I can't tell everyone here how thrilled I am to actually have found that there are fellow HD and AV techies like me in Cleveland. I always knew there were others around (and I've been reading the AVS forum for two years now), but I never bothered to see if CLE had a local message thread. Of course for me, this kind of neuron - disabled move is not uncommon.
Please forgive me as I am a bit of a noob (at least at posting to AVS), so if I am posting some of this in the wrong place or am too long - winded, I'm sorry in advance...no harm intended. I *do* think that the best advice for me, though, is local.
I have a couple of questions for my fellow NE Ohio HDTV and HTPC gurus out there. First, let me describe my system (I am sorry, but I don't do well with model numbers and am not at home to look them up...I can get them if needed, but will post what I know right now):
Note: CV = Component Video (not composite), DA = Digital Audio (not Digital to Analog Converter)
I have two main 'viewing rooms'. The first is our Family room; for the FR I have:
A Sony 65" CRT RP HDTV
A Sony HD DirecTV receiver (DVI out to the display & TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher)
An Onkyo Receiver / 5 Disk DVD player (CV out to CV switcher, TOSLINK in from TOSLINK switcher)
A Sony 400 DVD "jukebox" (CV out to CV switcher / SPDIF to DA converter (Radio Shack TOSLINK <-> SPDIF, then TOSLINK to rec.)
A Sony 400 CD "jukebox" (direct TOSLINK out to TOSLINK switcher)
A JVC HM40000 DVHS (CV to CV switcher, TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher)
A Zenith DVD player (SPDIF out to DA converter then TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher, CV to CV switcher)
A Radio Shack remote controlled AV Switcher (with TOSLINK inputs and a single TOSLINK output) that I use just for the DA TOSLINK switching capabilities (TOSLINK out to rec.)
A (can't recall brand name - Japanese) remote controlled AV matrix switcher (with *broadband* HD CV inputs and dual matrix-ed outputs) that I use only for CV switching (CV then to display)
A Sony PS2 (for the kids...and me sometimes
) with CV to CV switcher, TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher, Ethernet in from Wifi bridge (to home wireless network)
Bose (I know, I know) (?300) front speakers for front, Bose center channel speaker, (?200) Bose rear speakers (5.1 setup)
Sony 200W powered sub-woofer.
Sony AV3000 programmable remote control.
A Monster "Stage 2" power conditioner
A 2000 W UPS (mostly for noise filtering - not all components are on the battery)
Whew! OK, as I mentioned, I also have a home wireless network (801 g/a) and the above setup also has an IR to PLC (Power line carrier) receiver to control room lighting via a whole - house X-10 system (Activehome Pro).
Now, for the second room (Game Room, basement family room) I have:
A GE 52" CRT RP HDTV (basically an RCA) - "El cheapo" display (Best Buy for $850 before the holiday w/discounts) - Only has a single CV input.
A Sony 6.1 DTS ES / DD EX receiver
An RCA (new) HD DirecTV satellite receiver (from same dish as the Sony in the Family Room) with CV out to CV switcher and TOSLINK out to TOSLINK switcher
An ADS CV (out) HD Video Processor / De - Interlacer / up-converter (9 inputs - 3 CV, 3 S Video, 3 Composite Vdeo)
A Liteon DVD recorder / player (CV out to CV switcher, SPDIF to DA converter then TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher, s video in from sat. receiver and RL analog audio in from sat. receiver)
A JVC HM 30000 DVHS (I have a large collection of DVHS titles...so the JVC players come in handy) (CV out to CV switcher, TOSLINK out to TOSLINK switcher)
Another (also cheapo) DVD player (CV in to HD up-converter, TOSLINK in to TOSLINK switcher)
Another Sony PS2 (same as above - CV to CV switcher and TOSLINK to TOSLINK switcher, another wifi bridge)
Matched 6.1 Onkyo speaker system and 150W sub-woofer
Exact same RS TOSLINK switcher and CV switcher as with the Family Room System
Another Sony AV3000 programmable remote control
X-10 IR receiver (like above...for lighting control)
Monster Stage 2 power conditioner and UPS identical to above (UPS here is connected to the HTPC below)
In addition, this system has a new HTPC setup:
Gateway 825 HP Windows Media Center 2005 PC - 3 GB RAM, 1.2 TB total HD (1 250 GB HD, 2 400 GB internal HD's, 1 150 GB External USB 2.0 HD), Intel Pentium 3.6 GHz processor, ATI X700 Pro Video Card (with CV output to ADS Video Processor), Analog Audio out from integrated Intel HD Audio Card to Multi - Channel Input (5.1) on Sony receiver, 1 DVD / CD player, 1 DVD / CD Burner (DS / DL DVD Burner), Misc. PC accessories
This PC also is connected to the home wireless network via a second 801 a/g router with a 801 g access point (to pull in internet from the main router, cable modem in another part of the house).
This PC also drives the Activehome Pro Interface for home automation.
The DVHS is also connected to the HTPC via Firewire
Currently, the TV input to the HTPC is output from the RCA sat. receiver via S video and RL analog stereo inputs.
Project currently in progress: I've already purchased an HP Media Center Extender for the HTPC and am planning on connecting it to the Family Room (Sony 65" Display) system so that we can access the HTPC content on the main (Family Room) system. This will communicate with the router wired to the HTPC and should be able to stream audio and video (basically) seamlessly. Hopefully, this will be done over the weekend.
OK! I've you've followed all of that, then maybe you can help to answer some of my questions. Obviously, (much like many of you) I've invested a lot into these systems and would like to take them to the last logical step - HDTV HTPC.
Of course, many of you are already aware of the problems with this: It is impossible (without spending $1000 or more for a 169 time setup) to get HDTV into the HTPC via firewire (or any other arrangement). The only exception is: COX HDTV Cable!
Here is my plan: I already subscribe to Cox for HS Internet....I am considering keeping the DirecTV system but add COX HDTV service to the game room (HTPC) system. I will then be sure to get a STB with Firewire output and run this to the HTPC *and* the JVC DVHS. This should (under MCE 2005) allow me to record HDTV (from Cox) and transfer unprotected content to the JVC (for archive).
Here are my questions:
1 - Does anyone have Cox HDTV in the Cleveland Area (probably a dumb question)? If so, does anyone have a STB with firewire output?
2 - Have you been able to record HDTV content to either a DVHS unit or HTPC with the STB?
3 - What STB do you have?
4 - What STB am I likely to get from Cox (what are my options)?
5 - What problems am I likely to run in to by trying to use the Firewire output from the Cox STB to either my HTPC or JVC DVHS?
6 - Should I just quit and take up a new hobby (like drinking)?
For those of you who have lasted this long, I appreciate your attention. Any help on the whole "Cleveland Cox / HDTV STB / Firewire to DVHS or HTPC" will be immeasurably appreciated. I promise to give back now that I know you all are here!
Thanks in advance!