In my opinion, most tech geeks are a little uppity. They tend to think that the best solution for most problems is more technology and bigger/better systems that cost more money. I know that I’m guilty of this. After all, I’ve been trying to convince my wife for the past couple of months that we need a Mac in the kitchen. After all, how can we go on with our life without a $1400 email checking machine in the kitchen? That being said, most tech geeks are excited with Microsoft’s MCE (Media Center Edition). On the surface the device/operating system looks like a great deal. After all, everybody should have a full-blown PC in their living room right? Wrong! MCE is a great option for a tech geek who has an unlimited budget. This is not the case for the majority of consumers out there. In my opinion, the average consumer wants a device that just works. They don’t want to have to mess around with another Windows box in their living room. Take my family for example, my in-laws would love to be able to record their favorite shows and watch them when they want to. The only thing that they don’t want to have to do is learn how to use a Windows PC. My father in-law is what you would call computer illiterate. He doesn’t know how to use a computer and he doesn’t want to learn. Do you think I could sell him on getting a MCE box when the device is going to hit him hard in the wallet and he is going to have to learn a little bit about how to use a PC? I think not!
That being said, I would like to dedicate the rest of this post to compare the cost of a TiVo to the cost of an average MCE box. After all, most consumers don’t want to pay out the wazoo just to record their favorite TV shows and watch them at another time. If you are a tech geek then maybe this article isn’t for you. MCE has a lot of great features; however, for the cost I just can’t see getting an MCE box when you can get a TiVo for next to nothing. The rest of this post will hopefully convince you as well…
Ok, let’s start by taking the average cost of a middle of the road MCE box. To do this, I’ll head on over to Dell. The Dell that I configured has a 90-day warranty, and some decent hardware including 160 HD and 512 MB RAM. After shipping and handling the device comes to $1,077.49! In terms of a PC, this is pretty cheap. You could go cheaper, however if you did, I’m not sure that you would be happy with your experience. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is pretty much the cheapest you can get into a decent MCE box (Microsoft’s cheapest MCE box is: $1,299.99). That being said, you can get a 40 hour TiVo for $49.00 after rebate. If you want, you could upgrade to the 300 hour TiVo for $199.99 after rebate. Ok, I know what you are thinking; an MCE box doesn’t require a subscription. You’re right on that one, TiVo requires a one-year subscription at $12.95/month ($155.40/year). If you want, you could skip the monthly subscription model and go with a lifetime subscription for $299.
Ok, now that we’ve outlined all of the costs, let’s look at which option is more cost effective for the average consumer.
- Decent Dell MCE Box (one tuner): ~$1,077.49
- 300 HR TiVo Box with lifetime subscription: ~$498.90
- 40 HR TiVo with lifetime subscription: ~$348.00
As you can see, even with a lifetime subscription, the top of the line TiVo box costs a lot less then a middle of the road MCE system. Essentially you could buy 2.159731409100020044097013429545 top of the line TiVo boxes for the cost of one MCE box. If you want to look at the “low” end TiVo you could purchase 3.0962356321839080459770114942529 TiVo’s for the cost of one MCE box. When you break it down like this I think you can see that TiVo with a lifetime subscription is in fact a better deal for a budget minded consumer.
In order for this post to be legit, I need to have a couple of “disclaimers”. First of all, an MCE box is a fully functioning PC. It’s kind of hard to compare a TiVo to this type of device. While a TiVo is great, it’s rather hard to use your TiVo to help pay your credit card bill online. An MCE box inherently has more features then a TiVo box has. The point of this article wasn’t to compare an MCE box’s features to a TiVo. Instead, what I’ve attempted to do was to explain why a TiVo is more cost effective for the “average” consumer. In my opinion, most consumers don’t want a $1,077.49 PC in their living room. If you want a PC in the living room then a better option would be to buy a laptop and use this device while you watch your favorite shows on your TiVo . One more thing, I don’t consider myself to be an MCE expert. As a matter of fact, I am more of an MCE newbie. The device has always interested me, however, I don’t think I am going to try and convince my father in-law to purchase one.