We are continuing to contemplate cutting the cord when our current DirecTV plan expires so I'm in the mode of thinking through my HTPC options and wanted any experienced input I could get from you folks.
My current setup is a Samsung LN-T4053H TV, Panasonic DMR-EZ27 DVD Recorder and a Sony VGC-RB53 XP PC. Currently, we use the PC to occasionally surf the web or to watch a missed show from the network's website.
In planning for the future, I'd like to have a way to record the subchannels via antenna. (If we cut the cord, we'd also use this as our main DVR, or, if we stay with D*, as a bad weather backup to satellite.) Ideally, I'd also like to rip some DVD sets of TV shows.
I recently came into possession of an HP Pavilion a6130n. It came to me with restore software but no hard drive or DVD burner. I've never owned a Vista computer (or Win7 for that matter), so I'm wondering if the HP would be a better unit to make into an off-air recording HTPC or if the Sony is sufficient. (I also have a couple of HP towers that came with XP Media Center Edition that are candidates for refurbishing and use for this set of tasks.) I have very limited Linux experience but have done a bit of Mythbuntu research.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts. Since my needs aren't incredibly high octane, I don't want to go overboard but, with several seemingly viable options to put into service, I don't want to go for the bare minimum if I can help it.
I have used this for years to record OTA, Clear QAM and then with a Cable Card. Vista will work but, Win7 is much cleaner. If you use those restore disks, you will have to clean up all the junk HP includes. That will help with responsiveness. I used a Avermedia Duet 2 channel tuner that worked well. It is no longer in production but you might find one searching the web. Others think highly of the HDHomerun network tuner. That's probably a good way to go also.
So, a tuner, DVD drive and a hard drive or two and you are off on a new adventure. Good Luck!.