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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been a member of this forum for about 6 years now. Virtually every step of the way I have used the vast knowledge of the forum's members to construct our house, build the home theatre and equip the system. Now I find myself increasingly drawn to the possibilities offered my a media hub to control my video and music content. I don't have the time or the patience to do what many of you here have done to create a computer system to run your media. But this HP system is close to what I have been waiting for. I need your help to answer a few questions that I need satisfied before I take the next step.


I have Time Warner HD digital cable. Will I be able to replace the TW supplied DVR/cable box and still get HD content?


Do I need a cable card?


Will the DVR function be compatible with TW HD digital content?


Would I be better off going to Direct TV knowing that the telecoms will be providing content via fiber optic soon? Will Direct TV function better with this type of system?


I know there are other manufacturers of these systems but I have great experience with HP over the years both at home and in my business. I have been burned enough that I stay with the large established companies when I make a large purchase.


Has anyone had any experience with the z565?


Lots of newbie questions here but I know this is the source for the right answers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgolombowski /forum/post/0


I have Time Warner HD digital cable. Will I be able to replace the TW supplied DVR/cable box and still get HD content?

No, Not until cable cards and vista get released into the wild will you be able to replace your time warner HD DVR.


When Windows Vista gets released so will cable card tuners for PC's. Once this happens you can buy a media center PC from HP with a cable card tuner then get a cable card from TW and then you'll finally be able to replace the TW box.

Quote:
Do I need a cable card?

Yes if you want to DVR all the preimium content from TW you need one, however as I already said cable card tuners are released into the wild yet.

Quote:
Will the DVR function be compatible with TW HD digital content?

yes the DVR functions will work again once vista and cable card tuners are released, however you won't get things like Video on Demand, or Pay per view.

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Would I be better off going to Direct TV knowing that the telecoms will be providing content via fiber optic soon? Will Direct TV function better with this type of system?

Right now NO. There aren't any hardware out there that can tuner a HTPC into a HD DVR box from DirectTV or Dish.


You can get something like this:
http://www.nextcomwireless.com/r5000/products.htm


but if you don't want to get your hands dirty i'd say stay away from that.


Also not sure what your talking about in terms of fiber optic, pretty much the only player in that game right now is Verizon's Fios and that is really pretty much in only a select few markets and again no real way of hooking that up to a HTPC to act as an HD DVR.


so right now with the upcoming of Vista and Cable Card Tuners that really is going to be the only reliable way of making a PC into a HD DVR for premium content.


- Josh
 

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The HP z565 is not bad but it's really pricey at around $3K. That might be worth the price if you would be making use of HP support versus asking questions here. However there are a few problems with what you want to do:


1) The HP box uses an OEM version of the ATI HDTV Wonder. This board supports over-the-air HDTV and analog cable, but not the QAM modulation available on digital cable.


2) CableCARDs are not available except as part of a complete certified PC configuration. If your cable company wants you to have access to their programming with a HTPC, they will either sell it to you or rent it to you, but they will decide, not you.


3) You could get another HTPC with a QAM tuner, but realize that without the CableCARD you would only have access to the unencrypted cable channels, basicly the same ones that are free over-the-air off an antenna.


4) The DirecTV situation is similar. There are no solutions that do not involve a registered receiver that contains an access card with a valid account attached to it. The satelllite providers have talked about HTPC support but right now it's all vaporware.


Bottom line is that HD DVR function today from cable involves renting a settop box with DVR capability. The available CableCARDs work in HDTV slots that do not support DVR function (combination HDTV/DVRs were popular 3-5 years ago before CableCARD). There were a few rare exceptions that involved either active Firewire ports on some cable boxes, or hacking those boxes. The cable companies are rolling out the "5C" system support to ensure that THEY and not YOU the consumer control cable content.


Aside from the fact that it will not do anything you want, the HP z565 is a nice but expensive box ($3K). For example it is HDCP-compliant and supports HDMI displays, and HP sells an add-on HD100 HD-DVD drive ($489) and togather these amount to the only of-the-shelf HTPC HD-DVD solution.


Sony sells an equally expensive HTPC with a DVD changer that offers the only off-the-shelf Media Server for up to 200 disks.


In both cases you get solid hardware and pretty good support but rigid adherance to the DRM (Digital Rights Management) policies set in place by the major studios and hardware manufacturers. However, for most people who do not care to manage a custom HTPC the better solution is consumer type devices. For example you can buy a DirecTV DVR or a Toshiba HD-DVD player for less than $500. These standalone devices are easier to use than HTPCs.


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So it sounds like we have a bit of a wait before Vista and cable card are added to make this a viable product for me.
 

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well not not really. Vista gets released in 11 days, and cable card is suppose to be out around the same time, so maybe a month all together?


- Josh
 

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For those of us impatiently awaiting HD cable card tuners for HTPC, Niveus will begin shipping a dual HD cable card receiver in March and SONY has announced an HTPC with HD cable card to ship in April.


Finally, it can all happen in the MCE environment!
 

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The HP z565 looks like it could be the entry level HTPC if HP can swap out the two analog and one ATSC tuner cards to be replaced with one or two OCUR tuners...while keeping the price somewhere near, or even lower then they are currently asking for it. The basic design now has a few year and previous models under its belt, and with most of flaws attended to. The heat/fan-noise may still be an issue, and I've read that the wireless keyboard/mouse has some driver issues staying in sync with the receiver, but thats about it. Add the CableCard ability, and it will be a hit as a well designed, eye-pleasing, ready to go Vista Media Center PC for the non-premium customer.
 
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