Thanks to the mod for making this a sticky as this kind of info is hard to find
When one looks at what is available to use as a DVR for Cable, there are 3 choices:
1) The Cable Company's HD DVR offerings e.g. Verizon offers the Motorola QIP 6416
2) The Tivo Series 3 or the Tivo HD light version
3) Cable Card PC's which are pre-configured by the OEM e.g. The HP M8100Y with the ATI Cable Card Tuner
So as to keep this thread uncluttered, I am assuming that folks understand what a Cable Card PC is and if not, I would point you to this FAQ by our resident expert:http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/archi...10/954764.aspx
Also, see this thread for additional information about cable Card:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=771387
This thread is about item #3 (Cable Card PC's) because I see a LOT of people asking questions about where to get one of these . It is NOT a Best Buy/CC type deal.
Plus I sure could have used this information this past summer when I started down this path.
Finally, I started this thread to try and keep it up to date because the the suppliers and products keep changing.A Cable Card PC is NOT a DIY item so hopefully this thread will help folks to keep up with who makes these as well as trying to find sources for the actual ATI tuner beyond just the OEM’s.
That ATI tuner is so darn expensive that it is the biggest showstopper for Cable Card PC acceptance as a viable DVR.
Here is an example:
In August,2007 I configured an HP M8100Y to use as a Cable Card PC and HP charged $510 for ONE ATI tuner. The single tuner was because the configuration wizard on HP’s website did not allow me to choose 2 tuners.
Since a DVR needs at least 2 tuners to be a viable contender for either the TIVO or the Mototola HD DVR, I called HP and they assured me that I could buy a second tuner one from their on-line store.
To my great luck, I did not have to see if the Tuner purchase info I got from HP was valid since I was able to buy a second tuner from someone on avsforum for $450.
That was in August and now if you go on HP's website to configure the M8199Y, you will find that it is no longer offered for this type of application. The same thing happened with the Dell XPS410 that I looked at in August.
So, where do you look? That is the main point of this thread
Also, within the past few weeks, I have found that other sources for cheaper ATI Digial Cable Card Tuners have been popping up.
I mentioned that these are not DIY systems but that is because the PC needs a special BIOS and a few other things that only the OEM can do to get the blessing of Cable Labs Inc.
That does NOT mean that you can not use this as a PC and if you are careful with modifications(like ONLY using Signed drivers) you can make this your HTPC.
For instance, I added a 1.5 TB ESATA Raid to hold the recordings and replaced the cruddy (but HDCP compliant) graphics card with an Nvidia card that is optimized for High Def playback(again HDCP compliant)
Here is the list of Cable Card PC’s that either I know about or have been told about by other members.
I personally verified the HP,Dell and Sony Desktop (not their Laptops) Systems. The Verification of these models consisted of going through the configuration procedure,placing it in the shopping cart and going 99.9% through the final checkout.Cable Card compliant PC’s as of December 10,2007:
1) Velocity Microhttp://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/printthread.php?t=817478
November 25 - Might be worth watching this thread as it looks like the premium you are paying for customer service may (notice that I said MAY) not be worth the extra money: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post12304512
2) S1 Digitalhttp://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/printthread.php?t=924080
3) HP Model d4996thttp://www.shopping.hp.com/series/ca...rowse1/SDP_SDP
[4) HP Model m9000thttp://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/sh...=m9000t_series(5) Sony Has several Models: VGC-LT19U Desktop and their VGN series Notebooks
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665224923) - This Sony selection needs to be redone since Sony has made quite a number of changes)
6) Niveus Digital Cable Receiverhttp://www.niveusmedia.com/products/dcr.htm
7) VidaBox™ Media Center Systemshttp://www.vidabox.com/products.php
9) Okoro Media Systems
Entry Level system: http://www.okoromedia.com/newsdet.asp?articleno=23
10) Dell Model 420
This updated offering from Dell (as of December 10) lets you configure it with dual ATI tuners and it sets Dell as the new price king for the tuner because they are only charging $180 per tuner.http://www.dell.com/content/products...tab=bundlestabSources for the ATI Digital Cable Card Tuner
1) Each Vendor in the above list sells this tuner as part of the configuration.
---->November 18,2007. Note that HP has dropped their price from $510 to $299
---->December 10,2007. Note that HP has dropped their price from $299 to $260
---->December 10,2007. Note that Dell has dropped their price to $180
2) Sony is now selling it by itself for $299 ie. you do not need to buy a PC from them.http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665246461Potential Sources for other brands of Cable Card Tuners
1) Ceton Corporation - MCARD tuner sometime in 2008http://www.cetoncorp.com/Additions/Deletions
Nov 29 - Removed all Dell systems
Dec 1 - Removed HP d4995t and replaced with HP d4996t
Dec 10 - Added Dell 420. Thanks Chris
Please feel free to chime in as I am sure I missed something
One can often find unadvertized coupons for savings on HP and Dell machines at http://www.xpbargains.com/
I saved $400 on my M8100Y Cable Card PC by using a coupon code that I found there