Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter
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.
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.
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.
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.
Should I get a dual core processor?
Don't need it, but it won't hurt and they are plenty cheap enough.
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
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.
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.