Transitioning from TiVo to Windows Media Center


I finally made the jump to Windows Media Center 2 months ago or so and, overall, I am much happier for it. I have had TiVos in my house since 2001 and it has gotten to be that I just never watch live TV anymore. I adore the concept of the DVR and am greatly annoyed when I dont have it at my fingertips.

Except for a few hiccups when I started (some due to me and others due to the fact that I bought the Dell 420 when it just came out, before Dell has fully gotten rid of the kinks), the machine has been working famously for about 2 months now. And it’s just great.

There are a bunch of things I don’t like about it, but for the most part they revolve around the programmability model. The software itself, out of the box, is absolutely awesome – it is SO much more responsive than TiVo (a Quad processor helps!) and the fact that you can upgrade HDDs and hardware generally is great too. The menu system is also miles ahead of TiVo, not to talk about integration with my home network and the Internet – totally and utterly sweet. The Movie Guide is a real nice touch and very easy to use. So is conflict resolution – I find it much better presented and handled.

The one feature I really miss though is grouped-shows by title ordered by date.

Comments (4)

  1. ThomasM says:

    I made the move from Tivo to Windows Media Center Edition (and then onto Vista Ultimate) because I didn’t like the hoops that one must go through to 1) upgrade storage on the Tivo and 2) access services other than what Tivo offers.

    It has been a couple of years since I made the move, but there is one feature on Tivo that, IMO, clobbers all other DVRs and makes Tivo still reign supreme: Tivo Recommends and Ratings.

    "Tivo Recommends" is by far the BEST example of what a DVR can do to change how someone watches TV. Not only does Tivo monitor what you have broadcasts that the viewer has specifically identified, but will, after a while, silently, unobtrusively, and amazingly accurately, record related broadcasts. So, after I watched a couple Kurosawa flicks, it will record other Kurosawa-related material that is broadcast. Things recorded in this manner are given no priority in the ‘Keep’ queue, so "Tivo Recommends" recordings are always deleted in favor of season passes and specific, scheduled recordings. Very well done, Tivo!

    Also, the ratings for shows in Tivo are, in two words, FIVE STARS! Multiple levels of approval, and multiple levels of disapproval which are taken into account for "Tivo Recommends" recordings.

    I guess this "technology" is patented because I have never seen equivalent features in any other DVR package (unless it was a rebranded Tivo box). SageTV, Windows MCE, Vista Ultimate, and Apple TV do not have these features. (Maybe ReplayTV?)

    I love my Vista Media Center, but those two features made me love DVRs.

  2. Shahar Prish says:

    Interesting, Thomas..

    I have been using TiVo for 5 years and I never used the "recommends" features. I mean, they were there, but the Recommends folder was usually empty (I guess because the TiVo was too full) and when it did have something, for the most part, it didnt seem related to what I liked watching (700 club? Me? Puhlease).. I guess at some point I lost total interest in it and never looked in there.

    I did, however, try to keep the ratings up-to-date with my likes for some reason. No idea why it worked so badly for me.

  3. Bob Excel says:

    Well, how has it been up to date?