Cut the Cord. Roku and antenna. Want DVR functionality. Now what? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 04-21-2014, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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So I finally decided I wanted to be free of cable TV. I bought a Roku a while back, liked what I experienced and then bought a Roku 3. I also have family with cable so I have access to all the cable-based "channels" on Roku. I also have Nowhere TV for a couple channels.

My main desires:

1. Live news. I can't believe in this age that we have no simple way to get something like CNN's live news on a Roku or such without having to pay for a full cable subscription. I'd pay yearly for such access for one news channel but that's it. I see horrible quality streams out there but they're really low quality and unreliable.

2. I really am not a fan of many of the Roku network channel feeds like ABC, CBS, CW and a few others. The interfaces are different. I can't easily fast-forward. They're wonky at times. I'd like to just take my antenna and capture those shows on my PC and watch them later. However, I'd want them in as good a quality as possible and I'd definitely prefer thumbnails during fast-forward, etc. I do NOT want a TiVO. I cut the cord to get away from subscriptions and paying them $15 or more a month for a guide is a joke to me. Had a TiVO, thought it was great for a bit, but overpriced.

3. I have a new homebuilt PC with a Gigabyte GTX 770 (4GB) card, an i5-4670K (running at 4.6GHz) and 16GB of RAM. Do I even need a capture card or can the video card do the trick? Win7 64-bit.

What else should I consider and need to know?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 Old 04-21-2014, 11:01 PM
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You need a digital tuner of some sort connected to your pc. I won't recommend any as I haven't used a tuner card since the ntsc days. Hauppauge and Silicondust both offer such devices.

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post #3 of 23 Old 04-21-2014, 11:01 PM
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You need either a PCIe, USB, or Ethernet TV tuner for your PC to receive TV with an antenna. Common solutions include cards made by Hauppauge (PCIe and USB) or the HDHomeRun, which communicates with your PC over your LAN.
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post #4 of 23 Old 04-24-2014, 06:28 AM
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Can you install an antenna??? Rooftop is best, attic installs are possible, and indoor is hit or miss. I have a rooftop antenna and live out in Winslow Township. I get all the Philadelphia stations in HD without any problems on a Silicondust HDHR-dual .

Your PC can handle it; but consider the noise from having a killer graphics card.

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www.antennaweb.org
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post #5 of 23 Old 04-24-2014, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by billdacat View Post

Your PC can handle it; but consider the noise from having a killer graphics card.
Most graphics cards are actually really quiet these days. Combined with good coolers and lower power requirements they also run pretty cool.
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post #6 of 23 Old 04-24-2014, 01:04 PM
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Unless you want to use the PC as a gaming machine, the i5 CPU has integrated HD graphics that should be more than adequate. No need for a separate graphics card.
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post #7 of 23 Old 04-24-2014, 04:03 PM
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You don't need a PC at all for what you're wanting to do. A $40 iView or Homeworx will work fine. If you insist on using a PC, then get one of the tuners suggested earlier, not a capture card.
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post #8 of 23 Old 04-26-2014, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

You don't need a PC at all for what you're wanting to do. A $40 iView or Homeworx will work fine. If you insist on using a PC, then get one of the tuners suggested earlier, not a capture card.

So I'm assuming I would need an OTA and plug that into the homeworx PVR\Digital Converter and that would capture my TV and record it, without needing a PC correct?

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm in the same position, and I've been looking around for options. I'm considering building my own HTPC. I like the XMBC/MB interface and the availability to do everything on one box. But the price is a bit steep. I built a entry level system and it's already at $800... Maybe it's above entry level, but if I can get the same capability of using the homeworx and roku for streaming, this might be worth considering.

I want to be able to stream OTA (mainly for football)
Watch shows on hulu/amazon
Watch Movies\shows I have on my hard drive.
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post #9 of 23 Old 04-26-2014, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

You don't need a PC at all for what you're wanting to do. A $40 iView or Homeworx will work fine. If you insist on using a PC, then get one of the tuners suggested earlier, not a capture card.

That's interesting. First time I've seen Homeworx, you just plug in a portable HDD and instant OTA DVR . . . good suggestion
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-26-2014, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by naednek View Post

So I'm assuming I would need an OTA and plug that into the homeworx PVR\Digital Converter and that would capture my TV and record it, without needing a PC correct?

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm in the same position, and I've been looking around for options. I'm considering building my own HTPC. I like the XMBC/MB interface and the availability to do everything on one box. But the price is a bit steep. I built a entry level system and it's already at $800... Maybe it's above entry level, but if I can get the same capability of using the homeworx and roku for streaming, this might be worth considering.

I want to be able to stream OTA (mainly for football)
Watch shows on hulu/amazon
Watch Movies\shows I have on my hard drive.
Yep, you can still do all of that with Roku + Homeworx, assuming you're talking about paid Hulu. Free Hulu requires a PC. Homeworx requires an external drive for recording. That meets all your requirements for far less than $800. I built my entry level system for about $250 ($50 used PC from ebay plus some RAM and a hard drive). I have cable TV, so I can't use the Roku/Homeworx option myself.
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post #11 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

Yep, you can still do all of that with Roku + Homeworx, assuming you're talking about paid Hulu. Free Hulu requires a PC. Homeworx requires an external drive for recording. That meets all your requirements for far less than $800. I built my entry level system for about $250 ($50 used PC from ebay plus some RAM and a hard drive). I have cable TV, so I can't use the Roku/Homeworx option myself.

So I take it I'll only be able to record 1 show at once with homeworx correct? I looked at their site and it doesn't seem they have a multi tuner.
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post #12 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 01:04 AM
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What did you expect for $40? tongue.gif You also can't watch a previously recorded show while you're recording a new one.
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post #13 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 01:03 PM
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The iview/homeworx seems so easy to use. I'm thinking of purchasing one for my parents. I use an HDHomerun myself with 2 tuners and use WMC to record/playback
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post #14 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naednek View Post

So I take it I'll only be able to record 1 show at once with homeworx correct? I looked at their site and it doesn't seem they have a multi tuner.
The Channel Master DVR+ is dual tuner (and much more expensive). Of course if you keep adding requirements, you're back to needing that expensive HTPC. A use dual tuner Tivo with lifetime is around $300, about the same as the far less capable Channel Master, but still much less expensive than your $800 PC. Are you sure you need everything you spec'd on that PC? Seems awfully expensive for a media server box.
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The iview/homeworx seems so easy to use. I'm thinking of purchasing one for my parents. I use an HDHomerun myself with 2 tuners and use WMC to record/playback
I've been thinking the same thing. I'd love to set them up with WMC, but if anything went wrong, they'd be stuck, and I'm too far away to help them. It'll be hard to wean them off DirecTV.
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

The Channel Master DVR+ is dual tuner (and much more expensive). Of course if you keep adding requirements, you're back to needing that expensive HTPC. A use dual tuner Tivo with lifetime is around $300, about the same as the far less capable Channel Master, but still much less expensive than your $800 PC. Are you sure you need everything you spec'd on that PC? Seems awfully expensive for a media server box.
I've been thinking the same thing. I'd love to set them up with WMC, but if anything went wrong, they'd be stuck, and I'm too far away to help them. It'll be hard to wean them off DirecTV.

I was basing it off of Assassin's Guide.
MSI H87-G43 LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX High Performance CF Intel Motherboard
SiliconDust Video Device HDHR4-2US
SILVERSTONE Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W ATX 12V
Intel Core i5-4570 Haswell 3.2GHz LGA 1150 84W
SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

I haven't added requirements. My requirements are what I listed. The ability to record OTA (mainly for football) if I wasn't such a die hard niner fan I could just skip that and use hulu and some other streaming app, and that would fit all of our needs.
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post #16 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 03:48 PM
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I built an HTPC to be used mainly as an OTA DVR and sometimes is used for watching free Hulu. It uses 2 dual tuner AverMedia Duet PCI-e cards. Cost less than $400 plus Windows7. I use WMC7 & it works great with my attic antenna.
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post #17 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 04:23 PM
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The i5 is probably overkill. A cheaper Celeron would be more than enough unless you intend on using MadVR or doing any gaming. 500W is also overkill - a 300W PSU would be enough. Likewise, the motherboard has far more expansion than you'd need for an HTPC - consider a cheaper Micro ATX option. You could also save a few bucks on memory by going with 1333 instead of 1600, as there will not be a noticeable difference here.

Lastly, I'd also strongly recommend shopping around. Newegg rarely has the best prices anymore, and if you have Amazon Prime, the savings can be considerable by going with Amazon.
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post #18 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 04:55 PM
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Newegg also has a terrible exchange policy. If they send you a defective product, you'll have to pay the return shipping to get them to send you one that works. Amazon offers free shipping on returns.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 05:13 PM
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The i5 is probably overkill. A cheaper Celeron would be more than enough unless you intend on using MadVR or doing any gaming. 500W is also overkill - a 300W PSU would be enough. Likewise, the motherboard has far more expansion than you'd need for an HTPC - consider a cheaper Micro ATX option. You could also save a few bucks on memory by going with 1333 instead of 1600, as there will not be a noticeable difference here.

Lastly, I'd also strongly recommend shopping around. Newegg rarely has the best prices anymore, and if you have Amazon Prime, the savings can be considerable by going with Amazon.

Yep, I haven't shopped for comparisons, I'm just looking at components. I'm still very in the beginning phase of all of this. I have about 5 months to build it, and right now, it's fact gathering. That list is a baseline that will certainly change a few times.

Good point on the power supply.

I think one of the things I'm worried about is storage. I'd rather have more expansions than being limited and having to use external. But then again it seems that most cases out there only allow 3 or less expansion slots.

If I'm considering DVR and file storage I'm want to be sure I have enough room for both without sacrificing. I don't have a huge library of movies\tv but I'm sure that will grow over time. So wit that said, if I picked up two 4 TB drives, would that be more than enough for dvring and file storage? I'm planning on having the movies\tv shows on the HTPC rather than streaming from a different PC, due to network speeds.

I appreciate your suggestions, and please don't think I'm dismissing your suggestions. It's been helpful, and is making me think of my approach on doing this. I hope we can continue this discussion because I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Thanks,
Ken
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post #20 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 05:15 PM
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Newegg also has a terrible exchange policy. If they send you a defective product, you'll have to pay the return shipping to get them to send you one that works. Amazon offers free shipping on returns.
Not if you have Shoprunner (which is free for AMEX card holders). I actually find myself using Newegg more often because of free 2 day shipping and prepaid returns.
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post #21 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 05:21 PM
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Yep, I haven't shopped for comparisons, I'm just looking at components. I'm still very in the beginning phase of all of this. I have about 5 months to build it, and right now, it's fact gathering. That list is a baseline that will certainly change a few times.

Good point on the power supply.

I think one of the things I'm worried about is storage. I'd rather have more expansions than being limited and having to use external. But then again it seems that most cases out there only allow 3 or less expansion slots.

If I'm considering DVR and file storage I'm want to be sure I have enough room for both without sacrificing. I don't have a huge library of movies\tv but I'm sure that will grow over time. So wit that said, if I picked up two 4 TB drives, would that be more than enough for dvring and file storage? I'm planning on having the movies\tv shows on the HTPC rather than streaming from a different PC, due to network speeds.

I appreciate your suggestions, and please don't think I'm dismissing your suggestions. It's been helpful, and is making me think of my approach on doing this. I hope we can continue this discussion because I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Thanks,
Ken

From a DVR standpoint, you can figure on 2-5GB per hour of HD recording. A 3TB drive gives you anywhere from 750-1500 hours of recordings, assuming you do not convert them to another format for greater efficiency. I would stick to a single recording drive for now, and only look at adding more if you really find yourself needing it later on. As for as network speeds, unless you are using wireless, there is no need for concern there at all - any 100Mbit or faster connection will give you more than enough for multiple simultaneous BR-quality streams.
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post #22 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 06:31 PM
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It would be wireless so that's why I'd like my media data be housed on the htpc rather than my other PC or device. So I'm thinking of two hard drives one for DVR one for media storage
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post #23 of 23 Old 04-28-2014, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mcturkey View Post


From a DVR standpoint, you can figure on 2-5GB per hour of HD recording.


My local stations are roughly 5.5GB to 7.5GB per hour with 720p being on the low end. Typically, a TB will handle more than your backlog of shows waiting to be viewed. Perhaps even including a series or two you haven't watched at all. I use iSCSI so I can increase the storage space as needed without adding local storage although since I'm a watch and delete viewer the current 640GB virtual drive is plenty.

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