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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was excited when coming across this site last week, and while I am in the middle of setting up a HTPC I though I could read and learn, then I asked a fairly simple question in a thread a few days ago and go zero response. It seems all the "help" on this forum likes to see who can sound the most technical and second guess everyone else's question and answers.


I will ask my question again and be prepared for flaming and disapointment rather than an actual straight answer, but here goes.


I would like a very simple GUI for a HTPC. (any recommendations)

I would like to know the pro's and con's of an add on TVCard compared to something like an AIW from ATI.


If anyone could help me with these and give their opinions it would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks,sk8
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sk8orbike

I would like a very simple GUI for a HTPC. (any recommendations)

Depends on what you're looking for. Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (MCE 2005) is probably the easiest/simplest one. If your primary goal is PVR (think Tivo) then I'd take a serious look a SageTV, IMO the best PVR software out there. You can do everything from the comfort of a remote.

Quote:
I would like to know the pro's and con's of an add on TVCard compared to something like an AIW from ATI.
ATI AIW

Pros:
  • It's all on 1 card

Cons:
  • If you want to upgrade one (say TV card) you have to upgrade the other (video card)
    [*]No hardware encoder - Hardware encoders remove all encoding work from the CPU.
    [*]Limited software support
    [*]Poor included software
    [*]Only one per machine
    [*]It's from ATI (Oh! did I just say that?:)).



TV Card - specifically the PVR 250 and other HW encoders

Pros:
  • Hardware encoder - no load on the CPU while recording so you can do other things and won't screw up recordings.
  • Support for multiple cards in one PC (with 3rd party software)
  • Great recording quality
  • Broad 3rd party software support (SageTV, BeyondTV, MCE, MythTV, GBPVR, etc).

Cons:
  • Pricey - not so much now with the 150 and other MCE cards - but well worth the cost IMO
  • Limited recording formats - most are only MPEG2 which is almost perfect though


IMO, if you're looking to build your own PVR (Tivo) your best bet is to go with a good Hardware encoder (the PVR 250 is arguably the best available now) and one of the great software packages (SageTV, MCE, BeyondTV). I'm rather partial to SageTV:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your response Stanger, I have looked at sooooo much stuff in the last week that I am really overwhelmed. I will look closer at the hardware encoder that you mentioned and probably give MCE a look too........thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sk8orbike
I was excited when coming across this site last week, and while I am in the middle of setting up a HTPC I though I could read and learn, then I asked a fairly simple question in a thread a few days ago and go zero response. It seems all the "help" on this forum likes to see who can sound the most technical and second guess everyone else's question and answers.


I will ask my question again and be prepared for flaming and disapointment rather than an actual straight answer, but here goes.


I would like a very simple GUI for a HTPC. (any recommendations)

I would like to know the pro's and con's of an add on TVCard compared to something like an AIW from ATI.


If anyone could help me with these and give their opinions it would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks,sk8
Try Xlobby for the GUI - free and works great!

http://www.xlobby.com/
 

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I would also recommend the Hauppauge PVR 250. I really like Beyond TV 3.5. It's extremely stable, pictures great for standard def, and incredibly easy to use (waf and caf)=10).

I pair that with Meedio as a front end and everthing works really peachy.

But hey, that's just me.
 
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