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htpc for rv

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks,
Looking for some wisdom on a proposed setup in my RV. We travel to the US mainly and have park cable hookups most everywhere. I'd like to be able to pvr programs and the setup I'm thinking of is an hd homerun dual tuner box with a mac mini (server 2.66 core2 duo nvidia graphics w/2 500gig drives hdmi out dual booting win7ent) feeding samsung 32 inch led tv (have only the tv so far). The mini would do some home duty as well. If there is a standalone box that can do this cheaper (getting the mini @ $400/hd homerun $129) I'd prefer that but don't see anything so far.
PS I know there is no analog pvr capability in this setup but am hoping most park cable has digital by now in the better parks.
Thanks
Paul
post #2 of 9
I want to make a completely different suggestion.

Why not put a satellite antenna on your RV and connect it to a Dish or DirecTV box? That way you're not relying on the vagaries of local cable. Is it too expensive?

Everywhere you go you will encounter a different cable system. So you will be spending half your life trying to figure out "hmmm ... if this is Tuesday then I must be in Peoria ... where on this Podunk cable system is CBS?"

That's not my idea of relaxing. But if it works for you, then, as someone I know says: "knock yourself out".
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've considered sat but between line of sight issues and the fact my primary res is in Canada - so only Bell is available - and we rv 3-4 weeks a year so a sat sub is difficult to justify.
post #4 of 9
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any set top boxes, maybe the Boxee box with it's tuner usb dongle.

If you're really wanting cheaper, I would suggest going with a PC with Windows 7. The only "free" TV/PVR software I know on OSX is MythTV, and unless you're more skilled OSX and how to installed stuff, it's not exactly user friendly to install. Otherwise, you're going to need get to either EyeTV or SageTV, which is another $40 to $80 (I may be off on the costs of those programs).

The other issue I can see, how long will you be staying at a mobile park? Unfortunately, you just can't pop an antenna on the TV and get a digital reception. Digital is really sensative, and the mobile digital is starting to come up, but none of the PC tuners will have that standard build into it. There's only a handful of portable TVs with it. So, I'm failing to see how well a PVR could work.

That said, I could see wanting to setup some kind of media storage, and thus accessing hundreds of movies or TV shows, say off a external HDD. I could even see, if you have internet access, using Netflix or Crackle or something similar.

Of course, I agree able the different stations depending where you're at. This could be tempered if you have internet access, then you could go through rescranning and updating the EPG, this is assuming the park follows whatever the local cable is doing.

If you do go the HDHomerun route, I would suggest the newer one with the triple tuner, the HDHR3. I've heard is it little bit more lenient on signal compared to the HDHR2; I have one and it can be quite finicky at times.

As for analog, you're concerned, you can either get an old USB tuner that can do it, or just run the feed directly into the TV. I can't say it's true for cablec companies, but Comcast has all their channels digitized. Some are just remapped to the old analog station.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post

If you do go the HDHomerun route, I would suggest the newer one with the triple tuner, the HDHR3. I've heard is it little bit more lenient on signal compared to the HDHR2; I have one and it can be quite finicky at times.

I think there were even multiple versions of the HDHR2. The older model required a separate coax input for each tuner, the new model had an internal splitter. But I don't know which one was "better".

I think that signal strength and quality (and a tuner's ability to deal with it) might be more of an issue OTA. Presumably an RV park would have a decent quality cable drop to each unit; otherwise they would have to field customer complaints on a daily basis.

But I also have to believe that lots of RV parks are located in remote areas that have "late 20th century" cable infrastructure. It's very likely that analog channels abound, thereby posing a problem for the thread starter.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post

.. Otherwise, you're going to need get to either EyeTV or SageTV, which is another $40 to $80 (I may be off on the costs of those programs)...

SageTV is off the market. Google bought it last June.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by flavius99 View Post

SageTV is off the market. Google bought it last June.

Well, I haven't used it in over a year. Glad I didn't buy it.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin View Post

I think there were even multiple versions of the HDHR2. The older model required a separate coax input for each tuner, the new model had an internal splitter. But I don't know which one was "better".

I think that signal strength and quality (and a tuner's ability to deal with it) might be more of an issue OTA. Presumably an RV park would have a decent quality cable drop to each unit; otherwise they would have to field customer complaints on a daily basis.

But I also have to believe that lots of RV parks are located in remote areas that have "late 20th century" cable infrastructure. It's very likely that analog channels abound, thereby posing a problem for the thread starter.

The HDHR2 did have mutliple versions--US and UK. HDHR2 does into have two coax inputs, which is why it can do both OTA and cable in one unit.

I don't doubt OTA may have more issues compared to RV cable because you don't know if you're going to get a signal or not. Digital is either you get it or you don't. As for the RV cable, we just don't know. I suspect that most will have digital channels by now. Most TV is that way now. I still think qaulity and strength may be the issue, especially with HDHR because it can less the lenient on signal quality.

All that said, my impressions with the OP mentioning PVRing, how realistic are his expectations are to what he intends to use the equipment to do.
post #9 of 9
Dick Eastman runs a very popular genealogy blog list and also travels around in an RV. Some of his posts might be helpful. This is the one (first of a series) that came to mind:

http://rv.dickeastman.com/2012/01/ho...em-part-1.html
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