Tivo versus Media Center
I'm fully in the Windows Media Center camp in the debate over using Tivo vs. using MCE. At the same time, I got my parents a Tivo because I knew they wouldn't want to mess with all the complicated setup in using a media center PC to record and view television. I think everyone could benefit from the media management aspects of a media center PC because watching a slideshow on your television is closer to the old slideshows I grew up with in the living room and whole house access to a common music library just makes sense. Still, Tivo's simplicity is its biggest asset. You don't need to be a geek to enjoy Tivo. Xbox 360 integration take the MCE experience in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.
digital501 offers an interesting comparison of the two home media managers, with the conclusion that the end game is all about money. I think this is where everyone gets confused. Tivo popularity has nothing to do with cost, although there is a perception that $300 for a box and "lifetime" service is cheaper than setting up a media center PC. Tivo, like the iPod, has a certain elegance media center solutions still can't match. Agree? Disagree? Take up the discussion on Digital Media Thoughts.