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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read an article in popular science called "Toss out the Tivo" which talked about Vista MCE being a much better option than direcTivo by directv.

I have 2 HDTivo's from directv and i love them but if I can do a lot better with a Vista MCE I would like to know.


Has anyone here gone from directivo to Vista MCE and a HTC?

I think a HTC would be really cool and have tons of options.

My fears are that it would work a lot slower at changing channels and the use of the onscreen guide and remote.

I'm not finding a lot as in a how to get started guide in HTC's. If anyone would be willing to share some links on some good starter articles I would appreciate it.


I'd also like to know opinions of people who went from tivo to HTC in any way and if they are happy with that decision.

I never have to spend time on my tivo and I don't want to have to baby sit the HTC like my pc's with anti-virus, defrag and all that.


I would appreciate any thoughts you guys have on the subject.

Thanks
 

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This is hype. Unless there is a satellite board that you can plug into your PC (hasn't been one for years) you can only record from the satellite in SD one channel at a time. You can by plugin boards that can record from an external antennae.


PCIExpress boards do exist which can record HDMI but that won't work (because of HDCP) and the data rate is too high for that to be a practical solution anyways since its uncmpressed at that point.


The DirectTivo records two channels at one time without having to recompress the data. So its jsut not possible for Vista to compete without DirectTv providing hardware and the chances of that happening are slim and none.
 

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DIRECTV will have a PC card solution for Vista Media Center at a later date. Right now, if you ditch Sat and go with Cable you can purchase a CableCARD-ready PC and record HD just like you would with a TiVo.


Chris
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 /forum/post/0


DIRECTV will have a PC card solution for Vista Media Center at a later date. Right now, if you ditch Sat and go with Cable you can purchase a CableCARD-ready PC and record HD just like you would with a TiVo.


Chris

Just like you would...?


Is it truly as transparent and trouble free as the current DirecTivo solution? I've heard people have problems with Tivo and CableCard lacking support from their cable companies...do these problems also exist with PC/Cablecard and cable recording?


Is season pass recording just as easy? Often when I see phrases "just like you would" "just as easy" and so on...the reality doesn't quite match the promise.


Ozy
 

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Does it give you the option to record only new episodes? Specify padding before or after the time slot? Provide an indication of conflict for recording? Support recording two shows at once while watching a pre-recorded show?


This recent post:

http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9704548-1.html


seems to indicate that it's not quite "just as good" as DirecTivo yet in terms of plug-and-play ready to go functionality. Is the experience described there common, or a rare occurrence as far as you know? The previous post:

http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9703152-1.html


was quite sobering. I'm not trying to be a downer, but it seems a bit premature to indicate that CableCard is a mature, ready-to-go technology by comparing it to DirecTivo.


Personally, I really hope it gets there soon, I want to switch over to FIOS, and maybe FIOS TV, but I'll have to switch to a Series3 Tivo or CableCard PC to maintain my PVR functionality I currently have with DirecTivo.


Ozy
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Does it give you the option to record only new episodes?

Sure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Specify padding before or after the time slot?

Sure does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Provide an indication of conflict for recording?

You bet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Support recording two shows at once while watching a pre-recorded show?

Yep. Actually supports recording two shows via CableCARD's and two shows via ATSC, all at the same time. You can also be watching anything recorded before hand while doing this too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


This recent post:

http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9704548-1.html


seems to indicate that it's not quite "just as good" as DirecTivo yet in terms of plug-and-play ready to go functionality. Is the experience described there common, or a rare occurrence as far as you know? The previous post:

http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9703152-1.html


was quite sobering. I'm not trying to be a downer, but it seems a bit premature to indicate that CableCard is a mature, ready-to-go technology by comparing it to DirecTivo.

All depends on the education level of those working at your local cable co. Sadly, I've had issues with D* coming out to install stuff too. Always hit or miss in my experiences. Last visit was to move the dish after we had some roof work done, MPEG-4 locals worked for about 5 minutes after he left and then the signal wasn't strong enough to hold them. Now I tend to just put up with the Texas heat and just do it myself.


Now, for CableCARDs it really depends on where you live and your provider. I know that TWC in Houston is likely to just let you pick up the CableCARDs and install them yourself. Clearly, other parts of the country and not that lucky.


I'm currently waiting for more details on the DIRECTV's tuner card for Vista. Seems to me that it should be about as plug-n-play as a DTiVo. It should also support MPEG-4 at this point.


Chris
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 /forum/post/0


Yep. Actually supports recording two shows via CableCARD's and two shows via ATSC, all at the same time. You can also be watching anything recorded before hand while doing this too.

Does this depend on the processing power or throughput of the system?

Quote:
I'm currently waiting for more details on the DIRECTV's tuner card for Vista. Seems to me that it should be about as plug-n-play as a DTiVo. It should also support MPEG-4 at this point.


Chris

Is there any hint yet as to when these will be available? If I stick with DirecTV, I will be interested in this functionality. Right now I'm using the older HR10-250, which supports only MPEG-2. I was promised an upgrade once they start shifting the HD to MPEG-4, but so far I've been less than impressed with what I've heard about the DirecTV DVRs.


Ozy
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Does this depend on the processing power or throughput of the system?

Yes. However, at this point and time CableCARD is only available on new PC's. So, you are talking Core 2 Duo and up. You will have the processing power to do it without much issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


Is there any hint yet as to when these will be available? If I stick with DirecTV, I will be interested in this functionality. Right now I'm using the older HR10-250, which supports only MPEG-2. I was promised an upgrade once they start shifting the HD to MPEG-4, but so far I've been less than impressed with what I've heard about the DirecTV DVRs.


Ozy

Sadly nothing from Microsoft yet on the timeframe.
I'm in the waiting game too.


Chris
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 /forum/post/0


Yes. However, at this point and time CableCARD is only available on new PC's. So, you are talking Core 2 Duo and up. You will have the processing power to do it without much issue.


Chris

The last few posts in the Velocity Micro MCE thread are not very encouraging...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...post10532159


When can we expect these sorts of things to no longer be an issue?


Ozy
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Very eye opening guys. Thanks!

I think I will stick with my D*tivos for a while. They do the job. I would like to be able to easily network all my tivos so I could watch any recorded program on any tv hooked to a tivo in my house. That will be up to D* to get that done. Someday maybe..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozy666 /forum/post/0


The last few posts in the Velocity Micro MCE thread are not very encouraging...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...post10532159


When can we expect these sorts of things to no longer be an issue?


Ozy

No idea. Microsoft has always had issues with their DRM on the desktop. For us hopeful D* users we better hope before it's released, because there is about a 99.99% chance that solution will be based around the same content protection.


Chris
 

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In truth, none of the HTPC applications that work come close to TiVo functionality. I have been using two dual-tuner HDVR2's for about three years.


If your DirecTiVo's are of the HR10-250 model that Ozy mentioned, then your over-the-air HDTV is actually coming off the rooftop antenna or cable connection, and the satellite is only providing the program directory information. In that case you can try the little experiment below.


Use an amplified splitter to split the antenna/cable lead to go to both the DirecTiVo and the HTPC. Now use both for a week and program the same recordings for each. Each night make a note of how many minutes you spend with each remote, programming, managing storage space, etc. Also note how many bad and missed recordings you get with each.


At the end of the week examine your notes. Every time I do this I still prefer the DirecTiVo over the HTPC, and I have been a HTPC hobbiest since 1999 and Windows 95. It does not matter what software I use (MCE XP 2005, BeyondTV, MCE Vista, etc.), the HTPC does not even make it to the same class as the DirecTivo in terms of usability and convenience. Note that I already own a couple of HTPCs for other purposes, so I'm not even counting the hours per year of PC housekeeping associated with managing a HTPC.


Basicly when you use DirecTiVo some geeks you never meet are tweeking and managing a Linux PC for you, because that is what the DirecTiVo box is. They charge a monthly fee for this, but I think it's worth it.


I also agree with the assessment that DirecTiVo DVRs are far less impressive than real DirecTiVo's. TiVo will very likely remain more than competitive in this arena, they are sequentially going through the DVR hardware and software vendors (cable, DSS, and HTPC) and sueing them to remove TiVo's patented features. Thus as time passes, TiVo's are getting easier to use and the DVR software is losing ground. Easy to see who is gonna win long term.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Yep. Actually supports recording two shows via CableCARD's and two shows via ATSC, all at the same time. You can also be watching anything recorded before hand while doing this too.

This statement is incorrect and misleading. You can only record from two sources at any given time with a series 3 HD Tivo (or any dual-tuner Tivo for that matter). BTW, it actually contains six tuners (two NTSC, two ATSC, and two QAM) that allow it to record analog or digital programming from an antenna, analog cable, or digital cable/FIOS (QAM).


Although there have been reports of issues with cablecards, most people don't experience such problems and those that have usually get them resolved fairly quickly. As with all new technology there is a learning curve with installers and some growing pains involved. My FIOS installers got my S3 up and running in about 30-40 minutes and it's worked fine ever since it was installed back in February.


Comparing a HDTivo (DirecTV) or a S3 Tivo with an HTPC is really an apples and oranges scenario. Both types of DVRs work well for their intended purpose. The HDTivo is designed to work with DirecTV and OTA digital programming and does a great job at both. The S3 Tivo is meant primarily for digital programming from OTA or digital cable/FIOS with the added flexibility of recording OTA and cable analog signals, although I have no idea why anyone would use it for that purpose. HTPCs are limited to OTA analog and digital programming as well as in-the-clear QAM signals. An HTPC could never take the place of a Tivo in this regard. It just isn't capable of recording encrypted material from any source whereas HDTivos and S3 Tivos can.


I have both a S3 Tivo and a HTPC. I use the HTPC for OTA HD programs and the S3 for everything that the HTPC can't record. It's a perfect balance, IMHO, until such time as a cablecard adapter becomes available for an HTPC. At that point I'd probably switch over to my HTPC exclusively, only because I would no longer have to pay for the Tivo service. Still, I'd have to rent the cablecards so the cost savings would be mimimal at best.


I used to have DirecTV and several HDTivos. The HD programming from DTV is highly compressed and not up to the same standards as digital cable or FIOS (my FIOS HD blows away DTV's "HD-Lite"). DirecTV is in the process or adding mpeg4 HD channels to their lineup which the HDTivo cannot receive. Eventually all HD programming from DTV will be in mpeg4 and therefore not available to an HDTivo, making the entire comparison moot. The HR20-700 HD DVR from DirecTV is the only DVR capable of recording DTV's mpeg4 HD signals. It's not a Tivo but it is supposed to be relatively competent at performing it's assigned tasks.


The key thing that sets Tivos apart from all other DVRs and HTPCs is what you can do with them. The OS used in a Tivo is Linux and is a hacker's (i.e., tweaker in this context) dream. No other DVR can be hacked for the same functionality as a Tivo, except for perhaps an HTPC. Considering that a HDTivo or S3 Tivo can record encrypted programming (i.e., premium movies and such), I'd give the edge to Tivo in this area. The feature that gives Tivo the edge here is video extraction. While this hack hasn't been released publicly for the S3 it has been in wide use on the HDTivos for quite some time, as well as the earlier standard def DTivos and standalone units. Being able to pull your favorite movies off a capable Tivo and burn them to DVD is a real plus that can't be matched by any other DVR. The HD-DVD software section in these forums has a tutorial for creating HD-DVDs from such files and I have to tell you it works great.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video /forum/post/0


This statement is incorrect and misleading. You can only record from two sources at any given time with a series 3 HD Tivo (or any dual-tuner Tivo for that matter).

Had the statement been about TiVo you would be correct. However, this statement was about Vista Media Center.



Chris
 

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With a name like GeekGirrl I guessI don't have to ask why you would want to change something you already love. Most us us here are like that.


Direct Tivo records the data directly from the sattelite, it doesn't re-encode it, Therefore the quality will be unchanged. Using MCE or any other DVR that requires you to re-encode will degrade the quality.


A DVR that has to control you SAT box is not likely to work as well as it would in an integrated unit.


I have never used a Tivo, but I have had a DishPlayer which is horrible, and now a Motorola DVR which I am pretty happy with.


I don't know of anyone who has any real complaints about Tivo fuctionality and reliability.


I personally like the idea of renting a CATV DVR for a few dollars a month. HTPCs are the type of thing that most of us find ourselves tinkering with. It's nice to know trhat while I am tinkering with the PC, the CATV box is busy recording TV shows. I can't imagine my an HTPC be as reliable of a DVR as the dedicated hardware. But as important, the quality of the CATV DVR is unchanged on the digital channels, and very good on the analog channels.


There is very little advantage to an MCE Cable card PC. You can't burn DVDs of protected content, you can't share with other PCs in the house. The only thing you can do that the CATV box doesn't do is share with an MCE extender. For the money, I'd rather just buy some Tivo series 3 boxes.


~Jay
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay M /forum/post/0


With a name like GeekGirrl I guessI don't have to ask why you would want to change something you already love. Most us us here are like that.


Direct Tivo records the data directly from the sattelite, it doesn't re-encode it, Therefore the quality will be unchanged. Using MCE or any other DVR that requires you to re-encode will degrade the quality.

MCE ATSC, MCE Cable Card, and Tivo Series 3, and the brave folks recording QAM are all getting bit perfect exactly what the broadcasters send digital TV.


The only DVR's that encode and degrade the signal are recorders that get fed an analog signal (analog cable, or via s-video hook ups).


MCE does have quite a few more benefits, in that it can do pictures, music, internet, play back downloaded video file, home recordings can be placed on it, It has unlimited storage expandbility, it can be your DVD player, you can had HD-DVD, Blu-Ray or even a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo drive. You can play games on an HTPC. Not to mention having all of that in one box.


The flexibility is orders of magnatudes better than anything else. That said I just stopped using my MCE box for TV and switched to DISH (free mpeg4 DVR) because I didn't have $2000 to pop for a new cable card enabled PC, and I waited and waited for those thinking I could just add one and now I'm not waiting to see how D* add in card pans out. I'd love to move back to MCE for TV but will only do it when it makes sense.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti /forum/post/0


MCE ATSC, MCE Cable Card, and Tivo Series 3, and the brave folks recording QAM are all getting bit perfect exactly what the broadcasters send digital TV.


The only DVR's that encode and degrade the signal are recorders that get fed an analog signal (analog cable, or via s-video hook ups).


MCE does have quite a few more benefits, in that it can do pictures, music, internet, play back downloaded video file, home recordings can be placed on it, It has unlimited storage expandbility, it can be your DVD player, you can had HD-DVD, Blu-Ray or even a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combo drive. You can play games on an HTPC. Not to mention having all of that in one box.


The flexibility is orders of magnatudes better than anything else. That said I just stopped using my MCE box for TV and switched to DISH (free mpeg4 DVR) because I didn't have $2000 to pop for a new cable card enabled PC, and I waited and waited for those thinking I could just add one and now I'm not waiting to see how D* add in card pans out. I'd love to move back to MCE for TV but will only do it when it makes sense.


I should have been more clear in what I was saying, I agree with everything you said, but Cablecard PCs are few and far between... does anyone on the forum have one? All the other solutions can only get unprotected channels bit perfect.

How would you record Discover HD, HBO HD, or anything like that with a PC? I think only a cable card PC can do that.


I use MCE + CATV DVR. BecauseI am a bit of a geek I may try a cablecard PC if they are ever brave enough to just sell the tuner. I like the idea of having everything in one place, but the DVI switch box isn't that big of a deal either.


~Jay
 
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