I'm buying my fiancée a DVR for Christmas. Which one is the best one for our situation?
My fiancée was kind enough to tell me exactly what she wants for Christmas – a DVR so she can record her favorite shows. I want to make sure I get the best one I can for now and for the future when we move in together, within our budget constraints.
Things we don’t want: anything that requires multiple boxes. I already have a PVR that hooks up to my PC
that works okay for me, but programming it is a gigantic pain and accessing the recorded shows over the network is also painful. So buying this DVR is an investment in ease of use - 1 box, no complications.
We currently live in separate apartments. She has Time Warner’s basic cable. We’re getting married and moving in together in the May/June timeframe. When we do that, we may end up dropping our cable TV subscriptions and getting a HD antenna instead since she only watches shows that are on the broadcast networks and since I watch almost no TV already. We would keep reasonably-speedy Internet access, at least 20 Mbps down / 2 up. Depending on how that works out, we might stick with antenna-only, or we might go back to cable if we miss the channels that we get with cable. Neither of us has ever had much interest in satellite TV (it seems to be a money-saver if you get tons of channels, which neither of us particularly want), so it seems unlikely that we would ever go that route, but bonus points if there’s a solution that could also migrate to Dish or DirecTV.
With all that in mind: I want to get a DVR that works while she has Time Warner’s most basic package, and that will continue to work if we no longer have cable and are broadcast-only. Are there any options besides TiVo, and are they any good? If TiVo is the best: which one? I originally thought about just getting her a DVR from Time Warner would be ideal since it wouldn't require a big purchase, it would just require paying the monthly fees, but now that’s problematic due to our possibly dumping our cable service, and it’s more expensive than I thought ($20/mo, minimum).
Also, we promised not to spend more than $120 on each other’s gift this year. I can probably fudge that up to $150 if necessary, but it would be ideal to keep the initial outlay down around $120. I’m aware that TiVo is better with a Tivo subscription (or is it required now?), and while $15/mo isn't peanuts I think it’s safe to leave ongoing cost out of the $120 goal.
Bonus points for recording in HD (not required, but nice-to-have), saving money after the initial $120 outlay (e.g., is there a way around the $15/mo TiVo subscription?), for additional content (e.g., does the TiVO subscription allow us to stream anything interesting?), and for cool features (e.g., any way to get recorded shows on iOS and Android?).