Suggestons for PVR - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-12-2004, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Somewhat unusual setup for my HT. I have three D*TV boxes hooked up in my house, but not in my new HT. Wasn't planning on getting HD from D*TV, so didn't set up the HT in my basement that way. I did run an S-video out of my D*TV box from the bedroom upstairs out the wall and around and down in through to the HT. I feed this into my AVR and on to my PJ. This works well, running it with an IR extender for my MX-500 remote. Seemless and works great as long as no one is watching TV in the bedroom:D

Later, I did buy a Sylvania HDTV STB for OTA HD. This too works very well. Better in fact than I expected. Now I am thinking of being able to record some of this content as well as whatever is on D*TV. I have a VCR there and have recorded some stuff, but it is not really watchable on a 106" diagonal screen. My initial thought was to get a Tivo box for the bedroom and run that remotely as I do with the current D*TV box. This would be fine, but would cause a problem to record from my OTA STB in the theater(the Sylvania outputs HD and S-video simataneously for this purpose - probably no news to the veterans here) as I only ran one set of S-video and RCA cables and have now finished off all the space.

Don't want to drop a bunch of dough, and don't need a lot of disk space. My wife gave me a Pioneer e80 for Xmas. I had mentioned to her that a DVD burner would be fun. She didn't get that I meant for my PC! I find the e80 very cool and use it for time shifting upstairs in the family room. Seems like I always have at least 20 hours of XP quality time left on it. Don't want to drop that kind of dough for occasional recording of OTA material. For D*TV, I can and have used the e80. Cumbersome though to have content in various drives at each end the house. I can burn a recorded D*TV program to a DVD and then take it downstairs. Seems a hassle, though. Sounds like I am talking myself into a media server!

I need an inexpensive solution to record S-video and audio to HDD. Would consider an HTPC for this. How slow of a unit can you get away with for this purpose? I have an extra PII-300 Gateway that I could easily drop an appropriate video card (WinTV?) and drive into. Or is a used Tivo an easier solution? Maybe a used e60?

Sorry for the long post

Chris Whitworth
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-13-2004, 05:22 PM
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A refurbished ReplayTV 5504 with lifetime service can be had from DNNA for $350:

http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/sho...del=228&c=true

I am not quite sure about the Sylvania units, but my Replay can control my Samsung HDTV box just fine. Also, even though you are recording a down-converted HD signal, the picture quality is excellent--way better than programs recorded from my satellite (Dish Net) receivers. As an added bonus, shows broadcast in 16:9 widescreen format are recorded in 16:9 format from the HD box.

If Necessity is the mother of invention, then Laziness is surely the father.

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-19-2004, 09:39 PM
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Hey Chris -

You could potentially use an old PC, though your mileage may vary. With a Hauppage 250 or 350 class TV recording card, all the MPEG encoding is done in hardware, thus lowering system requirements. The Hauppage site recommends a P3 733 minimum, though that sounds a bit on the heavy side if you have the 350 (as it does encode AND decode). Worth dropping them a further email.

I use a home-brew HTPC box for my standard-cable recording. Uses an ATI All-In-Wonder 8500DV. The ATI cards are great if you're also planning on using it for multimedia/3D. Otherwise, definitely just stick with the Hauppage lineup.

Different versions of their cards support different feature levels -- compare them carefully before buying.

And I always recommend that you buy from a store that has a 30-day no-Qs return policy -- that way, if you want to try it out, and it doesn't work, you bring it back.

-d
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-07-2004, 03:04 PM
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Chris,

I too would like to create an HD PVR from a PC. I am a D*TV subscriber and have the Samsung 360 HDTV receiver with an Off Air Antenna. Here in Atlanta we have no less than 5 local HD stations (lucky us). Anyway, I would like to leverage the investment in the Samsung ($299) by not purchasing the $1K Hughes HD Tivo box when it becomes available. So I'm thinking, "Hey, I'll make a generic PVR that can record HD." I figure that I can buy a Video in card and a 250MB hard drive and off I go, Right? But now I'm reading all the stuff on the forum and I'm not convinced that anyone is even doing this successfully.

Hey Methodmachine,

Are you saying that I could buy a used ReplayTV and record HDTV off of my Samsung? Does that have Component video or DVI outputs? I'm ready to sign-up now if that's the case.

Del

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-07-2004, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dchamp
Hey Methodmachine,

Are you saying that I could buy a used ReplayTV and record HDTV off of my Samsung? Does that have Component video or DVI outputs? I'm ready to sign-up now if that's the case.

Del
Best input is S-Video....The Samsung will output downconverted video on S-Video...and the ReplayTV can control the box (change channels)...so you can record the SD output from the Samsung.

I have a Samsung SIR-T351 connected to my ReplayTV (5508). While the PQ is down from live HD, at least I have something.

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You may be a dreamer, but I'm The Dreamer, the definite article you might say!
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-07-2004, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dchamp

Hey Methodmachine,

Are you saying that I could buy a used ReplayTV and record HDTV off of my Samsung? Does that have Component video or DVI outputs? I'm ready to sign-up now if that's the case.
The key word here is "down-converted". AFAIK, there is no standalone PVR that records actual Hi-Definition (well, there is the RCA DVR10, but that is more like an outboard hard-drive than a PVR...).

Anyway, down-converted HD is a 480i signal coming from an HD receiver. It isn't 1080i or 720p, but it is *nearly* (if not as good as) DVD quality. This is good enough for me until HD-PVRs (HDTiVo, Dish 921) come down to earth in terms of price.

If Necessity is the mother of invention, then Laziness is surely the father.

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post #7 of 8 Old 06-11-2004, 11:21 AM
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Hey folks,

ATI just released their HDTV Wonder card which will let me bring HDTV signals into my PC. It's list price is $100. Only problem is, it sounds like I'll need the $300 ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro card to send that out to my HDTV projector. Then I'll just add a $200 250MB Hard drive. Gee, the $1,000 Tivo doesn't sound so bad after all :(

DVC
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-12-2004, 10:57 AM
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I am using a JVC SR-W5U W-VHS VCR to record HDTV from the component video and the results are much better than you will get with any PVR recording from s-video. The price was $650 and I bought 30 hours of used videotape for $200 so it is more expensive but it is true HDTV and I use the tapes over as the price is too high for archiving. If you have DirecTV, the best solution is the HD TiVo although that apparently is more than you want to spend.

Chris
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