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View Full Version : TIVO, Cable, Apple TV, Mac Mini? - What's the best configuration?




MacLadybug
Aug 28, 2009, 11:44 PM
I've been trying to figure out the best configuration for our TV and Movie watching that would let us watch what we want to watch for the least amount of money. There are a lot of blogs on the subject and all the Mac Magazines have touched on it once or twice. But I'd like to hear from real people with real solutions.

Right now, I have a typical set up with a home theatre system, DVRs hooked up to Verizon Fios. We also get Netflix for movies. So much of what is included in our package we don't use but have to have to get what we want. And the DVR is a must just to avoid all the commercials. Is there a less expensive way to do this? Is TIVO ultimately cheaper? I feel like we are paying too much to watch our favorite shows and get local news.

What do you have hooked up right now? How do you do it?



mpshay
Aug 29, 2009, 07:35 PM
I say go with all of them! I currently have a Tivo HD and Mac Mini connected to 52" LCD in our media room. The Tivo is connected to cable and antenna (OTA HD is the best it gets) I also use the Tivo to watch streaming Netflix. Video are stored on a FW Drobo connected to the Mac Mini. The kids watch their movies via FrontRow while the non-kid stuff is viewed through Plex. I've got about 400 movies in iTunes so it makes it easier to find the stuff I want in Plex if I don't have to scroll through all the Disney, Pixar, etc stuff.

The Mac Mini also streams media to an Apple TV in the living room. That TV also has a Roku box for Netflix content and the 2nd of our 3 Tivos.

The final Tivo is in the master bedroom along with another mac mini.

I've had Tivos since the Series 1 and we love the UI, features, etc. Thought about moving the DVR functions to the Mac Minis but ultimately decided to stay with the Tivos because we are comfortable with the way they work.

MacLadybug
Aug 29, 2009, 09:47 PM
I say go with all of them! I currently have a Tivo HD and Mac Mini connected to 52" LCD in our media room. The Tivo is connected to cable and antenna (OTA HD is the best it gets) I also use the Tivo to watch streaming Netflix. Video are stored on a FW Drobo connected to the Mac Mini. The kids watch their movies via FrontRow while the non-kid stuff is viewed through Plex. I've got about 400 movies in iTunes so it makes it easier to find the stuff I want in Plex if I don't have to scroll through all the Disney, Pixar, etc stuff.

The Mac Mini also streams media to an Apple TV in the living room. That TV also has a Roku box for Netflix content and the 2nd of our 3 Tivos.

The final Tivo is in the master bedroom along with another mac mini.

I've had Tivos since the Series 1 and we love the UI, features, etc. Thought about moving the DVR functions to the Mac Minis but ultimately decided to stay with the Tivos because we are comfortable with the way they work.

Thanks for sharing your set up. I know very little about TIVO.

Does the TIVO subscription allow you to save money with your cable co.? I mean, with TIVO you must have a very basic cable subscription right? I'd love to find ways to get everything and spend less... crazy huh. Right now my high speed internet (FIOS 20/5), cable, 3 set top boxes and 2 DVRs cost us 147.00 a month. One of the two DVRs is a multimedia one, meaning whatever is recorded will be shared with all the TVs connected to set top boxes. We do not get HBO or any premium channels but we are one step up from basic. I'd love to shave some off that monthly bill.

bohbot16
Aug 30, 2009, 06:39 AM
If you really wanted to use a TiVo to save money over cable you could cancel your TV service and hook an antenna up to the TiVo. TiVo has a monthly subscription cost, but you can get a discount by paying in advance. Check out their website for the pricing details.

If you go the TiVO route you can also use Amazon VOD (http://www.amazon.com/VOD) to buy/rent some content. This is a service that directly competes with the iTunes Video Store.

So the real questions about your cable are:
What channels do you absolutely need?
What channels do you only need 1 or 2 shows from a-la-carte?
What channels can you give up completely?

If there are a lot of channels that you need, then cable is a better deal. This is especially true if you watch sports or cable news. If you can survive with Over-the-Air channels + Netflix streaming + Amazon VOD then you can save a bunch with TiVo.

MacLadybug
Aug 30, 2009, 10:35 AM
If you really wanted to use a TiVo to save money over cable you could cancel your TV service and hook an antenna up to the TiVo. TiVo has a monthly subscription cost, but you can get a discount by paying in advance. Check out their website for the pricing details.

If you go the TiVO route you can also use Amazon VOD (http://www.amazon.com/VOD) to buy/rent some content. This is a service that directly competes with the iTunes Video Store.

So the real questions about your cable are:
What channels do you absolutely need?
What channels do you only need 1 or 2 shows from a-la-carte?
What channels can you give up completely?

If there are a lot of channels that you need, then cable is a better deal. This is especially true if you watch sports or cable news. If you can survive with Over-the-Air channels + Netflix streaming + Amazon VOD then you can save a bunch with TiVo.

I'm going to put a pencil to it and figure this out. Thanks for the advice.

brentsg
Aug 30, 2009, 10:46 AM
I use my Mac Mini with Plex for all my movie content, ripped DVDs and Blu-rays. I have a Series 3 TiVo expanded to 2TB with a lifetime subscription and 100% free OTA HD programming for normal TV.

This takes care of 90% of what I want to see. The only things I really don't catch with this is Sci-Fi channel, ESPN, and some of the quality series on the premium channels. I usually just nab the latter on DVD or Blu.