Comparison of PVR software packages

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The following is a comparison guide for popular DVR (digital video recorder, sometimes PVR, personal video recorder) software packages.

General information

Basic general information for popular DVR (PVR) software packages.

Name Official Website Windows Macintosh Linux Price Latest stable release Notes
Beyond TV Beyond TV Yes No No $99.99 software & remote. 4.9.0 Not compatible with DVB tuners
See also: List of digital television deployments by country
CTpvr CTPVR Yes No No $29.95 - Media Center; $14.95 - Client ? UPDATE Mar-08: CTpvr has sold its products and TV Listings service to an (as yet) unknown company. Currently not available.
EyeTV Elgato No Yes No Bundled / €79.99 3.1 Free with all Elgato USB tuners, but available separately for use with other tuners.
Freevo Freevo Limited Yes Yes Free 1.9.0 Open source
GB-PVR GB-PVR Yes No No Free 1.4.7 (August 29, 2009) Includes Integrated EPG, media server; PC client (local or networked), MediaMVP clients, web-scheduling.
Got All Media Got All Media Yes No No Free 7.0.0.4 (March 22, 2009) TV , Video, Audio stream player, Remote control support, Weather
CenterStage CenterStage No Yes No Free ? Development ceased December 2008
MediaPortal MediaPortal Yes No No Free 1.0.2 (April 20, 2009) Open source (built on the .NET 2.0 Framework)
Meedio TV/Yahoo Go! TV Meedio TV/Yahoo Go! TV Yes No No Discontinued/Free 2006 Only available in the U.S.A.
MeediOS MeediOS Yes No No Free ? Open source (built on the .NET Framework)
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter MediaPhoenix Yes No No MediaPhoenix - Unreleased ShowShifter - Discontinued (Was £30) ? Supports some older TechnoTrend/Hauppauge boxes which are not BDA compliant, such as the Dec 2000-t/3000-s and first generation Nova-t USB boxes, which are unsupported by other PVR software.
MythTV MythTV Limited[1] Yes Yes Free 0.22 (November 6, 2009) Open source
Plex Plex No Yes No Free 0.7.14 Open Source. Code fork of XBMC.
SageTV SageTV Yes[2] Yes Yes $79.95 software; $29.95 client; $29.95 per mediaMVP client; 6.5 Java based.
SesamTV SesamTV Yes No No Free ? ?
TotalMedia 3.5 ArcSoft Yes No No $79.99 software. 3.5.40.242 For time-shifting and MPEG-2 capturing, a Pentium IV 2.0 GHz processor (or higher) or equivalent is required. To support high-definition TV, recommend enabling DX-VA (video card hardware acceleration). Minimum requirement for display adapters: ATI Radeon 7200 or better, nVidia Geforce MX 440 or better, Intel 82865 or better.
TVedia TVedia Yes No No $34.95 4.2 ?
Tvheadend Tvheadend No No Yes Free 2.9 Open source. TV streaming server for Linux supporting DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-C, DVB-T, ATSC, IPTV, and Analog video (V4L) as input sources. Supported by Showtime Media player and XBMC
Windows Media Center Windows Media Center Yes No No $110-$319 (OS Price) 6.0.6000.16484 (November 8, 2006) Included in Windows XP MCE 2005 and Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate.
XBMC Media Center xbmc.org Yes Yes Yes Free Template:Latest stable software release/XBMC Open source. A cross-platform media center front-end, currently no built-in TV-recording functionality of its own, but offers this via third-party plugins.

^  Porting MythTV to Windows is under development.[3]
^  There is also a Windows Home Server Edition

PVR features

Information about what common and prominent PVR features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons).

PVR Subscription Free Electronic Program Guide Power Management Multiple TV Tuner Cards Support CableCARD Support ATSC Tuner Support Automated Commercial Skip Teletext Schedule Timed Recordings Personalized Intelligent Recording and Scheduling [4] DRM Support
Beyond TV Yes Yes[6] Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
CTpvr Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
EyeTV No[12] Yes Yes No Yes External add-on Yes Yes Yes Yes
Freevo Yes Template:Unk Yes No Yes External add-on Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk No
GB-PVR No[14] Template:Unk Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Template:Unk
Got All Media Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
CenterStage No Template:Unk No No Template:Unk No Template:Unk No Template:Unk No
MediaPortal No[5][14] Yes Yes No Yes Using Plugin[10] Yes Yes Yes[9] Partial support
Meedio TV/Yahoo Go! TV Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MeediOS Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Yes[5] Template:Unk Yes No Template:Unk No No Yes Yes Template:Unk
MythTV No[5][7] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes External add-on[3] No
SageTV Yes Yes Yes No Yes Using Plugin[9] No Yes Yes No
SesamTV Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
TotalMedia 3.5 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No
TVedia Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk No Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Windows Media Center Yes Yes Yes[10] Yes[4] Yes External add-on[2] Yes Yes No[11] Yes Even honors the do not record flag which was disallowed by the courts.
XBMC Media Center No Yes Yes[13] No Yes[13] Yes No No No No

1.^  The Personalized Intelligent Recording and Scheduling feature, similar to TiVo enables the PVR application to record programs based on past viewing habits and interests.
2.^  Windows Media Center has the ability to skip commercials automatically after installing an external plug-in called "DVRMSToolbox" (which is not supported by Microsoft) or "Lifextender" .
3.^  MythTV has the ability to perform Personalized Intelligent Recording and Scheduling after installing an external plug-in called "tvwish" (which is not supported by MythTV).
4.^  Windows Media Center supports CableCard when used on CableLabs certified OEM Hardware. [5]
5.^  Supports over-the-air epg when using cards/boxes which support this functionality, and in areas where such a service is available.
6.^  To take advantage of operating system power management with Beyond TV, the main user interface must be closed.
7.^  MythTV has switched from the now defunct Zap2It to the $20 per year Schedules Direct.[1]
8.^  EPG is supported via WebEpg
9.^  Is Supported by 3rd party plugins. ComSkip[6] and ShowAnalyzer [7]
10.^  Windows Media Center supports two NTSC (Analog) tuners and two ATSC (Digital) tuners out of the box. Using additional tuners requires registry modifications. Windows 7 Media Center supports up to 4 tuners of each type out of the box, DVB-T, DVB-S, NTSC/PAL.
11.^  Vista Media Center can do partial intelligent recordings. You can do recordings based on key words, actor(s) names, or other genres.
12.^  Elgato's contract with TitanTV will expire in 2010. When it expires TV Guide will become the sole EPG provider for EyeTV. One year of TV Guide EPG service costs $19.95.[2][3]
13.^  XBMC Media Center supports the SiliconDust HDHomerun with the MyTV Plugin.
14.^  No native subscription free EPG built in, but EPG data available using third party services.

Video format support

Information about what video codecs are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons) in the PVRs.

DVR MPEG-1 MPEG-2 MPEG-4 ASP (MPEG-4 Part 2), i.e. DivX, XviD H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) WMV AVI ASF QuickTime MP4 Real Video
Beyond TV Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Yes Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
CTpvr Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
EyeTV Yes Yes Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk
Freevo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GB-PVR Template:Unk Yes Yes Yes Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk
Got All Media Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Mac Media Center Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MediaPortal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No1 Yes No1
Meedio TV/Yahoo Go! TV Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Yes Yes Template:Unk No1 Template:Unk Template:Unk
MeediOS Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MythTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SageTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Template:Unk Yes Yes Template:Unk
SesamTV Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Yes
TotalMedia 3.5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TVedia Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Windows Media Center Yes Yes Yes Yes1 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes1 2 Yes1 2 No1
XBMC Media Center Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3

1 Possible with third-party software.

2 Windows 7 OS only

3 Implemented with FFmpeg (no add-on needed)

Information about what video codecs are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons) in the PVRs.

Network Support

Each features is in context of computer-to-computer interaction. All features must be available after the default install otherwise the feature needs a footnote.

DVR Tuner Sharing Hard Disk Pooling Shared Media Database Home Automation Media Extenders Placeshifting Two-way Remote Control
Beyond TV Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
CTpvr Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
EyeTV Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk
Freevo Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk Yes Template:Unk
GB-PVR Yes Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Got All Media Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Mac Media Center Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MediaPortal Yes No No No No Yes No4
Meedio TV/Yahoo Go! TV Template:Unk No Yes1 Template:Unk No No No
MeediOS Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
MythTV Yes Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
SageTV Yes No6 Template:Unk Template:Unk Yes Yes Template:Unk
SesamTV Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
TotalMedia 3.5 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
TVedia Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk Template:Unk
Windows Media Center No No No No2 Yes No5 No2
XBMC Media Center No4 No4 No4 No4 Yes No4 No4

1 Yes with registry change.
2 Yes with retail third-party plugin
3 Yes with free supported third-party plugin
4 Yes with free unsupported third-party plugin
5 Yes with free third-party software Web Guide 4
6 Yes with Windows Home Server Edition

TV Tuner Hardware

DVRs require a TV Tuner in order to work. Many DVRs, as seen above, can handle multiple tuners.

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Schedules Direct
  2. Why is there a fee for the EyeTV Program Guide?
  3. How do I use TV Guide with EyeTV?
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