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Does Tivo have any competitors?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Gifted1, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    The system was clean except for basic drivers. I can't imagine how bad it would be on a system with a couple years of junk installed...

    I installed it after Windows 7 was out for years, and I installed all of the update.

    And even if it worked 100%, the interface is still an abomination. Yes, you can do anything on a Windows PC, but the keyboard/mouse interface isn't friendly to use at all. Boxes like Roku do it all so much better with a so much better interface. The only place I do like the HTPC is for playback of video files, as VLC will play back literally anything. Certain types of streaming video sites are also only available through a web browser, so if you can't find them on torrent, there's another use...
     
  2. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Well, most people that build HTPCs use them for a specific purpose, so they are extremely unlikely to contain a lot of "junk." You set it up with the bare minimum software and then you leave it alone. The only things I install are select Windows updates that I screen before installing. I will update drivers on occasion, but most of the time I find it completely unnecessary. If it ain't broke....

    We'll just have to agree to disagree on that and move on. It's simply not worth arguing with someone that's convinced the UI is that bad. Most people don't have any issue with it so you're definitely in the minority here.

    There are countless possibilities for using a keyboard, mouse, or remote with a HTPC. I personally control everything from within WMC using a Harmony One remote programmed for a WMC PC. If I need a keyboard or mouse on occasion I use a Lenovo 5902. It's got a complete keyboard, sans function keys, and a trackball pad so it can be used with one hand, although I prefer to use two when typing. It has backlighting so it can be used in the dark plus it has all of the same functions as a standard multimedia keyboard for full transport control of the DVR. I only use it when I'm in the Windows desktop for accessing files and installing updates. The rest of the time it stays in WMC so all I need is a remote to control everything.

    They're fine for playback of video files and streaming services, but you can't record with them, which is the one feature I use the most on my HTPC. I've used several media players and, quite frankly, I think the UI on the ones I've tried is vastly inferior to my HTPC and most other consumer devices I've used. I haven't tried a Roku box so it may be better than the others. It may be fine for you, but it's extremely limited for others like me. As to how well they work vs. a HTPC, I'll stack mine up against yours any day of the week. :p

    VLC is a fine media player and I do use it on occasion, but I personally prefer XBMC as it allows me to play Blu-Ray rips in full 1080p mkv format while bitstreaming HD audio in either DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD to my 7.1 surround system. I'm not a big fan of streaming services, mainly because they have to compress the heck out of the original source files to reduce bandwidth. Some also make you sit through commercials with no way to skip past them, which totally defeats the purpose of owning a DVR. I've got such a huge library of movies and stockpiled TV shows that I literally watch everything on demand.
     
  3. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Arguing with him about WMC is like talking to a wall. What Bigg says must be true for everyone because he says it is, and any attempt to show otherwise just results in a big circle of arguments.

    Must be a nice fantasy world to live in where your opinion is the only truth.
     
  4. cncb

    cncb New Member

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    Having said that I'm a little surprised you can even use a computer and post on this forum. I honestly have never heard of someone not able to "figure out" the WMC interface.
     
  5. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    It's really not all that complicated to figure out. There are loads of tutorials on setting up WMC if you get stuck so there's no reason why anyone should ever struggle with it. The average person should be able to figure it out without resorting to a tutorial. In fact, the first thing you're prompted to do when starting Media Center for the first time is to run through guided setup, just like a Tivo, so I would at least expect some level of familiarity in that regard. Some of the more advanced features may require a little investigation, such as assigning tuner priorities to specific channels. I do that to make sure my main HTPC isn't tying up any of the networked tuners so they're always available to the remote PCs. There are websites that discuss various tips and tricks available to WMC users which a Google search would have easily shown with a little effort.

    If anything, Microsoft dumbed down the UI so just about anyone could use it. It's hardly complex and definitely not the disaster that Bigg claims it to be. Apparently they didn't realize it was still beyond Bigg's level of expertise. Once you've set it up, there's little or no reason to access any of the more advanced features. I rarely have to deviate from the main screen except perhaps to manually kickstart the guide data download if I'm trying to schedule something to record that's past the end of the current guide data (it generally goes out to about 12 days, but sometimes less if it hasn't automatically updated recently).
     
  6. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Some people use MCE machines for other things as well.

    I KNOW it's a bad interface. I was kind of spoiled, having TiVo as my first DVR (Series 2), but still I hoped MCE would be halfway between Comcast and TiVo, that shouldn't be too much to ask!!

    Roku is so much better than the PC for most streaming, as the interface is really easy to use, the remote is excellent, and RF. I only resort to the PC when the content providers have locked down streaming so that it can't be streamed to the TV (except for the obvious fact that my HTPC has an HDMI port- who woulda thunkit?), so I have to use Chrome on the HTPC and a regular web interface.

    I watch everything except sports on my schedule. The quality of VUDU HDX is visually imperceptible from Blu-Ray, and Amazon looks excellent. I don't like iTunes as much. It's shaper than Amazon, but they do TV shows at 1080p/24 with low bitrates, with not only look weird at 24p, but you get way more artifacts than at Amazon's 720p, where the bitrate isn't that much lower.

    I figured it out in like 5 minutes. That doesn't make it any less of a complete PITA to use. It's like a dysfunctional Nokia phone. Click way too many times to do anything, with a UI that makes absolutely no sense.

    I'm not an idiot. I got MCE up and running just fine. That doesn't make the interface any less horrible. I've built PCs, upgraded laptops, run VMs, installed ROMs on Android phones, etc, and I've seen my fair share of really crummy products. MCE was one of them. MCE's interface fell short of the Comcast DVR interface. Talk about missing a really, really low bar. TiVo's interface is by far the best I've used, although I've never used the DirecTV HR44.
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Well if you KNOW it then it must be true. :rolleyes:

    How about we take a vote on it? Everyone that thinks WMC has a bad UI, please raise your hand.

    Anyone?

    Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

    It appears you are the only one with a raised hand. :p

    Nobody ever said you were, although you've implied it with almost every post. ;)

    Really? You seem to be the only one that has a problem getting around the UI and that it is the single most horrible thing in the universe. According to previous posts you indicated you could never get WMC working correctly. Now you're saying that it works fine and your only complaint is the UI? I thought I was the only senile person in the room. :confused:

    I guess WMC really isn't idiot-proof after all. :rolleyes:
     
  8. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Whenever we get into one of these threads where we are talking about "competitors" to TiVo it really boils down to what an individual feels it means to be a "competitor" with TiVo and to some extent what the individual actually believes a TiVo is.

    Personally I would say there are alternatives to a stand alone TiVo DVR however in the stand alone DVR market place I would say TiVo has no competitors.

    To complicate it further what alternatives an individual has also depends on where the individual wishes to get their content from, if the content is SD or HD, and if the individual is willing to look at used equipment.

    I really don't think it is that hard for most people to figure out what their alternatives are based on where their content is coming from.
     
  9. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    While I agree in principle with the majority of your post, this part is where I'd have to disagree. I'd have to say that there is a vast number of consumers that have little or no knowledge of what a DVR is or what it does over and above what their provider tells them, not to mention general lack of knowledge of SD vs. HD. While they may be familiar with the name "Tivo," they may not be familar with the features it offers. DVRs in general aren't as widely known as other consumer devices, such as Blu-Ray players or iPhones.

    I know that if I asked my 90-year old mother if she would like to have a Tivo I'd get a deer-in-the-headlights look of confusion. In fact, Verizon gave her a HD DVR when she signed up and she was totally unaware that she had it, let alone what to do with it. Once I informed her of what she had she said she didn't need it and opted to get the less expensive HD set top box instead.
     
  10. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    My statement assumed they new enough to be trying to find out what the alternatives where. But I do agree many people know nothing about DVRs.

    I helped some friends move from SD to HD last year (they got a 50" Panasonic Plasma). While both have college degrees and high incomes TV isn't all that import to them. They were still using a VCR a few times a week with analog cable to time shift. It really only took me a few minutes to go through TWC DVRs, TiVo, HTPC, On demand, & streaming video. They still use the VCR for some news type shows and on demand for some HD shows, didn't thing any other option was worth paying for and still get DVDs from Netflix even though the TV is connected to the Internet and has a good Netflix app built in. I honestly couldn't stand watching TV the way they do but it works for them.
     
  11. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    I know what you mean. I can't stand the way some people watch TV, but it's clearly not as important to them as it is to me. I can't tolerate watching TV in a motel room unless the TV has been upgraded to a flat screen with available HD channels to watch. I have to bite my tongue when I go to someone's house and they're watching TV at the factory settings. The contrast is cranked to 100 and the colors are oversaturated, but they love it so I keep it to myself.

    Let's face it, we're all TV nerds and we love it. :D
     
  12. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    WMC is a mess. It's one of the few things that I never got to work 100% correctly, although I did use it for a little while. My point is that IF it did work 100%, it would still be a wretched POS because of how bad the UI is.

    As much as I don't want to agree with you, your are spot on in this post. Most people are morons. TiVo has a huge uphill battle to fight because people just accept whatever garbage their cable/FIOS provider gives them without questioning, when they should be look at TiVo.

    What amazes me is that people pay for cable, and yet don't have a good setup to actually enjoy it. I think people are getting HD now, and more people are getting DVRs, although a lot of people don't seem to use them very much. The one that gets me is how many people are using the puny little speakers in the TV. It sounds like complete crap compared to even a modest HTIB with an AVR and 5 or 7 discreet channels.
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    What also amazes me is how many of the hardcore enthusiasts on AVS have the cableco DVRs, or even worse, U-Verse's horrible service. Who would put U-Verse on a $10k+ projector setup? The only reason I can think of is that they don't watch TV and their spouse/kids watch it elsewhere in the house...
     
  14. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Your credibility wanes with each new post. :rolleyes:

    So now you're insulting my mother? You really are a piece of work (actually, I think you're a piece of something else for that statement, but I'm trying to keep things civil). I never said people were morons nor was it ever my intention to do so. Saying they are just displays how intolerant you are of things you don't agree with.

    The point is that everyone has different priorities in life, and watching or recording TV isn't at the top of the list for most people. Most of us here wouldn't use a cableco DVR simply because we want more from a DVR than it can provide. Others use their cableco's DVR because they just want something to record an occasional show and don't care about all the bells and whistles that come with a Tivo.

    My brother-in-law is a perfect example. He's a professional musician and is pretty tech savvy. I've tried to steer him towards using a Tivo instead of his Verizon Motorola DVR for years, but he just isn't interested. It does what he needs it to do so he's perfectly content to keep it. He probably wouldn't get any benefit from owning a Tivo so I no longer press the issue. I certainly don't think he's a moron because of it.

    We get the fact that you think WMC is a POS. Repeating it only indicates you are desperately trying to convince yourself that this is somehow a fact and not just your opinion, which is all it is. It's starting to be pretty clear who the real moron is here. ;)
     
  15. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    At least they're not friends of Carlotta! :eek: ;)
     
  16. lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    There are not many people that are morons, just people that have different lives and don't watch much TV and don't spend time looking at all the options when it come to say the DVR, if somebody (a moron I guess) has no place to see and use a TiVo and wants to "TiVo" programs most cable co.s will take care of him, with on sight (free) service, something TiVo can't do. The people that are on this forum are not the average person as most do have a TiVo.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    TiVo is cheaper and better. The only argument against TiVo would be that it doesn't support VOD in many markets/providers.

    It's a clear fact. I've outlined it before it great detail. The UI is bad. Some people will put up with a bad UI for the hardware and software extensibility, but I didn't find that convincing at a time when TiVo was rolling out TiVo Minis that now work with my XL4. The case is ever tougher to make with the Roamio Pro and Minis.

    People who don't at least consider the costs and benefits of all the options are morons. And that's why the cable companies continue to make a ton of money off of DVRs that suck. It's like people who sign a contract with last year's cell phone... another really stupid move. They're saving <10% of it's TCO for something that's far less capable. Although it seems people are wising up to that one, as the iPhone 5c sales suck compared to the 5s.

    EDIT: Combine posts
     
  18. yokito

    yokito New Member

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    It's a troll. Stop feeding it.
     
  19. cncb

    cncb New Member

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    Sorry to burst your bubble but the Tivo UI is atrocious. It is because I said so. I am one of the leading UI design experts because I've used a few cell phones before and my Grandma says I have an eye for these things.
     
  20. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Once again, your opinion and nothing more. Comparing a basic 2 or 4-tuner Tivo with lifetime to a HTPC may be slightly cheaper for the Tivo. It's when you go beyond what a basic Tivo offers that a HTPC wins the price war. This comparison has been hashed out numerous times in these forums.

    No third party DVR or HTPC will get you VOD from any provider so it's a completely moot point.

    It's neither clear nor is it a fact. You've ranted about it in great detail, but that's all. Talking about it until you're blue in the face doesn't somehow make it a fact. Face it, everyone doesn't agree with your opinion about the WMC UI (and again, it is nothing more than your opinion and definitely not a fact). If you look back at every post you've placed on this topic in this thread and several others you'd realize that not a single person has ever chimed in to support your claim, yet many have echoed my sentiment. Learn to quit while you're behind.

    Wow, I guess it just plain sucks for anybody that isn't you or at least shares your opinion. Frankly, I'm elated that I don't share your opinion because you're just another self-righteous A-hole that thinks anyone that doesn't agree with you is a moron. I don't think I could live in a world full of Biggs. I guess we can consider ourselves lucky that there's only one of you. :D

    What can I say. I'm a compassionate guy. Even trolls gotta eat. ;)
     

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