What was the best DVR you've ever used?

I’ve been using DVR’s for years and have gone through many of them. I was curious what was the best DVR you’ve ever used?

For me I would say the old UltimateTV DVR was my favorite for the interface and ease of use. Second place would be the Hopper for its whole house capabilities plus Prime Time recording and Auto-Hop commercial skipping.

I never paid for cable in my life, so I would have to say Tablo because it is 10x better than the non cloud-based cheap one I tried on Amazon :smile:

What did you try??

Also never paid for cable and have never used another DVR

cordnevers unite!

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Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB 3 / 4 Channel HDTV Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Player (New Version) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IYETYX8/ref=cm_sw_r_other_awd_spbJwbDBQ7V9F

Hated having the antenna in the living room. Hated the ugly non intuitive interface. Hated the need for one box and antenna per TV.

Loved the lack of subscription fees. Loved 5.1 surround sound support.

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I would have to say my MythTV system.

  • Don’t loose recordings when leave provider
  • Ability to add tuner for current/multiple providers (used: OTA, clear QAM, cable card, Directv)
  • Commercial flagging, skipping and cutting.
  • Custom script to export to tablets, PC or Plex car server.
  • Just add hard drive for more space.
  • Web interface to manager recordings, schedules, and view status.
  • Many options/scripts for customization to fit my specific needs.

The big downside is that I do have to teach babysitters and in laws how to use it when they come. Most figure it out fairly easily though. I of course feel it is fairly straight forward to use, but I am a power user and engineering type.

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Between SageTV, Tablo, and TiVo Roamio…
SageTV is my clear all-time favorite from a UI and features perspective - but at the trade-off of being the most work to build and maintain (and ultimately sold and un-supported platform).
TiVo has almost no learning curve or system maintenance and is the closest to a true DVR appliance I’ve owned…Tablo is a medium-near second in that regard.

Having used DVR’s in various forms since they were invented the answer is a very easy Tivo. And if it wasn’t for the ridiculous monthly fee and poor OTA reception i’d still be using it.

While I love my TABLO… I do miss my dear departed ReplayTV with auto commercial advance… it was really nice to play back recordings and have it auto-magically skip commercial blocks on playback without having to touch a button… (of course the powers that be sued the living hell out of them and hence they folded and went chapter 11 …)

You could also “share” recordings with other replayTV users which was nice if you missed a show …

Dish just announced a 16 tuner DVR. Pretty impressive. Hopefully some of the cordcutter DVRs have future models with some more tuners without inflating the price too much

About 15 yrs ago I bought a LITEON LVW-5045 HDD + DVD Recorder from Costco and it still works. It has a 500Gb HD and you can record, watch, ff and rw, edit out commercials and even record the show onto a DVD. Now this was back in the analog days, but when everything went digital I got digital tv converter and used it for another 5 years. It did a great job of recording and allowing us to time shift and ff commercials. I still have it on my stand but haven’t used it for several years. Was just OTA for a while - and then Tablo came along and we have been happy campers since!!!

For a DVR that just “worked every time”, I would say my Comcast DVR was a real gem. The bitch of it was that my cable/internet bill ran $196 per month! So Comcast had to go and Tablo, Sling, Centurylink Internet, 3 Roku 3’s, 3 Nexus players and an OTA antenna took its place. Oh yeah, don’t forget to toss in a pre-amp and a distribution amp, plus a lifetime subscription. My monthly out of pocket is now $50, so it took the first six months to break even. The last six months have been a pretty good savings.

The thing I miss most about my Comcast DVR? I could watch an entire NFL game in one hour and ten minutes, because I could fast forward between plays until the instant before the ball was snapped. My wife wouldn’t watch a game with me because she said it made her sick (maybe it was just me, not the fast-forwarding). On the Tablo, it takes me about an hour and a half to watch an NFL game . . .

I never liked any cable or satellite DVR – too complicated to find the shows, set them to record, and too many settings to have to manage.

This made me reminisce a bit… the Tablo is worlds away from my first VCR where I had to manually tune each channel with a little dial, and there only 8 or 10 of those dials… I think I paid $800 for that VCR back in the 80s… Hate to think how much I spent (wasted) on the tapes etc over the years… But in some ways I loved the simplicity of that vcr.


Early 2000s, UltimateTV, a DirecTV receiver with Microsoft software.

Currently, OTA Roamio TiVo. Hate the $15/mo guide fee. Love the DVR.

UltimateTV was my first DVR. It was a shame that Microsoft discontinued it. :rage:

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SageTV by far.

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Sage was outstanding. Installed 2006, retired 2014, same server up essentially 24/7 for 8+ years, each client cost approx $80 using Hauppauge MVP boxes. Totally free EPG. Software / firmware done by founder / owner / guru Jeff (‘Narflex’) with care, very high quality and user focus. Remote access via ‘Placeshifter’ without remote connect hassles. All recorded files always accesible via normal NTFS file system as network share for ripping, editing, commercial removal, etc. Licenses were $25/client lifetime.

In retrospect, the DVR gold standard IMHO.

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Hear Hear Retired. Loved SAGE, can’t think of anything negative, plus the ability to customize darn near everything. Gave up on it when my hardware died and was too much work to fix. So tried Tablo and after a year just gave up when unable to record anything and playback options were primative and all schedules were “Stay tuned!!!” So ponied up for a Tivo Bolt plus a pair of Minis. They are flawless, have many nifty recording and filtering options, so my wife can actually record and watch a program. She would have burned my Tablo if I had not sold it first.

To be fair, I just checked with Tivo and the Bolt still does not have away from home streaming, but I pretty much use Plex for that anyway.

I just about kicked my Tablo to the curb after 8 months of pure aggrevation with crashes, combined with no ownership of problems. I had found the Tivo options you selected, and was willing to swallow my pride, admit to my wife a poor choice, dump my 1000+ dollar investment for Tablo, Rokus, subscription, etc.

Then 2.2.6. followed by 2.2.8. Tablo firmware came out and hugely improved my problems. I have turned the corner, and now am getting very solid performance. I even added a 2nd Tablo recently.

Tablo is worth the effort IMHO. Very nice people, great concept, hobbyshop programming and testing, but a very impressive hardware box with great potential. If they could just CONCENTRATE on fixing existing problems instead of adding new, often marginally useful ‘features’…

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