I’m hooked on TiVo. If you’ve never used one, I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, the company’s insistence on charging monthly for TV schedule information, means that I turned to other sources when I got an HDTV and wanted TiVo-like features.
Specifically I turned to MythTV (or MythTVHD if you prefer). Being a bit of a do-it-yourself geek, it made total sense. I have plenty of experience with Linux and open-source software. After buying the appropriate hardware, I put together the internals of a MythTV setup. It took some tweaking, but I got the entire system working with over-the-air HD recording last March. I had intended to build a custom case and wireless remote control setup over the summer, but then two things happened.
Zap2It labs cancelled free schedule service for hobbyists (including MythTV users). While I’m sure they had good reasons, but I decided to wait and see what was going to happen with schedule service for MythTV. Then a couple of weeks ago TiVo offered to sell me a brand new TiVoHD unit, and transfer the lifetime service from my old (standard-def) TiVo for a total cost of $498. I pretty much jumped on the offer.
- supports playback of DVDs
- can rip DVDs to the hard drive
- unencrypted HD signals only
- can detect and skip commercials
- works with whatever size hard drive you install
- scheduling now costs only $2/month
- better user interface
- two tuners built-in
- supports encrypted HD via 2 cablecard slots
- can fast-forward through commericals
- can hack it to work with any hard drive
- scheduling costs $5-$13/month
- it just works
Truthfully, it’s that last bit that’s the clincher. It took me days to get the MythTV setup to where I wanted it, it took me no time at all to setup the TiVo. With lifetime schedule service from TiVo, the benefits of MythTV are minimal.
So I think I’m going to punk out, and dismantle my MythTV box. I suppose I could just turn it back into a gaming rig, but I don’t really need one of those anymore…