As we all know times are hard these days. Roughly a year and a half ago I bought a LED 1080P computer monitor from Samsung planning on using solely the two HDMI ports it provided (one for my cable box, and the other for my computer). Long story short.. in a month, due to financial hardship, will need to drop my cable tv package to standard cable, and remove all the digital boxes connected on our line. That being said, this posses an issue as the monitor only has a vga port, and two hdmi ports. My question to the community is, what is the best, cheapest way to turn my monitor/computer into a cable-ready setup? Here are a few idea's I currently brainstormed:
1. Buy a cable-ready VCR (not sure if I'd still get the local channels as they are in HD) and a semi-okay TV input card that accepts composite or s-video in. --Already have the VCR, but would need to buy a decent video input card.
2. Purchase a TV tuner that can decode un-encrypted ClearQAM signals. If I went this route, I would probably go for the Hauppauge HVR-2250 as it is ranked very highly. However, this method would cost me about $110 that I don't have.
3. I have a DTV digital to analog converter box. If memory serves me right, this only converts ASTC channels, so wouldn't help me much.
4. Purchase a series II Tivo box ($69 new) and put my own kernel on it so I didn't need a subscription (not illegal/hacking since this disable's recording) or similar legal box. Only problem with this method is the Tivo series II is so old that the best output on it is s-video and it is considered a "cable box" so might still be charged for a cable box fee from the service provider. I would also still need a composite/s-video card for the tivo, or a similar box with hdmi/vga which would probably cost more than the HVR-2250.
I could name many more ideas, but at the end of the day it is you guys on the forum with the experience. Maybe you could suggest an idea to help me out with this. Here is available hardware to me:
Samsung Syncmaster BX2331 (in specsheet claim to have composite in from vga port)
Matrox Parhelia APVe (claims to have s-video input but requires a WDM driver and software that supports it) -- if I could figure out how to get this input working, I could use my old computer to receive an s-video signal from the VCR and either use a DVI to hdmi cable or DVI to vga cable and run it that way
VisionTek HD5800 main computer graphics card (don't recall this to have any type of input).
Please help me solve this problem for the lowest price but still offer MPEG2 quality as it is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!