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Old 01-05-2014, 10:13 AM   #31
mr.unnatural
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The amount of caring and feeding all depends on your setup. I've got three HTPCs running 24/7 that require zero maintenance other than manually running Windows Update once a month. I could let them update automatically, but I prefer to pick which updates I want installed. Compared to the stability of Tivos, I'd put them both dead even in that regards, at least with my PCs. Obviously, YMMV.

Whatever benefits you get from either platform depends entirely on how you use them and what you want them to do. I really like having everything available from a single device without having to switch inputs. I can watch and record live TV as well as enjoy Blu-Ray movies in 1080p with full HD audio. I've also got a vast library of DVDs, home movies, concert videos, and miscellaneous TV shows and videos archived on my 30TB server.

I'm not particularly enamored with streaming services so I don't use them. Aside from shows they produce themselves, Netflix only offers movies and TV shows that were released years ago, most of which I've probably already seen when they were first run. Occasionally I'll discover a show that I missed during its first run, but that's what torrents are for. Other services include commercials that can't be skipped, which totally defeats the purpose of owning a DVR. Virtually every movie I have on my server is more current than the vast majority of streamed content from Netflix.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:51 PM   #32
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Just started using tivo after many years with WMC, so I wanted to share thoughts from the other direction. Let me start off by saying - I love WMC. I've been using for years, and like Mr. Unnatural, grabbed the ceton infinity in that launch window before it was easily available. I just got tired of maintaining the hardware / squashing bugs. I partially blame the move to win8.1, but mostly just my own fatigue and decision that I didn't want to have to work at my tv anymore.

But, let's talk about the actual differences:

WMC is beautiful. As a pure interface, it is still the best looking dvr interface I've ever used. I love the transparent guide that floats in over live tv instead of giving you the standard windowed view, and the grid view for recordings/media is quick and intuitive to navigate.

Tivo isn't ugly by any means, but it definitely takes a more 'standard' approach. The folder views for navigating recordings is totally functional, but as someone new to tivo - it can be a bit of a mess, with recordings in multiple folders depending on groupings, and generally just less attractive from a UI standpoint.

On the other hand, the metadata that tivo grabs (without any effort on my part) such as telling me the season and episode number is wonderful.

The metaphor for setting up recordings is a bit of an adjustment as well, the biggest negative for me is the split between the season pass and wishlist in tivo. In WMC I had no need for the wishlist - if I wanted to add a show and needed to catch up on old episodes, I would add a series recording with "HD preferred, or HD only" new and rerun, and let it grab all of the episodes for any channel.

With Tivo, I'd have to do this as a wishlist if I didn't want to commit to a single channel, or set up a season pass for each station that might syndicate the show. So far - the wishlist has been a little more cumbersome from what I've seen, or needs someone with more experience to set it up perfectly. I definitely think a little more channel flexibility in tivo would be great, but only for the rare catalog shows.

Internet video: On WMC I have two options - open whatever site I want since I'm using a pc running media center, or if I'm using a 360, use its comprehensive app store for internet video (with many many more options than the roamio has at the moment). In both cases, I can get to whatever streaming site I want, but in both cases I have to leave my tv/wmc interface entirely to do so.

Tivo has netflix, hulu, youtube, and not-amazon-prime-video. BUT - if I search for a show, movie, or anything else - it searches ALL of these services and lets me get it wherever it might be. Unified search is a killer feature, and really one of the key arguments as to why it's wonderful to be using an interface that is still being actively developed by its owner. I would have loved for the xbox 360 to include my wmc guide/dvr in search results, but it would never happen.

chromecasting/DIAL support: this is another truly cool thing. Find a youtube video on your phone, hit the chromecast button, select your tivo, and boom - instant youtube party. I've been burned on the whopping 35.00 I spent on my chromecast!

WMC had some really nice advantages - basically infinite tuners, the ability to expand functionality with some great third party apps (the ceton mymedia center phone apps were lovely) and cheap reliable extenders in the form of xboxes that give you a ton of additional content. Tivo on the other hand has a monthly fee (even on its extender, which - really? come on!) and more or less limits you to what you've got (though it also has the ability to extend its abilities with third party apps a la pytivo, and hopefully there will be more opportunity coming soon with the html5 app store -

I think ultimately, it comes down to how much work you want to put into your system. I'm happy with the switch, but I also think I just got the bug to have a change of pace coupled with a rough couple of months squashing bugs. If you hate cableboxes though, you really can't go wrong with either setup.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:46 PM   #33
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I think both can work great but TiVo is so much easier to set up and use. As far as the belief that despite Microsoft giving up on WMC, it will be adequately supported and improved by third parties, I consider that extremely optimistic.

WMC is too difficult for me but now that Microsoft has given up trying to make it a viable, profitable product, something people will want to buy a Windows operating system to use or to set up a second computer in house, I wouldn't choose it even if could set it up and teach the female in house to use. Since I don't like to use WMC, I am sure not going to try and sell anybody else in the house on using it.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:14 AM   #34
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Not being optimistic at all. There are already third parties that provide guide data for a modest fee. I think you underestimate the number of WMC users and supporters that would like to ensure it's longevity. Even if WMC disappears completely, there are other Media Center frontends, like Media Portal, SageTV, and probably others, that provide support for cablecard tuners. The only caveat is that the channels cannot be flagged as copy once by your provider.

I'm not sure why you feel that WMC is too difficult to use. If you can install a card in a PCI-e slot and install the necessary drivers, you can use WMC. Setup is actually quite simple and the WMC UI isn't hard to use at all.

I gave up on trying to sell WMC to the wife and son ages ago. I just slipped it in quietly and now they both use it on a daily basis. The wife used to use my old Tivo for watching live TV. Now she does it using WMC. She still complains if something isn't working the way she expects it to. Problem is, she has zero patience and no tolerance whatsoever and will start punching buttons on the remote thinking that eventually she can fix it using a brute force approach. 99.999% of any problems she has with WMC are usually due to operator error or something that is easily remedied by restarting Media Center on the PC. My wife does not play well with any type of technology.

WMC is definitely a niche product and not something for the average user. If you want a product that works out of the box and you don't mind paying fees to use hardware you already own, then a Tivo is what you need. If you like more of a hands-on approach with virtually no limitations on the features you can add, then a WMC PC may just be what you're looking for. I've always recommended that anyone thinking of trying a HTPC should purchase an inexpensive TV tuner and connect it to an antenna. If you're already using Windows 7 then you're already most of the way there.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:46 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
The amount of caring and feeding all depends on your setup.
lol - with Tivo I have zero!

Quote:
I've got three HTPCs running 24/7 that require zero maintenance other than ...
As soon as you use "other than" the qualifier "zero" goes out the window

And it may be relatively stable now, but what did it realisticly take to get where you are now? (That was rhetorical, BTW - please no dissertation on how easy it was to set up)

Look, I have Windows, Mac and Linux servers in my house - over 48 wired ports of gigabit ethernet and commercial grade routing and wifi. I'm a geek - I just choose to geek out over stuff other than recording video.

Any solution based on a general purpose computer OS may be more flexible, but the huge trade off is maintenance and no amount of sugar coating is going to change that. TiVo is plug and play, media centers aren't. That's my point. I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong, special, impossible, extraordinary, not extraordinary, etc. I'm just being realistic.

Ever hear of beer goggles? Well geeks do the same thing with otherwise "ugly" tech - we overlook the warts as we get blinded by the underlying tech. Geek goggles, if you will. I've been guilty of it and will be again some day. I'm just pointing out your geek goggles are showing

Finally, to the OP: WMC is dead. I wouldn't invest any time in it. Just look at how MS submarined Windows home server to see the ugly future.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:58 AM   #36
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WMC is definitely a niche product and not something for the average user. If you want a product that works out of the box and you don't mind paying fees to use hardware you already own, then a Tivo is what you need.
I take umbrage at your statement about paying a fee for hardware you already own, TiVo retail sales model is based on this fee, they could have priced the product with service included from the start than nobody would be making such a statement, but they would have given up too much to the retail store that sold TiVos, and would not make out from the people that pay monthly as opposed to Lifetime. Retail discount is about 30% so a list price Roamio + at $400 cost the Retailer about $280 giving the Retailer about a 43% mark-up to list. TiVo did not want to give away another $120 on the service cost (for lifetime) or would have to charge more the customer. If you have Netflix streaming you pay a service fee to them and they did not sell you any hardware, but the hardware you use to get Netflix you own (in most cases).
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:05 PM   #37
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lol - with Tivo I have zero!
As do I with my WMC HTPCs.

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As soon as you use "other than" the qualifier "zero" goes out the window
Then you clearly did not read the qualifier. I can set mine up for automatic updates, just like your Tivos, but I choose not to.

Quote:
And it may be relatively stable now, but what did it realisticly take to get where you are now? (That was rhetorical, BTW - please no dissertation on how easy it was to set up)
There were definitely some growing pains, but that was mostly due to using early versions of Windows 7 (i.e. pre-Service Pack 1) and less stable hardware. I can literally take just about any current PC hardware, install Windows 7 and any necessary support software and drivers, and turn it into a stable HTPC.

Quote:
Look, I have Windows, Mac and Linux servers in my house - over 48 wired ports of gigabit ethernet and commercial grade routing and wifi. I'm a geek - I just choose to geek out over stuff other than recording video.
I've got a 30TB unRAID server and hardwired ethernet in every room of my house, most of them with multiple connections. My router is a PC running pfSense. I've also got a Hackintosh and a Windows 8.1 PC, as well as numerous other Windows 7 PCs and laptops. I do like to geek out on other stuff, but I also like to have a stable setup for watching and recording TV. WMC gives me that. But like I've stated numerous times before, YMMV.

Quote:
Any solution based on a general purpose computer OS may be more flexible, but the huge trade off is maintenance and no amount of sugar coating is going to change that. TiVo is plug and play, media centers aren't. That's my point. I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong, special, impossible, extraordinary, not extraordinary, etc. I'm just being realistic.
No, you're just being negative. There's no sugar coating going on. My HTPCs require zero maintenance, period, no matter how you wish to twist my words. They're also literally plug and play when I get done setting them up. Any maintenance I perform is strictly voluntary and not required.

Quote:
Finally, to the OP: WMC is dead. I wouldn't invest any time in it. Just look at how MS submarined Windows home server to see the ugly future.
By this standard, S1 through S3 Tivos are also dead since they are (mostly, if not entirely) no longer supported. If WMC were truly dead, explain to me how companies like Ceton and SiliconDust are still developing products to use with it? Clearly they know more than you do on the subject.

The OP asked what the differences are between WMC and Tivos, not a dissertation on why you shouldn't use one or the other. WMC is alive and well, regardless of what the naysayers are telling you.

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I take umbrage at your statement about paying a fee for hardware you already own, TiVo retail sales model is based on this fee, they could have priced the product with service included from the start than nobody would be making such a statement, but they would have given up too much to the retail store that sold TiVos, and would not make out from the people that pay monthly as opposed to Lifetime. Retail discount is about 30% so a list price Roamio + at $400 cost the Retailer about $280 giving the Retailer about a 43% mark-up to list. TiVo did not want to give away another $120 on the service cost (for lifetime) or would have to charge more the customer. If you have Netflix streaming you pay a service fee to them and they did not sell you any hardware, but the hardware you use to get Netflix you own (in most cases).
Sorry Les, didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. My point is that the actual cost of owning and operating a Tivo is high and above what they charge you for the hardware. Tivo has gone to a subsidized pricing structure, but charges you much more for the service as a result. I paid only $99 for lifetime service on my original S1 Tivo and about $100 for the Tivo itself. The hardware and software is much more advanced than the earlier models and you get more bang for your hardware buck, but you're paying far more for the privilege of using it than ever before. I applaud the direction Tivo is taking with their latest models, but they're making it much more expensive to own one. It's one of the main reasons I switched to HTPCs. I don't mind paying for a platform I can upgrade to my liking, but I dislike paying for a fixed platform that gives me little or no flexibility by comparison.

Tivo could easily factor in the profit margin for the hardware, allowing the retailer to price it competitively, and simply tack on the lifetime service fee, much the same way that ReplayTV did with their DVRs. All I'm saying is that the cost of buying a Tivo is potentially 4-5 times more than the cost of the DVR itself. Imagine an unsuspecting person getting a new Tivo as a gift, only to find out that it's going to cost them another $400-500 just to use it, assuming they opt for lifetime service.

To all: I was hoping to avoid turning this thread into another Tivo vs. HTPC pissing contest. If you have a valid point to make about feature comparisons between the two platforms, I welcome them. However, if you start posting crap that WMC is dead or it sucks or it doesn't work or any drivel to that extent, I'm going to set the record straight. I've never claimed that WMC is perfect and I have stated that it clearly isn't for everyone. OTOH, I've probably experienced as many problems with Tivos over the past decade or so as I have with my HTPCs, so clearly Tivos aren't perfect either. Both platforms are aimed at different target markets and each has something to offer over and above your cable provider's DVR. These are the features I'd like to focus on and leave the negativity at the door.

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Old 01-06-2014, 04:59 PM   #38
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I have both a WMC installation w/XBOX 360's as extenders and Roamios.

When I had the Tivo S3 and HD, I considered WMC to be slightly better. The speed of the Roamios, streaming, copying speed, and the guide improvements puts the Roamio in the lead for me although it's minor.

I already had the PC hardware available and an xbox 360. I eventually just converted the machine into an ESXI server so I could use the hardware for multiple operating systems. It's been operating find for the last few years without a problem. I've updated ESXI once or twice and patch the Win 7 WMC instance occasionally.

I started it up initially because I wanted a solution where I could watch TV in different locations in the house. The S3 and HD were just too slow in transferring shows. The interface with the S3 and HD were acceptable although not as fast as I would have liked.

If I was thinking about doing it today, I'd still probably do it for the geek factor in getting it working although the Tivos would be my main interface for watching TV. Real multi-room viewing (streaming, speedy transfers) with the Roamios was what I was originally looking to get working.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:39 PM   #39
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OP here. I have my Ceton 6-tuner PCI card working and have just started experimenting with it.

One thing I notice as a genuine difference between WMC and Tivo is that with Ceton, I can assign a tuner to other Windows computers on my network. As far as I can tell (thus far), any Windows 7 desktop or laptop can run WMC and, with some really fragile configuration, watch and record live TV. This places a load on the network obviously and I'm not sure at what point it breaks. But so far, it's really nice-- enough that I wonder if I shouldn't have purchased the Ceton 6-tuner ethernet device instead. I figure that if sharing tuners over the internet is something I want to do, a device simpler than a full-on PC would be more reliable. The Roamio has proven to be pretty unreliable so far for me (not everyone, I know).

Just a day or so into this and I can confirm what others said-- to make this work I have to be willing to tinker with it-- quite a bit so far, to get started. I'm hoping once I build a dedicated HTPC the config will stabilize and not require much handholding.

As I research this, I find a lot of references to using XBMC for live TV viewing and recording. It seems to be done via plugins and I wonder how well. Once I get WMC stabilized I will try that too.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:34 PM   #40
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... you're paying far more for the privilege of using it than ever before.
That is the number one reason I chose an HTPC over the TiVo service. Although, manual recording with my unique TiVo Premiere without TiVo service combined with Google TV was not bad. But, I prefer open source software over WMC.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:02 AM   #41
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I have both a WMC installation w/XBOX 360's as extenders and Roamios.

When I had the Tivo S3 and HD, I considered WMC to be slightly better. The speed of the Roamios, streaming, copying speed, and the guide improvements puts the Roamio in the lead for me although it's minor.

I already had the PC hardware available and an xbox 360. I eventually just converted the machine into an ESXI server so I could use the hardware for multiple operating systems. It's been operating find for the last few years without a problem. I've updated ESXI once or twice and patch the Win 7 WMC instance occasionally.

I started it up initially because I wanted a solution where I could watch TV in different locations in the house. The S3 and HD were just too slow in transferring shows. The interface with the S3 and HD were acceptable although not as fast as I would have liked.

If I was thinking about doing it today, I'd still probably do it for the geek factor in getting it working although the Tivos would be my main interface for watching TV. Real multi-room viewing (streaming, speedy transfers) with the Roamios was what I was originally looking to get working.
Almost all users of WMC have a geek factor but not all geeks use WMC over a TiVo. WMC is not real competition for TiVo, TiVo loss of sales to WMC is most likely in the .1% range, their loss of sales to the cable co DVR is most likely 60% - 80%.
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #42
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Sorry Les, didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. My point is that the actual cost of owning and operating a Tivo is high and above what they charge you for the hardware. Tivo has gone to a subsidized pricing structure, but charges you much more for the service as a result. I paid only $99 for lifetime service on my original S1 Tivo and about $100 for the Tivo itself. The hardware and software is much more advanced than the earlier models and you get more bang for your hardware buck, but you're paying far more for the privilege of using it than ever before. I applaud the direction Tivo is taking with their latest models, but they're making it much more expensive to own one.
My wife bought our first S1 for me for Father's Day in 2000 and lifetime service was $199. And I believe the Sony S1 itself was somewhere between $200-$300 as my wife recalls (she thinks $250). Lifetime later went up to $249 by the time we purchased our second S1 in 2002. I would disagree that you are paying far more for the privilege at least based on the initial normal retail pricing. And yes we picked up our second S1 for $100 when KMart was have a closeout on them but that was not the normal price then.

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Old 01-07-2014, 09:48 AM   #43
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I realize I'm probably stretching things a bit when I get into cost comparisons. There are a lot of intangibles with each platform that make it more or less desirable for certain people. The initial cost of a Tivo is lower than ever, but I believe you're locked into a minimum service contract if you go with the monthly service, which is understandable based on the subsidized pricing of the basic units. Lifetime service is also more expensive so Tivo can make up the difference in the hardware costs.

I'm not only cheap, but I prefer the DIY approach so HTPCs are right up my alley. Tivos used to hold the same attraction since they lacked many of the features that were developed by the hacking community and eventually found their way into production models. Tivos have lost their lustre for me because there's very little I can do with them anymore that hasn't already been done. Tivo has essentially rendered the latest models unhackable, or at least have made it so difficult that it's not worth the effort anymore. HTPCs take this to the next level for me, which is why I prefer them. To me, they pick up where Tivos leave off.

Tivos are great DVRs. HTPCs are a complete media center with features that go well beyond what a DVR can provide.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:32 AM   #44
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I realize I'm probably stretching things a bit when I get into cost comparisons. There are a lot of intangibles with each platform that make it more or less desirable for certain people. The initial cost of a Tivo is lower than ever, but I believe you're locked into a minimum service contract if you go with the monthly service, which is understandable based on the subsidized pricing of the basic units. Lifetime service is also more expensive so Tivo can make up the difference in the hardware costs.

I'm not only cheap, but I prefer the DIY approach so HTPCs are right up my alley. Tivos used to hold the same attraction since they lacked many of the features that were developed by the hacking community and eventually found their way into production models. Tivos have lost their lustre for me because there's very little I can do with them anymore that hasn't already been done. Tivo has essentially rendered the latest models unhackable, or at least have made it so difficult that it's not worth the effort anymore. HTPCs take this to the next level for me, which is why I prefer them. To me, they pick up where Tivos leave off.

Tivos are great DVRs. HTPCs are a complete media center with features that go well beyond what a DVR can provide.
You are leaving you own cost of labor out of your comparison, as two people without any DVR start out, one going with TiVo the other with WMC, the TiVo person will spend less time in setup and maintenance than WMC person, to someone with time on their hands this may make no difference, but for others it may make a big difference. That may be why there is not any DVR that is WMC-in-a-box solution as TiVo has.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:56 AM   #45
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Almost all users of WMC have a geek factor but not all geeks use WMC over a TiVo. WMC is not real competition for TiVo, TiVo loss of sales to WMC is most likely in the .1% range, their loss of sales to the cable co DVR is most likely 60% - 80%.
I wasn't making any comparisons to DVR consumer metrics. I was just stating why I originally set it up and why those reasons no longer really apply. The only constants have been the fun in setting it up and the ability to plop a broadcast on my desktop.

WMC never had a chance with the majority of people. I've had little to no problem with media center but if a problem arose, I could figure it out and fix it. The majority of normal users wouldn't have the drive to track down problems let alone the patience or skill.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:04 PM   #46
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You are leaving you own cost of labor out of your comparison, as two people without any DVR start out, one going with TiVo the other with WMC, the TiVo person will spend less time in setup and maintenance than WMC person, to someone with time on their hands this may make no difference, but for others it may make a big difference. That may be why there is not any DVR that is WMC-in-a-box solution as TiVo has.
If there was a WMC-in-a-box solution, I assume it would be set up and configured for you. In that case, the time required to set it up would probably be minimal. You would have to connect any extenders you wanted to use but that is pretty quick. (I'm assuming the OS and drivers are setup for you and you just have to go through the cable card set up.)

I didn't find setting up WMC time consuming or difficult but I don't think it's for the average user who just wants to DVR their shows.

I think the latest Roamio I got took a few hours to update and get set up properly. It was straight forward although it took longer than I expected.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:19 PM   #47
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If there was a WMC-in-a-box solution, I assume it would be set up and configured for you.
Ceton was working on just such a box called the "Q," but once the word got out about WMC no longer being supported they abandoned the project. I believe they showed it at the CES a couple of years back, but it was still a work in progress at the time. The "Q" was originally designed to use an embedded version of WMC. The Echo extender was originally meant to be used in conjunction with the "Q" as well as with other WMC PCs.

The amount of time setting up a WMC PC depends entirely on what you start with. If you're building one from scratch then it will certainly take longer. If you're just setting up WMC on a PC that's already been built, the amount of time to set up WMC with one or more tuners vs. setting up a Tivo isn't a significant amount. In fact, chances are every one of you that's participating in this thread using a PC with Windows 7 already has a WMC PC. All you need to do to get it up and running as a DVR is to install one or more tuners and run WMC setup. Of course, it's slightly more complex than that, but only slightly. You'd still need to install drivers and activate a cablecard if using a CC tuner. I don't factor in the cablecard setup because you'd also have to do that with a Tivo.

As for factoring in my labor, I would never do that for something I consider a hobby and a labor of love. It's strictly something I do in my spare time for the pleasure it gives me, as well as the rewards. I wouldn't do it if I thought it was taking up too much of my time. I'd also still be using Tivos if I thought it wasn't time well spent. If I was doing it for someone else then I'd definitely factor in the time spent building and setting it up, not to mention supporting it afterwards (which is why I don't build them for others). If I had to choose between paying someone else to do it for me or do it myself then I would factor the time I spend as a savings and not a deficit.

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Old 01-07-2014, 02:00 PM   #48
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As for factoring in my labor, I would never do that for something I consider a hobby and a labor of love. It's strictly something I do in my spare time for the pleasure it gives me, as well as the rewards. I wouldn't do it if I thought it was taking up too much of my time. I'd also still be using Tivos if I thought it wasn't time well spent. If I was doing it for someone else then I'd definitely factor in the time spent building and setting it up, not to mention supporting it afterwards (which is why I don't build them for others). If I had to choose between paying someone else to do it for me or do it myself then I would factor the time I spend as a savings and not a deficit.
Your absolute correct about your labor, I do project because I have fun doing them and would not spend the money to hire someone do them for me, I just would not have the project done at all. IE: I like to set up computers from just components, not something I would do for others, even if I could make money doing it as I don't want the support issues, I like picking my own components but I get more than I need and could purchase a completed computer for less money than it cost me to build one, so I understand people that like to tinker doing their own WMC, but that a small number of people compared with total DVR ownership in the USA.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:17 PM   #49
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I think we just nailed the one major difference between Tivos and WMC PCs. Tivos are for people that just want to watch and record TV with the ability to stream online content from Netflix, Hulu, etc. HTPCs are for people that like to get their hands dirty and tinker. The amount of tinkering all depends on the combination of hardware and software used in the PC as well as the level of expertise the builder has.

The main vibe I get from HTPC bashers is that they just don't want to get involved with it. Many people that have tried it and reverted back to Tivos mostly didn't want to deal with any maintenance or constant futzing with the PC. You have to want to do it to make it work. If you simply do not want to be bothered then stick with Tivo, plain and simple. If you like a challenge and don't mind devoting some time to a fun hobby, then HTPCs may be something to think about.

I've been doing this for some time now and learned quite a few lessons along the way. This is probably why I'm able to put together stable HTPCs that just plain work the way they should. I've had my share of issues with HTPCs, but they weren't all limited to Windows Media Center. I used to have lots of issues with BeyondTV and Windows XP before I started using WMC. In retrospect, the major issues I had with BeyondTV were probably related to using too many USB tuners in my setup (I was running six at the time).

I had lots of growing pains with Windows 7 prior to the release of Service Pack 1. I generally wait until at least one service pack has been released for any new Windows OS, but the aspect of using cablecard tuners in my PC so I could access all of my TV from a single box was too good to pass up. There were lots of flaky driver issues back then that I had to deal with. I also had to deal with several defective Intel motherboards that caused me untold headaches unrelated to Windows Media Center. You just can't build a working PC with bad hardware. Since that time, it's been pretty much smooth sailing (knock on wood ) and everything has been humming along like clockwork. Any issues I ever had with WMC are in the distant past.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:52 PM   #50
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The best thing about an HTPC is that is a PC. The worst thing about an HTPC is that is a PC.
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:44 PM   #51
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I guess that's it, isn't it? And because it's a PC, along with the extra work, I figure I can also let the kids play PC games on the TV (at least the simple ones) or use Steam Big Picture.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:01 PM   #52
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I keep reading a lot of people saying that an HTPC requires a lot of work and tinkering, and that hasnt been my experience. Once it was set up, I hit the power button when I want to turn it on, record the shows I wanna watch, or just simply watch TV itself, and then if theres nothing scheduled to record, I shut it off. The next day the same thing. All updates are automatic, so nothing to do there. If I have stuff to record during the day or night I just leave it on. Nothing much else to do. No tinkering and no work, easy peasy.

Now with the Tivo's I've had, thats where all the work was. Since the introduction of SDV and tuning adapters I've had nothing but problems. Everytime I had stuff scheduled to record, I've had to run thru the house at the top of the hour to make sure I dont have black screens or missing channels, and in fact my shows are recording, which is and was a huge pain. If there are errors and I catch them in time I could simply stop the recording, switch the channel and then back again, and start the recording. This is and has always been a lot of work babysitting a Tivo. If I'm gone then of course my shows dont record if theres some error. Tivo has always pointed the finger at the cable company for this but could never explain why on the HTPC I didnt get the same errors. It seems to me that if the errors were caused by the cable company they would be there on the HTPC as well, but they never have been.

In the end, I know its impossible to come into a Tivo forum and make the case for WMC, everyone will pile on saying Tivo is the best of course and its trouble free and WMC is dead and sucks. At the end of the day I have to go with the most trouble free for me and that is WMC. All the apps that Tivo has are useless to me, I use none of them. I think it just has to do with personal preference, and for me WMC has been trouble free unlike Tivo.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:56 AM   #53
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lol - with Tivo I have zero!



As soon as you use "other than" the qualifier "zero" goes out the window

And it may be relatively stable now, but what did it realisticly take to get where you are now? (That was rhetorical, BTW - please no dissertation on how easy it was to set up)

Look, I have Windows, Mac and Linux servers in my house - over 48 wired ports of gigabit ethernet and commercial grade routing and wifi. I'm a geek - I just choose to geek out over stuff other than recording video.

Any solution based on a general purpose computer OS may be more flexible, but the huge trade off is maintenance and no amount of sugar coating is going to change that. TiVo is plug and play, media centers aren't. That's my point. I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong, special, impossible, extraordinary, not extraordinary, etc. I'm just being realistic.

Ever hear of beer goggles? Well geeks do the same thing with otherwise "ugly" tech - we overlook the warts as we get blinded by the underlying tech. Geek goggles, if you will. I've been guilty of it and will be again some day. I'm just pointing out your geek goggles are showing

Finally, to the OP: WMC is dead. I wouldn't invest any time in it. Just look at how MS submarined Windows home server to see the ugly future.
Good points. I also have both TiVo and HTPC. The TiVo Roamio is what the family uses every day...they accept it, use it, like it, and there are no complaints about it, well worth the 50 cents a day subscription. It just works.

The HTPC is used only occasionally and is more of a turn it on and tinker with it device (I have used various cards/devices from Happauge, Silicondust, Ceton, etc. over the years). Once in a while there may be something available on it I want to see or record, but for the most part, we could live without it if necessary.

I always recommend to anyone deciding on which one to go with, that they see both in action. If you have a friend that has an HTPC and another with a TiVo box (preferable a Roamio, the current model), take your family members to look at each setup, the space it takes up, the user interface/screens, how to reboot/recover, and also the user search/find capabilities...

For me, the TiVo wins the day-to-day acceptance and use by the family. It just works. They like it and accept it ... and no complaints about something not working
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:29 AM   #54
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Now with the Tivo's I've had, thats where all the work was. Since the introduction of SDV and tuning adapters I've had nothing but problems. Everytime I had stuff scheduled to record, I've had to run thru the house at the top of the hour to make sure I dont have black screens or missing channels, and in fact my shows are recording, which is and was a huge pain.
This brings up a question that hasn't been brought up (or most likely I missed ).
Wouldn't an HTPC have to use a tuning adapter just like a Tivo does? If so, do they not present the same problems?
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:34 AM   #55
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This brings up a question that hasn't been brought up (or most likely I missed ).
Wouldn't an HTPC have to use a tuning adapter just like a Tivo does? If so, do they not present the same problems?
I would assume so and where do you get the drivers from, TiVo has them built in VIA the USB port.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:33 AM   #56
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This brings up a question that hasn't been brought up (or most likely I missed ).
Wouldn't an HTPC have to use a tuning adapter just like a Tivo does? If so, do they not present the same problems?
Well you would think so, right? But with WMC I dont have the same issues that I have with the Tivo regarding the black screens/missed recordings/lost channels etc. Tivo has always claimed that it was the cable co, and of course the cable co pointed right back and said nope. The cable co's argument has always been "If our DVR doesnt do it, and the HTPC doesnt do it, well that must mean the problem has something to do with Tivo since only Tivo has the problem, contact them." It's a big comical circle at this point, so I've given up on Tivo fixing the problem.

I have a Ceton 6 tuner card. When you install it (PCIe) you download what is called the Ceton Installer from their website. Install it and it auto downloads all drivers when you start the program and installs them for you. The Ceton Diagnostic Tool keeps everything up to date and lets you know if there is a firmware or driver update.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:05 AM   #57
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This brings up a question that hasn't been brought up (or most likely I missed ).
Wouldn't an HTPC have to use a tuning adapter just like a Tivo does? If so, do they not present the same problems?
The Ceton tuners are supposed to support tuning adapters if your provider uses SDV. FIOS doesn't use them so I've never had to deal with them personally.

As MeInDallas said, Ceton has a diagnostic tool that can be used to check for the latest driver and firmware updates as well as provide an interface for performing the updates. You can specifiy to have it check for any beta firmware or drivers as well. You can also check the status of each individual tuner and numerous operating parameters.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:07 AM   #58
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The best thing about an HTPC is that is a PC. The worst thing about an HTPC is that is a PC.
LOL. True dat. The thing is, I'm reading a lot of posts where people seem to be avoiding HTPCs because of a preconceived notion that it will be a headache to set up and use just because it's a PC. I can't deny that this is the case for some people, but they tend to be in the minority of HTPC users. The latest release of Windows 7 is extremely stable and doesn't suffer from the same glitches that used to plague earlier versions. I used to have my share of problems with Windows 7, but not so much anymore. I've put together at least 7 or 8 HTPCs since the release of Service Pack 1 and they've all been rock solid with no software issues. The only problems I encountered was the result of defective hardware. I went through a stretch of two bad motherboards and several bad memory sticks in the same period. I received replacements for all of them under warranty and never had another problem.

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Old 01-08-2014, 10:05 AM   #59
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This just occurred to me, TiVo vs. HTPC is similar to TiVo Desktop vs. PyTivo.
You want a solution that just works (mostly), use TiVo Desktop. If you like to tinker and set things up yourself, PyTivo is the best way to go.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:57 PM   #60
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This brings up a question that hasn't been brought up (or most likely I missed ).
Wouldn't an HTPC have to use a tuning adapter just like a Tivo does? If so, do they not present the same problems?
I have 3 TA's in my house. The one attached to the HD has been flawless. The one attached to the Premiere has given me a very occasional problem. The one attached to the HTPC gives me a problem about once a month. Why it is so, I don't know.

If I was adventuresome I would swap TA's to see if the performance follows the TA. But I don't feel like doing it. Plus I don't want to mess up the HD.

Actually, now that I think about it, the HD has the S03 problem so I power down the TA every night for 4 hours with a timer. Maybe that's why it's flawless. Who knows??

Maybe I will put all 3 on the timer and see what happens.
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