Originally Posted by OmegaWolf747
So if I were to connect the DVR I mentioned to my OTA converter box, that would be enough? The Digital Stream box down-converts HDTV signals to standard digital. At this point, I've no interest in cable or satellite, as they are costly.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm in the process of doing the same thing and there is something important to note with digital converter boxes.
From what I could find, your Digital Stream converter box will NOT simply convert the signal and pass it through. It does not pass the signal through like a VCR. This is very important because, that means you can't hook your DVR up to the converter box and simply expect your DVR to tune the channels. You would have to tune your converter box to the channel you want to record, leave it on, and set your DVR to channel 3 (or channel 4, however you configure it). Then you would have to set your DVR to record channel 3 for the times your shows are on, therefore, losing all the great DVR/EPG (electronic program guide) recording functionality. Your EPG will essentially become no more than a TV Guide.
You can't control/tune the converter box with the DVR which is unfortunate.
If you have a tv with vga input (many LCDs/flatscreens these days have them) I would recommend a PC based DVR. You could also do this if you have a PC that has a video card with S-Video out (or you could install one). There is a great article of how to build a DVR out of an old computer
. It was written a while ago, so I would certainly recommend a different TV Tuner card, but all the info is still good and you can see that a PC based system can be a DVR, an internet terminal, DVD player, audio/digital media player and more!
The system requirements to build one are relatively low. There are several options out there, but I'm leaning toward a SAGETV bundle with a Hauppauge HVR-1600 ATSC (digital) tuner card to record OTA from the antenna. ($149)
The system requirements are:
- Microsoft Windows 98SE, 2000 SP3 or higher, ME or XP (Any Version)
- 128MB RAM, recommended 256MB RAM
- Intel Pentium III 600 MHz or AMD Athlon 600 MHz with additional requirements including TV Tuner Card (futureboy's note: included in the bundle), Video Card and additional software.
I picked up a rebuilt computer with XP Pro, 1.8ghz P4 processor, 512 RAM for $75.
For this setup, the PC would need a network connection for the programming guide. If you already have a wireless network, wireless PCI cards/USB wireless is easy to install/setup and relatively cheap. If you don't have a wireless network, you could also go with a networking option that uses your home's existing power lines. Amazon has a Panasonic
version with a pretty high user rating. If you choose this option, you would need to make sure your router has more than one ethernet (network) out connection (some do, but not all). If your router only has one ethernet out port, you can get a ethernet switch (1 line in from your router to the switch, 4 lines out from the switch to your devices - PC, powerline adapter, etc.). If necessary you can get a switch pretty cheap (approx $25).
Regardless of what you choose, there are many options and a PC based system would be easy and relatively cheap. My DVR/Internet/DVD/Netflix Streaming system, complete, will be approx $290. All that, and $9 cheaper than the "analog only-tv only" box on Amazon.
I know I sort-of digressed form your question, but only about a month ago, I was standing where you are now. I bought a digital converter and was surprised at the no-pass-through limitation, which is why I decided to build from an old PC.
A lot of this will depend on your current TV/Computer/Network setup, but I simply offer the above suggestions to let you know of the alternatives to a pre-made box. Research all brands as well. Several companies offer DVR software, and others offer powerline, or wireless networking solutions. I settled on the ones I mentioned above because of their low price and positive reviews.
Anyway, hope this has helped, and all the best!