Originally Posted by eatapeach /forum/post/0
I have been looking at Media center pcs and was wondering why none have hdmi or component ins? All seem to have tuners with hdmi outs or cable card inputs but what about the people who cant get cable cards and still have to use set top boxes but would prefer to connect to the pc with hdmi or component instead of coax or s-video. Any insight would be great!
There's nothing practical for recording over component or HDMI (HDCP makes HDMI almost worthless for recording).
As noted above, there are options for capturing component/HDMI, but what's become clear over the years as PCs as PVR/DVRs have evolved, is that there's a significant difference between using something for capture and using something for recording.
For capturing, you're usually only concerned about quality. Things like ease of use, compatibility, resource requirements are distant seconds to quality, and this shows is you look at them.
For recording, quality is important, but often, compatibility, ease of use and resource requirements are equally if not more important than quality.
One of the best examples I can think of is the PMS Video PDI Deluxe card which accepts SD Component, RGB and PDI, inputs but does no processing whatsoever, vs something like the nVidia DualTV. The former is clearly the quality leader, using the premier inputs and capturing with arbitrary compression. However it's limited application compatibility, lack of audio inputs (I think, meaning it requires a separate device for audio capture), and high capture requirements (CPU usage, disk space, and "sensitivity" to other processes) due to the way it works leads to it being almost completely ignored as a TV recording card.
Conversely, the nVidia DualTV, offering compatibility with the most popular PVR apps, integrated audio recording, integrated hardware compression and muxing of audio/video, and (due to hardware compression) minimal hardware requirements (small file size, 0 CPU usage, nearly impervious to other processes) make it and cards like it the most popular for TV recording.
The situation is very similar with HD now. There are a couple options out there for capturing raw, uncompressed HD, like the ones mentioned. But any recording with them is a lot of work and is very demanding in many ways. As far as raw HD capture goes, we're with HD about where we were 6-7 years ago with SD, that being stuck with software-encoder capture cards.
These cards work, but they are definitely sub-optimal for PVR/DVR duties and definitely not acceptable to even the HTPC group at large. If you look back on the history of PC capture, you'll see that using the PC as a TV capture device didn't really take off until the second generation of hardware-encoder based SD capture cards (the PVR 250).