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TiVo vs FIOS DVR

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by ps0303, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    The quality of the UI is highly subjective and open for debate. My feeling is that if I can access the features I need without referring to the manual, then the UI is more than adequate.

    Streaming is limited to the services Tivo includes in the software. Transfer is limited to other Tivo devices and/or a PC with the Tivo Desktop software or similar app.

    Upgrade potential is limited to storage capacity only.

    I bought my first Tivo because it had potential for being hacked and modified. While many of the features the hackers used to add are now part of the Tivo software, many still aren't and Tivo has essentially closed the door on any future hacking. They have made it easier to upgrade the hard drive in the latest model so that's one in the plus column for Tivo.

    With the possible exception of the UI (which can be highly modified to suit your tastes on a HTPC), a HTPC offers far more options for streaming, transferring (dependant upon your TV provider, of course) and upgrading (i.e., add more features, stream from any source, Blu-Ray and DVD playback, additional tuners, unlimited storage, etc.).

    One generally gets a Tivo because it's convenient, offers more features than the local cableco's DVR, and is essentially plug and play. People are willing to pay extra for the convenience it offers. If you're just looking for a good DVR that is reliable and easy to use, then a Tivo may be what you want. If you want something to use streaming services then you can buy any media player like a Roku for that task.

    FYI - a lot of people do buy Tivos to save money vs. their cableco DVR. You get more bang for the buck and can actually recoup a portion of your investment if you go with lifetime service. OTOH, I went with a HTPC because it costs me less in the long run than buying Tivos and paying for their service. I can always repurpose the HTPC for other tasks if I decide to retire it from HTPC use. My last couple of HTPCs have found new life with other family members. A Tivo just becomes a doorstop unless you sell it.
     
  2. mattack

    mattack Active Member

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    A HTPC just becomes a doorstop unless you [do something with] it.
     
  3. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    That's the silliest argument I've ever heard. Anything becomes a doorstop unless you do something with it. A HTPC can still be used as a desktop PC, a server, a router, or any number of other devices if it's configured properly. I built a router using pfSense software and old PC parts I had lying around and it's better than most commercial routers you can buy. A Tivo is absolutely useless for anything but a DVR. Unless it's got lifetime, it's not even worth trying to sell it. I've got several series 2 DirecTivos that I purchased new and upgraded years ago that have never been activated on an account, so for all intents and purposes they are still brand new. I paid about $175 apiece for them new and invested even more in additional hard drives. Today they are essentially worthless. I'm not even sure if Goodwill will take them so I can get a tax break. :(

    The one good thing about PCs is that even if the primary components become obsolete (motherboard, CPU, memory, and graphics card), many of the components can still be salvaged for future builds (PSU, case, keyboard, mouse, hard drive, optical drive, add-on cards, software, and monitor). Even old PC hardware can find new life under the right circumstances, such as my router build.

    With a Tivo you can still use the hard drive for PC use, but nothing else is really salvageable except maybe the remote and power cable. OTOH, I've been toying with the idea of using one of my old DirecTivo cases as a new home for my mini-ITX HTPC. Now that's what I call making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. :D
     
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    If anyone is using a lifetime TiVo as a doorstop they're an idiot. A lifetime TiVo always has value. Even today you could find someone who would take and use an old S1 TiVo with lifetime. Now monthly is a different story.
     
  5. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    I am a pretty tech savvy guy... Trained as a software developer and now lead JAVA development teams.

    But it would honestly take me a lot of research and time to build, configure and setup an HTPC - my father or heck even my brother wouldn't even know where to start!

    A TiVo (or any consumer grade device) is far easier. Within an hour of receiving your spur-of-the moment overnight shipment it is setup and running. Easy to use, no confusing botched settings and a service center (call and chat) ready to help in case you can't figure out where the hdmi cable goes.

    I know you like your HTPC's and I am sure they are comparable and maybe even better in some ways - but for the average consumer, they are not a reasonable option.
     
  6. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    And that is why MS has stopped development of Media Center. Just not enough people using it to justify the cost. They kind of screwed Ceton too, because Ceton was just about to release a consumer DVR using MCE. The whole product had to be scrapped last minute.
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Two questions:

    1. Can you use a screwdriver?

    2. Can you install Windows on a PC?

    If you answered yes to both questions then you can build a HTPC (not sure where your father or brother enter into the mix).

    Setting up a HTPC is simply a matter of installing a tuner card and stepping through Windows Media Center setup. There's no huge learning curve for a basic DVR setup using Windows Media Center. Just in case you do need help setting one up, there are lots of resources available. There's no research required because it's already been done for you. Here's one of the best sources:

    http://assassinhtpcblog.com/


    FYI, everything you've stated about Tivos vs. HTPCs are the same things I have stated before in numerous threads. They're not for everyone. The main reason most people avoid them is fear. Fear that they won't work, fear that they'll have to maintain them constantly, or fear that the family won't know how to use it. All of these fears are unfounded with today's hardware, but it's a PC so Murphy's Law can enter in at any time. Getting to know WMC's UI has a slight learning curve, but so does a Tivo's. For a tech savvy guy like yourself, they should be right up your alley. ;)

    No argument there.
     
  8. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    Little more then that I am afraid... Start with a PC, preferably one that will fit nicely in my entertainment center. Does it have HDMI out? Do I need an upgraded video card? Which one? How do I connect to cable? Ok, Ceton cable card reader - I see they range from $200 and $300, what are the differences and what would work for me?

    What are my best options for power consumption? Do I leave it on 24/7 or turn it off when I don't need it?

    I am not trying to bust your balls, I am sure it is a decent product - but what is a consumers motivation to seek out all these answers? Is it significantly cheaper? It can be, but if you build a comparable product, your not going to save much against a TiVo with lifetime.
     
  9. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    No problem. Most of the answers you're seeking are in the link I posted previously so I encourage you to take a look. Another good source of info is the HTPC forum over at the AVS Forums. For Windows Media Center questions, the place to go is The Green Button forums.

    The latest Intel and AMD CPUs have integrated GPUs, meaning that you won't need a separate video card. Most motherboards also sport HDMI outputs these days, unless you're cheaping out with a low-end product. There are several forum threads and websites with recommended components to use. Basically, any Intel compatible setup going as far back as the Clarkdale CPUs up to the current Haswell models will work and all contain integrated graphics that are more than capable of playing 1080p Blu-Rays with full HD audio. If you want an AMD setup, then a Liano or Trinity CPU will suffice. Just get a compatible motherboard with HDMI output and you're in business.

    You can also buy an off-the-shelf PC with these features and go from there. HTPC cases are great, but can be a bit pricey. Chances are you're better of starting with a mid-tower case and then upgrading later on if you decide you want to stick with the HTPC. I always encourage people to experiment with the PC they're currently using if they have Windows 7. Unless you're using Home Basic, you've already got Windows Media Center. Get a cheap tuner card for OTA reception and play around with it. Just don't blame me if you get hooked and things start to escalate. :D

    There are basically two schools of thought about whether to leave your PC on 24/7, as I do, or set it up to sleep when not in use and wake automatically when it's time to record a program.

    If you're comparing a dual or quad tuner Tivo with lifetime to a HTPC with the same number of tuners, the cost is probably going to be a wash between them. The real benefit is that there's no limit to the number of tuners you can add and adding more storage is as simple as installing a new hard drive. You can also consolidate more components into a HTPC, such as a DVD or Blu-Ray drive. Late model Tivos tend to limit you to cablecard tuners whereas you can mix and match as many tuners of any type as you like in a HTPC.

    The motivation to go with a HTPC is mostly due to intrigue on the part of the consumer. Most people venture into it because it's interesting and not so much for cost savings. That part gets realized once you get a grasp of what it can really do for you and your lifestyle.

    I got into it because I was curious and I was looking for a better way to record local channels than tying up several HDTivos on my DirecTV account. I really had no idea what I could do with one until I started looking into it. The more I looked, the more I liked. I've been using HTPCs for over six years now and I've barely scratched the surface with the possibilities it offers. For now, I primarily use it as a DVR and for watching Blu-Rays ripped to my server. The one in the family room gets used daily for watching live TV.
     
  10. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Even low end video cards have HDMI. The last video card I bought was only $30 and it had HDMI output.
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    These days all Intel processors, except the super high end ones, have graphics built in and most mobos that support them have HDMI. So you don't even need a graphics card.
     
  12. dsnotgood

    dsnotgood New Member

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    Aug 25, 2010
    I have fios with 3 tivo DVrs I bought about 3 years ago....I broke even after about 28 months and now I am SAVING $60/month in dvr fees and the boxes are mine.

    Get a roamio with lifetime, add minis throughout the house, add lifetime to everything and after about 2 years or so..you start saving a crap load of money a month. And you have a much better experience.

    Or continue paying fios for a crappy dvr for infinity and that you don't own. How long have you had a dvr for in your lifetime? If its over 10 years...well...calculate your $20 times ten years and that's how much money you gave to borrow a crappy dvr.
     

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