Calling Tivo and Mac Mini/DVR owners

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by micsaund, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. micsaund macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #1
    Hi all,

    My trusty Series 1 Tivo is about up for another annual $100 subscription fee and this is always the time that I consider whether to build my own DVR or just keep-on with the analog, single-tuner Tivo (I won't buy a new one because the $14/mo or whatever is outrageous to me and I'm one of the biggest Tivo fans you'll meet!)

    Anyway, in the past, I've built a MythTV box and it was sub optimal. I was never able to remove the mouse and keyboard from the thing, to make it a true appliance, because the UI front-end would keep crashing. I spent days worth of time working on it and never got it totally stable. So, I sold it.

    Now, a couple years later, the Mac Mini is looking to be a pretty sweet option. I'd go ahead and connect a nice large disk for TV recording and also to act as NAS/Time Machine space if I went this route.

    So, my question is this:

    For anyone who owns or has used a Tivo and understands the joys of the simple interface and rock solid reliability, is there a Mac Mini + tuner (EyeTV or whatever) solution that is truly, honestly just as good? I'm talking first and foremost about recording TV shows reliably and in general "just working" like a Tivo.

    I know the Mini solution will allow me to do all kinds of other stuff, but that is secondary to performing duties recording TV shows. MythTV did all kinds of stuff too, but simply failed in the "just works" category.

    If you can offer your first-hand input on comparing a Tivo to your particular Mac + Tuner setup, please let me know which hardware you have and give me a no-holds-barred comparison to your Tivo experience. I don't want to sound too Tivo-snobbish, but after owning one for so many years and trying so many alternatives that honestly were just awful in comparison, I really want to maintain the same level of quality as the Tivo provides. I should also note that I get regular analog cable signals at this time.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #2
    I never found anything I liked after much research about a year ago.

    At $8.25 month - that is cheaper than what my cable company (Comcrap) charges for a DVR box. You may want to consider an upgrade to a Tivo HD since you are going to need a digital tuner starting next Feb anyways and it handles HD pretty well. Amazon.com has them for $250ish right now.
     
  3. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    #3
    While this solution doesn't involve a Mac, it's still cool.
    The March 2008 issues of Popular Science has an article on page 76 titled: "Supersize Your Tivo."

    I Googled it and found that someone has paraphrased the article on their blog here:

    http://jbu92.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/supersize-your-tivo/

    Again, wasn't what you were looking for, but maybe this will help.
     
  4. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    You can get an HD TiVo for $200, and service for $8.30/mo (if you prepay 3 years). Consider it, it's great.

    my tivo thread
     
  5. mojoxp macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    #5
    Nothing beats the Tivo. I've tried EyeToy, Vista MCE, AppleTV, etc and nothing beats the recording/scheduling functions of the Tivo 3.
     
  6. micsaund thread starter macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #6
    Thanks all -- sounds like another case of "get what you pay for" and the Tivo is the BMW of DVRs... It really spoiled me for lesser DVRs ;)

    Maybe I'll look at the HD models, even though I don't plan to have an HD input signal since Comcrap charges so much and I'm not even sure they'll provide a compatible CableCard for the TivoHD. I get my analog signal through Comcrap right now, so the digital thing in 2009 won't affect me, should I continue to use my Series 1.

    Three years seems like a lot to pay in advance for the HD model though...

    Mike
     
  7. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #7
    Well I don't know what Tivo now offers as I used to have a ReplyTV and paid $300 for a lifetime subscription. Now that I have a new iMac 24" I use it as my living room media center. I bought an EyeTV Hyrbrid and connected it to my iMac and it's the best thing since sliced bread to me.
    It offers full DVR functionality such pause live TV, resume, full menu to set up time-shifting like in Tivo plus EyeTV gives a lifetime FREE subscription to TitanTV so all the programming is downloaded from the web for free.
    You can also program shows from any computer anywhere by surfing to TitanTV's website and logging into your account.
    EyeTV Hybrid gets full 1080p HD channels for free via rabbit ears or your cable company.
    It comes with it's own remote or you can use the Apple remote and it comes with a break out cable to connect your game console, VCR or camcorder to your Mac. You can transfer recorded shows to your iPod, iPhone, AppleTV and burn DVD's. Lastly you can watch TV shows on your iPhone by using Safari. EyeTV wirelessly uploads the tv shows so they are viewable on your iPhone.
    I don't see how anything could beat the EyeTV Hybrid at this point and it's only $149 U.S.
     
  8. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #8
    Mike, you might want to check your signal for presence of digital HD channels. You see, I have basic service from Comcrap (the $16/month plan) which is really just local stations plus two cable stations. A little secret I found out, only after reading the fine print on my bill, was that I indeed get almost all of the said local stations in HD! With the Tivo HD, you only need a Cable card for the digital channels that require decoding. All of the locals (and pretty much every channel thats not 3 digits) don't need a CableCard.

    So I guess what I am saying is that its very possible you have some HD channels and didn't even know it. An easy way to test is if you own a TV with a built in HD tuner, try bypassing your Tivo (or split it) and connect directly to your TV. Make sure you have enable digital tuning and see what you have.

    All of my HD channels seem to fall in between the regular channels. For example, NBC 5 in Chicago is broadcast in HD on channel 5-2, ABC is 7-2 and so on.

    Moral of the story: You don't need a CableCard if you have basic service and you may already be getting some HD programming! Also, you don't need digital cable to get HD.

    *Removed because mags cleared the air
     
  9. mags631 Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #9
    Feb 2009 Transition is for Over-The-Air Broadcasts

    If the OP has cable service, then he is safe with analog tuners, in his TV, TIVO, etc. The transition in February affects over-the-air (antenna-based reception) broadcasts, not cable (or satellite) broadcasts.

    Here's a relatively clear explanation from Comcast's own web-site: link.
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    Thanks!
     
  11. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #11
    FWIW, you don't have to prepay for the HD Tivo, it's just that you can save quite a bit of coin if you do. ($8.30/mo instead of 12.95).

    Also, I think it's law that Crapcom has to provide a cable card. In my area (Chicagoland) the first card was free. They gave me the two tuner "multi-stream" card, so I didn't have to pay for a second card (which would have been under two bucks, which again, I believe is mandated by law or whatever super-legislative regulatory committee sets such things).
     

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