What is a inexpensive alt. to TiVo?
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With that out of the way... There are some other options out there. I've played with quite a few of them and nothing is quite like a TiVo. I don't know of any set top boxes like the TiVo that are designed to record TV. You can get set top boxes like the Roku, Apple TV and Boxee to have streaming capabilities of Amazon or Netflix but those don't record. With that you are in to the DIY realm. A computer of some type with a capture card and access to guide data. MythTV (www.mythtv.org/), SnapStream (www.snapstream.com/), or even a Windows 7 computer with Media Center (windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/feat...) can provide good usage. These can be relatively inexpensive depending on how you put the together.
I personally use 2x Elgato (www.elgato.com) Hybrids to capture OTA TV on my Mac. While I'm not using it as a DVR you can use a Mac Mini to make a media center computer with DRV functions and have it look like a device. Especially with the latest models having HDMI output this is a popular choice. Again, relatively inexpensive depending on what you will need to purchase.
Dont' forget that cable and satellite providers all offer their own DVR options as well. It may just be a few dollars more a month to use one of those boxes.
And after all of that... none of them are as good as a TiVo. Yes, you can survive with the other options but I am the happiest when I sit down and use the TiVo. It has the best interface and still the best usability out there.
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