Build a PVR to record directv - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a desktop computer running windows 7 home premium. What hardware and software do I need to make it a PVR so that I can record directv and play it back at a later time? Thanks.
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 11:25 AM
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You need a capture device - Hauppauge HD-PVR is the most well known one. You plug your set top box into it, and it connects to your PC via usb. There is a PCIe model and Avermedia also makes a similar device.

The big advantage is that you have a larger selection of DVR software to use. Pretty much all of them can be set up with the HD-PVR. I'd think of some other reason you might want to use the htpc and factor that into your decision to pick a front end.

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post #3 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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pittsoccer33, thanks for your quick reply. I am not a gamer. I plan only to record tv programs, unless there is something I am missing. When you say the big advantage is a larger selection of DVR software are you referring to the Avermedia, Hauppauge or something else?

With either device what software would I need? What do you mean by "front end?"
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 12:16 PM
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The Hauppauge HD-PVR is popular among gamers for recording game play, but its also a good piece of hardware for recoring programming off a cable/satellite box. The Hauppauge Colossus and Avermedia's various USB and PCIe devices are other capture hardware you could use.

You will need a Directv box to record. You take the video out from it into the capture device hardware. Then the capture device is plugged into your PC.

Your PC in turn has IR blasters connected to it. Those are little wires your computer uses to send an IR signal to your Directv box. When its time to record NCIS at 8pm your PC sends a signal to the box to change the channel.

"Front end" is the term used for the main htpc interface software you use and can control from the couch, typically with a remote. XBMC and Windows Media Center as examples. Most of the various front ends have live tv and DVR support. By using a capture device you aren't limited in your choice the way you could be using a cablecard tuner.

This is a decent list of various software http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_PVR_software_packages

You CAN use Windows Media Center, which is probably already on your computer, but there might be another option that you like better. I'm heavily invested in WMC so thats really my only choice, but there are plenty of other forum members using Media Portal and XBMC and JRiver.

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post #5 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 12:22 PM
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For recording from satellite you'd probably be better off getting the DirecTV HD-DVR rather than using a PC for recording. There is no all-in-one solution for recording from satellite using a PC. You'd need a HD-PVR for each channel you want to record or watch simultaneously. The cost of the hardware can get quite pricey when you add it all up. The DirecTV DVR will cost you a lot less to use and won't take up nearly as much space.

The front end software pitsoccer3 was referring to is the software used to record your TV channels. Windows Media Center is one, but there are quite a few others as shown in this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_PVR_software_packages
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm curious if anyone on this forum has a PVR for recording directv and what their setup is.
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-19-2013, 04:43 PM
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I use a dual tuner pcie card in Oz so basic card with windows 7 MC. I set up the recordings I want as a series or a one off and set the parameters like how long after a show finishes to stop recording. I use media centre buddy to convert the windows recording to mp4 and puts the shows in there own folders which all happens automatically.

I also can put my pc to sleep and the recording wakes the pc to start a recording, I use it for my kids tv shows mostly so it records about 10 different kids cartoons every day with no problem.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-20-2013, 09:22 AM
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Drop DirectTV and get Cable. There are tuners that can decrypt Cable TV directly into PC, without the need for STB's or other boxes. Much neater and cleaner solution, and you get full HD, as well as premium channels.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-20-2013, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Drop DirectTV and get Cable. There are tuners that can decrypt Cable TV directly into PC, without the need for STB's or other boxes. Much neater and cleaner solution, and you get full HD, as well as premium channels.

Better yet, just cut the cord, go with Free TV and Internet services NetFlix, Vudu, Hulu, etc

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Firewire is alive and kicking!
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-20-2013, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Drop DirectTV and get Cable. There are tuners that can decrypt Cable TV directly into PC, without the need for STB's or other boxes. Much neater and cleaner solution, and you get full HD, as well as premium channels.

Assuming the available cable provider has the channels you want in HD. Some providers are way behind satellite in HD content.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-20-2013, 03:25 PM
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If you decide to go the route of taking the analog output from your satellite box and re-digitizing it, you need to be prepared to check the satellite box every day to make sure it's on. If Those boxes get updated by the provider and rebooted, they generally default to off.

I use a cable box and an analog to digital converter (a Haupauge 1212), and I swear Oceanic Time Warner does box upgrades every week. So I have to be really diligent about checking. And it's a really long story as to why I am recording stuff this way that involves 5 cable cards that never worked and the fact that I get a free box as part of my condo dues. I really wouldn't recommend it unless you're just bored and want a project. The output is fine, but it takes a lot of ongoing tender loving care.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-21-2013, 08:22 AM
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My setup is as follow:

 

Satellite HD PVR (Bell) -> Hauppauge Colossus via component and spdif in my HTPC.

 

I use the satellite PVR as a programmer/buffer and I empty it with my Colossus equiped PC when I have the time and while watching what I have recorded on the PVR.

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post #13 of 20 Old 11-21-2013, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Embry View Post

Better yet, just cut the cord, go with Free TV and Internet services NetFlix, Vudu, Hulu, etc

I am considering it as a fallback plan for when/if CableCARDS are phased out. We have been doing OTA for local TV since day one along side the cable and netflix/HULU.

So, it won't too much to switch over to OTA + streaming.

I will probably move from WMC to XBMC if/when time comes, sicne we won't need CableLABs compliance.

At the time, FiOS is the most cost effective, since naked internet from FiOS is $60/month and triple play is $65. But, when/if we cut the cord, we will go with TWC's $15/mo internet plan.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-21-2013, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Assuming the available cable provider has the channels you want in HD. Some providers are way behind satellite in HD content.
Only a few like Cox and Cablevision. Most of the other major players are well ahead: Fios, TWC, Charter, and Comcast. Of course DirecTV is still the only place you can get Sunday Ticket.

There are lots of Tivos still out there and the law hasn't changed, so hopefully cable card will continue to be around for years to come. If cable card does go away, I'll likely drop back to internet only. Without cable card, pay TV is way too expensive now.

I have zero regrets dropping satellite for cable and HTPC. Wish I had been able to do it much sooner.
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-21-2013, 01:10 PM
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Good thing you're not in Canada or your cable feed would suffer. With Bell buying channels left and right, our cable provider only gets "second-hand" feed... By that I mean that Bell has already processed the signal for their satellite and fios services, so you are getting a recompressed signal on cable. DSLReport has many thread bout the difference in quality. Even with Bell, according to many tech I had conversation with, it is recommended to set our box to 720 instead of 1080 since most channel are 720 anyway so think about what we are getting on cable after the second recompress...

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post #16 of 20 Old 11-21-2013, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Only a few like Cox and Cablevision. Most of the other major players are well ahead: Fios, TWC, Charter, and Comcast.

Don't have any of those around here. I gave up a number of HD channels to switch to "cable", well it's actually FTTH and I switched from my pretty good DSL (12Mbps) to faster fiber (though I'm still on the 15Mbps plan). Only reason I dropped Dish is because the "bundle"/intro price for TV+internet was less than just by Dish bill alone.

Of course now I "have" to buy some shows off Amazon since I don't get them in HD anymore, and more I just have to deal with being in terrible SD (vs everything I watched being in HD on DIsh).

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-22-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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With Bell buying channels left and right, our cable provider only gets "second-hand" feed.

This is only true for cable providers who use bell satellite as a source.
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-22-2013, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post


This is only true for cable providers who use bell satellite as a source.

 

Well, not according to the techs I spoke with. Even the "direct" feed are already "Bell" processed. The situation may be a bit different in region where Rogers is available since they are the only true competion to Bell in Canada now. But In Quebec where I live, both Cogeco and Videotron only provides overly compressed fuzy signal as a result. They also carry less HD feeds than Bell. I do give Cable a high mark for internet access though, way better speed than what Bell can provide.

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post #19 of 20 Old 11-22-2013, 05:53 AM
 
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Well, not according to the techs I spoke with.

Content providers provide separate feeds to Bell, Rogers, Telus and other carriers. These are not 'bell' processed in any way.
I am an engineer at a content provider owned by Bell Media.
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-22-2013, 06:38 AM
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Thanks for the info. I was going with what I was told, but I believe you if you say so.

But in my case, video signal quality on cable is sh*t compared to sat or fios over here. Maybe Videotron (Quebecor) should spend more $$ on infrastructure and less promoting Celine Dion...

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