Tivo Series 3 vs Sage TV and Beyond TV

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by w2jo, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. Nov 7, 2006 #1 of 13

    w2jo New Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    I have used a Tivo model 1 for years and love it. But when it came time for HDTV, I decided to try a "build your own" PVR using SageTV or Beyond TV. I have done so and, to make a long story short, I just bought a Tivo S3.

    Problems with the Beyond TV and Sage TV approaches?
    1) Tuner cards with drivers not compatible with running two cards together (Dvico).
    2) Tuner cards that cannot accept cable cards and so limit you to OTA HDTV and analog cable channels.
    3) Tuner cards without a hardware encoder on analog channels. This causes excessive CPU utilization (stuttering video) when recording two analog channels and watching a HDTV channel. This with a dual core 4200+ghz cpu and this was better than two other MBs I tried.
    4) SageTv has lots of features for "geeks" but is missing lots of features.. Such as an easy way to tell the software to pick HDTV channels instead of non-HDTV channels with the same program.
    5) BTV has a pretty good GUI and good remote controls. Still, it suffers from stuttering and pixelation when recording two analog programs while watching an HDTV program. This is really a hardware problem (3 above) but I was not able to overcome it.
    6) I had to go through three video cards before I found one that would give me dual displays while playing back HDTV.

    So.. Now I just decided to give up and buy the $800 Tivo series 3 with the $199 lifetime transfer price. Expensive, but I spent considerably more (and a LOT of time!) trying to get a dual tuner HDTV alternative to work and .. I failed to come close to Tivo Series 3 features and performance.

    For those who want the gory details, see:
  2. Nov 7, 2006 #2 of 13

    NOD Chim Richalds

    Aug 26, 2006
    god hates a quitter


    Needless to say, I think a lot of folks will agree w/ you hereabouts...

    Welcome to the wonderland that is Series 3 ownership! :up:
  3. Nov 7, 2006 #3 of 13

    hookbill Feathered Member

    Dec 14, 2001
    Northeast Ohio
    I had to read the entire post twice to get it, but I love the bottom line here. :up: :)
  4. Nov 7, 2006 #4 of 13

    rodalpho New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    It won't be nearly as bad when vista comes out, but... yeah. You won't find too many people disagreeing with you here on the tivo forums.
  5. Nov 8, 2006 #5 of 13

    Jiffylush New Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    Been using it for a while, beta tester and what not.

    I just got my series 3 (today in fact). The reason is the general HD issues with all htpc/mce's, and even with vista you will need cablelabs certification to get cable cards (i.e. no build your own).

    So far I am happy, I am still going to use the htpc for dvds and xvid stuff, maybe some gaming.

    Anyone think my S3 will every play mpeg4 videos stored on a pc? well, I can hope
  6. Nov 8, 2006 #6 of 13

    CardiacKid32 New Member

    Sep 20, 2006
    I had a similar experience with mythtv. It works great for SD but not so great for HDTV. Even though the cablecards are not perfect they work a lot better for me than my old cable box attached to my mythtv HTPC with a firewire cable. I never got it to work reliably.
  7. Nov 8, 2006 #7 of 13

    toots New Member

    Feb 24, 2003
    Bedford, NH
    This pretty much summarizes why I'm a fan of pre-rolled DVR solutions, such as the TiVo, to anything PeeCee based. I happen to be a serious computer geek of the first order, but when it comes time to watch TV, I just want to watch TV - not fiddle around with hardware and driver configs.

    Every time I hear someone say "Why not just put together a MythTV config?" I have to think that the person's really more interested in playing around with his computer than watching TV, which is just fine if you want to do that. I just happen to like my HT system to be an appliance rather than an unfinished toy.
  8. Nov 8, 2006 #8 of 13
    Chris Fox

    Chris Fox New Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    Alpharetta, GA
    I was a DirectTivo owner for several years. When I moved into my new house last June, I wanted a HDTV DVR solution. At the time DirecTV only had the HD DirecTivo, which did not support MPEG4 decoding. So that was out. There were wisperings of DirecTV's own DVR, but I didn't want to be an early adopter.

    So I went with Comcast and the Motorola 3412. It's definitely not a Tivo, but it was good enough. Once I got used to the quirks of the system, I had it functioning at a point where I was happy. Except for the 120 GB HD; 10-15 measly hours of HD was not sufficent.

    So I had a choice:
    1. Add another 3412
    2. Return the 3412 and buy two S3s
    3. Try out MythTV

    I really wanted to multi-room viewing and 2 additional tuners. A second 3412 would have given the additional tuners, but require a video matrix and alot of rewiring in the house. At $700-800 plus Tivo fees and cable card fees for each box, the S3 came in a bit too pricey for me.

    So I decided to try out MythTV. I downloaded the latest KnoppMyth and built a system based on their reference platform. So the basics install happened very quick (less than 4 hours to build the machine and install KnoppMyth). I have had my share of configuration issues, some of which were not the fault of MythTV (Comcast does not transmit PSIP info in the QAM channels in Atlanta for some reason). So the above responses about MythTV are valid; it is NOT a turnkey solution (yet).

    But the auto-commercial skip feature is very, very nice. Huge WAF point getter there. The "season passes" are more powerful (but less user friendly). I wish Tivo could implement this, but I'm sure they'd really piss off the networks...

  9. Nov 8, 2006 #9 of 13

    nightstrm New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Maumee, OH
    I switched to MythTV a couple years ago from my S1 Tivo and was impressed with it for the most part. However, the ability to record encrypted QAM channels caught my eye and I bought a S3 as soon as they were available. There have been some significant improvements to MythTV over the years, but I found that I was not using a lot of the extra functionality, and was running into some program issues as well.
  10. Chris Fox

    Chris Fox New Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    Alpharetta, GA
    The encrypted QAM channels are the reason I am not dumping the 3412. I connected it via firewire to Myth and was actually able to view all HD channels (including HBO). I'm sure that is a glitch in the Comcast network in Atlanta that they will "correct" soon enough. In that case, I can use the 3412 to record those channels; 12 hours may be enough storage for those channels...

  11. CTLesq

    CTLesq Active Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    SF Bay
    Time, time, see what you have done to me.

    I am impressed by your efforts but even if I was so inclined I would never have that kind of time to try something like that.
  12. ashu

    ashu User title defunct

    Nov 8, 2002
    Yeah ... the not-yet-blocked status of FireWire output on the 5c-enabled channels (or non-setting of 5c flags) leaves a serious PC/Myth+3412/6412 solution marginally viable, and, arguably, more powerful than the S3.

    Just NOT worth the (Substantial) hassle to me, so I already have one S3 :)
  13. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

    Oct 7, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have a co-worker that's going the Myth route for the sole reason of no monthly fees.

    I was trying to steer him to new a S2DT or a Humax unit to simplify the transfer to DVD but the new pricing model makes it an especially hard sell for someone who isn't already in love with Tivo.

    A lot of the DVR 'packages' are looking mightly good these days! GB-PVR, MythTV, BeyondTV, SageTV etc are all looking very refined for a 'roll your own' product. I hope it works out for him but it won't be a S3 :). I plan on buying at LEAST one more if not two before the year is up.

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