In a piece titled Tivo versus MCE versus my cable company, blogger Ed Bott compares three competing PVRs: Tivo's (ticker: TIVO) Series 1 Tivo, Microsoft's (ticker: MSFT) Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and Scientific Atlanta's (ticker: SFA) high definition Explorer 8300HD.
Bott compares their functionality with respect to many common functions, as well as two features (HDTV, multiple tuners) that Tivo lacks. Despite being a self-proclaimed Tivo fanatic, he concludes that Windows XP Media Center Edition is superior to Tivo.
Bottom line? Feature for feature, Windows XP Media Center
Edition matches TiVo and even exceeds it in some measures. I could put
together a list of MCE-only features that I especially like. For
instance, the Movies button lets me scroll through all movies available
in the current guide, sorted by rating.....I can copy
any recording to DVD in WMD format or use a third-party program to make
a disk that will play in any DVD player. And I can use my Media Center
Extender to play anything from the Media Center PC (which is in the
den) on the TV in the bedroom.
I bought my first TiVo in 2000, when the company was only a year old. I
was a charter member of the Cult of TiVo. But these days, I don’t miss
it. The Media Center interface is every bit as usable, with some clear
technical advantages as well.
Quick comment: Bott's review is very interesting, but is largely irrelevant to Tivo's declining stock price. The ultimate winner of the PVR wars will be the company with the strongest marketing muscle, not the best technology. Even if Tivo's product was vastly superior to Microsoft's (which is not Bott's conclusion),it would still be very threatened.