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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to put together an HTPC for the express purpose of acting as a PVR in place of a Tivo unit. As such, I'm trying to build something for around the same price as the cost of the Tivo itself plus a lifetime subscription at $300. I've estimated spending about $650. Other than its primary PVR use, this unit would also be connected to my home network for streaming MP3/WMA audio. DVD playback would be handled separately (although I would like the option of using dscaler), and archiving video would take place on another computer as well.


Please let me know what you think of this config:


Case: Dynapower METIS CD-I3ASB.701 ATX mid-tower w/ 300W power supply and 2 fans


Motherboard: ECS L7S7A2 SiS 746 Chipset ATX


CPU: AthlonXP 2000+/266FSB


Memory: single 512 DDR PC2700


Hard Drive: WD 120GB 7200RMP


DVD: Lite-On 16 DVD-ROM


Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy 2


Video: Nvidia GeForce 4 MX 440 SE 64MB 4X AGP w/ TV out (but I'd probably connect directly to the VGA port on my HD monitor)


Video Capture/PVR: Currently considering:


1. Prolink Play TV PVR (price is right)

2. Hauppauge WinTV PVR 250 (hardware encoding and SageTV option)

3. Creative Video Blaster Digital VCR


I'm planning on using WinXP Home for the OS and MyHTPC as a front end. Please let me know what you think. Thanks very much.


Jon
 

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Replace Geforce4MX with ATI Radeon 9000


A beefier power supply may be in order....


Swap the Audigy2 for an M-Audio Revolution, unless you game a ton.


As for the HD, you may want something quieter like Seagate's Baracuda ATA IV or ATA V.
 

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I agree with the switch to the ATI 9000. I'd keep the Audigy 2 (maybe I'm just brainwashed that its THX certified, but the plat version really does sound great). And instead of one 120GB you really should have 2 for PVR. You need one dedicated drive for your system and apps. And, one which you will periodically wipe and erase to clean up and defragment the drive....gives better reliability in the long run. Partitioning the drive is not nearly as good as erasing the drive periodically and starting fresh. Almost everyone who works with video does this to their drive on a routine basis. So, get a 30GB drive for system and apps, and a 120 as your PVR drive. And, that 30GB drive will be really cheap these days.


Oh, and I do feel I should warn you that nothing compares to Tivo's ease of use. You can search here all you want and people will pretty much say the same thing. HTPC PVR is a far cry from Tivo in its current state. Just as a second option. You could purchase a really cheap low GB Tivo unit. Then swap out the 20BG drive for a 120GB drive and you'd pay less for it. (you do need a small amount of Linux background to do that but there are numerous posts about how to accomplish that).
 

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There's a big difference between Tivo-like functionality (eg recording programs to disk) and Tivo-like (which encompasses so much more).


You could spend three times what you are proposing and the result would still be nothing like a Tivo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I understand that nothing competes with Tivo right now, but I'm concerned about Tivo only because I plan to do a good bit of TV archiving. From what I've read, extraction of Tivo MPEGs are not only difficult and void the warranty, but may be illegal. Plus, I don't know my way around Linux at all.


Great idea about the second hard drive, video card and fan. I'll definitely figure those into my plans.


Any thoughts on tv tuner choices?
 

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You are right about video archiving being a major pain with Tivo. If you upgrade in the future with a RAID array you can easily archive your mpeg2 files on your HTPC. That was my future plan with HD files, so I got a motherboard with build in RAID support.
 
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