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New HTPC system using both InfiniTV 4 and an external antenna

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay, new guy here, hopefully not asking your typical newbie questions. I've been reading the forums for days, finding most of the answers to my myriad of questions. The links aiming me to the Assassin's Hardware Guide were especially helpful. That said, I've hit a stopping point and now require adult supervision. biggrin.gif

My HTPC is fairly close to what the Assassin's guide refers to as a "V-8 Sportscar". I just so happened to have most of these components sitting around, so I re-tasked them into the HTPC, mounting all the goodies into a Silverstone GD05B case. Additionally, I'm not interested in gaming and the HTPC has both a SSD for the OS and a std. HD. There's also a second computer (my server) running WHS 2011, if that becomes a consideration.

I would like to be able to access the following data streams via the dedicated HTPC:

1) Cox cable (for the time being)
2) Internet via cable modem
3) OTA external antenna

I'm leaning towards the InfiniTV 4 PCIe tuner card (I can't imagine needing the -6), but this is were the questions arise. Do I install the Infini in the dedicated HTPC or would it be wiser to place it in the WHS box? The other question involves the external antenna. Do I add a second, dedicated tuner card for that purpose? The CAT-6 cable for the Internet I've got a hand on. smile.gif

I do appreciate the help...this is one useful forum! Thanks
post #2 of 17
ive seen people try adding their cards inside their whs box and the threads ive read all sound like problems. if you can just install it in your pc (or get one of the ones that sit on your network).

for your antenna you will need an atsc tuner. again you can buy a card like the Hauppauge hvr 2250 or avermedia duet or buy silicon dusts atsc tuner that sits on the network.

then inside wmc you can combine your channels and set a priority. for example your local CBS affiliate will show up in the wmc guide several times. at least once for the ceton and once for the antenna tuner. you can merge those together and tell your pc to use the antenna first before tying up a cablecard tuner.

not having whs I don't know how to do this, but you can have recordings moved from your htpc to your server once they are finished.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for getting back to me. Just for clarification, when you refer to the 'pc', do you mean the HTPC (not the server)? I just want to be sure I understand you correctly. Cheers!
post #4 of 17
yes, I mean that if you have room in the htpc for the tuner card(s) install them there.

this is the thread I remembered reading on installing a ceton tuner inside a server http://experts.windows.com/frms/windows_entertainment_and_connected_home/f/68/t/101346.aspx
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Got it. I'll take a look at the link.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
After reading a bit more on this, wouldn't I require a single tuner card for the OTA as opposed to a dual like the Hauppauge 2250? Both my Pioneer audio receiver and LG TV itself have ext antenna jacks, but I'm guessing they won't be of help.
Edited by gatorgrabber - 2/4/14 at 9:44pm
post #7 of 17
you definitely could get by with a single tuner - I have an ATI 650 which is a single tuner. sometimes I wish it was a dual. I just listed the three models that seem to be the most popular on the forum.

if you want to record ota with an antenna onto your computer or just watch it inside your htpc you need a tuner card. you could connect your antenna directly to your tv to watch it but theres no way to get that signal back to the computer for recording.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
I think we have a confusion of terms. It's a given that I'll have an InfiniTV (or similar) tuner for the cable and another tuner for the OTA antenna, but does this 2nd tuner need to be a dual if the cable is already accounted for?
post #9 of 17
You'll need two separate cables, one for your digital cable TV and the other for the OTA antenna. Models with multiple tuners have internal splitters so you only need a single coax to each tuner card for cable or antenna. You'll also need two separate types of tuners - cablecard for digital cable (InfiniTV 4 or 6) and an ATSC tuner for OTA. The number of tuners depends on how many channels you'll envision recording simultaneously with a spare for watching live TV. If you're only going to use the tuners with a single PC then you can use the internal PCIe tuners or the USB versions. If you'll be sharing tuners with other PCs then the networked type of tuners are preferable. You can use networked tuners in either case if your HTPC is getting overcrowded or you want to keep the internal temperature down. You can also use the USB versions for the same reasons. Either version is probably preferable to installing the tuners in an external server, but it's not a requirement. I'd recommend the networked tuners vs. the USB versions as I've had issues with USB tuners in the past.

Here are some choices for each type of tuner:

Internal Cablecard:

Ceton InfiniTV 4 (4 tuners, PCIe, retail $199, on sale for about $150, usually about $100 or less used on ebay)
Ceton InfiniTV 6 (6 tuners, PCIe, retail $299, on sale for $250)

USB Cablecard:

Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 (2 tuners, USB, retail $129)
Ceton InfiniTV 4 (4 tuners, USB, pricing same as PCIe version)

Networked Cablecard:

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (3 tuners, retail $99)
SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime (?) (6 tuners, NOT YET RELEASED, projected price $150)
Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH (6 tuners, pricing same as PCIe version)

Internal ATSC:

AverMedia Duet A188 (two tuners, approx $50-75)
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 (two tuners, retail for about $100 for bare tuner, approx $130 with remote)

Networked ATSC:

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual (two tuners, on sale for about $60)

There's no release date yet on the 6-tuner HDHR Prime. I would expect the price of the Ceton tuners to drop when that happens so they can remain competitive. OTOH, since the release of the InfiniTV 6, the resale prices of the InfiniTV 4's have dropped to below $100 on average so you can get a great deal on ebay if you don't mind used hardware.

Note that there are a lot of different internal ATSC tuners in either PCI or PCIe configurations. Most people prefer going with dual tuners because they tend to give you more bang for the buck Plus, it never hurts to have extra tuners available, even if you only use them on occasion.
Edited by captain_video - 2/5/14 at 4:57am
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the explanation and chart. I'd prefer to have everything mounted internally as I've also had issues with USB-type devices when used long term. I'll also try to avoid the networked approach just to keep everything tidy in the stack.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Am I to understand that the ATSC tuner built into the television (and the A/V receiver for that matter) would not be available to the HTPC? Just making sure I don't miss the obvious...
post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by gatorgrabber View Post

Am I to understand that the ATSC tuner built into the television (and the A/V receiver for that matter) would not be available to the HTPC? Just making sure I don't miss the obvious...

Yea exactly. Think about it - for a PC to be able to utilize a tuner it has to be able to control it. It needs to "tune" to CBS or NBC or whatever. The computer will have no way to access and control your tv or receiver to change the channel and display the stream.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
That's what I was thinking, I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something with the newer connector types.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quick questions about the tuner cards, do I buy the white box (builders) version or should I get the one with the IR receiver cable? Without the IR cable, just how how do I get a signal from my Logitech Harmony to the HTPC?

*Edit: I just realized that I hadn't scrolled to the bottom of Assassin's build guide...never mind! biggrin.gif
Edited by gatorgrabber - 2/8/14 at 4:59am
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Since I'm a bit tight on space on the MB, I'd like to use the lone PCI slot (not express) for the single ATSC tuner card. That greatly trims down the field since most have gone to PCIe configuration. This will be for an exterior antenna only, so am I good to go using this slot for that purpose? The only Hauppauge that seems to be available is the 1600; the 1150 Hybrid seems to be MIA.
post #16 of 17
I use the ati 650 pci card. its not made anymore but could be found on ebay. it will only tune one tv channel or fm radio at a time, but im happy with it. ive been using it since 2007.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
7yrs and still going isn't bad! I was thinking the antenna's demand would be modest on the PCI. If possible I'd like to get something new (even if it's new, old stock), we'll see what turns up.
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