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Glad I dropped Tivo for Media Center

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware, Internet, Man Toys, PC Gaming, PC Software | Posted on 09-03-2006

It was December 2001 when my wife bought me a Tivo for Christmas (see tivo review). At the time I loved it. It was the best thing since electricity. I decided to not purchase the lifeline subscription because I knew something better was going to come out with more hard drive space, ethernet etc. As it turns out I was right. Back then I think it was soemthing like $9.95 per month. Not too bad really. I remember walking around the office after returning from Christmas break selling Tivo to everyone. One of my co-workers at the time, Mike Kimsal listened to how things worked and in true Mike fashion researched it to death and when he decided he wanted one, like a true geek he wanted it RIGHT THEN! It’s funny because he called me on Super Bowl Sunday during the game wondering where he could get a Tivo in Ann Arbor. Luckily I had Tivo so I could pause the game otherwise he would have been in big trouble. I kept the Tivo around and kept selling them to anyone that asked and that would listen. By now they were becoming main stream. Sorta like Google where you hear people say “google for it” you started hearing people say I “Tivoed” so and so show last night. Probably a year or so after we owned the Tivo they released a newer version which could get its listings via wireless download. We upgraded ours and continued to use Tivo. By this time the price had gone up to $12.95 a month though. Where am I going with this posting you ask? Well, earlier this week Tivo announced new pricing plans. They’ve gotten rid of the lifeline subscription and instead charge you $19.95 a month or $224 prepaid if you want to buy a year in advance. Thanks but no thanks Tivo! shuttle xpcI haven’t posted about it to the blog but I took my Shuttle PC I purchased back in 2003 and converted it to run Windows Media Center several months ago, Novemeber 2005 to be exact. The only thing I had to do to convert it to media center was purchase a Haupaugge MCE 500 tuner. It has two tuners on it which allow you to record two shows at once or watch one and record one. As a side note about MCE you could even add two MCE 500 cards and record 4 shows at once, how cool is that? So for about a $100.00 I took an existing PC and converted it to Media Center and don’t have to pay Tivo a DIME every month. You can do your own research about media center but its a very cool platform and there are tons of hacks and even a complete API to develop custom plugins for it. After several months MCE is still running and recording shows all for the low low price of $0.00 per month. Besides the fact you have a computer and can do WAY more with it than the Tivo I call it a win. Wake up Tivo, you are approaching having to be put into the budget with your pricing and there are cheaper ways to get the same thing.

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