I am sitting in the same boat as you are pio!
I am looking for a solution to connect my Satellite signal to my HTPC and do some pvr, as well as play DVD's when required. I'm personally not looking for a card that can take a smart card. I'll leave that in the satellite receiver and just capture its video output. I have yet to find any info on such a card setup.
Reading through the posts here, I've come across a lot of helpful info for just standard capture cards. Here is what I am proposing, which may interest you even without the smart card capabilities. Maybe someone has done this already and can comment on it.
To achieve the DVD play back, picture quality is very important so I have been leaning toward the PMS XCard/PDI Deluxe capture card combo. These two cards work with DScaler to give an excellent picture.
The capture card in the deluxe combo has the ability to capture using composite, SVideo, and component, which covers almost every situation possible. If a capture cards tuner was used with a satellite, the tuner would be useless as it would be stuck on a single channel for accessing the output of the satellite video signal from the receiver. The PMS deluxe combo cards do not have a tuner in them, so I believe you need to have an external IR TX to extend out and control the Satellite (via girder or something similar) for changing channels. I think SnapStream (BTV) has the capability of controlling the satellite this way.
For more details regarding the PVR side of things, I am leaning toward BTV since it covers BT8XX type software capture cards. The PMS XCard/PDI deluxe combo has a BT878 chip in it, but the driver for it is very rudimentary, as its main purpose is to be controlled by DScaler. Looking into the details of the driver for a BT878 capture card, you will find that BTWINCAP driver is available and can be configured to become a better driver for the card. Has any one taken the time to investigate the required setup of the BTWINCAP for the combo? BTV says in its documentation that it will work with BTWINCAP, so once a more complete driver has been made, the combo's capture card should work (I hope). On the BTWINCAP webpage it mentions a spy program can be used to develope a suitable driver for any BT878 card. This sounds easy enough, but I imagine the multiple input capabilities of the PMS combo card would make a full fledged BTWINCAP driver for this card more difficult to build than normal.
Since I live in Canada, BTV has Canadian guide pages, which is important to me.
I would also like to use Girder for my remote control, but I believe BTV does not support it directly. Some people have been using MyHTPC as a front end, with a SnapStream plugin to control BTV. MyHTPC does integrate with Girder, so that fills in that piece of the puzzle.
The PMS Deluxe Combo can also be used with a XBox or Playstation. Doing this allows the use of DScaler to further tweak your game picture to achieve an even better picture supposedly. Of course, you could also use the computer to play games directly, but then you loose the DScaler interface for playing with the picture, or so it seems from what I've read.
So in the end, I looking at picking up a PMS Xcard/PDI deluxe combo for the DVD playback and the PVR capture. Killing two birds with one stone? The cost of the deluxe combo is quite high, but the dvd playback is suppose to be awesome, and it should be able to be used for capturing my video signal from the satellite from what I've gathered. Now if I can only find someone who has tried BTV with the PMS Deluxe combo card (with BTWINCAP drivers) to confirm it can accomplish this and I'll be set to go ahead with my purchases.
If anyone has played with the deluxe combo and BTV, please help!