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What is the difference between Tivo and Windows Media Center?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by dtivouser, Dec 28, 2013.

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  1. Feb 8, 2014 #201 of 312
    moonscape

    moonscape Member

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    This amazes me; I must've gotten very very lucky.

    I'm extremely noise sensitive and have had 5 Tivos (3 S2s, 1 S3, 1 HD) and now a new Roamio - always in my bedroom and have never heard one unless I went and put my ear to it. Head of my bed is about 13' from the open sideboard the Tivos have lived on, i.e. they've not been behind closed doors. Two of the S2s were in a secondary residence with a smaller bedroom, maybe 8' from Tivo to bed headboard. I've replaced 3 of the hard drives, always with the one that was rated the quietest, so have had a mix of original drives and replacements.

    My new Roamio has only been in operation for one day but so far it's the same quiet experience as the others.
     
  2. Feb 8, 2014 #202 of 312
    heyted

    heyted New Member

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  3. Feb 8, 2014 #203 of 312
    mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    I've owned literally dozens of Tivos and I can say that the noise levels they generate isn't consistent across the board. I've upgraded every Tivo that's come into my possession with larger hard drives so it could have been an issue with the particular drive I installed. I had an S3 in a wooden TV stand with an open shelf right below the TV and I could hear the drive constantly seeking as soon as I entered the room. I'm sure this was probably an exception to the rule as I know all hard drives aren't as noisy as this one was.

    If there's one thing I've learned it's that you can't condemn an entire product line just because you had a bad experience with it. I've had bad experiences with lots of products, but reading reviews from other owners clearly showed me that my experience was not the norm. I'll relay my experiences to others, but I also advise that they try it for themselves as others have achieved better results than me. For the most part, I've had great experiences with Tivo. I've had mixed experiences with HTPCs, but there turned out to be valid reasons why they occurred for the most part. Other times I just scratched my head and couldn't find an explanation for why things went wonky. I could usually get the problem resolved with a reinstall of Windows.

    For the past couple of years, every installation has gone smooth as silk and everything has been hunky dory (knock on wood). I can't say I'm surprised that people still have issues with WMC because sometimes things just refuse to cooperate and drive you a little nuts in the process. That's why we call it a hobby and not a turnkey solution. Other have a bad experience and it brings out the Chicken Little in them. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Feb 8, 2014 #204 of 312
    dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    SoCal
    Heh, because of Roamio's colossal suckage and this HTPC project, when I walk into the local Time Warner office, Becky calls me by name and asks "how many" TA's and CC's we're swapping today, not "what can I do for you".

    The lines are fine. I even get Tivo's fud about the signal being too good.
     
  5. Feb 8, 2014 #205 of 312
    mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    That's never a good sign when the people at your local cable TV office know you on a first name basis. FWIW, I went through a cablecard fiasco with Verizon this past week. The good news is that the people I spoke with were in the U.S. and spoke fluent English. For some reason my cablecard in my HTPC tuner lost the validation signal and it wouldn't update via the automated phone menu or when the techs tried to do it for me. They ended up sending me a replacement cablecard. They actually sent me two cards for some reason. I tried to activate just one of them over the phone and when it asked me for the info on the 2nd card I said skip it into the phone and got kicked out of the conversation and automatically forwarded to tech support. After an hour of the tech fiddling with it I finally got live TV on encrypted channels. Apparently Verizon was experiencing difficulties with cablecard activations at the time and the techs clearly did not get the memo. It didn't help that either tech I spoke with was really not familiar with the cablecard activation process because they were asking me for info that they said was either on the cablecard or the box it came in. I had to convince them that all they needed was the cablecard ID, Host ID, and Data ID to get the card activated.
     
  6. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Apr 2, 2005
    WEll going to a football game isn't a good analogy as you aren't comparing it to anything.

    For it to make more sense you would have to compare it, for example and off the top of my head, to getting similar tickets for $100 less if you help your uncle move out of this house this coming weekend, park 45 minutes away in a free spot on game day and sit a few seats apart from your wife.

    And then of course, you don't mention the "moving your uncle's furniture" part or "not sitting together" when telling your buddy about the cost of your football tickets.

    Anyway I mentioned the hobbyist things earlier so you're preaching to the choir. Hobbyists falls under the fine print. Hobbyists generally don't need to be told about their hobby. The vast majority aren't software/hardware hobbyists. And the time one wants to put into a project is a very personal choice. I'm just pointing out that your exception only proves the rule.




    This is a new argument. And more of an emotional one at that instead of a logical one. And a very convoluted argument too.

    And as far as I know you have no choice in cabletv recording software on your pc. IT's WMC or nothing. That's the rule.

    The exception would be if you have unencrypted channels. But that's the exception.
     
  7. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Apr 2, 2005
    Don't worry I didn't get to see your post. :)

    But I think you are the one that is nitpicking. You are nitpicking my argument that an HTPC is a similar price to a Roamio and that any small savings is moot considering the resale value of a Roamio and the quality and time savings. I think what won't break the bank is paying a few extra bucks for a Roamio Plus. :)


    Nothing to do with common sense.

    You want the WMC pc to be much cheaper than a Roamio Plus. But when someone points out that this comes with many caveats then you say you can overcome those. But when someone points out that the WMC pc is then no longer a cheaper option you cry foul!!! :eek: :confused:

    The "research" that comes with a building a WMC pc is part of the "fine print."

    Or you could just be done with it and buy a Roamio Plus. Get all the advantages with none of the headaches and trial and error and test platforms to final platforms talk..... And again, if you do happen to pay a bit more money then it certainly won't break the bank.



    :rolleyes:
     
  8. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Back for your weekly session of poking the bear? :D How on earth is heyted's response an emotional argument? Are you saying that personal preference has absolutely no bearing on what a person chooses to purchase or make use of? It's a very valid argument and also quite logical. Tivo is a fixed platform with virtually zero room for modification or customization, especially with the most recent models. A HTPC configuration is fluid. You can change the hardware or software to suit your taste and requirements. You can customize it for additional features and appearance. You can also choose to go with something other than Windows Media Center if you prefer a different front end. If someone prefers not to have this level of control then Tivo would clearly be their personal preference. Those of us that like to tinker and have more control over what our DVRs can do prefer something a bit different. Personal preference has everything to do with it.

    There is always a caveat with any venture into an area that's new or unfamiliar. If you want to call it fine print then fine. However, if you don't read the "fine print" then that's on you. If you don't already know what you're getting yourself into then you haven't done your homework. Again, this is common sense for most of us. You simply don't jump into something like building and configuring a HTPC without prior knowledge of what's involved. If you don't, you'll be in over your head before you realize what happened. Anyone that's worked with PCs knows this to be a fact and not simply conjecture. It's like trying to hack a Tivo without doing any research first. Your philosophy is on the same level as someone requiring a warning label on a coffee cup at McDonald's to inform them that the contents may be hot. :rolleyes:

    All this talk about time being money and so forth is superfluous and irrelevant. If that's how you have to measure time having fun then it's clearly not your thing. You can't put a price on time spent doing something you enjoy. I don't sit around thinking about how much time I spend on a hobby vs. what pay rate I get for doing my regular job. If anything, I look forward to spending the time away from my regular job doing something fun and rewarding.
     
  9. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    The conversation was based on what you could spend on a HTPC and not what people would actually spend. I'll admit that the average HTPC will probably be more expensive than a comparable Tivo, but that's usually by choice. You can put whatever you want into it. You can have a barebones setup that costs less than a Tivo with lifetime or you can go for broke and have one that costs in the 4-figure range. I've only made the argument that a HTPC can be made for less than what a Tivo costs with lifetime. I have personally spent well over $2,000 on my HTPC over the years, but that includes numerous upgrades and several complete overhauls.

    See my above comment. Nobody's crying foul about anything.

    See my prior post.

    If a Roamio Plus is what you want then go for it. Nobody is arguing that you should ditch Tivo in favor of a HTPC. It's clearly not your thing so stick with something that works for you.
     
  10. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Exactly. He's obsessed with MCE, even though in reality, TiVo is the far better option for all but the most hard-core tinkerers.
     
  11. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Not exactly. I just like HTPCs. I also happen to like Tivos. I use WMC because it's the only available option for receiving and recording encrypted digital cable on a PC. Now that there are other options available if your provider doesn't flag the channels as copy once, I'm looking into giving them a try. The only problem is finding the time to do so.

    I've already got one PC configured with XBMC, server.wmc, and pvr.wmc. I've only had a brief opportunity to test it out and ran into a few glitches. I've had issues with Verizon and my cablecard not activating properly so I've had to deal with getting a new one and trying to get it activated as well. Turns out that Verizon was having problems with cablecard activations across the board and apparently their phone tech support folks never got the memo. It also hasn't helped that mother nature keeps dumping lots of snow on us and I've had to devote many hours to just keeping my driveway clear.

    Tivo or HTPC. You use which one suits your needs. It's all good. :D
     
  12. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    True, it is the only option for using a PC to record digital cable. So it proves that until another software solution is developed, recording cable on a PC isn't viable. It's too bad that BeyondTV and SageTV were never able to grow into CableCard and become viable competitors to TiVo. The concept of running a centralized server based on a PC by adding your own hardware is great, it's just that MCE is so badly botched that it's just not realistic at this point...

    In terms of copy once channels. HBO forces copy once, which is completely idiotic, but they do, so it is that way on all cable systems, even ones like Comcast that use the copy flags correctly. HBO should lighten up, since all their popular stuff is on torrent anyways, although I guess if you want it somewhere else, you can just torrent it.
     
  13. heyted

    heyted New Member

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    There are many software solutions for recording digital cable on an HTPC. For example, if a user has all digital encrypted channels with all channels having CCI flagged as copy freely except premium channels, then a complete solution is possible with MythTV or other open source software if the user has no premium channels. Many people are not interested in premium channels like HBO. I used to have premium channels, but I dropped them all and got Netflix.
     
  14. heyted

    heyted New Member

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    Mar 4, 2012
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    I had signal issues myself several months ago. I do not have a tuning adapter, but I was having problems with some channels not tuning intermittently after Comcast did some work in my neighborhood. I used the TiVo Premiere that I had at the time to check the signal on the problem channels. It appeared that the signal was not too strong. Comcast recommend a home visit, and after checking the signal, I was surprised to hear him say the signal is "too hot." After he was finished, all channels worked fine.
     
  15. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Actually, it's the only option for recording channels marked as copy once. There are several options for recording digital cable over and above WMC as long as the channels are flagged as copy freely. There's an add-on for SageTV that allows you to use cablecard tuners for recording any channels flagged as copy freely. Even though SageTV is technically no longer supported since they sold out to Google, the developer of SageTV has promised to provide guide data for existing SageTV users indefinitely. If you're lucky you can still pick up a license to use SageTV from the classifieds in the SageTV forums (it's transferable).

    I was just in the process of testing SageTV with the DCT add-on when they announced the sale to Google. When I realized that licenses were no longer directly available I stopped any further evaluation. It's a shame becauase I was really curious to see what all the fuss was about regarding SageTV. It's much more complex to configure than WMC, but their extenders were supposed to be the best in the business.

    BeyondTV is still around for recording OTA channels, but they basically abandoned any further development after Windows 7 was released. I guess they just couldn't deal with the competition once Microsoft threw their hat into the ring. I used to use BTV with Windows XP but upgraded to Windows 7 and Media Center and never looked back.

    HBO doesn't flag their channels, your provider does. However, HBO pretty much demands that they do so for HBO and Cinemax. Providers that flag anything else should be horsewhipped.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that XBMC and Media Portal also have the ability to use cablecard tuners, but with the same caveat and limitation as SageTV. XBMC actually uses any number of DVR apps as the backend for the recording engine and guide data. Here's a list of the various DVR apps that can be used with XBMC:

    http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=PVR_backend

    I've also been considering Media Portal, which is very popular in other parts of the world. They only recently added live TV and recording functionality. Here's a link to their website if you want to take a gander:

    http://www.team-mediaportal.com/
     
  16. mschnebly

    mschnebly Member

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    Feb 21, 2011
    For you! Just because you don't have the right skills to set up an HTPC properly so that it's rock solid doesnt mean others can't. About once every quarter I run windows patching, reboot and forget about it. It is far more dependable than my Premiere ever was.
     
  17. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    By that same logic, you don't even need QAM, as if you don't have cable you can just use OTA. No CableCard necessary. MCE is the only complete digital cable solution on the market.

    Same difference. They force the providers to flag them. Yes, providers that flag stuff they shouldn't be flagging are evil. It's amazing that they would waste their time and money flagging stuff just to screw their own customers over.

    MCE is a complete mess. Even if MCE had worked properly with my setup, the interface is a disaster, there are no good remotes, etc, etc.
     
  18. heyted

    heyted New Member

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    Mar 4, 2012
    South Florida
    :confused:What?:confused: QAM is required for cable to work. I have cable because I want cable channels that are not broadcast OTA. A CableCARD is required to receive encrypted cable channels.

    Clear QAM is not the same thing as CCI = copy freely.
     
  19. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Don't waste your time trying to argue with Bigg. He emphatically hates WMC for whatever reason and he believes everyone else should feel the same.

    Arguing with him is like hitting your head against a brick wall. You'll feel much better when you finally stop. ;) Most importantly, it adds nothing meaningful to this thread.

    FWIW, I use a Logitech Harmony One to control my HTPC. It's the same remote I've used for years to control my Tivos. It's also one of the most popular remotes ever made. Sadly, it is no longer in production. :(
     
  20. mschnebly

    mschnebly Member

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    Feb 21, 2011
    Ain't that the truth. I also use the Harmony One and my wife has no problems at all. She always hated the sluggishness of our Premiere. It's nice to have choices.
     
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