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post #1 of 26 Old 01-07-2007, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I've got an Sony DV-34XBR800 HDTV (no HD tuner) and have only been watching analog cable so far. I timeshift most everything and was considering buying an STB or 2 and the Tivo S3 until I found out about HTPCs. I wish there were a FAQ on Myth - I gather it's the multimedia software? I want to be able to do the following:

Watch 1 ATSC program while recording another ATSC program.
Watch 1 ATSC program while recording an analog cable program (ex. non HD available stuff like F1 on SPEED).
Watch 1 analog cable program while recording another ATSC program.

Maybe even throw QAM into the mix, however with better quality ATSC, can't see why, unless a dual ATSC/QAM tuner allows me to watch ATSC while recording QAM instead of buying 2 ATSC tuners.

I want at least 30 hours HD recording capacity (equal or better than Tivo S3). 40 hours should be enough, but with unlimited future expansion by adding drives is 1 reason to go HTPC over S3. The biggest reason is I don't want to pay subscription fees for Tivo.

I might even want to record 2 shows while watching 1 (more tuner cards in the future).

Should I get a dual core processor?

The TV has DVI and component inputs - no HDMI.

An $800 S3 + $100 annual Tivo fees + 2 $180 Samsung STBs would add up to $1260. I'd probably be willing to spend up to that much, however saving some $ would be nice.

This will be a dedicated HD tuner/DVR. I prefer one box in my living room by the TV since I'd like to control the tuner or playback from there. However I have a P2 and 2 P3 boxes that I could use for this or as front end boxes and could run cables upstairs to a the 2nd floor alcove just above and behind my entertainment center where I could place a server. Also I have a bunch of spare CRTs around the house to use. Linux without all the overhead/unstability/viruses of MS is attractive as well as free future software upgradability to support stuff like Blueray or HD-DVD. Might as well throw in a DVD writer (my current DVD player is some non-progressive freebie trash from Comcast for trying digital cable for 6 months, but I don't watch DVDs very much). Although I mainly use MS for stuff like Excel & Word and because that's what most companies had, I learned System V UNIX and vi years ago and am not afraid of command line - hell I prefer the configurability of *nix. Also I've been a computer programmer for years, but am limited in HW, system admin, and networking expertise.

Please make recommendations on HW and SW that I need to build this and rough pricing for each component. I figure I need at least 2 tuner cards (dual ATSC / NTSC [analog cable?] or else 2 ATSC and 2 NTSC).

P.S., if you know of a Java development job in the Denver area for an underemployed former software engineer, I could use that too.
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-08-2007, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter View Post

I've got an Sony DV-34XBR800 HDTV (no HD tuner) and have only been watching analog cable so far. I timeshift most everything and was considering buying an STB or 2 and the Tivo S3 until I found out about HTPCs. I wish there were a FAQ on Myth - I gather it's the multimedia software? I want to be able to do the following:

Watch 1 ATSC program while recording another ATSC program.
Watch 1 ATSC program while recording an analog cable program (ex. non HD available stuff like F1 on SPEED).
Watch 1 analog cable program while recording another ATSC program.

I don't know what you ned for cable, but a couple of $20 ATSC tuners will take care of the rest.

Quote:


Maybe even throw QAM into the mix, however with better quality ATSC, can't see why, unless a dual ATSC/QAM tuner allows me to watch ATSC while recording QAM instead of buying 2 ATSC tuners.

Tuners with QAM are more expensuve, about $75 each, but they are combo atsc/qam. So you would aonly need one.

Quote:


I want at least 30 hours HD recording capacity (equal or better than Tivo S3). 40 hours should be enough, but with unlimited future expansion by adding drives is 1 reason to go HTPC over S3. The biggest reason is I don't want to pay subscription fees for Tivo.

Right now the best bang for the buck is 320GB drives. That'll give you about 40 hours of 1080i storage. S3 Tivo has a 250GB drive in it.

Quote:


I might even want to record 2 shows while watching 1 (more tuner cards in the future).

Whatever. I've got 5 ATSC tuners in my system.

Quote:


Should I get a dual core processor?

Don't need it, but it won't hurt and they are plenty cheap enough.

Quote:


The TV has DVI and component inputs - no HDMI.

An $800 S3 + $100 annual Tivo fees + 2 $180 Samsung STBs would add up to $1260. I'd probably be willing to spend up to that much, however saving some $ would be nice.

It depends on what you want to spend, but you can build a 4 ATSC tuner system for $500 or less if you don't want anything fancy

Quote:


This will be a dedicated HD tuner/DVR. I prefer one box in my living room by the TV since I'd like to control the tuner or playback from there. However I have a P2 and 2 P3 boxes that I could use for this or as front end boxes and could run cables upstairs to a the 2nd floor alcove just above and behind my entertainment center where I could place a server. Also I have a bunch of spare CRTs around the house to use. Linux without all the overhead/unstability/viruses of MS is attractive as well as free future software upgradability to support stuff like Blueray or HD-DVD. Might as well throw in a DVD writer (my current DVD player is some non-progressive freebie trash from Comcast for trying digital cable for 6 months, but I don't watch DVDs very much). Although I mainly use MS for stuff like Excel & Word and because that's what most companies had, I learned System V UNIX and vi years ago and am not afraid of command line - hell I prefer the configurability of *nix. Also I've been a computer programmer for years, but am limited in HW, system admin, and networking expertise.

Originally my plans were for a single box, but because I had spare computers, I went ahead and did a network using cheap monitors as HDTV's. Works great.

Quote:


Please make recommendations on HW and SW that I need to build this and rough pricing for each component. I figure I need at least 2 tuner cards (dual ATSC / NTSC [analog cable?] or else 2 ATSC and 2 NTSC).

P.S., if you know of a Java development job in the Denver area for an underemployed former software engineer, I could use that too.

There's no reason to get NTSC unless that's what cable takes. The main reason I did mine was to get away from NTSC and all the interferences with its signal. that and to consolidate all my external dvr's/vcr's into 1. Software is free. Suggest you start out with Knoppmyth. It'll load and configure most things for you automatically. get the latest version which is r5e50 now. Minimum CPU would be something like a socket 754/AM2 Sempron 2800, but you can get a dual core X2 3800+ for $140 or less now. And the extra core and power comes in handy if you want to do PIP, transcode, or flag commerials so you can skip them automatically. For MB, something like a GA-M55Plus-S3G that has all the things and slots you need. I'd add a PCIe Nvidia 6200 to that for video, and 512M ram minmum.
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-11-2007, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've decided that I need to build a MythTV backend/frontend that will serve up my broadband ISP connection since it has to have internet access for the program guide. After building and configuring it, can I remove the PC monitor and just use the TV display for programming? I could stick the box in the basement directly below my TV in the living room and run network cable (CAT5?) alongside the cable coax holes, but seems kind of pointless to have to run all the cable from the basement instead of from the living room to the upstairs bedrooms. In the future (by 2009 when they shut off NTSC), I will probably add a Myth frontend in the master bedroom to replace my old TV. I may even want to be able to watch TV in a window on my office-productivity/development PC (as a Myth frontend) in my bedroom office. In my bedroom office, I plan to have at least a development Windows XP PC and possibly another Linux development PC and hopefully a Windows laptop to connect. I want the network to be secure and sufficiently fast (have heard that wireless is bad for both). What do you recommend for networking cable (CAT5 with 10/100 Ethernet)? I don't have any way of running network cable through the walls from the living room to the upstairs bedrooms. All the rooms in the house are pre-wired with cable and phone. Would it be possible to piggyback the network on the phone or cable wires and have it be secure and comparable to CAT5 bandwidth?

I've started to read the MythTV install doc. The only thing I've found regarding hardware requirements for a Myth frontend are as follows:
"You can have multiple clients (called "frontends" in MythTV parlance), each with a common view of all available programs. Any client can watch any program that was recorded by any of the servers, assuming that they have the hardware capabilities to view the content; a low-powered frontend will not be able to watch HDTV, for example."
Can I not have the backend do the decoding and simply have the frontends be like low-powered dumb terminals? What are the minimum requirements for a frontend? I have an 800 MHz P3, a 733 MHz P3, and a 400 MHz P2 that I was thinking of using.

Does Knoppmyth have the capability to serve up my broadband Internet connection? What's the storage requirement for Knoppmyth? I'd like to dedicate the 320+ GB disk for recordings and have the OS reside on a separate disk. I have older 40, 12 and 10 GB disks that I can pull out of my old PCs to put in the Myth backend. Don't know what speed they are (less than 7200?, and if so, would that slow the system down?). I want to be able to transcode/flag commercials to skip. What is the Intel Core 2 Duo equivalent to the Athlon 64 X2 3800+? I'm leaning towards Core 2 Duo, because of the performance and power savings over X2 Dual Cores. Do you have a recommendation of motherboards for Core 2 Duos? Do I need a soundcard or is the on-board sound sufficient?

Which of the following HDTV 8VSB/QAM cards do you recommend as cost effective and compatible and performance?
SiliconDust HDHomeRun (8VSB, QAM256)
pcHDTV HD-3000/5500 (8VSB, QAM256)
Air2PC HD-5000 (8VSB, QAM256)
DViCO Fusion HDTV Lite/Gold 5 (8VSB, QAM256)
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-11-2007, 11:36 AM
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Just start out using the Tv as the monitor. Should get detected and configured during installation.

As for the network, I wouldn't put more than 2 (maybe 3) external frontends on a 100Mb lan. Go with Gb lan on the server if you're doing HDTV. I think the ideal setup would be Gb lan in server to Gb switch. Then only need 100Mb to each frontend and internet connection. If you're not going to have more than 2 external forntends running at once then 100Mb works ok for sure. Wireless N should carry 1 or 2 frontends, but I'd only use that where needed.

Frontends are where the power is needed. none of the PC's would work for an HDTV frontend but they would all work as a backend server for ATSC.

While you can use Linux as a router for your internet, a real router is cheap and is a lot less hassle. if you don't have a network switch, you can get a broadband router with 4 or 7 ports for almost nothing now. Do that and save yourself a lot of hassles. I use a D-Link 604, 4 port router and all my machines plug into it.


Knoppmyth will install on a 4Gb drive easily. Frontends can also be diskless if you want to configure network booting. Just don't ask me about it. With plenty of old drives I didn't see the point in doing it that way.

I'd say the new E4300 core 2 duo is about the same or a little faster than the X2 3800+. Certainly more than enough power for any mythtv front/backend.

As for ATSC/QAM tuners. Well, I'm a cheap sob so I'd see if the Twinhan VP3250 for $60 is supported yet. Of the ones you have listed I'd probably go with the HDTV5 Lite.
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post #5 of 26 Old 02-11-2007, 01:58 PM
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Don't bother with using a PC as your Internet gateway...Shell out the $40 or even less and buy a router....That way it'll be more reliable in the long run.

My backend is a lame old Dell P4....It has zero problems handling two HD Tuners and three SD tuners (two analog cable and one Svideo cable from the STB). This machine has some terrible onboard graphics card and it plays back SD fine but can't even display the HD. This same machine even transcodes all SD recordings to mpeg4 and cuts out the commercials and still has no issues recording at the same time. I can't imagine it's worth more than a couple of hundred bucks and I bet there's TONS out there and available....Mine is the old machine I got my mother about 3 years ago. Prior to that setup, my backend was an Athlon 1500MHz and it had no issues recording 3 SD streams (wasn't doing HD at the time).

As stated already, the frontend needs the horsepower. No reason not to go with a core duo chip there if you find a motherboard that has the junk you want.
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post #6 of 26 Old 02-13-2007, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I'm going to buy a rounter and build a backend/frontend HTPC that will sit in the living room next to my TV stand. I will start with 1 tuner card and recycle an old PC drive for the OS. It should allow for future upgrades including additional tuner cards (probably only 1 more) and support for up to 2 additional frontends in the future. Can you recommend a motherboard that supports the E4300? Size of the case doesn't matter since I'm not going to attempt to fit it in the 3 shelf TV stand and instead just place it next to the stand. Probably go with a full-size or mid-size tower so I won't have problems adding additional tuner cards and disks. Does a larger case translate to more noise? If noise becomes such an issue, then this box will become a frontend only, and I'll build a dedicated backend in the basement with one of my older PCs and move the drives and tuners to that box. Is there such a thing as a SATA-PATA converter? I'm sure all of my old PCs don't support SATA. Back to the frontend/backend system: What wattage PSU do I need? Will I need to install an additional heat sink and fan, or should whatever comes with the motherboard be sufficient?
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-13-2007, 06:09 AM
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A larger case is usually easier to cool. Get the largest PSU you can afford. Tuner cards take a lot of juice. I'd say 600W minimum to allow for more cards. As for the MB, I'd get one with at least 4 PCI slots. You may find yourself wanting at least 4 tuners in the end. I did. Other than that, it doesn't matter much. Personally, I'd want at least 1 serial port, ATA and SATA support, firewire and maybe HD audio. It's pretty much a matter of choice. I'd mod the case side cover over the PCI slots with a 120mm fan to cool the tuners and use a PSU that has a 120mm fan that is quiet..
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-13-2007, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnewell View Post

I don't know what you ned for cable, but a couple of $20 ATSC tuners will take care of the rest.


I keep hearing about these cheap ATSC tuners. But, I never seem to be able to find them. Any advice on where to pick one up?
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-13-2007, 07:41 PM
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ebay - air2pc ver .2 I believe
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post #10 of 26 Old 02-13-2007, 08:21 PM
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Thanks. I see some on ebay for 39.99 right now. Can you sometimes get them for 20 bucks or should I go ahead and pick up a couple at 39?
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post #11 of 26 Old 02-14-2007, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mklein49 View Post

Thanks. I see some on ebay for 39.99 right now. Can you sometimes get them for 20 bucks or should I go ahead and pick up a couple at 39?

The last 2 I got for under $20 bidding $25 on them. that was a couple of months ago. Supply may be down. I gave one of the 2 to my brother but he doesn't use it (no anmtenna). gcc1000 used to have a listing all the time and only chraged $4.05 fro shopping. That's where I got the last 2 I bought. $39 is still a good deal IMO. I paid $49 for the first 3 I bought, but that also included the windows cd. never used them.
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post #12 of 26 Old 02-15-2007, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnewell View Post

Get the largest PSU you can afford. Tuner cards take a lot of juice. I'd say 600W minimum to allow for more cards. You may find yourself wanting at least 4 tuners in the end. I did. I'd want at least 1 serial port, ATA and SATA support, firewire and maybe HD audio. I'd mod the case side cover over the PCI slots with a 120mm fan to cool the tuners and use a PSU that has a 120mm fan that is quiet..

Do you know a formula for watts/tuner card? Also, I assume the PCIe Nvidia 6200 video card doesn't gobble up additional wattage like those super-duper gamer cards that require 750W in a system?

It's looking like any of my old PCs won't fit the bill for a back-end since they have little 300W and 120W PSUs, don't support SATA (unless there is such a thing as a PATA-SATA adapter), and probably only have PCI (no PCIe). They'd all require too much upgrading to be worthwhile. Also, I'd think their slower memory and channel I/O might be bottlenecks. I wonder if a buying a new P4 or Pentium dual-core would work as a cheap backend with sufficient infrastructure. However, the one thing I see the backend requiring processor power is the need to be able to encode analog (NTSC), like if I want to record something that is only available on analog cable (F1 on SPEED).

I still need to do more reading on networking, but do I need switches in addition to a router?

Do you guys know the going rate for HDTV 8VSB/QAM tuner cards that I mentioned earlier?

Are you guys using remote controls - if so, what do you recommend?
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post #13 of 26 Old 02-16-2007, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

ebay - air2pc ver .2 I believe


does myth support this tuner? I've been trying to dig out that kind of info from the various web sites and it's really really unclear. It's kind of frustrating.
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-16-2007, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter View Post

Do you know a formula for watts/tuner card? Also, I assume the PCIe Nvidia 6200 video card doesn't gobble up additional wattage like those super-duper gamer cards that require 750W in a system?

It's looking like any of my old PCs won't fit the bill for a back-end since they have little 300W and 120W PSUs, don't support SATA (unless there is such a thing as a PATA-SATA adapter), and probably only have PCI (no PCIe). They'd all require too much upgrading to be worthwhile. Also, I'd think their slower memory and channel I/O might be bottlenecks. I wonder if a buying a new P4 or Pentium dual-core would work as a cheap backend with sufficient infrastructure. However, the one thing I see the backend requiring processor power is the need to be able to encode analog (NTSC), like if I want to record something that is only available on analog cable (F1 on SPEED).

I still need to do more reading on networking, but do I need switches in addition to a router?

Do you guys know the going rate for HDTV 8VSB/QAM tuner cards that I mentioned earlier?

Are you guys using remote controls - if so, what do you recommend?

I'm using an MCE remote - works great with LIRC. LIRC is a mild pain to install.

I don't understand why SATA drives are required. what software cares one way or the other??

However, it's not hard to upgrade. I just did 2 PCs with new Mobo (DFI LAN Party), a decent new PS and a middle of the road graphics card for around 350. For a bit more you could get a cool HTPC case.

On the tuner card - make sure what you get is supported. Not all of them are.
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post #15 of 26 Old 02-16-2007, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philba View Post

does myth support this tuner? I've been trying to dig out that kind of info from the various web sites and it's really really unclear. It's kind of frustrating.

Yes. For a good list of linux supported cards ATSC and QAM cards:

http://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/ATSC_PCI_Cards

For more mythtv cards supported (QAM/ATSC/DVB/NTSC, hardware decoding, software decoding, etc):

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Tuner_Card

This list is not comprehensive, for instance it doesn't list the kworld atsc 110, which works fine (and is my preferred card).

I recommend you look into the HDHomerun if you are interested in more than QAM/ATSC card.

I use mceusb2 remote (well actually a Harmony 680 emulating mceusb2) with LIRC. It works fine for me. You could also go the learning remote with an infrared keyboard. But keyboards are often hard for remotes to learn.
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post #16 of 26 Old 02-20-2007, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnewell View Post

A larger case is usually easier to cool. Get the largest PSU you can afford. Tuner cards take a lot of juice. I'd say 600W minimum to allow for more cards. As for the MB, I'd get one with at least 4 PCI slots. You may find yourself wanting at least 4 tuners in the end. I did. Other than that, it doesn't matter much. Personally, I'd want at least 1 serial port, ATA and SATA support, firewire and maybe HD audio. It's pretty much a matter of choice. I'd mod the case side cover over the PCI slots with a 120mm fan to cool the tuners and use a PSU that has a 120mm fan that is quiet..

I've decided that if I want to watch HD on any other PC in my house, I'll simply slap an ATSC tuner in them. I thought I saw an ad for a 27" CRT? TV with HD tuner for about $300. So that's cheaper and more practical than buying/building an HDPC front end for the bedroom. And if I want to watch HD on my bedroom office development PC, then I'll simply slap in an ATSC tuner in it. The only time-shifted content I'll watch will be in the living room MythTV frontend/backend. TVs or HDPCs in the other rooms will just be for live stuff when I'm in there and not able to run downstairs to the living room. I'll still want to have a router in the bedroom office to hook up to the development PC where I do most of my browsing. I'll run LAN cable to the MythTV system in the living room so it can access the internet program guide and for occasional e-mail / quickie web browsing in the living room. I'll also run LAN cable to any additional (test) PCs in the office bedroom or 3rd bedroom.

With 2 fans in the case (1 for PSU, 1 side fan for PCI cards), would I need another fan for the CPU? I was reading the article on building a game PC in Maximum PC magazine, and they used a case with top (PSU?) and side fan (PCI slots?) as well as adding a 120mm CPU fan.

Are PCI-e slots backwards compatable with PCI cards? In other words, can I stick a PCI card in a PCI-e slot? I've noticed that the new MBs may have multiple PCI-e slots, but only 1 PCI slot.

Are most onboard sound decent sound quality for my hi-fi stereo speakers (that I have hooked up to my TV)? I don't yet have surround speakers or a subwoofer - regular stereo has been fine even with my DD 5.1 amplifier. I may add subwoofer and surround speakers in the future, and an HD sound card then.

What would I need Firewire for? Also I have concerns about connecting DVI or HDMI output from the video card to my TV. My TV's manual says the DVI input is for "accomodating a copy-protected digital connection (HDCP) to other devices (such as digital set-top boxes) that have compatible interfaces. The DVI-HDTV input terminal is compliant with the EIA-861 standard and is not intended for use with personal computers."


Quote:
Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

For more mythtv cards supported (QAM/ATSC/DVB/NTSC, hardware decoding, software decoding, etc):

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Tuner_Card

I'm a bit confused as to the "hardware encoding" field for HD tuner cards. I thought all HD tuner cards simply pass the MPEG-2 stream to the PC. What additional encoding is necessary? Do any of the cards do hardware decoding for viewing, or does the CPU have to do all that processing? The only tuner card encoding necessary would be for NTSC content (whether OTA or cable). Hopefully the cards with NTSC tuners would do this, otherwise the worse case CPU utilization scenario I can see would be me recording NTSC content (like F1 on SPEEDTV on analog cable) while viewing ATSC which would require both encoding of analog while decoding MPEG-2. In that case, without hardware encoding of analog source, the dual-core would be utilizing both cores for simultaneous encoding and decoding. I'm also wondering if transcoding could take place after a program is recorded, but before viewing. For example, I record a Monday prime-time ATSC program from 7-9 pm, then the transcoding/commercial removal processing occurs immediately afterwards, and I view the commercial-less program on a later day.
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post #17 of 26 Old 02-20-2007, 07:36 AM
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The hardware decoding I mentioned was not in reference to HDTV cards. Although they exist, no QAM/ATSC hardware decoding is supported in myth that I know of (yet). You are right, no additional encoding is needed for HDTV. The field is there because not all of the cards in that matrix are for HDTV. The CPU does most of the decoding with help from the video card, which is why HDTV is processor intensive. There are hardware encoding and decoding cards for NTSC, however. Not all NTSC cards do one, or the other or both, so you should look at the specs carefully If you need them to do encoding or decoding. That page I sent specifies which ones do what.

You can schedule transcoding and commercial flagging to happen whenever you want on whatever mythbackend you want, so you can have it done during low load times if you like.

Onboard sound has been fine for me, but I usually just passthrough the digital stream to my receiver, so it does all the processing for pro logic, DD 5.1 and DTS. I have hooked it up to the analog input of my other receiver and it sounds pretty good. YMMV.

I would recommend a CPU Fan/Heatsink. Unless those other fans really cool the entire case and you have great airflow. You'd have to test it to know if you could get away without a fan. Depends on the CPU and loads as well.

Firewire can be used to control and record from some cable boxes. I use it on my DCT-6200. It was pretty easy to setup, and allows me to record from almost every station on my cable box, including premium channels. It basically helps make a DVR out of a digital cable box that is controlled by Mythtv. Pretty nice.

PCIe is not backwards compatible with PCI. You will want PCI slots for tuner cards. PCIe is great for video cards.
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post #18 of 26 Old 02-20-2007, 07:41 AM
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Oh the problem you are worrying about with connecting the DVI output of your computer to your TV is real. Sometimes the HDCP handshake doesn't work. It depends on your tv set and video card. Mine work fine (I think most do), but I ended up using the VGA port anyway (it was easier for me to configure and looks just as good to me, and leaves an HDMI port open for some other devices I have). That warning is probably there because it is not guaranteed. But more than just PCs have this problem connecting to some monitors.
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post #19 of 26 Old 02-21-2007, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wnewell View Post

I'd add a PCIe Nvidia 6200 to that for video.

I started pricing/shopping the system and the cheapest video card on Newegg.com is the EVGA GeForce 7600GS 256MB PCI-E for $70. Is the Nvidia 6200 no longer being sold new? Is the 7600GS overkill? The reviewer did say it's rather loud, however. As for DVI to DVI or DVI-HDMI cable, I guess if it doesn't work, I could always fall back to component cable to the TV.

Also, are 3 fans (2 in the case + 1 CPU) going to be too loud?
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post #20 of 26 Old 02-21-2007, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter View Post

I started pricing/shopping the system and the cheapest video card on Newegg.com is the EVGA GeForce 7600GS 256MB PCI-E for $70. Is the Nvidia 6200 no longer being sold new? Is the 7600GS overkill? The reviewer did say it's rather loud, however. As for DVI to DVI or DVI-HDMI cable, I guess if it doesn't work, I could always fall back to component cable to the TV.

Also, are 3 fans (2 in the case + 1 CPU) going to be too loud?


There are plenty of 6200 PCIe for less than $70. A couple of months ago I bought a 6200 LE for around $40. You must not be looking at newegg right. I just checked and they have plenty of pcie cards for less than $70, and they have quite a few 6200s. I'm no expert in this area, but I recommend you get one with at least a 128MB on board. Mine works absolutely wonderfully with my system. Maybe someone else can speak to whether or not that amount of onboard RAM is important. I strongly recommend you get a fanless one (then it will be silent).

That amount of fans may be loud, but it depends on the quality of the fans and your case. Large (120mm+) highly rated fans can be really quiet. In one of my HTPCs I have 1 PSU fan (virtually silent), 1 case fan (can hear but isn't to noisy), 1 CPU fan, (can hear but isn't too noise) and a motherboard fan (ironically, the noisiest fan in the system). It certainly isn't really quiet but it is quiet enough. My living room HTPC (Asus pundit AH-1) I believe has only a CPU fan, and a PSU fan, and it is completely silent, except at load, where the CPU fan wines a bit.
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post #21 of 26 Old 02-26-2007, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't bother with using a PC as your Internet gateway...Shell out the $40 or even less and buy a router....That way it'll be more reliable in the long run.

Can the router function as a hub as well, or do I need to buy a hub in addition?
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post #22 of 26 Old 02-26-2007, 06:05 AM
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Sure, most of the routers provide 4 or so internal ethernet ports in addition to the port out to the 'net and wifi. If you have few enough machines, then it's perfect.
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Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

Oh the problem you are worrying about with connecting the DVI output of your computer to your TV is real. Sometimes the HDCP handshake doesn't work. It depends on your tv set and video card. Mine work fine (I think most do), but I ended up using the VGA port anyway (it was easier for me to configure and looks just as good to me, and leaves an HDMI port open for some other devices I have). That warning is probably there because it is not guaranteed. But more than just PCs have this problem connecting to some monitors.

The DVI to DVI connection from my GeForce 6200 to my Sony 32" HDTV didn't work very good. Only the 640x480 resolution is usable.
Now my Mitsu HC3000 projector over DVI to HDMI works perfectly with my other mythtv box, which also has a nvidia 6200 card in it. It's perfectly aligned at 1280x720.

Thomas

Go Bears!
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post

The DVI to DVI connection from my GeForce 6200 to my Sony 32" HDTV didn't work very good. Only the 640x480 resolution is usable.
Now my Mitsu HC3000 projector over DVI to HDMI works perfectly with my other mythtv box, which also has a nvidia 6200 card in it. It's perfectly aligned at 1280x720.

Thomas

If you can get it to work at 640x480, then it is probably an issue of finding the right modeline for the other resolutions that will work with your monitor. This can be difficult, but if you really want DVI-DVI it is worth investigation.
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If you can get it to work at 640x480, then it is probably an issue of finding the right modeline for the other resolutions that will work with your monitor. This can be difficult, but if you really want DVI-DVI it is worth investigation.

Yeah.. I tried fiddling around with it but got tired of it. And since the TV is only for watching SD material only anyway I don't really care. The good stuff like HDTV and other HD material is being shown on the FPJ. So it's all good

Go Bears!
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post #26 of 26 Old 03-02-2007, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Sure, most of the routers provide 4 or so internal ethernet ports in addition to the port out to the 'net and wifi. If you have few enough machines, then it's perfect.

That's what I thought. Is this the proper order of connection:
coax cable->cable modem->twisted pair->WAN RJ45 in router
router 1st LAN RJ45->twisted pair->LAN RJ45 on HTPC motherboard
router 2nd LAN RJ45->twisted pair->RJ45 on ethernet card in old PC

I assume the above is correct to access Internet on both PCs, but will it also work for LAN between PCs (file transferring, print sharing, etc.)?


Regarding DVI to DVI, maybe I should buy a DVI-DVI cable from a local store in case it doesn't work with my Sony TV so I can easily return it. If it doesn't work, I can always revert to the component cables that usually come with video cards.

As for video cards, the consensus is to go with at least 256 MB, and the 6200s only have 128 MB. Looks like the 7100GS is the minimum with 256 MB and they start at $55.
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