Opinions on intended purchases for home DVR, TV tuner, and streaming - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm fairly computer savvy. Tired of paying Comcast big dollars. If I go to Internet only (and pay $13 more vs. today), I save $73 / month or $875 per year. I currently have a package without any premium channels, and one DVR. We have two TVs, and having the bedroom TV be just OTA is fine. So the replacement is for the main family room TV only.

I built a TV antenna from coat hangers and verified that all of the channels we could receive (per www.antennaweb.org) we can pull in just fine (I may choose to buy an antenna, I quickly built one to see how the reception was).

My plan is to get OTA for the broadcast networks and use streaming for some of the other channels. I've learned that with Hulu / Hulu Plus, possibly Netflix I can get nearly everything we watch, plus Big 10 for the Fall at $9.99 per month, then turn it off till the next year. We play no games, have no gaming consoles. Our TV is not internet ready. I have a network in the house, with easy wired access to the TV location. My goals are:

1) get a streaming device to connect to the TV.
2) create a home DVR to record things that either I can't get streaming, or that might disappear before I can watch them.
3) get digital capability on my analog TV for the least amount of money possible

Here's what I propose:

1) Roku 2 XS - $69.99 from Costco this week. Bought it, not yet opened.
2) Gateway SX2370 computer with AMD A6-3600, 4mb of memory, 1TB hard drive, USB 3.0 ports for additional drive if needed, HDMI out port to TV (and then bring sound to receiver FROM the TV). Use SiliconDust HDHomeRun DUAL High Definition Digital TV Tuner HDHR3 to get two tuners on our home network, which would be addressable from the media computer also. Use Windows Media Center on the computer to be the DVR. Cost of computer and dual tuner is $430.
3) buy digital TV adapter for $30 - $35

One time cost is $570 with tax. Paid for in 8 months.

Ongoing monthly cost IF I took Hulu Plus and Netflix and 4 months of Big 10 (divided by 12 months for monthly cost) leads to an onging monthly savings of $53.

Questions:

1) Do you see any glaring problems with my proposed purchases?
2) I realize the Gateway computer is a slimline design with no expansion. I might add an SSD drive in the future, and I'm sure I can set that up just fine. Biggest unknown for me is will Windows Media Center (in Windows 7) do what I need, and will it be easy to utilize, i.e. setup programs to be recorded and then played back, with a remote control vs. pulling out a keyboard.
3) Is the Silicon Dust ok for my needs, or should I get a tuner dedicated to the computer (I don't expect a lot of need to watch on other devices, but you never know.
4) Other ways to get digital OTA on an analog TV that might be more useful in the future?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 07:05 AM
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See this thread about WMC. Most of your questions will be answered there.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1422535/windows-media-center-vs-tivo-premiere/0_100

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The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #3 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Reading through it now.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 07:44 AM
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It was mentioned over on the HTPC thread that the HDHR dual is soon to be replaced with a new model that does better with ATSC tuning that the HDHR3. Since it might also have other features like DLNA you may want to wait.

Building your own PC might get you more bang for the buck. Check the HTPC forum for all you want to know and more on using WMC.

As for Question #4... "analog PC" ?? Sounds big!! But seriously, I think the HDHR approach is the most flexible way to get OTA.. One nice thing about it vs a tuner card or USB tuner is that you could locate it close to an out of the way antenna to minimize the cable run and signal loss.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the observations. Building a PC isn't in the cards for me. I think (which is why I posted it) that the Gateway more than is adequate, and it's $350. I don't expect I could build a PC for much less. I was hoping that if the Gateway wasn't adequate someone would point that out.

AMD AG-3600
4mb of memory
1 TB hard drive
HDMI port
USB 3.0 ports (for additional 1TB drive if needed)

As far as the HDHR, I hadn't see a new model might be coming out. I will look for that.
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 08:01 AM
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^sorry I missed the PC comment. I'm sure the gateway is fine, though you may be surprised what you can build for $350. The limiting feature is typically the GPU, not CPU, you may want to search on performance of that unit to know what to expect.

If you will be using an SSD, and also recording TV, you may run into added cost.for a large enough drive.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 09:29 AM
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You are intending to spend too much money on complicated setup. I took that route 3 years back by building a custom HTPC with S3 sleep feature and WMC. But then got tired with with constant fiddling with Windows Media Center and subscribed to Dish when I when further from New York (45 miles now). So Eagle Aspen is not working that good as it used to be. But this summer my 2 years with Dish would be up and I am planning to put a fairly big antenna in the attic to get back to OTA route. I am not sure why not many people are talking about WDTV and hooking up a WinTV DVR USB tuner to the WDTV SMP or Hub for recording. I already have a WDTV SMP and WinTV DVR USB Tuner I got 3 years back, but used only once or twice.
http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Streaming-Discussions/Tuner-Hauppauge-WinTV-Nova-HD-USB/td-p/497238/page/2
Lets see how it works. Yesterday I also got time to hook up a raspberry pi with raspbmc installed to stream local videos from desktop via SMB share. It played very nice with 720p and DD/DTS audio with xbmc goodies.
You can also get one of those SFF Pc like Dell Ziono or something similar for your HTPC needs.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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The Gateway is an SFF PC. 4" by 10" by 13" or something.

I don't see what's complicated. The PC uses the tuner, the TV takes input from the OTA antenna, the PC, or the Roxio.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmktg View Post

I don't see what's complicated. The PC uses the tuner, the TV takes input from the OTA antenna, the PC, or the Roxio.
Quoting from the link Kelson posted earlier. This piece is what drove crazy, because I got OCD with power consumption in PC:
Quote:
If you find your PC waking up for seemingly no reason take a look in the Task Scheduler. I disabled various tasks or made sure they couldn't wake up the PC and I haven't spotted it waking itself up in several days outside of for recordings. If you are using hibernate instead of hybrid sleep be sure your network card's Power Management Only allow a Magic Packet to wake the computer is selected. This will prevent unrelated traffic from waking the PC.
I tried various stuffs. For me, I intended it to use he main HTPC doing the recording as an on-demand NAS woken up by WOL magic packets to serve front end clients like XBox360/Dell Zino running another WMC consuming contents from the main HTPC. That thing worked sometimes, sometime it refused to go to sleep. yes, I could have solved it by reading more documentation. But my priorities changed.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-22-2013, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmktg View Post

I don't see what's complicated. The PC uses the tuner, the TV takes input from the OTA antenna, the PC, or the Roxio.
Quoting from the link Kelson posted earlier. This piece is what drove crazy, because I got OCD with power consumption in PC:
Quote:
If you find your PC waking up for seemingly no reason take a look in the Task Scheduler. I disabled various tasks or made sure they couldn't wake up the PC and I haven't spotted it waking itself up in several days outside of for recordings. If you are using hibernate instead of hybrid sleep be sure your network card's Power Management Only allow a Magic Packet to wake the computer is selected. This will prevent unrelated traffic from waking the PC.
I tried various stuffs. For me, I intended it to use he main HTPC doing the recording as an on-demand NAS woken up by WOL magic packets to serve front end clients like XBox360/Dell Zino running another WMC consuming contents from the main HTPC. That thing worked sometimes, sometime it refused to go to sleep. yes, I could have solved it by reading more documentation. But my priorities changed.
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