Originally Posted by Ratman
But... what was the cost of the PC and media extender(s) for 5 TV's?
Also, are all TV's completely "independant"? In other words, Can you 3 watch different broadcast channels (with one tuner and one cablecard) while the other two watch two different PVR (recorded) programs simultaneously?
I'd imagine you'd need a PC with a lot of "muscle".
Ceton InfiniTV4 has 4 tuners, so 4 independant programs can be watched/recorded at the same time.
We have also added 4 cheap ClearQAM tuners, so that CableCard tuners are not used to view content that is not encrypted.
If more than 1 locaiton is viewing the same channel (live or in delay, as long as the delay is not over 40 minutes), then, only 1 tuner is used.
Since all of the TV conent in the US is digital, there is no transcoding needed, you don't need a super duper PC to handle it all. We have it all run by a cheap Athlon II X4, quad core CPU that you can buy from newegg for under $100.
The PC it self, depending on how fancy you want it to look, is between $300 - $400.
Ceton Quad Cable Card tuner, we paid $435 when it first came out, I have seen it as low as $260 on sale.
(edit: There are less expensive options, as well. ATI DCT sells for about $80 on ebay, Hauppauge dual cable Card tuner is about $150, Silicon Dust HomeRun Prime triple network attached tuner is about $200)
Media Center Extenders are either XBOX 360 if you have them, or buy used ones on ebay for under $100.
Verizon charges $20/month for whole house DVR, and $10/month for additional HD boxes to connect to it, which for 5 TV's comes out to $60/month, $720/year, $3600/5 years.
So, for under $1000 for 5 TV's, the system pays for it self in a little over a year. The reason I say 5 years, because that has been my experience with HTPC's, they become obsolete in 5 years.
So, whether you lay out a $1000 now, or pay $3600 over 5 years is simply a user's choice. Some people like to throw money away, I don't.
Plus, as the added benefit, we have unlimited storage capacity, just add more hard drives, and we can play our digital content (movies, music, pictures...) anywhere in the house. We have no physical media in the house. No need to fumble through DVD's, CD's or BluRays, it is all in one place... acceible with a remote control.