I liked the aesthetics of TiVo and such things are subjective but I like SAGE looks at least as much. Depending on the power of the PC you install it on, it can look very cool, with transparent menus over live TV. I find it more stable than the TiVo Liquid TV software and it does more. You can download a 21 day free trial which has every feature enabled. The Hauppauge HD-PVR will run on Sage out of the box and the HD quality is remarkable. Depending on your TV and your PC's video card the picture might even look better via PC than it does straight through the Shaw Motorola 6200 cable box -- mine does. I have a LG 50 inch plasma and the HD quality is stunning via Sage PVR.
The speed of channel changes also depends on your equipment, power of PC and the IR blaster choice. I would recommend buying a USB-UIRT from Sage hardware store, then you could use any remote you and your spouse are familiar with to control the SAGE TV system. Sage will also install USB-UIRT out of the box, with the tweaks being the commands it has to learn from your favorite remote -- even a Logitech one. I use one remote to run my SageTVs, making it easy for my family to endure any tweaks I impose.
There is one minor irritation for some SAGE TV users, related to PVR versus live TV. Since Sage is never "live" there is a minor interruption at the top of the hour when watching live TV. PVRs like SAGE record live TV and there is a new file started at the top of the hour so there is a short time lapse between files. This blip seems only an issue for sports, where you might be unlucky enough to miss Hawks overtime goal, for instance.
I should also point out TiVo is a subscription, variable with the Canbuck (higher these days, thankfully) but Sage is a one time expenditure -- until you get hooked and start buying more clients
Wayne might have more to add; he's more technically savvy about this stuff than I. But I would say if a rookie geek like me can get SAGE working with very little effort beyond a short learning curve, and still be married, almost anyone can.