For a few years I have been using a computer based DVR. I would like to say it was cheaper than a Tivo, but in the end the hardware costs were probably more, but I didn’t have any monthly recurring costs. The other major advantage was that I could do whatever I wanted with the recordings since there wasn’t any DRM on them. The downside within the past two years was that I have a nice 40″ LCD HD TV that I am not getting much benefit out of since I am not using it with HD. That was why back in March I got a HD DVR from my cable provider, RCN. I personally disliked the device. It only held a small amount of HD content. The screen would go blank when you fast forwarded too much with HD content and then took almost 10 seconds to come back to normal all while you hear what is going on in the background. It just seemed like a half baked device, but it did HD so I kept it.
Between March and July when I moved my computer DVR got used less and less until right before I moved I wasn’t using it at all. In July Tivo announced an affordable HD Tivo, and the FCC rules allowing anyone who wants a CableCARD to ask for it from their cable provider. It was perfect timing for me since I was moving. My new place also has RCN, so I didn’t want their HD DVR again so I asked for a CableCARD, and went out and ordered an HD Tivo. I had Tivo for over 3 years before I went to a computer based DVR and that wasn’t until my Tivo died. I did go out and buy a Tivo Series 2, but it wasn’t the same by then so the series 2 actually sits in my closet to this day unused. Having a Tivo again I remembered how much I liked that device! No tinkering involved. For a while I liked the flexibility of a computer based DVR, but now I just want a product that works. That is part of the reason why I have a Mac at home and no windows PC anymore. I tinker enough at work, that I don’t want to have to at home. That is why I am very happy with my new Tivo!