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A great start to whole home TV watching

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A great start to whole home TV watching
Time Warner Cable

There aren't a lot of ways in the world to share the TV you record on one DVR with the other TVs in your home. If you're tech savvy, you can go the home theater PC route but that takes a lot of time and effort. Verizon's FiOS TV offers a whole home solution but is only available in limited areas. Time Warner has come to realize that people don't want their programming stuck inside of one box and now offers a whole home DVR solution that while not perfect, is an excellent start.

Whole Home DVR

Cable companies have started to understand that people don't only want to watch their recorded programming in one room. Most homes have multiple TVs and wanting to watch your favorite shows in any room is a given. Until recently, the only way to make sure you could do this was to have multiple DVRs and to program each one to record the same content. Even then, you wouldn't be able to stop a show in one room and pick up where you left off in another.

Whole Home DVR solutions aim to change this by allowing one DVR to act as a server while other set-top boxes throughout the home act as clients, playing back recorded content from the main DVR.

Time Warner WH-DVR

Time Warner has several devices they use to provide their whole home solution. Whether they provide you with Samsung or Cisco equipment however is a relatively moot point as both company's devices work in the same manner. They communicate over your existing coaxial cable to allow you to view your recorded content on any TV where one of the devices is connected. That means that all of the live content as well as any shows you record on the DVRs in your home will be available to you on client devices. One thing to keep in mind however is that each device must be a Whole Home device. Any older set-top boxes in your home will not have access to this content.

Pros

Time Warner Cable

The pros of Time Warner's whole home solution are pretty obvious. Being able to watch any recorded show in any room is great once you have it and something you won't want to lose. The equipment used, while still loaded with clunky software, is a lot faster than the company's standard DVR and STB solutions. Delays in loading guide data or bringing up your recorded TV list are almost gone.

Another win for Time Warner (and most other company provided whole home solutions) is that you can have multiple DVRs and they'll all talk to each other. Technically you are still restricted to only two tuners per DVR but at least you can spread your recordings out and have them all available on the other devices. This also allows you to have multiple hard drives so the 500GB limit in an individual DVR is pretty much gone.

Cons

There are several cons to Time Warner's solution and hopefully they're going to be resolved quickly. First is the fact that you can't schedule recordings from a client device. If you have a non-DVR device in your bedroom and find a show you think you'll enjoy, you'll have to go to the living room and schedule the recording directly on the DVR. This might seem minor at first but is a huge inconvenience. You should be able to schedule your shows from anywhere. Time Warner has solved part of this issue by releasing version two of their iPad app but this of course requires an iPad. Kind of an expensive DVR manager.

The other issue I take with Time Warner's whole home solution is pricing. On top of your service and monthly set-top box fees, you'll also be charged $19.99 per month for the ability to use whole home DVR. While I can certainly understand charging for installation (there is specialized equipment required), charging a monthly fee for something that works on its own seems a bit off to me.

Conclusion

Quite simply, if you're willing to incur the extra monthly charge, Time Warner's Whole Home DVR solution is great. The cost will make many people think hard about it but if you've always wanted to be able to watch that favorite recorded show in other parts of your home, this is one of the easiest methods for getting it done. The installation is handled by a technician and if done correctly, you'll be very happy with the end product.

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