TiVo Vs. MythTV Vs. Windows Media Center

 

http://live.pirillo.com/ – DVRs and PVRs, which are basically the same thing, allow you to watch television shows whenever you want to, instead of when they’re broadcast; you simply record the program and play it back when you want to.

Corey in the chat room wanted to know what the best DVR is: TiVo, Windows Media Center, or MythTV?

Chris uses the Comcast-branded DVR, but that’s because it makes it easier for him to record his cable shows for playback. What’s best for you, however, depends on what you want to do with it.

If you’re a fan of open source, you’ll probably be happy with MythTV:

MythTV is a homebrew PVR project that I’ve been working on in my spare time. It’s been under heavy development for almost four years, and is now quite useable and featureful.

If you want to synchronize your video files with a portable device, you’ll be happier with TiVo, which allows you to port the TiVo-to-go files:

Your TiVo box, powered by the amazing TiVo service, automatically finds and digitally records all of your favorite shows, every time they’re on. Every episode of your favorite series. Every Coppola movie. Every home improvement program. Even Dora cartoons! Whatever you choose. All while you’re out living life. Plus, only TiVo lets you watch your favorite shows any time, anywhere.

Microsoft also offers Windows Media Center, which offers a familiar interface:

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 powers the all-in-one PC and entertainment center for your entire home. Get all the advanced computing power of Windows XP and enjoy your favorite entertainment on your PC – watch DVDs, record TV, listen to music, share your digital photos, and more.

Snapstream makes BeyondTV, which gives you the full capabilities of a DVR system while running under Windows:

Record and watch TV with your PC. Gain control over your entertainment experience. With Beyond TV, you determine what you want to watch and when you want to watch it. With incredible features and extensive setting options, TV is under your control.

What DVR/PVR do you use?

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24 thoughts on “TiVo Vs. MythTV Vs. Windows Media Center”

  1. I don’t watch much TV anymore, but my wife does have a Tivo. She loves it. And when we are away, and she forgets to record a program, we simply login using my laptop (tethered to mobile phone) and schedule it.
    If we want to watch a program on the plane, I just download the video to my computer. I can also burn them to DVD.

  2. I don’t watch much TV anymore, but my wife does have a Tivo. She loves it. And when we are away, and she forgets to record a program, we simply login using my laptop (tethered to mobile phone) and schedule it.
    If we want to watch a program on the plane, I just download the video to my computer. I can also burn them to DVD.

  3. Lately I have been using MythTV on my Ubuntu base station with great success and am quite happy with the program (and programs!) Still experimenting with it as well as alternatives but I keep coming back to MythTV …

  4. Lately I have been using MythTV on my Ubuntu base station with great success and am quite happy with the program (and programs!) Still experimenting with it as well as alternatives but I keep coming back to MythTV …

  5. I have used BeyondTV for 3 years now and am extremely satisified. No monthly service fees, net-based program guide, remote scheduling of recordings, video storage in MPG and/or AVI formats, the ability to control the tuner/cable box and watch live/recorded programs from any TV or computer in the house, virtually unlimited storage, ability to stop watching a show on one TV and pick up right where you left off on another plus the fact that the interface looks like a DVR, not a computer and the interface passes the “wife test” makes it my choice.

  6. I’ve been following this topic for a while, specifically regarding Over-the-air (OTA) HDTV recording. Since we don’t subscribe to cable or satellite, the Tivo, Comcast, etc. options are of limited benefit.

    MythTV has prelim support for the Hauppage pcHDTV card, which may work in the long run. It’s just not quite there yet.

    I know I rarely will burn to a DVD, I mostly want to time-shift, view and delete.

  7. I’ve been following this topic for a while, specifically regarding Over-the-air (OTA) HDTV recording. Since we don’t subscribe to cable or satellite, the Tivo, Comcast, etc. options are of limited benefit.

    MythTV has prelim support for the Hauppage pcHDTV card, which may work in the long run. It’s just not quite there yet.

    I know I rarely will burn to a DVD, I mostly want to time-shift, view and delete.

  8. The comcast DVR box sucks. Crashes, overheats, slow to respond to remote signals, underpowered, pauses for indeterminate amounts of time. I’m just about ready to pull the trigger on a TiVO series 3 box. It’s at $400 with rebate now and you can put 2 cable cards in it. If you don’t watch on demand (which I don’t) you can replace your comcast box with a TiVo and net back $5 a month on your bill. Yeah, youre out the initial $400 but the frustration savings is worth it to me.

    I also use SageTV as a backup device. It’s pretty good. The first PC based PVR that does automatic commercial removal (I mean totally removes the commercial from the file) will get my $.

  9. Why is it that every time someone compares DVR/PVRs, they don’t include the units from DISH Network? I have a DISH 622 HD DVR that makes the Comcast HR20 look like… well you know. 300 hours of SD recording, 30 hours HD recording, 2 DISH tuners, 1 OTA tuner, simple GUI, nice multi use remote, HDMI, optical, component, etc, etc, etc. Plans are in work to allow external storage through USB.

    And it’s free with new signups. No, this isn’t a promo. Home Theater mag did a DVR review a while ago and they also did not include the Dish DVR. What gives?

  10. Why is it that every time someone compares DVR/PVRs, they don’t include the units from DISH Network? I have a DISH 622 HD DVR that makes the Comcast HR20 look like… well you know. 300 hours of SD recording, 30 hours HD recording, 2 DISH tuners, 1 OTA tuner, simple GUI, nice multi use remote, HDMI, optical, component, etc, etc, etc. Plans are in work to allow external storage through USB.

    And it’s free with new signups. No, this isn’t a promo. Home Theater mag did a DVR review a while ago and they also did not include the Dish DVR. What gives?

  11. Been using GB-PVR with a PVR-150 MC card for the past couple of years. Unlike the DRM-laiden Windows Media Center under XP & Vista…GB-PVR allows me to record anything I desire without the dreaded broadcast flag the broadcasters are using more & more. In addition to no broadcast flag worries…GB-PVR also records in pure MPEG-2 format…rather than needing to convert from Microsoft’s proprietary MPEG-2 format. The best parts about this software is the cost – 0…nada…zilch & it runs on Windows 2000 & up!!!

  12. Been using GB-PVR with a PVR-150 MC card for the past couple of years. Unlike the DRM-laiden Windows Media Center under XP & Vista…GB-PVR allows me to record anything I desire without the dreaded broadcast flag the broadcasters are using more & more. In addition to no broadcast flag worries…GB-PVR also records in pure MPEG-2 format…rather than needing to convert from Microsoft’s proprietary MPEG-2 format. The best parts about this software is the cost – 0…nada…zilch & it runs on Windows 2000 & up!!!

  13. I like Tivo, however I don’t really watch much TV anymore, if I do watch I can download it now, so I”m thinking of maybe a AppleTV.

  14. I like Tivo, however I don’t really watch much TV anymore, if I do watch I can download it now, so I”m thinking of maybe a AppleTV.

  15. I set up MythTV on Gentoo Linux last year, using two VideOH! PCI tuners (for all those times when there are two shows I want to see playing at the same time). It works great, but I want to add more capabilities, such as exporting video to my Palm T|X and a way to control it from outside my LAN. I haven’t got to it because I now spend all my spare time watching TV!

  16. The new release is now integrated with MythTV and gives it a gyro-controlled UI that lets you navigate long lists of media and the TV’s EPG by waving, like a Wii, for fast, smooth control. Also wave to scan through your media and adjust volume and lights.
    There’s a new demo walkthrough video on Google Video, and also available in high-def at linuxmce.org. Installation is 25 minutes and every step is shown starting with a clean PC.

  17. The new release is now integrated with MythTV and gives it a gyro-controlled UI that lets you navigate long lists of media and the TV’s EPG by waving, like a Wii, for fast, smooth control. Also wave to scan through your media and adjust volume and lights.
    There’s a new demo walkthrough video on Google Video, and also available in high-def at linuxmce.org. Installation is 25 minutes and every step is shown starting with a clean PC.

  18. does any one know how to extend the buffer time in MCE2005 from 30min to something else cause 30 min just doesn’t cut it with 3kids being 5yrs, 2yrs and 5months.

  19. I have been using mythtv for years. I’m VERY happy with it. It does whatever i want to do with my files, i can not only watch tv and recordings but watch any video from any source in any format, transcode, access my system from internet, and so on. But it takes some work for setting up everything (however it’s flexible with hardware – software – file formates).

    Something i love is watching tv in my notebook in the bathroom!!

  20. Your comment that:

    > If you want to synchronize your video files with a portable
    > device, you’ll be happier with Tivo, which allows you to port
    > the Tvio-to-go files:

    is misguided. MythTV is incontestably the better solution here. Tivo allows you to port *certain* content to *certain* devices. It’s the usual proprietary lock-in story that MS uses.

    MythTV stores content in a standard format (MPEG-2 or MPEG-4), portable to *any* device that supports standards.
    And it allows you to automatically trim commercials!

  21. I just built a DVR using Windows 7 (32-bit) and the Hauppage PVR-150 in a Dell P4 w/1GB of RAM. I got it all running in one night. The new version of Windows Media Center that comes with Windows 7 is a lot nicer than the version in WinXP-MCE2005. I need to add another TV tuner so that I can record two shows at once. Other than that, it works great so far. Gotta say, as the world’s biggest Vista hater (I personally prevented over 800 computers from upgrading to it), I’m impressed with Windows 7. It’s what Vista should have been in the first place.

  22. It’s pretty sad that the options for dvr are so limited at this late date. But with the Ceton cards available (hopefully followed shortly by the HDHomerun Prime), there is bound to be more demand for a viable solution. Currently, I’m using Windows 7 media center. It’s really a great media center. The down side is that it runs on Windows. If you’re a Windows fan, that’s great for you (the Media center comes free if you’re willing to shell out the bread for the OS)… but I’m not a Windows fan, so I grit my teeth and live with it (for now). I tried MythTV for a while, but as there is NO W.A.F. (wife acceptance factor), and no attempt on the part of the Myth community to incorporate any… it’s not an option. The attitude of the Myth community seems to be that it’s a better DVR solution, so you should be willing to spend days learning and hours configuring it (with still no hope that your wife will feel comfortable with it). That’s the same attitude that used to pervade throughout the Linux community as a whole… but is thankfully changing with the likes of Ubuntu and Linux Mint etc….

    On the bright side, XBMC now has a PVR branch. It’s not ready for prime-time yet, but there’s hope.

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