I went the opposite way, from Hopper to cable when Dish dropped AMC (it's back now).
I don't see how the copy flag could be an issue or how the cost at Dish could be lower. If your cable card is activated properly, you get all copy protected content, and the card rental is very cheap ($2 at my cable company).
I see you haven't been introduced to the infamous CCI flag. Google it. Nearly all cable providers apply it only to premium channels (e.g. HBO.) However I am one of the few who has a cable provider that applies it to all channels. This causes WMC to DRM all content, which in addition to disabling multi-room viewing, brings on a slew of other problems that most people with WMC do not encounter.
Then every client is free, unlike Dish. So for my system on cable, my plan is around $80, and my equipment fee is only $2 versus the $38 2 Hoppers and 3 Joeys would be. Plus 2 Ceton Infinitvs would give you 8 tuners versus 6 with 2 Hoppers and a unified schedule. Just get rid of the Tivos and use WMC exenders instead. However, with a full HTPC solution, you will lose dual live buffers. But simply recording both programs is an easy workaround.
I already have a similar setup, and it's ultimately crap. Aside from the CCI issue, there are other problems as well. WMC is the buggiest program ever. The first and foremost are the problems that come along with the HDCP chain. Every now and then WMC will have some kind of issue where it complains about files or services not being compatible with protected content (because of some sort of HDCP glitch) and you have to restart WMC to fix it.
WMC is prone to random freezing and random crashes. Often times you can be watching, and all of a sudden you get the "This program has stopped working and will be closed" window. Can't dismiss it with the remote unless you want to wait a long time, have to walk up and click close. Worse is sometimes WMC won't close at all, so you have to bring up the task manager and force terminate ehshell.exe. Usually when this happens, you can see your mouse but the screen is otherwise black, so you have to control alt del, bring up task manager, and then alt-tab to it (it can't even take top level focus on its own when this happens.) I have a suspicion that this is due to HDCP chain issues, but I'm not sure.
Every now and then, the video will just go black. Audio continues, but no video. No apparent reason why, but the fix is to restart WMC. Again I suspect this is an HDCP issue.
If you ever change any hardware on your PC for any reason, your entire video collection is worthless. The DRM keys are tied to that particular instance of WMC, and re-activating windows renders them useless because now you have a different installation ID. The same thing applies if you have to re-format your computer. For this reason as well, there is simply no use whatsoever for having a backup.
Given that there's no multi-room functionality, I run WMC from multiple PC's off of the same HDHomeRun. Sometimes, WMC in one room will complain about a poor signal, and even have macroblocking, whereas it will work just fine in another room. These are all coming from the same cable outlet btw, there's no reason why it should be doing this. While it was happening, I have run netperf to see if there are any problems with the network. Nada, the network is in perfect condition, and it's even a full gig network across the entire span so I could literally stream about 30 copies of avatar on blu-ray across any one link and not have a problem. Yet WMC somehow has signal issues on some computers but not others, again when all of them are going off of the same cable outlet.
I'd like to try mythtv, but thanks to the CCI flag, the only DVR software in the world that I can use is WMC, which is a piece of crap.
This also doesn't take into account the flaky tuning adapter that on occasion will just cause you to drop channels entirely for no apparent reason. Not all cable providers are the same in this department, some give better tuning adapters than others.
Only other choice (other than Tivo) are the Cox DVR's. Let's just say that if they had invented DVR's in the early 80's, the very best ones would resemble the Cox DVR's, with all of the bugs and crappy ugly and slow user interface.
Moral of the story? CABLE SUCKS!
Edited by AlphaWolf, 01 November 2012 - 11:24 AM.