MythTV Vs. TiVo

Mark is using MythTV and recommends it over TiVo. MythTV sounds more flexible and fun to build, but it could be more expensive if I’m going to build it from scratch. I’ve been thinking about getting DirecTV next month, and if I do I want to have a PVR. Here are the pros and cons that I can think of at the moment:

MythTV pros: no monthly fee, upgradeable, plays mp3s, fun to build. MythTV cons: hardware costs are at least $50 for a video capture card (it could be a lot more if I buy a new hard drive or even a whole new computer), bulky, noisy fans, hard to setup.

DirecTV TiVo pros: integrated with the DirecTV receiver, fixed costs ($99 for the box + $5 per month), easy to use. The cons are that it’s probably not as powerful, and there is that extra monthly charge.

It’s really hard to compare the two based only on cost. To build a MythTV box that can receive two signals at once (like the DirecTV TiVo) I would need at least two capture cards. Even if I could use all existing hardware except for the capture cards, it would cost at least as much as the $99 for the DirecTV TiVo. I would probably want to add at least a $80 hard drive which would make it more expensive than the TiVo even after a year of service. Once I got that far, there are probably a lot more things I’d want to add, so the MythTV could easily be much more expensive than DirecTV TiVo, even in the long run.

I’m going to do more research, but at this point I think I’ll go with TiVo, and possibly upgrade to MythTV when the hardware isn’t as expensive and it’s easier to setup.

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