen. Changing the input on my pre/pro and back again fixes the problem. Sometimes the WMC window is displayed in a 4:3 format, but all I have to do is exit WMC and restart it to return to a 16:9 format. All of these are minor annoyances at best and remedied quite easily.

One of the things that used to annoy the crap out of me with Tivo is that they took forever to boot. My S3 Tivos took about 5 minutes to completely boot up whereas my HTPC is up and running in WMC in less than 30 seconds. I assume they've sped up the boot times in the latest Roamios, but I honestly don't know. Perhaps someone can shed some light on this that owns one.

How is four HTPCs a one box solution. How do you listen to the shows? That is at least another box for a processor and/or amp.


Like I said, there is no one box solution unless you are willing to give up something important.


Amount of boxes are not important if you can get a remote working like a Harmony which is what I use.


I have a stack of 10+ components in a different room using a harmony remote and a remote optical mouse. In my living room I have 6 speakers, a lcd TV, a projector and a screen. So going to a one box solution, like I said, is an impossible dream unless you/I am willing to make tremendous sacrifices which I dont.
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post #168 of 201 Old 09-24-2015, 10:07 PM
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How is four HTPCs a one box solution. How do you listen to the shows? That is at least another box for a processor and/or amp.
You clearly do not understand the concept of what a one box solution entails. I have one HTPC as the primary device for recording and playback of broadcast TV as well as streaming movies from my server. The other three HTPCs are all Intel NUCs that are used only for live TV and streaming movies and videos. A one box solution means that you have one box that performs all of the functions for your video requirements. Audio is a completely different aspect of the system and is not included as part of the one box device.

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Amount of boxes are not important if you can get a remote working like a Harmony which is what I use.
I also use a Harmony, but there are numerous universal remotes that will do the job.

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I have a stack of 10+ components in a different room using a harmony remote and a remote optical mouse. In my living room I have 6 speakers, a lcd TV, a projector and a screen. So going to a one box solution, like I said, is an impossible dream unless you/I am willing to make tremendous sacrifices which I dont.
I went from multiple A/V components to a single HTPC and a preamp/processor. I used to have multiple VCRs (VHS, Beta, S-VHS, and D-VHS), Laserdisc player, CD player, DVRs (Tivos and ReplayTVs), satellite receivers, Dolby Pro Logic processor, Dolby Digital Processor, A/V matrix switching unit, audio cassette recorder, audio preamp, D/A converter, and turntable. All of these devices were replaced by the aforementioned units that I now use exclusively. All of the audio and video playback and recording devices as well as the signal receivers were replaced by the HTPC. All of the processing and switching devices were replaced by the preamp/processor. You cannot replace the pre/pro with a HTPC because there are simply no input or switching devices available for a PC that can perform the same functions. The NUCs are true one box units in that they do not require any additional devices for audio playback. That is handled by the TV they are attached to.
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post #169 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
You clearly do not understand the concept of what a one box solution entails. I have one HTPC as the primary device for recording and playback of broadcast TV as well as streaming movies from my server. The other three HTPCs are all Intel NUCs that are used only for live TV and streaming movies and videos. A one box solution means that you have one box that performs all of the functions for your video requirements. Audio is a completely different aspect of the system and is not included as part of the one box device.


I also use a Harmony, but there are numerous universal remotes that will do the job.


I went from multiple A/V components to a single HTPC and a preamp/processor. I used to have multiple VCRs (VHS, Beta, S-VHS, and D-VHS), Laserdisc player, CD player, DVRs (Tivos and ReplayTVs), satellite receivers, Dolby Pro Logic processor, Dolby Digital Processor, A/V matrix switching unit, audio cassette recorder, audio preamp, D/A converter, and turntable. All of these devices were replaced by the aforementioned units that I now use exclusively. All of the audio and video playback and recording devices as well as the signal receivers were replaced by the HTPC. All of the processing and switching devices were replaced by the preamp/processor. You cannot replace the pre/pro with a HTPC because there are simply no input or switching devices available for a PC that can perform the same functions. The NUCs are true one box units in that they do not require any additional devices for audio playback. That is handled by the TV they are attached to.

I am glad your happy with your setup captain video but you obviously have more than one box and are putting asterisks on your other boxes for audio. That is silly. Don't tell me what I understand. To watch video you need audio. Unless you use headphones, you need another box. Please stop patting yourself on the back for something you have not acomplished.
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post #170 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 09:43 AM
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I am glad your happy with your setup captain video but you obviously have more than one box and are putting asterisks on your other boxes for audio. That is silly. Don't tell me what I understand. To watch video you need audio. Unless you use headphones, you need another box. Please stop patting yourself on the back for something you have not acomplished.
No, for a full home theater setup you need a standalone audio system. There is no one box solution for both audio and video, so if that's what you're implying then I'd agree with you. Otherwise, you can use a single box that does everything else and listen through the TV. Tivos aren't even close to being a one box solution, at least not when comparing them to a HTPC.
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post #171 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
No, for a full home theater setup you need a standalone audio system. There is no one box solution for both audio and video, so if that's what you're implying then I'd agree with you. Otherwise, you can use a single box that does everything else and listen through the TV. Tivos aren't even close to being a one box solution, at least not when comparing them to a HTPC.

Back in the days of analog outs on HTPCs, people would use the term one box solution, and would connect amps directly to their pc's. Somewhat clunky, but you could get decent sound.
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post #172 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
No, for a full home theater setup you need a standalone audio system. There is no one box solution for both audio and video, so if that's what you're implying then I'd agree with you. Otherwise, you can use a single box that does everything else and listen through the TV. Tivos aren't even close to being a one box solution, at least not when comparing them to a HTPC.
If you add in streaming, which you drop in your case, then a HTPC isn't a one box solution. TiVo has DVR and streaming with minimal success at local media playback. HTPC has DVR and local media playback with minimal streaming. A HTPC needs to be paired with a streamer or a TiVo needs to be paired a local media playback device. If you mostly rely on extenders then you gain back streaming, but local media playback takes a hit.

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post #173 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 10:19 AM
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Back in the days of analog outs on HTPCs, people would use the term one box solution, and would connect amps directly to their pc's. Somewhat clunky, but you could get decent sound.
And how is that any different than connecting it to an A/V receiver? You will always need an external box for amplification. A receiver just incorporates a preamp, processor, and switching functions into the outboard box along with the power amplifiers. In my case, I have separate monoblock amplifiers located behind each speaker. The preamp/processor handles the audio output from the HTPC and handles all of the audio functions. I guess my point is that for a home theater system, a one box solution not only does not exist, it is simply not feasible or desirable. My idea of a one box solution is to incorporate all video sources in one chassis. My pre/pro only uses a single input from the HTPC and is not being fed from any other source, hence my use of the term one box solution. Everything I watch goes through my HTPC with no additional boxes involved.

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If you add in streaming, which you drop in your case, then a HTPC isn't a one box solution. TiVo has DVR and streaming with minimal success at local media playback. HTPC has DVR and local media playback with minimal streaming. A HTPC needs to be paired with a streamer or a TiVo needs to be paired a local media playback device. If you mostly rely on extenders then you gain back streaming, but local media playback takes a hit.
OK, I'll concede that point. It's impossible to create one box that can handle every conceivable situation, although a HTPC probably comes as close as anything. If you want streaming capability you can either add an outboard box to handle that or get yourself a smart TV that has streaming built in. Well, looky there. Streaming with no additional boxes.
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post #174 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 12:18 PM
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And how is that any different than connecting it to an A/V receiver? You will always need an external box for amplification. A receiver just incorporates a preamp, processor, and switching functions into the outboard box along with the power amplifiers. In my case, I have separate monoblock amplifiers located behind each speaker. The preamp/processor handles the audio output from the HTPC and handles all of the audio functions. I guess my point is that for a home theater system, a one box solution not only does not exist, it is simply not feasible or desirable. My idea of a one box solution is to incorporate all video sources in one chassis. My pre/pro only uses a single input from the HTPC and is not being fed from any other source, hence my use of the term one box solution. Everything I watch goes through my HTPC with no additional boxes involved.



OK, I'll concede that point. It's impossible to create one box that can handle every conceivable situation, although a HTPC probably comes as close as anything. If you want streaming capability you can either add an outboard box to handle that or get yourself a smart TV that has streaming built in. Well, looky there. Streaming with no additional boxes.

There are add on cards for amplification within a PC and you hook your speakers up to your computer. Of course we don't use them because you give up too much quality. If your goal is a one box solution you could go that direction.


Thanks for finally conceding the point.


Now we can move forward and discuss how much better tivos are than a clunky hdhomerun/pc application
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post #175 of 201 Old 09-25-2015, 02:03 PM
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There are add on cards for amplification within a PC and you hook your speakers up to your computer. Of course we don't use them because you give up too much quality. If your goal is a one box solution you could go that direction.
That has never been my goal, although I do strive to minimize the number of boxes in my system. I basically have a two box configuration if you discount the multiple amplifiers around the room. Most of them are hidden in closets or behind walls except for the front and center channels.

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Now we can move forward and discuss how much better tivos are than a clunky hdhomerun/pc application
That's just your opinion so there's nothing more to discuss. If they're what works for you then so be it. Been there and done that and have no reason to go back. Everyone has to find the solution that works best for them. I'm perfectly happy with my HTPCs and see no reason to switch.
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post #176 of 201 Old 09-26-2015, 08:23 AM
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Buy the base Roamio refurbished w/ lifetime service for $300.

Add another $50 for a refurbished Roku for OTT apps not on the Tivo.

Skeptical any HTPC comes close to being as cheap as above.
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post #177 of 201 Old 09-26-2015, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Buy the base Roamio refurbished w/ lifetime service for $300.

Add another $50 for a refurbished Roku for OTT apps not on the Tivo.

Skeptical any HTPC comes close to being as cheap as above.
Noted in another thread that the cablecard refurbs are sold out, so it's $400 for base cablecard Roamio. Roamio OTA with lifetime service is still $300.

Still a good deal.
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post #178 of 201 Old 09-29-2015, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The "deal" page has been replaced with a "coming soon" page https://www.tivo.com/maintenance-page
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post #179 of 201 Old 09-30-2015, 08:48 AM
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The "deal" page has been replaced with a "coming soon" page https://www.tivo.com/maintenance-page
BOLT is official https://www.tivo.com/shop/bolt#/bolt

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post #180 of 201 Old 09-30-2015, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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saw that...thanks
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