Originally Posted by fndngemo
Ok, so I've decided to turn my old desktop computer into an HTPC. I'm doing this mainly because I want DVR functionality and I don't want to rent a box from the cable company or pay for Tivo. I'm pretty sure I have everything I need except for a TV Tuner. I've been trying to do some research on what tuner I should get, but am finding myself very confused. I'm going to list my PC specs and hopefully someone cal help me out.
I have a Shuttle SN25P box with a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processor. I've got 2gb of RAM and a nvidia 7800GT video card. With those specs, should I be looking for a card with a hardware decoder or a software decoder?
If you're talking analog, you want a hardware en
coder, they're far more reliable and robust than tuners that rely on software to encode.
It seems to me that there is no disadvantage to getting one with a hardware deocder, am I right?
Two huge disadvantages of getting a hardware de
- Very, very few tuner options
- Very, very limited application support
My box has a spare PCIe slot, so I think whatever tuner I get should either be PCIe or USB. I'm assuming PCIe would be better, but feel free to tell me I'm wrong.
Doesn't really matter, either will work fine.
Finally, I'd like one that can decode QAM as well as have an analog tuner. Right now I have basic cable from my cable company but no set top box. The cable company sends the network channels in HD and also the basic cable channels in analog. I'd like to be able to view all of them.
Then you're probably looking at something like one of the Hauppague Hybrid (HVR) tuners. I seem to remember hearing good things about the Hauppauge HVR-2250. Dual tuner analog/digital hybrid with hardware analog video encoder.
The only other question I had was what software to use. I'm going to be running Vista so had kind of just planned on using their build in Media Center, though I have no idea if that's a good idea or not. What I'm looking for in software is the ability to record high def video and have a channel guide. Other than that I don't really know.
If you've got VMC, might as well try it. Though I'd try SageTV, BeyondTV and maybe some of the other options if you're not sure what you like yet.