HTPC vs PVR / $$$

Discussion in 'HTPC' started by TaXy DriVar, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I'm after opinions based on your experience with certain products.

    A long time ago (2003) I bought a modified US Series 1 Philips TiVo which was modified to work here in Aus and relied on a separate Set Top Box. This was allowed by TiVo until they decided to move into the market. Anyway a longish story cut short, the set top box is dead, and there are no new images to my knowledge on getting it to work with a new STB and be able to record all the new Free-to-air channels. So i am looking to replace my aging TiVo with a new PVR that has the ability to fast forward.

    So far all I can really see in the market are four PVR's (not including foxtel).

    1. TiVo (no fast forward)
    2. Topfield
    3. Beyonwiz
    4. Teac

    Now my dad bought the cheapest he could find about a year ago, a TEAC and it isnt really all that nice to use, compared to a TiVo anyway.

    I am wanting to buy something that is easy enough for my family to use, simple enough to be able to setup and remove season passes to shows, and something that wont break the bank ... < $500

    Now I do have an old P4 3GHz, 2GB Ram, 7600GT AGP, and a USB Leadtek DTV Dongle, however I don't want to buy a new version of Win7, and additional dongle if it doesn't really function the same way a separate PVR would. I don't want to spend time troubleshooting why its not recording, although if it works, and works well then I may consider it as a HTPC.

    I have had a quick look into MythBuntu, but it is not friendly enough for my family.

    So ....

    What you like / dislike?

    Would you buy again?

    Would you build your own?

    How feasible in terms of $$$

    How simple is it to use?

    Eventually I'll be getting a new AMP, looking at Denon 790 / 1910, but for the moment It'll need to plug directly into my Samsung 40" LED TV.

    Thanks OCAU :)


    I might add as well that I am also looking a getting a BlueRay Player at some stage as well, probably after I get a new AMP though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  2. Logic-Liam

    Logic-Liam Member

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    Not sure if I can give you a definative answer, but I recently built a Win7 HTPC for similar reason. I previously owned a Strong PVR but was never happy with its performance or ease of use. So far my Win7 box has performed seamlessly with a Dual DVB-T tuner and cheap/cool AthlonX2 240 processor.

    Built in TV functionality in Win7 MCE has made it soo easy to record a series of TV automatically. I just search for the program in the built in EPG and then tell it to record the series. Wakes up when time to record, then goes to sleep when finished. With an MCE IR receiver it is easily controlled with my Logitech Harmony universal remote so has been easily integrated with all my other HT gear. Has passed the WAF by miles compared to my old Strong box.

    I built it in to an Antec 2480 case which looks just like my Yamaha AVR receiver, so doesn't stand out like a PC in my lounge. I'll stick a BD player in it when the prices drop a bit more.

    I followed these suggestions from Whirpool for my build and came in around $500.

    Just my experiences. I can't compare with TiVo, beyonwiz etc.
    Liam.
     
  3. sirelliottm

    sirelliottm Member

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    so if you buy the mce ir then get a Logitech harmony remote it will work with windows media center?

    Which harmony remote works with a ps3?

    My situation is:

    Sony tv
    Foxtel
    Ps3 - wife uses to watch tv shows/movies (its easier then showing her how to find media files on the pc)
    a pc that i use for gaming (long enough dvi lead so it goes back to the tv - and is used to watch hd rips)
    Yamaha amp (again long enough optical lead from pc to amp)
     
  4. bartman

    bartman Member

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    If you don't want to buy Win7, you could look at Media Portal - its open source and runs on Win XP fine. I've just recently (as in a few weeks ago) finished a WinXP build with Media Portal, and running it with the StreamedMP skin it has a great WAF. Recording seems real easy too - just search n record - record now, or schedule regularly. So far looks good to me, without having to worry about Win7.
     
  5. Rezin

    Rezin Member

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    In what situation? It definitely has fast forward, but nothing like a 30-second skip (for ads, during playback of a recording, or buffered live TV).
     
  6. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    FWIW, I recently (late last year) had to decide what to put into our new house. I needed three separate devices for three separate living areas/TVs, but wanted them to be able to share recordings. I also wanted to be able to archive the rare FTA show I wanted to keep onto my server - running Windows Home Server (WHS).

    I was very close to building a Win 7 HTPC, as there is some integration there with WHS, however I was a bit nervous about ease of use - troubleshooting, having to continually fix issues/etc, and that was holding me back. Particularly as one of the three would be for my Mum, who lives in a granny flat with us.

    Around that time the 160GB Tivos went on special for $499 inc the home networking package, so I bought one to see what it was like, and figured I'd just sell it if it wasn't any good. I ended up buying two more, and that's the way we went.

    There's no ad skipping (I presume that's what you mean by fast forward?), but you can fast forward quickly through the ads and when you see the show is back on, you hit play and the Tivo jumps back a certain distance, allowing for your reaction time. It seems to work pretty well. (more info).

    With the home networking package, the three Tivos form their own peer to peer network to share recordings, and I can archive recordings to the server (manually, though)

    Our three Tivos do everything we wanted, and they're easy for granny to use - she's even worked out how to set season passes and search for actors/etc now :)

    You would be familiar with some (or even all?) of the features of the Tivo? I'm not sure how different your old one would be compared to the current models.

    Before we got one, I really thought they'd be hyped up pieces of crap, but I'm really happy with them. They just work, which is probably the thing I like the most.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  7. OP
    OP
    TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    no ad skipping, yeh .. so can you fast forward these at all? at even 2x speed? or does it play them at normal speed?

    So far it seems that the easiest option is either TiVo or Topfield.
     
  8. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    You can FF through ads exactly the same as through the program.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    ahh right ... i was under the impression you couldn't Fast Forwarding at all.

    So ad-skip is a newer automatic thing that does the Fast Forwarding for you?
     
  10. Oppressa

    Oppressa Member

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    If it's anything like Windows Media Centre it jumps in 30 second intervals (ads are either 15 or 30 sec typically). So when the ads start I normally FF 5 times and the show starts again.
     
  11. Rezin

    Rezin Member

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    While the US models have (or did have) ad skipping, the Aus TiVo models don't have that. They only have three fast forward levels (dunno what exactly - 2x/3x/4x I guess). Just press Play when you see the show back on and, depending on your reflexes, it'll skip back several seconds to where it thinks the show has started again.
     
  12. Tekin

    Tekin Member

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    Well - my father has a Tivo and it seems to suit him fine just for TV

    that said...I'VE built a HTPC using a windows xp / mediaportal front end, and if you want to play your own stuff (including blue ray, dvd so on) as well as recorded movies there is really no comparison in the marketplace (edit: i mean as a product you can buy off the shelf)

    Mediaportal stock is fantastic, easy to setup (early versions could be a pain - particularly in the TV area - now it's seamless).

    There are also two outstanding plugins, MyTvSeries and moving pictures which deal amazingly well in the media management space, automatically adding shows with details, reviews, cover art etc.

    The TV side is well put together, with automatic options for series recording and automated naming (as well as integrating with the MyTvSeries plugin i think) and good controls.

    Coupled with a Microsoft remote (which mediaportal now supports out of the box) the WAF factor is too bloody high - i never get to use the damn thing!

    That said, if it was only for TV i wouldn't probably recommend it, but it seems like you've also got series' and movies in the mix, so you should definately have a look at mediaportal (and it's free. so that's a bonus)

    http://www.team-mediaportal.com/

    (and version 1.1 RC2 is out! that's probably going to be the most up to date and best version until version 2 is released which won't be a while - otherwise version 1.0.2 is the last listed stable release)

    (ninja edit 2: with mediaportal, pressing the right key goes forward 15, 30, 60 secs, useful for skipping adds or intros, while pressing fast forward...um....fast forwards)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  13. OP
    OP
    TaXy DriVar

    TaXy DriVar Member

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    Thanks for all your input guys. I think I'll try this media portal software first, as its free :)

    However I'll also check out the beyonwiz and topfield and see how they compare to a tivo. If they are no better than a TiVo, and the media portal software doesnt work out, then a TiVo it is (with wireless adapter)
     
  14. Oppressa

    Oppressa Member

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    Gah, MediaPortal. Use Windows Media Centre with MyMovies installed on top. Wife/gf-friendly
     
  15. stump1100

    stump1100 Member

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    Add this one to the list noontec_v9t, it seem slike a pretty option to be considered.

    Personally I use a Beyonwiz and I'm very happy with it, if the Noontec was around when I was buying then I'd have to give ot seriuos consideration.
     
  16. nikloas

    nikloas Member

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    sounds like the TiVos are pretty good

    one question, do they play downloaded movies correctly? (legal ones of course, like indie documentaries). or does it have a hissy fit everytime you try to stream something from your PC
     
  17. Doso

    Doso Member

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    2nd Media portal was just too much of a pain in the ass + buggy/unstable last time I tried it.

    Use win7 Media centre with Media Browser, pretty much covers everything except bluray
     
  18. spikes

    spikes Member

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    I just wanna put out the Probox PVR Multimedia Player out there as well, i've heard good things about them :thumbup:
     

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