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Hi all,


I'm new to the world of HTPC and HDTV in Australia. I'm really keen, as a project, to build my own HTPC. I've scratch built PCs before, so the hardware side of things doesn't daunt me too much. The idea came after missing one too many episodes of my favourite shows when various VCRs didn;t record or tapes were accidentaqlly taped over, so I'm aiming for my HTPC system to have full PVR capability, as well as a DVD burner to archive those things I wish to keep.


My beginning questions are...


I've seen both TV tuner cards and HDTV tuner cards. We currently dso not have a HDTV set-top box, and only watch regular TV and cable (Foxtel). Is there a combo card available that would enable my HTPC box to receieve both? Or would I be better off buying two cards, a digital and regular? And does today's software support dual cards? Or is it necessary to receieve both, is the programming on digital duplicated from the programming on regular stations?


We watch a lot of pay TV - Foxtel cable. How would I go about setting up a system where I could watch cable via my HTPC? Would I simply use the Foxtel box's aerial pass-through? Or is there a way (such as a PCI card or somesuch) that would enable the HTPC to receive AV inputs from the Foxtel box?


I've heard talk (on non-Au websites) of systems which can control the cable box via the HTPC - essentially, removing the need for remotes and enabling timer record functions to directly change cable channels. Does anyone know if Australian cable boxes, or australian HTPC components, have similar capabilities?


Software - I've heard a lot of good things about Snapstream personal video station. Are there any other alternatives that are easy to use? My wife is computer illiterate, so it needs to be a package that is stable and simple. Also, any packages that integrate DVD burning would be superb, but that might be pushing it a little...


Finally, a lot of software packages seem to include an electronic program guide. Do any of these work in Australia?


I also have some questions about sound, but I'll probably leave them until another time.


Thankd for your assistance, much appreciated. Any replies can be posted jhere or emailed to me at [email protected] .
 
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