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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. MeInDallas

    MeInDallas Member

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    The reason I asked is that I was using a WD20EURS in the beginning for everything, and I had done just what you are saying with the separate partition, and I was getting a lot of errors. I read a lot of the threads over at The Green Button and everyone kept saying to put the OS on an SSD which would help, and so I did, and nearly every issue I had encountered disappeared after that. I picked up a small SSD off Newegg for around $50 and its been running like a champ since then :D
     
  2. dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    Dallas, I've been considering that today. Without that Seagate hybrid drive, setting things up today has been much more smooth. My plan was to have the OS and recorded TV on the big hybrid drive. Now I'm thinking about returning it and getting an SSD and a 2-3tb conventional drive instead.

    Good point, too, on getting an image backup. Today was yet another 850MB download of Windows 7 patches.
     
  3. MeInDallas

    MeInDallas Member

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    Jul 31, 2011
    Dallas, Texas
  4. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    My WMC setup got a lot smoother once I resintalled Win7, regulated it to mostly just DVR-use/tv viewing - hooked to a 24" computer monitor in a back room, used 360 extenders in every room with an hdtv and installed a SSD boot drive.

    Not sure the SSD boot drive corrected anything per se, but it does allow you to reboot in less than 30 seconds which is great if you get an error and also great to do occasionally as a preventative measure. Also I set logins to automatic and WMC to automatic startup so it goes right into WMC upon reboot. I can pretty much reboot in the middle of 4 recordings if I want to and miss very little of each recording (1-2 minutes max) as it will automatically start recording what is was recording before the reboot. I used to schedule reboots but stopped after I thought a few problems I had were because of those. Might be some voodoo science conclusion, but I just occasionally reboot the thing instead.

    Oh and make sure your tuner temps are south of recommended 65 degrees. Check this in WMC under Ceton under the top menu option whose name escapes me right now. As part of my rehaul this past spring I also tried to improve the cooling with better fans and airflow and I think this also helped me though I can't be sure.


    I didn't and don't have to deal with TAs. Thank goodness.
     
  5. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Apr 2, 2005
    You forgot-

    $200 -- 20 hrs spent finding deals and parts plus assembly/configuration at minimum wage of $10/hr

    priceless -- Living somewhere that has no copy - protected channels
     
  6. trip1eX

    trip1eX Active Member

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    Yes sales and price drops happen. But I fully expect Roamios to drop in price too. And even Tivos go on sale occasionally. Amazon was getting rid of Roamio Pros the other week for $423.

    All that goes in the fine print and asterisk section.

    If you are buying a $300 turn-key pc and then a 6 tuner card which is $300 right now then you are looking at $600. A whole $150 over the price of a Roamio Plus today. And for what? For the headache of configuring the thing? For having a form factor you can't put in the cabinet in your living room? You wouldn't have a remote either. Your temps might be too high in that $300 pc. YOu won't have a real copy of Windows. You'll have to remove bloatware. A $300 pc is not likely to be living room quiet. Nor as efficient. ...this list goes on.

    Next time you go buy a couch let me know. I will remind you that you can save money by building your own and that you probably already have materials in your garage that can help you further reduce your cost.


    Well I can blame it on WMC. What you say is like saying don't blame Apple your Macbook Pro failed. It actually was the chip they were using that failed.

    It should be smart enough to record what I wanted. I don't recall having this problem with Tivo.
     
  7. Worf

    Worf Active Member

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    Actually, if it continually refreshes, it means WMC just did a guide update and is reindexing and doing a bunch of scheduling. It's annoying, but give it a minute and it'll settle down.

    But in my case, I delete a conflict, and it refreshes the entire list once. It's annoying because you lose your place in the list. And when I redo the scheduling weekly, I end up having to delete a lot of shows, so when it happens (always near the end of the list), scrolling back to the end, deleting, scrolling to the end, deleting gets old, fast.
     
  8. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Yet it should be common sense when you think about it.

    The InfiniTV 6 has been going on sale for $250 quite often recently (in fact, it's on sale right now). I keep getting e-mails from Ceton about sales so I suspect you're going to see a permanent price drop on the horizon. You can buy a used InfiniTV 4 on ebay for less than $100 these days. The SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime was on sale for only $80 with free shipping a day or two ago from TigerDirect, IIRC. The new six-tuner HDHomeRun Prime is supposed to be selling for only $150 when it comes out so I suspect Ceton will drop their price even further to be competitive. Newegg has a huge inventory of refurbed PCs that would work as a basic HTPC and sell for under $100 on occasion.

    You forgot to factor in the cost of lifetime service on your Roamio, which drives the cost up considerably higher.

    FYI - there are lots of HTPC cabinets available that look like any other AV component. I've got a Silverstone case that looks right at home next to my Onkyo Pro preamp/processor. Here's a link to the same case with a silver finish (mine's all black):

    http://www.silverstonetek.com/product_legacy.php?area=en&model=lc14

    I don't recall ever having a temperature issue in my HTPC. The Cetons do run warm, but nothing too extreme that would cause any problems.

    How is it not a real copy of Windows? Just because I'm not using it as a desktop PC doesn't change the OS. You only have to deal with bloatware if you buy a preconfigured PC from a major manufacturer. You can always wipe the drive and reinstall Windows without all of that crap. I usually remove it from any preconfigured PC.

    Any PC can be made virtually dead silent with the right cooling devices.

    Configuring Windows Media Center shouldn't be any more difficult than setting up a Tivo. I just load up the software, make a few settings and I'm good to go. It's a little more involved than that, but not all that complicated. Gremlins can creep into the situation on occasion and Murphy's Law is always present so there's no foolproof way to set up a HTPC, although it's been ages since I've personally had any HTPC issues.

    I can't argue about the effeciency with respect to power usage. However, newer hardware is more efficient than ever before. My Intel NUCs probably use about the same power as your Roamio. You also have to factor in that a HTPC performs the same tasks as multiple individual components so the overall power usage is probably going to be a wash.

    I also dabble in woodworking on occasion, so what you're suggesting isn't as farfetched as you make it sound. Building a wood frame for a couch isn't all that difficult. I just don't have the upholstering skills to make it work, although I'm sure I could learn them if I had the time to invest. ;)
     
  9. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    I don't have that issue, at least not with that frequency. I generally check my upcoming recording schedule and delete extraneous airings of shows that I know to be repeats but the guide data isn't fully updated yet. I click on the show, select delete, and I'm back in the same spot in the list. Occcasionally it will refresh following the deletion and take me back to the beginning of the list, but it doesn't happen all that often. In fact, I checked the list this morning and deleted at least a half dozen shows from the list without having to scroll back through it to find the next show to delete.
     
  10. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Hartford-...
    TiVo is a bit more expensive now, as they are $1100 now, but back when they were $900 with Premiere, TiVo and an HTPC were very close in price. You could make the HTPC maybe a few $ less, but it could also be a bit more depending on how much stuff you put in it. And that's not even including teh $99 for Windows, as I had a license from school that I used.

    True.

    Well, sort of. The initial set, maybe. Until it starts having problems and crashing all the time. Then it's DEFINITELY not the same.

    You can get the power consumption way down with a 35W processor, high efficiency power supply, etc, although the TiVo Roamio has even those most efficient HTPC beat by a pretty good margin.
     
  11. Worf

    Worf Active Member

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    Yeah, happens a bit more often to me. Though I would really appreciate if it warned me it might happen... or if I could determine when it would do it.

    Could just be a side effect of the fact my guide data is horribly wrong and shows are marked repeat when they're new runs.
     
  12. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    And this does not occur for everyone that uses WMC. You just ran into bad luck and decided not to pursue a solution.

    If we're talking about just using the PC as a DVR then I'd agree. However, add in a standalone DVD or Blu-Ray player and the overall power usage is pretty even. My wife wastes more electricity by leaving lights on all over the house so whatever power my HTPC uses is inconsequential.

    People have to realize that a HTPC is not something you just buy off the shelf in most cases. You have to want to put in some time and effort to get things to work the way you want. Some hardware platforms work with a simple install and others just drive you nuts. If you're worried about the cost of the hardware and the amount of electricity it uses then you should stick with Tivo because it probably will cost you a bit more in these areas. Overall, it's going to pay off dividends in the convenience it offers as well as the extra features it provides in a single box. The actual value it delivers depends on what you expect from it as well as the amount of time involved in getting it to the point of being stable.

    Aside from being a perfectly competent DVR for my needs, it is the only platform that allows me to play ripped DVDs and Blu-Rays with all of the extras stripped out, leaving just the main movie. This does require the use of third party software and codecs as WMC does not support mkv or Blu-Ray playback natively. However, the software is free in some cases and is not difficult to install and use. There may be some media players that also allow you to play mkv files, but then that means you need a 2nd box in addition to the DVR.

    I've gotten so accustomed to using HTPCs that I can no longer imagine my life without them. I don't like spending a lot of time working out bugs like I did when I first got started with the hobby. These days, I build them and they just work. Obviously, this doesn't occur as easily for others. I don't use any magic formula nor do I spend a lot of time hand picking hardware. I used to follow guidelines in some of the recommended hardware threads at the AVS Forums and elsewhere, but mainly I just buy whatever hardware suits my needs these days. I mostly like to base my systems on the Intel Core i3 processors as they are cost effective and provide more than enough processing power as well as integrated features to keep costs down (i.e., integrated HD audio and video, negating the need for a standalone graphics card or sound card). The latest Haswell models have apparently fixed the 24 fps bug that many of the purists complain about (i.e., dropped frames once in a millennium when playing movies). I'm not quite than anal so the HD 4000 graphics in older CPUs is fine for my needs.

    FWIW, Tivos aren't perfect either. I have not personally experienced the vast majority of reported issues, but these forums are littered with complaints about Tivo problems. The point being that neither platform is trouble free no matter how much you want to paint that rosy picture for Tivo.
     
  13. dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    My reinstall is going well, sort of. I'm having an issue I haven't seen before which is that the SDV channels show no picture, though I do get sound. Ceton diagnostics report "Tuning Channel 751 succeeded." though WMC has a black screen but WITH sound. Other non-SDV channels (local HD network channels as well as HBO HD) work perfectly. Looking at the tuner diags, Signal level is -2.9 dBmV and 30.0dB S/N which seems to be within spec. I will probably run diag collection and send to Ceton unless someone here has an idea what's going on.
     
  14. dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    Interestingly, when I go to the TA diagnostics, something odd happens. Not sure if this is common behavior. Flipping through the MTR-700 Diagnostics (this is Motorola country) all of the various status screens look good, including signal to noise. Clicking on Switched Digital Video Status produces an error message, either "Request timed out, try again later" or something about the tuning resolver is busy (didn't write it down).

    I did reboot the TA a couple times; best practice seems to be 1) pull power from the TA, 2) remove the USB cable, 3) restore power, 4) wait for solid OK light, 5) reattach USB
     
  15. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Paradise...
    I had the same issue when I first installed a Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCie. I opened a support ticket and within one day had a new special firmware sent to me to install which fixed the issue 100%.
     
  16. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Good to know. The folks at Ceton seem to go out of their way to be helpful, even to the extent of contacting the provider on your behalf to work out any issues (although sometimes it can take a while, but they always seem to come through in the end).
     
  17. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    as in hundreds of reports in the forums here over the years? Seriously, anybody who follows these forums knows of the conference calls between TiVo and cable companies. In the early HD days, TiVo even had dedicated phone numbers specifically for 3 way conversations.

    There's been dozens of reports over the years of just simple problems with video and audio on single channels due to a cable company franchise messing up the metadata for the channel or set of channels. TiVo contacts the franchise often, I suspect much more often than they are given credit for simply because things just start working again for the TiVo user. I know they called on my behalf several years ago.

    You're way off base here.
     
  18. dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    I thought maybe it was a codec problem so I installed the Shark007 package and... now nothing works right. Sigh. Start over, I guess.
     
  19. dtivouser

    dtivouser Tivoless TCF Club

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    Wow, Shark007 installed an adware IE toolbar! What a disaster. Time to reinstall again, I guess.

    Really, I think this PC and my Romaio both should spend time at the bottom of a swimming pool.
     
  20. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Then I stand corrected. ;) I'll admit to not having read every thread that's ever been posted here.

    I probably should have mentioned that the Shark007 has at least one item that you should uncheck before completing the installation. It installs it by default unless you clear the checkbox to allow it. You should be able to uninstall it from the Control Panel, IIRC.

    What problem did you suspect was caused by a missing codec? You should only need the codec pack if you're trying to play DVDs or Blu-Rays or some other video format. I just looked back over your setup and you indicated you're using Windows 7 Pro, patched. Patched with what?

    You may be trying to install more things than are necessary all at once. Try installing just the barebones Windows setup with the Ceton tuners. Get WMC working and stable before you start adding more things into the mix. When things settle down and look like they're behaving, create a backup image so you have a good starting point in case things go south after making additional upgrades. I had many of the same issues you're reporting with my first HTPC as well as one or two other configurations down the road. The problem always ended up being flaky hardware. I had two consecutive Intel motherboards that were bad as well as a couple sticks of memory.
     
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