1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Does Tivo have any competitors?

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

  1. Dec 2, 2013 #161 of 177

    dadrepus Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Columbia, MD
    Has anybody mention Homeworks? Is is a converter for old tvs but also has a tuner and PVR features you can use for ANY TV. And with updated software works with unencrypted cable as well as over the air HD channels. It had hdmi out as well. A Tvguide type info is also offered. NO fees. Also allows you to rename channels, block channels. Pretty cheap device. Good reviews on Amazon as well.
  2. Dec 2, 2013 #162 of 177

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Careful, don't let Bigg see the reviews posted in that link. One of them said the UI wasn't intuitive so you'd just be asking for trouble if he got hold of one. :eek:

    I had not heard of the Homeworx device, but it does look intriguing, especially considering the price. I just downloaded the users manual so I plan on looking through it as soon as I can get a chance.

    The first questions that come to mind are:

    Can any USB drive be used for recording (i.e., standard HD in a USB enclosure, USB flash drive, ao any other typre of USB storage device)?

    What format does it record?

    What kind of software does it use for playback (i.e., is it supplied or require a third party app)?
  3. Dec 2, 2013 #163 of 177

    srauly Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    There are some user photos of the UI on Amazon and it looks absolutely horrid.
  4. Dec 3, 2013 #164 of 177

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Most of these third party niche products are built cheap and the designers don't invest a lot of time and effort in the UI. As long as it does what they want and it can be produced at a set price, that's all that matters.
  5. Dec 5, 2013 #165 of 177

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    Oct 30, 2003
    Still far more difficult to use, especially when flipping through stuff fast.
  6. Dec 6, 2013 #166 of 177

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I don't find it difficult at all, but I use it every day so I'm used to it. Considering your limited exposure to WMC, it's amazing that you've become such an expert on its use. I've been using it ever since the introduction of the Ceton InfiniTV 4. I got my InfiniTV 4 in the first production run back in August of 2010, which means I've been using WMC in Windows 7 for over three years straight. How many days or weeks did you actually use it before you decided it was the worst thing ever?

    I don't make any claims that it's the best DVR software out there, but if you want to use a cablecard for recording and watching digital TV, it's the only software available, with but a few exceptions. If your provider transmits all channels in the clear (i.e., not flagged as copy once), then there are one or two other options. However, using them generally requires a higher level of technical expertise than the average user can muster.

    Considering everything that WMC offers plus the ability to tweak it and upgrade it to your heart's content, whatever little quirks you find objectionable pale in comparison to the benefits I get from it. In other words, the pros greatly outweigh the cons, and most of the cons you complain about aren't even on most people's radar.

    I've tried Windows 8 very briefly and my first impression was that the UI is absolutely horrible. It's not at all intuitive, especially for long time users of previous versions of Windows. Rather than go into a long rant about it, suffice it to say that over the long haul, Windows 8 has been getting a lot of positive feedback from users, as well as it's share of complaints. The 8.1 release is supposed to have a lot of fixes for things people complained about in the initial release.

    The point is, just because I personally don't care for Windows 8, I don't complain about it and voice my opinion to the point where I go out of my way to condemn it as the worst OS ever. The fact that so many others like it tells me that it must have some merit. I just haven't taken the time to explore it more deeply. The UI is different and will require a learning curve to get used to it, just like going from a Tivo to WMC. It's not necessarily better or worse, just different.

    BTW, how are you all enjoying the ads on your Tivo? I don't have to deal with any of that crap.
  7. PalmTrees

    PalmTrees New Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    I may have missed it earlier in the thread, but...

    I'm surprised at how few mentions there have been of all of the alternate pre-built / commercial set-top box / PVR devices. Yeah, some of them have poor UIs and EPGs, and choice of ATSC OTA or QAM, but they will offer many of the OP's implied feature requests (although with no CableCard support for most).

    Check out the AVSForum thread on "2014 list of consumer available DVR's".

    The models include: "BriteView BV-980H / Zinwell ZAT-980H, Channel Master CM 7x00 / DTVPal, Digital Stream / RCA DPH1000R, DVICO TViX M6620N, ePVision PHD-VRX/2, iView-3500STB & the similar Homeworx HW-150PVR and another 4-6 versions under different names using the MStar SoC, Magnavox/Funai TB745H/F7 & similar Philips HDR5710/F7 & 5750".
  8. PalmTrees

    PalmTrees New Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    Oh, and I forgot to mention --

    There are also a new bunch of small, prebuilt Android boxes coming out that include an ATSC / QAM tuner and HDMI out with audio passthru. Many of these can grab good, no-cost EPG information from the Internet instead of OTA PSIP. They can also use XBMC apps for Amazon Prime Instant, Netflix, and Hulu.

    These Android devices include the Jynxbox Android HD, the Arctic MC001-XBMC (sold out but may be more in the future), and the Geniatech ATV1220.

    Within a few years, Android and XBMC on these devices may be solid enough to offer some competition that's stable enough for the average American consumer.
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    Clear QAM is going away, so unless you're content with the half dozen OTA channels you can get you'd need a DVR that supports CableCARD. As it is right now the only options are TiVo and Media Center with one of the 2-3 CableCARD compatible tuner cards.

    Since the OP specifically mentions not wanting to lease a DVR from the cable company I assumed he needed cable compatibility, so none of the options you mentioned would really work.
  10. tivohaydon

    tivohaydon New Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I agree the built in WMCE list is terrible. RecordedTVHD makes this completely bearable and organizes things quite well. You get nice auto-season grouping for TV series, full screen background art and a lot more.

    Works with many programs recorded. Right now it looks like I'm using about 10TB of my 15TB available. 1324 programs recorded.
  11. PalmTrees

    PalmTrees New Member

    Dec 10, 2013

    OP has already said a couple times on other threads that he doesn't pay for cable TV, he just uses the Clear QAM channels that never got filtered/trapped on his line:

    So given that his Time Warner area still has clear QAM, any of those STBs/PVRs in the list -- including the Android boxes with tuner -- that do Clear QAM tuning would be great for him.

    If you're talking about cable subscribers in general -- then yes, the STB/PVRs in my posts above will lose their usefulness (except for OTA antenna tuning purposes) within a couple years.

    However -- given this exact reason that Clear QAM is going away, we may see a number of these STB/PVR makers that currently offer Clear QAM tuning adding a CableCARD slot to their units. They know that if they want to keep their small potential customer base, which is looking for $60 or $160 alternatives to TiVo and rented cable boxes, that the CableCARD slot addition will be necessary.

    Prices are falling rapidly on equipment that has CableCARD slots currently, like the Ceton and HDHR models. We're likely to see cheap versions from Chinese fab shops on AliExpress within a short time frame -- including as add-on CableCARD tuners for Android boxes. As demand grows due to loss of Clear QAM, supply will catch up -- Chinese entrepreneurs will make sure of that.
  12. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    I hadn't read any of his posts in other treads, just this one. His first post made it sound like he was looking for an alternative to a cable DVR so I assumed he was looking for something that worked with cable.

    As for your comment about other companies jumping in on the CableCARD market I'm not so sure. There is a LOT of uncertainty in this market. MS stopped all development of Media Center so companies making tuners for HTPCs are going to be in trouble unless another alternative comes along. Unfortunately the process for getting CableCARD certified is very difficult, and expensive, and requires protection at the OS level which is why MCE was the only option. On top of that the recent decision by the FCC to allow Charter to start working on a new downloadable security model puts a lot of uncertainty on the future of CableCARDs in general. TiVo is already invested, so they'll stick around, but other companies might look at this and decide it's not worth the risk to invest in.

    But my point still stands.... If you want a cable compatible DVR today your only options are TiVo and MCE, and MCE is on it's way out so unless someone else joins the fray TiVo is going to be the last man standing.
  13. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

    May 14, 2007
    I think if Samsung's Cablecard tuner is successful then they'll offer a multi tuner DVR version. Maybe even the current one will be updated to include that feature by attaching an external hard drive.
  14. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I tried it when it was first introduced and it's a great little app for the WMC recording list. I stopped using it because I prefer the actual list instead of the large poster art. I don't keep that many shows in my Recorded TV folder as I tend to watch them and then delete them so there is no need for me to keep things organized in that manner. It was actually less confusing to use the simple list.

    That's one of the best features of WMC. If you don't like the way something looks, there is probably a third party app, patch, or hack that will modify WMC to your liking.

    If I want to keep anything I will archive it on my 26TB unRAID server. I used to archive a lot of TV series until I woke up and realized that I'll probably never watch any of them again. I'm currently using about 21TB out of the 26TB available. Most of the files are ripped Blu-Rays and DVDs with a few TV series that I have archived or downloaded. I will never live long enough to watch all of the movies I have collected over the years.
  15. videobruce

    videobruce OTA is still alive

    Nov 30, 2012
    Buffalo NY
    The closest choices are the new Channel master DVR+ and the revised ePVision VRX2.
    Both have enhanced Guides, it's included with the CM, but optional with the VRX2. Both have fallbacks to PSIP programming from each OTA station. Unlike TiVo, you are not forced to pay for a Guide to allow full functionality. ;)
    (You do have to add your own HDD)

    Below are links for the attached list;

    Bright View/Zinwell BV 980H;

    Channel Master CM 7000 / DTVPal;

    Channel Master CM 7400 / Entone Amulet 458 (w/ fan);

    Channel Master DVR+;

    Digital Stream/RCA DPH1000R (couldn't find any importers website);

    DVICO TViX M6620N

    ePVision PHD VRX/VRX2;

    Funai made Magnavox TB745H/F7/Philips HDR5710 & 50/F7;
    (nothing on the Maggy web site as of this date)


    Mediasonic Homeworx HW-150PVR;

    For the record, this will be of interest (link from Bryan_CoxPHX);


    Attached Files:

  16. heyted

    heyted Member

    Mar 4, 2012
    South Florida
    Using a TiVo as a case can help with the case price.:) Mine was less than zero dollars after I sold some of the other Premiere components. Granted it takes time, and it is larger than regular cases.

    I agree it is not the best choice for performance, and it is of course sower than a NUC with a Core i3 or i5 processor, but I have found it to be quite adequate without network storage. It is using a hard disc from a TiVo Premiere for booting and storing content. I am using it as a combined frontend and backend. People can judge for themselves from the video below if the performance is adequate.

  17. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Wow. What did you use to cut the hole in the top, a can opener? I hope you've had your tetanus shot. :eek: Other than that, nice job. :up:

    I had thoughts of re-purposing one of my old DTivos as a small form factor PC using my mini-ITX platform. I ended up replacing the mini-ITX unit with an Intel NUC

Share This Page