MythTV is an incredibly powerful and flexible home theatre system, centred around TV recording. The price of such power is a somewhat complex setup, but it is worth the effort if you want more than simple one-off recording. Once setup, it is simple enough for all the family to use. Developed initially for Linux, MythTV is now available for MacOS and Windows too.
MythTV supports multiple TV tuner cards, and multiple multiplexes on each card enabling you to record more than one channel simultaneously in each card. Recordings are set based on programme names, with MythTV working out the times from the electronic program guide, or from online databases. If a programme's time changes, MythTV will change to suit, if two programmes clash and one is also available at a different time, say on a +1 channel, MythTV will work out the best way to get all your programmes. It is also intelligent enough to know which episodes of a series it has recorded and skip repeats of those episodes, unless you tell it to do otherwise. Programming can also be done on pattern matching, to catch any programme on a particular topic, or on programme category.
While the main focus of MythTV is to record and playback TV, it has plugins to handle many other types of content: including videos, music, photos, RSS feeds and even the local weather. It will also flag and skip commercials and can transcode recorded programmes into other formats, say for watching on a portable device.
MythTV uses the classic Linux server/client model, with the backend server recording the programmes and the front end client providing the user interface. These can run on the same computer, or you can have a powerful backend with plenty of storage in a cupboard/loft and small, quiet frontends around the house for watching with a good WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). To further enhance the WAF, there are plenty of themes available that can completely change the appearance of the interface, with something to satisfy everyone's tastes.
The ultimate Digital Video Recorder and home media center hub.