PlayLater - TiVo You Need To Do This!!

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by atmuscarella, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,955
    617
    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY

    Advertisements

    I was also one of those lucky few who got a Premiere with lifetime for a very low cost ($295 for me). I also built a very low end HTPC after I purchased the Premiere mostly just for something to do over the winter.

    The HTPC cost me more than my Premiere with lifetime did and I didn't put any tuners in the HTPC. It is permanently connected via HDMI to my receiver and I use it for streaming and sometimes general Internet stuff. I can not compare it directly to my TiVo as I don't use the HTPC as a normal DVR, but I am using the PlayLater software I mentioned when I started this thread, which is similar to a DVR.

    Bottom line is that my TiVos are easier to use for most things. I like using Pandora and downloading various pod casts on my Premiere better than the HTPC. I like Hulu better on the HTPC and of course the HTPC can access more stuff than the TiVo. I also have the boxee box software on the HTPC and like using it like as a boxee box.

    I think many people would not find the HTPC an acceptable "whole family" device, but I am fine with it. Even if I added tuners to the HTPC and it could completely replace my TiVos I would still pick the TiVos over the HTPC.

    Thanks,
     
  2. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    4,696
    633
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    I have both setups in my house and both are acceptable as 'whole family' devices, but Tivos are easier to use, more reliable, and have better quality guide data on a daily basis.

    I think now that the Cablecard tuner options have increased for PCs (and cost is going way down), the HTPC is a compelling alternative to more than a couple of Tivos. I think the HTPC is probably a better deal too when you factor in that you only need to rent one card.

    Having said that, there have been rumblings/rumors over at AVS and elsewhere that Microsoft's commitment to WMC may be waning to the point that it may not be included in Windows 8. It's certainly not a feature that they've ever tried to sell anyone on, and their decision not to allow PCs to act as extenders to a single recording PC didn't help. Anyone that counts on getting free guide data forever for WMC might be left high and dry if they do discontinue it, but again these are only rumors right now.
     
  3. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    2,422
    5
    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    The only one of 5 HD TiVo models for which you have t orent more than a single CableCARD is the first, TiVo S3. (They intended for it to work with a single card but had to finalize their design before they had shipping CCs to test with and goofed up somehow).
     
  4. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    4,696
    633
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    I was talking about a couple of Tivos or more, not one. There is a 6-tuner Ceton card coming out which would only need one card.
     
  5. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    4,948
    218
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...

    Advertisements

    I'd have to agree with atmuscarella's comment about the acceptability of an HTPC as a whole family device. Then again, it mainly depends on how accepting your family is of new technology. My wife still yells at me when the TV in the bedroom doesn't work because she selected the wrong input accidentally. Trying to teach her to use a media extender was an exercise in futility, even though it's relatively simple to use.

    An HTPC can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. The UI for WMC is no more difficult to navigate and use than a Tivo. Setting up recordings is easy and about the same as a Tivo. As a basic DVR, WMC and Tivo are on an even plane, IMHO. Tivo may have a slight edge in some areas, but mostly for features I never use. This seems to be the area where some people balk at the thought of an HTPC because some Tivo features are more important to them. To each his own.

    HTPC cost vs. a Tivo all depends on what you put into it. A new Premiere with lifetime can run you anywhare from about $300-600 if I have my numbers right. A basic HTPC can be had for as low as $350-500. Toss in a Ceton InfiniTV4 for another $300 and you've got the same power as two S3/HD/Premiere Tivos. The area where an HTPC has a clearcut cost advantage is when you start adding more tuners. You can buy an InfiniTV4 for less than the cost of lifetime service on a single Tivo. Now that both SiliconDust and Hauppauge have added their own cablecard tuners into the mix, there are now lots of choices for configuring an HTPC for digital cable or FIOS.

    HTPCs based on a min-ITX platform can have an extremely small form factor and can be built to be quieter than a Tivo. Intel has a new Media Series mini-ITX motherboard (DH61AG) that looks like a great HTPC candidate when used with one of their new Sandy Bridge CPUs. It's got onboard HD audio and video via HDMI with low power consumption.
     
  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    25,527
    2
    Jan 2, 2004
    and there is the rub for me. I have finally gotten my family used to there being different inputs on the TV but even at that they really do not pay attention to watching something from the buffer versus the recording from the drive and so on. Also the TiVo is just there when they go to the input. If it is down, I get the call. I really have no desire to get called into the room because the PC or extender is not doing what "they expect". Or worse yet get to sit down at 8 or 9PM with the family to watch a show and find a dark screen on the TV.

    It would be on Microsoft or Google or whomever is presenting the DVR software to make that experience easier and frankly Microsoft is like Apple and shows no desire to really pursue the DVR market. Google is, as always, unclear on what they intend to do likely because they just move along in whatever direction seems best at the time. TiVo is the only company with a real focus on standalone DVRs
     
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    4,948
    218
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    I'm not sure how much easier you want it to be. Once you've got Media Center set up, which simply involves going through an interactive list of options similar to a Tivo, it plain works. When it comes right down to it, an HTPC is really no different than a Tivo for DVR functionality. They're both computers that store recorded videos on a hard drive. The main difference is that one uses Linux and the other uses Windows.

    The interface that the user sees is nothing more than an interactive menu system that you navigate using a remote. The only noticeable difference your family will see will be the lack of the Tivo noises when you hit the remote. WMC has it's own sound effects that aren't all that much different.

    Windows 7 is the most stable platform Microsoft has ever developed. The key is not to update it with everything that comes down the pike. If the drivers work, leave it alone. The only thing you should do as far as updates are the critical updates that Microsoft recommends. I like to have Win 7 download the updates and then I pick and choose the ones I want installed.

    I know that it's difficult to get family members to embrace anything they deem as alien to them so I'm not suggesting that an HTPC should replace a Tivo for the rest of the household. I've tried that experiment too many times to want deal with the fallout. My lifetime S3 Tivo is now retired to the family room to act as the HD tuner for my 42" Sony display monitor. The wife feels comfortable with it so that's where it will reside. The HTPC is my toy to use and I couldn't be happier.
     
  8. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

    3,116
    196
    Jan 28, 2002
    Houston
    Back to the original subject, well, sort of.....

    Has anyone use Playlater or other download manager type software to store a copy of a netflix, hulu or amazon prime stream for later viewing or even conversion to tivo?
     
  9. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    25,527
    2
    Jan 2, 2004
    My very point, save that I am not looking for an HTPC toy :)
     
  10. Fofer

    Fofer Bo55man69

    93,582
    4,785
    Oct 29, 2000
    I like to use a set top box that doesn't ever have any "critical updates" or even put me in the position of having to decide which update to skip and which to accept/install. That sounds like more work and maintenance to me. I want an appliance, not another computer. I have plenty of those and don't want to rely on one for leisurely TV enjoyment.
     
  11. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,955
    617
    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    I have been using PlayLater for recording from Hulu. It seems to work just fine, the easiest way to use it is to add stuff to your Hulu Queue that you want to record. PlayLater brings up your Hulu Queue and it is just a few clicks to record whatever you want.
     
  12. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    4,948
    218
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    Well, I could set up my HTPC to take whatever updates come along automatically, just like a Tivo does. The only problem I see with a Tivo in this area is that you're forced to take whatever updates they send to your DVR.

    As with any Windows PC, Tivo updates can sometimes cause more problems than they fix so whether you want to admit it or not, you're still using a PC with limited functionality. In fact, a Tivo is basically a computer that runs a media center-type of frontend with access to numerous apps like NetFlix and Hulu as well as many others. With a properly configured HTPC, it behaves just like a Tivo and can be completely trouble-free. My HTPC is an appliance just like a Tivo, only with far more flexibility. It sounds more like you've had bad experiences with PCs and are just reluctant to test the waters. I never thought I'd use one either until I gave it a try. Windows 7 Media Center is the best thing to come along in quite a while and it's rock steady.

    Windows updates are sent out only a few times a month so it's not like I'm doing constant maintenance on my PC. I'm not forced into taking any updates I don't want and I can install them at my leisure. I always have Media Center up and running so the only time I see anything regarding updates is when I exit Media Center and go to my Windows desktop, which isn't all that often.
     
  13. ncbill

    ncbill Well-Known Member TCF Club

    1,194
    327
    Sep 1, 2007
    Western NC
    IIRC, $20/year gets you guide data licensed to your whole household (not just one computer) from Schedules Direct.

    A lot of ReplayTV owners plan to use the above for guide data (using WinRS to serve) after 7/31.

     
  14. johnf@home

    johnf@home New Member

    260
    0
    Dec 1, 2007
    San Jose, CA
    You gloss over the most important point. A TiVo is a known hardware and installed software configuration, so it's a lot easier to test updates before releasing them. And while I've rarely had issues with Windows updates, I have had several over the years caused by third-party device drivers, anti-virus packages, browser plug-ins and the like. Meanwhile, in all my years with TiVo (since my DirecTiVo SA-T60) I've only tripped over one problem with a TiVo software update. And even that didn't prevent my TiVo from working as a DVR; it was a problem with losing MAKs.

    I know other people have had problems with things like season passes failing to record episodes, but I never had that problem myself.


    Not that TiVo scheduling is without faults; it still takes orders of magnitude too long to update the "To Do" list after modifying the season pass list, and interactions with changes like that and manually removing episodes from the list could be greatly improved. It's too easy to end up with episodes being dropped, and while I can understand what is going wrong that's no excuse for poor programming in the first place.
     
  15. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    4,948
    218
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    That may be true, but it's the very reason why I also don't own a Mac. The reason Macs are so stable is because you have no choices for configuring a Mac once you've bought it. You get a fixed configuration with the drivers (i.e. known as kernel extensions to Mac users) they give you, period. If you want to change the configuration you have to buy a different Mac.

    One of the main reasons I stuck with Tivos for so many years is because the hacking community found ways to modify the Tivo OS to allow for extra features to be added. Last time I checked, this was not the case for the Premiere. Tivo incorporates more stringent security measures with each new hardware platform they introduce, making it more difficult to hack them with every new model. Perhaps it's pressure from the studios to prevent circumvention of anti-copying measures and prevent illegal distribution of copyrighted programming, but it has all but eliminated the very reason for owning a Tivo in my case.

    With an HTPC, you can configure it anyway you like, but there are potential issues with incompatible drivers and such. That's the price you pay for flexibility. One I'll gladly pay for the freedom and flexibility it gives me. FWIW, there's absolutely no compelling reason why you ever need to allow your PC to accept and install updates if you don't want it to.
     
  16. Fofer

    Fofer Bo55man69

    93,582
    4,785
    Oct 29, 2000
    Nice spammer!
     
  17. backell

    backell New Member

    13
    0
    Jul 17, 2011
    What the heck is an HTPC?
     
  18. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    2,422
    5
    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    Home Theater Personal Computer.
     
  19. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    4,948
    218
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    It's a PC with a frontend app that provides a means to view and listen to a variety of multimedia formats, such as DVR recording, watching videos of various formats, live TV, digital photo galleries, digital music, and lots of others. Windows 7 has the Media Center feature included in all versions of Win 7 except Home Basic. It has built-in DVR software that allows your PC to work like a Tivo with the addition of a tuner. There are various types of tuners available for recording and viewing OTA (Over-the-Air) channels (ATSC and NTSC), clear QAM (unscrambled digital cable) and digital cable or FIOS channels with the use of a cablecard. You can view all sorts of video formats like wmv (Windows 7 recorded format), mkv, avi, mpg, DVDs and Blu-Rays and many others. Some formats require the installation of one or more codecs, but the Shark007 codec pack contains just about everything you'll need for the complete multimedia experience.

    Third party apps like Cyberlink's PowerDVD or Arcsoft's Total Media Theater allow you to play Blu-Ray discs from an internal drive, from a ripped Blu-Ray folder, or from an iso file that automatically mounts in a virtual drive and begins playback when I select the title for viewing. I can stream Blu-Rays stored on my server to my HTPC by simply clicking on the movie title. I am able to watch them in full 1080p with the HD audio soundtracks.

    There are several apps that let you catalog your movies and DVDs and pull in cover art and descriptions so you can browse them from within Media Center. I can access all of my recorded shows, movies, and any other type of multimedia files without ever having to exit Media Center. Recording TV shows is very similar to using a Tivo. You can do searches and set up season passes and wishlists, similar to a Tivo. I also have an app that automatically scans my recorded shows and maps the commercials. I can have it automatically skip the commercials for seamless playback or I can skip right past the commercial break with the single push of a button on my remote. I can also watch NetFlix and other forms of internet TV in Media Center.

    The nice thing about an HTPC is that you can customize it to your heart's content. There are lots of apps and tweaks you can install to do just about anything you want.
     
  20. Fofer

    Fofer Bo55man69

    93,582
    4,785
    Oct 29, 2000
    Well, I'm not really sure, but I do know for certain that posting in a thread about video archiving software for Home Theater PC's, in a sub-forum about TiVo set-top boxes, in a community forum dedicated to discussion about this particular brand of DVR, is probably the least best place on the Internet to post, looking for an "in-house attorney job."

    Seriously, dude. How did you get here? Are you reading the words surrounding the text entry box where you're typing? If not, that might have something to do with your poor return rate. :)
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements