joelsisk wrote:For what it's worth, I'm trying to figure out if this product will even do anything for me. I don't have a gaming system, just one smart tv and 2 dumb (CRT!) tvs. I was thinking I might just use this to feed a dvr, but not sure if that's "all" I need, whether this is the most appropriate product. I do have some spare computer/laptop hardware and external drives, but they only connect via usb (2), so not sure they would be appropriate to stream HD. And if I can't stream to the dumb CRTs, I'd have to pay the "additional outlet" and "additional digital adapter" fees anyway, which makes me think I may just be better off with a TiVo.
As someone who has used HTPCs and TiVo, as well as cable company provided DVRs for years, I can tell you that from an ease of use, "just works" perspective, and for the use of non-techy-family-members, TiVo is vastly superior in every possible way to any HTPC you can build or buy, and noticeably better than most cable company DVRs (however, I haven't actually used a Comcast X1 yet so I can't say whether it has finally caught up or not).
If you like playing with stuff and don't mind if it doesn't always work 100% or if some stupid Java update or Windows update, etc, pop up when you're just trying to watch a show or a game, and don't mind worrying about antivirus and so forth, then yeah you could probably save a little money going with an HTPC versus TiVo and also have a fully functional "living room PC" at the same time.
I currently still have all three (TiVo, two HTPCs, and a cable company DVR). The TiVo gets the most use as it's the most reliable and easiest to work with. The cable company DVR sometimes randomly flakes out and the interface is kind of klunky but it mostly works. The HTPCs I still don't trust to reliably record (despite years of tweaking/changing things, upgrading hardware and software, etc) so are mostly used for computer-specific stuff or to watch live TV or movies at this point. The Ceton tuners have been part, but certainly not all, of the problem, so I'm going to try one of these HDHomeRun Primes to help improve things at least a little bit there.
Overall, despite 12 years of Windows Media Center, it's STILL not truly plug and play, nor hassle free (by any definition of the terms). About the same goes for XBMC/MythBox and friends, though worse in some respects while better in others.