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Checklist needed to build a PC based PVR  

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, I've decided to give the PC based PVR a try...

After deciding to switch from Dish to DirecTV in the very near future (Damn NFL Ticket) I decided a PC based PVR would be a cheaper alternative to the DirecTV models....

But, I'm new to this, so I'm looking for a little help.

A. Advice on the best setup...

B. Advice on the most cost effective equipment...

Here's what I got going:

2 Upstairs Bedrooms - SD TV and satellite reciever in each

1 Main Floor Living Room - SD TV and current PVR satellite receiver

1 Basement - HD ready TV, HD satellite reciever, PC w/ no TV Tuner card (located across room) with 802.11g Wireless router (really hope I can do this wireless)




Ideally, I'd like to be able to record from all TV's. Not sure that's possible. If not, I'd like to record from HD receiver. Not imperative though. At the very least, I need to record from the living room TV, as that's the wife's room and she LOVES her DVR....


What do I need to get this started, the current PC is our "internet" PC and is constantly in use. Is this somehting I can do from the same PC, or does it require a stand alone? (Horsepower shouldn't be an issue, plenty of speed, only 80 GB hard drive, though)


Well, any help would be appreciated. This is admittedly, over my head. Thanks guys...


Smitty
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bump-a-roo
post #3 of 9
You might get more responses here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...?s=&forumid=26

I've also found the following site usefull:
http://www.htpcnews.com/
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
post #5 of 9
Well, I am certainly no expert, but since nobody else is willing to give an answer, here it goes...

First, I'm not sure if any cards out there will allow you to receive and record sat. signals (because most sat. need some sort of user card). They all might, I just have no experience there.

Second, you need multible tuner cards to record multible shows at the same time. If you existing PVR can record two shows at the same time, you'll need two seperate cards to do the same thing. I believe two cards are needed for time-shifting recording. Again, I could be wrong, but I think that is what I've read.

Third, concerning HD recording. Currently there are limited options for recording HD signals. None of the current cards will record anything but OTA signals, so you are usually out of luck if you wanted to record a sat. or cable signal. Again, multible cards are usually needed to time-shift record.

Basically if you stick with SD signals, there are a lot of cards out there and you should be able to build a PVR without too much trouble. HD cards a much newer and you won't have the same success with them yet.

Definitely read some of the HTPC threads as this is basically what you are trying to build. A PC that will be used for HT is some fashion (in this case a PVR).
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm....

I am not so sure now that I've done a little more research....

A refurb Tivo fo $79 plus service, is looking pretty good....
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally posted by Smitty20
Hmmmm....

I am not so sure now that I've done a little more research....

A refurb Tivo fo $79 plus service, is looking pretty good....
Smitty I went down this path about a month ago and ended up with a TiVo as well. The cost, even considering the 13/month and the 7/month for additional units just made more sense to me.

The deciding factors for me were:

No HD recording option PC
No direct input into computer (or TiVo) of satellite/cable signal so in either case I'd be redigitizing an analog signal.
Cost (800-1200) per PC (115 per TiVo after rebate and Best Buy RewardZone certificates are applied)
post #8 of 9
Hmmm, I'm not sure I understood all of that last post, but I'll add some things.

- The cost of building units is the biggest hurdle. You can probably do them for <500 apiece, depending on config, buying from select places. However, if you got a reseller's license, and bought wholesale, you could do decently. ;)
- There's a number of SD and HD recording options. The SD cards are much better supported by lots of software, and have been around much longer.
- While you can't direct-decode satellite, you certainly can take coax from cable and tune normal cable direct, you can take coax-output from cable/sat and use secondary tuner hardware to auto-tune the right channel on the cable/sat box, etc. You can also take svid/composite inputs on many of the cards. Each card has something else...

-d
post #9 of 9
Try Freevo and MythTV (some really nice screenshots at MythTV!).
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