For a while now, I've been intrigued at the idea of pulling in all my available media into a single TV watching experience. I've looked at various media streaming boxes like Roku, WD Live, Apple TV, etc. But with those, I would have to switch between my cable box and that device.
Then I discovered the Logitech Revue. It looked awesome because I would be able to plug my cable box output into it, and then be able to browse and watch cable channels (even DVR recordings) from the same interface as everything else. Then I found out that Logitech is discontinuing the Revue, and Best Buy is no longer selling them. I'm sure I can find one online, but I don't know that I want to buy a discontinued device.
So that brings me back to the idea of an HTPC. I'd like to be able to watch the following, all without having to change TV inputs:
- Watch cable TV (I currently have an HD DVR cable box)
- Browse the cable TV guide (I hate my current cable guide, it's ugly and clunky)
- Record / playback cable TV (DVR functionality)
- Stream Netflix
- Stream Hulu
- Stream video files
- Rip DVDs to storage for playback
- Listen to MP3s (from network drive)
- Browse the internet (nice to have, but not necessary)
The first three items are where my questions are, because I know an HTPC with XBMC can do the rest. I've searched HTPC forums and guides, but can't seem to find answers to the following questions:
1. Is it possible to connect cable TV to (and watch TV through) an HTPC?
2. Is it possible to view the cable guide using an HTPC?
3. Is it possible to setup recording of shows using an HTPC?
4. If all of the above is true, can an HTPC be built to work regardless of cable provider? (I'm thinking of possibly switching to DirecTV in the near future)