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Old 05-07-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
davefred99
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Everytime I consider TIVO the Monthly sub Fee stops me.

Several years ago I had a TIVO on Direct TV and liked it much better than the DTV DVR Boxes at the time. I am not longer on DTV as have move onto Verizon Fios. I have used Sage TV with extenders but it has never been fully trouble free so I also have a Fios Motorola DVR to keep my wife happy. I still use Sage for my personal use though.
Recently I have been re-evaluating all my options and have considered moving to either MediaCenter & Xbox360 extenders or Possibly TIVO. The problem I have with TIVO is I hate paying monthly Sub of Rental fees for a guide and or the DVR. I am very interested in the new XL4 Tuner TIVO and the rumored New IP TV extender Boxes. But I would be totally against paying another Sub Fee for the extenders I would be willing to pay up to $150.00 apiece for the Boxes if they were fee free.
On the other hand I can completely build a Media Center Box for about 1/2 of the cost of a new xl4 tuner TIVO & and the Lifetime Sub. So once again I get stuck on the Tivo Sub fees ??

Edited: I already own a Silicon Dust HDHR(2 tuner clear Qam) & HDHR-Prime(3 tuner cable card) thus the cost difference between TIVO & MCE build.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #2
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i think you answered your own question. If you want trouble free operation then you will pay for tivo. If you want to keep your wife happy then pay the extra money and get the tivo. If you can "get away" with it then spend less and be ready for the unhappy wife.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
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Lifetime = no fee.

If you can build a cheaper box that does what you want then you should. As mentioned above, TiVo (IMHO), fulfills the WAF better than any other box I could build or buy.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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Lifetime = no fee.

If you can build a cheaper box that does what you want then you should. As mentioned above, TiVo (IMHO), fulfills the WAF better than any other box I could build or buy.
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
The resale of a last gen TiVo with lifetime sells for just about the cost of lifetime service... So your your next gen product is covered when you are ready to upgrade!

People keep saying they would upgrade if they could transfer their lifetime service - funny thing is - you can!

Sell that lifetimed S3 model for ~ $400 on eBay and you are done!
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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ignore what they call the fee. There is no service fee. There is no guide fee.
Like every other product in america that the government doesn't regulate they price it at what the market will bear (sadly in tivo's case that isn't enough to really make money).

Anyway- it's just an installment plan. THe box costs 800 (or whatever the number is now a days) and that is what it is. You can pay ~$400 + ~400 or ~400 plus never ending interest payments of ~20 a month forever. Or any one of another installment plans they have.

Pull up your shorts- ignore the words involved and decide if you want to pay the premium that tivo costs (whatever they call it). It's really that simple. Words are words. Money is money.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by davefred99 View Post
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
You are just wrong, period. My lifetime TiVoHDs although over 3 years old are still worth around $300 each and still pretty good. TiVo plus lifetime service is the way to go and the premium compared to other DVRs is easily justified. I have been using TiVo since Oct. 2000 and never paid a penny of monthly TiVo service, just purchased 3 lifetime subscriptions in total.

I do see whining about the monthly service and lifetime fee often but it makes no sense to me, no other company offers a comparable product for less money, so TiVo sure isn't over priced.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:04 PM   #8
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i feel ya in a way. i didnt want to pay the monthly fee either when i considered tivo.I bit the bullet, got a regular premiere, and have fallen in love. I am so happy with my tivo, that i went out and got a second one so i could multi room stream, and watch it in both my bedroom and living room. My mother in law got a cable box from the cable co, and i gotta admit, it is a piece of junk compared to my tivos. I say go for it, pay the fees, or get lifetime if u dont want. Then try going back to a cable dvr, and ull miss ur tivo.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #9
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Especially since the OP is on FiOS they should get the TiVos. I have two Elites on FiOS and they are working great. And with my lifetime boxes, when a new model comes out, I will just sell my existing boxes to cover 80% to 100% of the cost of a new box with Lifetime. When you factor in the resale price, the break even point is much, much, much lower.

over the last 4.5+ years on FiOS I've used S3 boxes, TiVo HD boxes, two tuner Premiere boxes and now Elite boxes. Each time selling my older lifetime boxes to cover 805 to 100% of the cost of teh new boxes with lifetime. Lifetime is really the best way to go.

Although I do have one Premiere on monthly, but that has a low monthly fee of only $6.95. I'll keep using it until they try to raise the fee or an S5 box is released.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:48 PM   #10
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I was introduced to TiVo by my BIL in 2005. He gave me an S2 for Christmas. I was hooked with the 7 day free trial. I was just getting out of paying off credit cards and was sick of paying monthly payments on anything (other than car payments and rent), and I opted for the lifetime subscription.
At the time, the cost of lifetime subscription was comparable to the cost of DVD recorders with a hard drive, and as I was looking to upgrade from VCR recording of TV shows, TiVo was the perfect solution.
Every Tivo I have purchased since included the lifetime subscription.
Sure, the possibility existed where you could build your own DVR via an HTPC, but I considered HTPC's "high end", and it would have cost me as much (if not more) to build my own DVR.
To me, it is a no brainer. Cost of building a DVR via HTPC vs. the cost of a Tivo with lifetime sub is comparable. Cost of maintaining that HTPC vs. the Tivo? That is for you to decide.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by davefred99 View Post
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
I'm with Chris on this. As long as you are buying the TiVo for what it does today and do not have to have the latest greatest eature then I would expect it to last far longer than 3 years. We've had our original S3's with lifetime now for 5 1/2 years and I don't see any reason at the moment to replace them with a newer model. Before that we had our S1's for 7 1/2 years and HD was what prompted us to move to the S3's.

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Old 05-08-2012, 08:04 AM   #12
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In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
IIRC Tivo first came out in 1999. That's 13 years ago or "4+ lifetimes" for something better or more desirable. If you're against paying the monthly service fee or lifetime then why are you even considering it? Prioritize your needs/wants and determine what's most important to you and you'll have your answer.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:01 AM   #13
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Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
Statements like this are nothing more than saying that TiVo costs too much. Given that deciding something costs too much is a very personal decision I never really understand why people want to post that info unless they don't actually believe it and are looking to be talked into the purchase.

So my advise is to go ahead and buy it with lifetime its really a great deal !! I have had 5 TiVos over time, 4 with lifetime and have been very happy with my purchases.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:05 AM   #14
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Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
The payback is much faster than 12 months. The residual value of the lifetime sub is better than 75% of cost. Near 100% if bought through a multi service discount. Used tivos with lifetime service are easy to sell.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:08 AM   #15
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As some others have already pointed out - the resale value of a Tivo with lifetime sub is still good. That may be your best option - 2 of the units I have are on lifetime. I pay for others monthly but can drop those if I ever decide the value is not there.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:17 AM   #16
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The payback is much faster than 12 months. The residual value of the lifetime sub is better than 75% of cost. Near 100% if bought through a multi service discount. Used tivos with lifetime service are easy to sell.
That is the way I look at it as well. With a TiVo Premiere, the basic DVR functions should work at least as well as the best competition three years from now and will likely beat the best competition. I would think a TiVo Premiere with lifetime could be sold at a price that meant the lifetime paid for itself or better anytime after the first few months. In 3 years, lifetime owners are going to be about $200 better off than those selecting month to month. Time value of money changes that a little but unless someone can get a great return on alternative investments, lifetime is the best option by far.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:29 AM   #17
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i think you answered your own question. If you want trouble free operation then you will pay for tivo. If you want to keep your wife happy then pay the extra money and get the tivo. If you can "get away" with it then spend less and be ready for the unhappy wife.
Define "trouble-free." I've had as many issues with Tivos over the years as I've had with my HTPC. I have yet to find a consumer electronics device that is 100% trouble-free and any claims that a Tivo is bullet-proof is pure BS.

Windows 7 Media Center is extremely stable and just plain works as long as you don't try and tinker with it once you've got a stable setup, which is actually quite easy to achieve these days. The OP already has the components necessary to build himself a Tivo Killer so I say go for it. I finally pulled the plug on my last Tivo a couple of weeks ago and never regretted it for an instant. My wife, who has zero patience for anything that doesn't work perfectly, uses a SFF HTPC for watching TV in the family room on a daily basis and doesn't see any difference between the PC and the Tivo from a user's standpoint. If my wife can accept it then anyone can.

That being said, if you decide to get a Tivo then go for the lifetime sub. It will pay for itself in the long run.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:53 AM   #18
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Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
IOW, you are unhappy because TiVo wil not sell you the box for less than it cost them to make it.

Boo Hoo.

TiVo offers you the option of spreading out the cost of the unit over time or of paying up front. Few, if any, other companies offer that flexibility. Moxi sold their unit for a bit more than the cost of a TiVo + PLS, and look where it got them. As it is TiVo is bringing in less revenue than they are spending on making and distributing the boxes. Exactly why do you think they should sell it for even less? The fact the cost is split up into two separate chunks - hardware and service - is in the context of this discussion irrelevent.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by davefred99 View Post
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
How much have DVR's changed in the past decade? Not by much compared to the rest of the tech industry.

The TV industry is notorious for moving like a snail on technology because they make more money in there current model and right now TiVo is the only thing that truly bridges the cap between the old way of Linear TV and the new way IP/onDemand.

What more are you expecting from your TiVo in 3 years? In the past decade the industry really just went from SD to HD and while we will be going to Ultra HD in the future its still 3-4 years out. From the peoples experiences in the post above you will pay less money by having a TiVo with Lifetime for 3-4 years then selling it used for a new 4K TiVo Box. Which is probably when I will get a new box myself since the current ones do HD just fine.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:38 PM   #20
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The only way I would consider buying/buidling a HTPC is if it were under $600 dollars:

$49 - $99 Tivo Premiere
$100 - 2TB Green WD Drive
$399 Lifetime Subscription

The dual tuners are at least $99. A 500GB hard drive might go for $50 - $75. A good slim HTPC case is $100 or so. Not including memory, motherboard & CPU. I happened to like WMC, and you have to add that cost in as well.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by davefred99 View Post
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
I've had my original S3 now for coming up on six years. Other than the interface being slower than my HD (or newer models), it does everything I want it to...and flawlessly. I guess I'm easily satisfied, but I suspect there are MANY others like me who don't believe that a 3 year turnaround on lifetime payback is too long...
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:54 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by davefred99 View Post
Lifetime = Upfront Fee ( about 3yrs payback) = Sucks
If the payback was more like 12-18 mos + the current cost of the box I would be all over it. In 3 years there will likely be something better or more desirable. In the tech world that is a lifetime.
The problem with looking at it like that is that it doesn't really work that way, at least not mentally. Long before your first year is over, you'll no longer be feeling the sting of paying so much upfront for lifetime and everything after that is just as good as free.

You can always sell the Tivo in 3 years and recoup a significant portion of the lifetime cost. And in line with my first statement, you won't look at that money as being replacement money to fill the void in your bank account, you'll be looking at it as bonus money that you didn't have the day before.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:01 PM   #23
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Happy with WMC myself. Snappy interface, 4 tuners and large storage capacity. 360 as extender works great. And that's wirelessly streaming to it.

Many aspects of interface and other media functionality better than Tivo.

Tivo probably better at some of the recording and season pass stuff.

I wouldn't be comfortable giving a WMC pc to a household without a "techie" as I have encountered a few issues that the "non-techie" wouldn't have been able to solve.

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:02 PM   #24
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Define "trouble-free." I've had as many issues with Tivos over the years as I've had with my HTPC. I have yet to find a consumer electronics device that is 100% trouble-free and any claims that a Tivo is bullet-proof is pure BS.

Windows 7 Media Center is extremely stable and just plain works as long as you don't try and tinker with it once you've got a stable setup, which is actually quite easy to achieve these days. The OP already has the components necessary to build himself a Tivo Killer so I say go for it. I finally pulled the plug on my last Tivo a couple of weeks ago and never regretted it for an instant. My wife, who has zero patience for anything that doesn't work perfectly, uses a SFF HTPC for watching TV in the family room on a daily basis and doesn't see any difference between the PC and the Tivo from a user's standpoint. If my wife can accept it then anyone can.

That being said, if you decide to get a Tivo then go for the lifetime sub. It will pay for itself in the long run.
This is what I was getting at. I already have working Sage TV HTPC Server setup that is working but some of the components are getting old. Sage TV is no longer in Business as it was bought up by Google. The future of SageTv is uncertain so I am once again contemplating my options. WMC is the closest Full Feature HTPC/DVR option to Sage and most of my original and many newer components like the HDHR-Prime (cablecard network tuner) can be recycled. If I were to go this way I would only need a new Mob,CPU & Memory + a new case. My best estimate of cost would be about $400 total including a new win7/MCE license. I would also need at least one Xbox360 ($199.00 new)for as an extender as well. So my total outlay would be about $600.00.

To do the same with Tivo I would be looking at Minimum 2 Tivo Premier Boxes @ $99.00 refurbished + one original lifetime Tivo sub for $499 + one second Lifetime sub @ $399.00. for a total outlay of about $1100.00. My situation is different than someone starting from scratch but that is not my concern. For me it is about pure economics plus keeping my wife happy. I am not concerned with issues such as the profit margin of TIVO i care about my bottom line. If Tivo can not sell there product at a profit then they need to figure that out for themselves, the market will decide if there price points make sense.

Tivo will also have a new competitor soon in the Ceton Q and Ceton extenders. They are also MCE based and will be fully compatible with PC based systems as well. It will be interesting to see were they price these devices as compared to TIVO.

So bottom line I am leaning toward sticking with the HTPC/DVR route but am also interested to see what TIVO does with there rumored IP client products as well.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:48 PM   #25
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I just read about the Ceton Q. Six tuners is not bad in a nice slim package. I would imagine you could hook extra storage via USB or eSATA. If I had to guess, it would come in around $800 or so. Six tuners would be so nice. Drooling already....
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:08 PM   #26
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Hopefully TiVo comes out with an XL6.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:15 PM   #27
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$100 - 2TB Green WD Drive
Where can you get a 2 TB drive for $100 now? I'm serious. They seem to be SLOWLY creeping down.. but are significantly above $100.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:20 AM   #28
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The only way I would consider buying/buidling a HTPC is if it were under $600 dollars:

$49 - $99 Tivo Premiere
$100 - 2TB Green WD Drive
$399 Lifetime Subscription

The dual tuners are at least $99. A 500GB hard drive might go for $50 - $75. A good slim HTPC case is $100 or so. Not including memory, motherboard & CPU. I happened to like WMC, and you have to add that cost in as well.
Check out some of the pre-built HTPCs from ASRock or Zotac. They sell numerous small-form factor HTPCs in all price ranges. I recently built a mini-iTX HTPC for about $200 using an ASRock E350M motherboard with integrated CPU/GPU and USB3 ports. I already had a spare 750GB hard drive and an extra Win 7 Home Premium license so all I had to buy was 2GB of RAM and an optical drive. I use it for an HDTV I put in a spare bedroom along with a HDHomeRun Prime that's shared between multiple PCs and HDTVs.

FYI - woot.com has the SiliconDust HDHomeRun ATSC/QAM dual networked tuner on sale today for $69 plus $5 shipping. I recently purchase a used HDHomeRun dual tuner model for about $55 including shipping so your $99 estimate is a bit off.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:36 AM   #29
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Where can you get a 2 TB drive for $100 now? I'm serious. They seem to be SLOWLY creeping down.. but are significantly above $100.
They have some 2TB drives on Amazon and Newegg for $110. Although I didn't see any for $100 right now. But with mothers day coming up there could be some sales.

Even Best Buy has them down to around $120 now.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:58 AM   #30
Worf
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,710
Just FYI - Microsoft's been having a LOT of issues with the guide data lately on MCE. As in "it don't update". And some people have ran out of guide data waiting for Microsoft to fix it (and have considered paying a $20/month third party guide data provider).

For me, I was lucky and got down to 3 days of guide before it finally gave me a little more.

The only reason I use MCE instead of my TiVo? My cable provider went all digital, encrypted all the channels, and don't do cablecard. However, I use TiVo as it's guide and season passes have so far been far superior (I use it to double-check my MCE recordings to make sure I get all the programs I watch). Because in the end, the TiVo's scheduler for me has been far more reliable and I've had less issues with it.

And MCE is a HUGE step up from my only other option - cable provider DVR, which is a POS - crappy UI, guide data is lost on power cycle, recording schedule is lost on power cycle, etc.

TiVo also seems to get more guide data than MCE - my TiVos consistently get more days of guide than MCE (I have to manually dump my TiVo's To Do list and make sure MCE is recording everything properly - it still misses shows for me, and my MCE never has guide for the last few days TiVo does).

Yes, I miss my TiVo. MCE is a substitute in a sense, it's still way better than the crap the cable companies call a PVR. But if my TiVos could work with the signal these days, I'd jump all over it. And let's not forget web scheduling. Sure MCE has it through addons, but man, you have to do so much to get it to work. For TiVo, I just go to TiVo.com pick the show and I'm done.
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