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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got my first HDTV, and I'm a bit lost in the maze of HTPC info. I searched a bit but didn't find any useful info that was relatively current.


I want to replace my SD Tivo with a HTPC solution. Here are my needs:
  • Schedule shows to record (DVR) from OTA antenna and Internet (no cable) on one TV.
  • Schedule recording of Internet podcast-type programs (like DL.TV, Tekzilla, etc.) (using RSS?)
  • Easy to use, like a Tivo or Apple TV... family friendly

That's it really. I want to do all operations from the remote control if possible. As close to a "Tivo experience" as possible.

Software:

I'm open to Windows or Linux-based solutions, and have some experience with both. I don't mind buying something (like Sage, etc.) if its the right solution. What's best for my needs?

Tuner:

Homerun? Happauge card? What is best for Windows and Linux software and my needs? I guess its possible I could switch from one to the other, though I would prefer not to, so a card/box that is compatible with both would be best.

Remote:

Same compatibility needed for the remote control, in case I need to switch from Windows to Linux or vice-versa.

I already have a PC for this (comments welcome)

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66 GHz

Video card: nVidia 7600GS with HDMI

Motherboard: Gigabye GA-P35-DS3R

Ram: 2GB

TV:

Samsung LN40B550 (1080p 40")


Sorry if this is a FAQ question. If there is existing info please point me there. Thanks!


Lee
 

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I don't have all of your answers, but you can start to look at a few things like:


SageTV ( http://www.sagetv.com )

Media Portal ( www.team-mediaportal.com )


Sage is both Windows and Linux based, Media is Windows only. Both have tons of configuration options. I dabbled a little with Media Portal a few years ago, but only in the OTA PVR mode, but I liked what I saw.


Tuner cards, I have a Hauppauge USB tuner (HPV-950Q). Works for my setup because I have a slim case PC (Acer Aspire X1200) and there isn't a ton of room for internal cards.


Video card, you may want to invest in something with a little more oomph. From what I understand, the 7600 series NVIDIA cards are the entry into HD world. If you have a full size card slot you might want to swap that out for something in the NVIDIA 9XXX range. My PC has built in GeForce 8200 video and that's been perfectly fine for me.


Not for nothing but many folks seem to think that Windows 7 Media Center is pretty slick, too.


Hope this gives you a nudge in the right direction. I'm no expert by any means, but I like to help where I can!
 

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Windows 7 Media Center.


i thought Vista was slick, 7MC is amazing.


i ditched my cable months ago and my dual tuner HTPC with 7MC blows away the Comcast dvr. i have no experience with Tivo, so i cant comment.


some tuner cards come with MCE remotes, make sure you buy retail, add a free program called Remote KC and you get mouse functions out of the MCE remote.
 

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I mostly use SageTV. But I have been doing a few things in 7MC now. But i still record in SageTV (STV) for the moment. I use 2 AVermedia AVerTVHD Duet cards. This allows me to record up to 4 channels simultaneously, if needed. I can also do the same thing in 7MC.




OTA for me. I don't have Cable or Satellite. SageTV and 7MC both can playback a variety of video files, pictures and music. Try them out and see which one is for you You can always find help here or in their forums.
 

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I personally prefer Windows Media Center (I have Vista) because it just works. And I like it. I mucked around with Beyond TV for a long time and could never get it right, then I switched to Vista MEdia Center and Bang it worked right out of the box.


For tuners, the HDHome Run comes highly recommended by a lot of people on this forum but I personally haven;t used. However, it does leave you with an "out of the pc" solution. Something some people don't want.


If it were me I would look at this card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116037


and this remote http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16880121001


don't get cards with remotes packaged with them because if you ever wqant to upgrade to something like a harmony remote you may have problem (like I did). Keep in mind that the remote I listed is a VISTA MCE remote! It may not work with XP.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal55 /forum/post/16907944


I mostly use SageTV. But I have been doing a few things in 7MC now. But i still record in SageTV (STV) for the moment. I use 2 AVermedia AVerTVHD Duet cards. This allows me to record up to 4 channels simultaneously, if needed. I can also do the same thing in 7MC.




OTA for me. I don't have Cable or Satellite. SageTV and 7MC both can playback a variety of video files, pictures and music. Try them out and see which one is for you You can always find help here or in their forums.

Dude. T.J. Hooker? Seriously?
 

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I've used Sage and BTV extensively.


Both have problems. BTV gui is nicer with few problems, but the recording services kept crashing.


Sage gui has more problems but the recording engine works most of the time. Sage is much more extensible if you are willing to invest the time. One thing of possible interest is that Sage has support for DVB-S2 while BTV does not.


Neither is as trouble free as a Tivo, but offer many more options like number of tuners and burning to disk.


I used a 7600GS card and it worked fine for HD. It just has problems with anything other than overlay mode.
 

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Since I have been using one Tivo product or another since day two
. My choice when it comes to HTPC is Nero Liquid TV w/TIVO.
 

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I'ben using BeyondTV for about 2-1/2 years and never had any problems with it. Prior to that I had DirecTV with DirecTivos. The BeyondTV interface is easy to use and set up. The only time it ever failed to record a program is when I had issues with my external USB hub dropping offlione mysteriously and disconnecting my six V-Box tuners (i.e., no signal, no recordings). Other than that it's been a real pleasure to use. I never tried SageTV but I hear equally good things about it. It's supposed to be more of an all-in-one media center package than BTV.


As for the internet stuff you want to record, I have no idea what you can use or if there's anything that will record it to a DVR hard drive using a scheduled program guide. The trick is that virtually all DVR apps need to use a program guide to record TV shows. I don't know of any program guide that lists the items you mentioned.


Here's a good source of tuner information:

http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/index.html


I have personally used the HDHomeRun, OnAir HDTV-GT, Hauppauge HVR-950 USB, Hauppauge HVR-2250, and V-Box USB-A-3560 (discontinued?). The V-Box tuner is by far the most sensitive tuner I've used to date and is the model I'm currently using. If you live in a fringe area then this is something to consider when making your selection. Picture quality is indistinguishable between any model since they're all ATSC tuners. If you need a QAM tuner then your choices become somewhat limited.
 

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LOL!!! It was just a recording test and I just chose 4 random shows that were about to start. I didn't even know that T.J. Hooker still aired.



To the OP, I don't think many software packages allow you to schedule internet recordings. Podcast and stuff. Not that I know of or have ever looked into.


I've hardly had any problems with SageTV myself. And occasional hiccup because I somehow started 2 instances of the program running. But usually I record without a hitch. Music playing is the weird part. I think it sometimes jumps to the next song before the end. At least that's what I read in the forums before. I rarely use the music player. I use Media Monkey or WMC.




And take a look at this picture.



I don't know if you are into ripping you movies but SageTV does not play .vob files natively. I thought that it did but it doesn't. But it will play a .mvk file (blu ray) with no problem. Windows 7MC will play .vobs but not .mvk without a little help. I still can't get it to work but I'm not worried about it. It might just be the RC 7100 build. I'll look into once the retail version is released.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphyne /forum/post/16907969


I personally prefer Windows Media Center (I have Vista) because it just works. And I like it. I mucked around with Beyond TV for a long time and could never get it right, then I switched to Vista MEdia Center and Bang it worked right out of the box.

+1. Even though I hate Vista, why not use MCE when a) it works and b) it's already there.
 

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I kind of have the same questions so I'll throw them in here too. I'm going to be using a dual core 1.9 Athlon, ATI 2400 graphics card, and Windows 7 Media Center. Is pretty much every usb tv tuner the same? The HD Homerun is a little pricey. I could get 4 of these for the price of the Homerun or just get 2 for half the price. Is there really going to be a difference in PQ between the two? Don't they both just pass along the video to the computer uncompressed and then let the dvr software (7 Media Center in this case) record the program? Do these cards use your pc processing for the recording or do they offload to the card itself resulting in minimal cpu usage?


I'm also debating which remote to get. I thought of just getting a Dinovo Mini so that I could control Media Center and use the keyboard to type if I wanted to go on the net. I'm thinking it would feel kind of weird to use it to change channels and everything though because I'm so used to the long remote that you just point to the tv and use it that way. But with Bluetooth I wouldn't even have to aim it at anything which is nice. It's always annoying when the coffee table blocks the cable box remotes signal haha. I'm also not too fond of the cheap looking plastic cover that you have to flip off the remote to use it. Maybe I should get both?


Thanks for the help.
 

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If you are going with win7 definitely get the media browser addon and skip the default movie library, i believe in win7 they fixed the vob playback, vista needed a registry hack.


you will need ffdshow for mkv.


i cant say how great the win7 dvr is, i have NEVER missed a recording, in about 6 mos of using it.


@ stindawg


I have both, its nice you use a wirelesss keyboard when you have to but not all the time, IMO.


A lot of people here like the gyration remotes or the harmonys, but i find my cheepo remote that came with my dell to work great, its has decent weight, and doesnt feel flimsy. t feels as solid as my old comcast remote. it has great range (IR) plus it is very responsive and will wake and puts the cpu to sleep everytime.


like i said earlier get the "Remote KC" software and it will give you mouse pointing and keyboard capability, i wouldn't go typing emails with it, but its nice to drop and error box or reset some focus if something goes awry, without getting up to grab the keyboard.


as far as the HD homerun, unless you need it to get QAM or want the network connectivity (and with win7 you dont) just get some tuner cards, win7 will support up to 4 of each type (atsc, ntsc, qam)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/16910001


If you are going with win7 definitely get the media browser addon and skip the default movie library, i believe in win7 they fixed the vob playback, vista needed a registry hack.

you will need ffdshow for mkv.


i cant say how great the win7 dvr is, i have NEVER missed a recording, in about 6 mos of using it.


@ stindawg


I have both, its nice you use a wirelesss keyboard when you have to but not all the time, IMO.


A lot of people here like the gyration remotes or the harmonys, but i find my cheepo remote that came with my dell to work great, its has decent weight, and doesnt feel flimsy. t feels as solid as my old comcast remote. it has great range (IR) plus it is very responsive and will wake and puts the cpu to sleep everytime.


like i said earlier get the "Remote KC" software and it will give you mouse pointing and keyboard capability, i wouldn't go typing emails with it, but its nice to drop and error box or reset some focus if something goes awry, without getting up to grab the keyboard.

as far as the HD homerun, unless you need it to get QAM or want the network connectivity (and with win7 you dont) just get some tuner cards, win7 will support up to 4 of each type (atsc, ntsc, qam)

Actually, all you need to get mkv to work on Windows 7 is Haali splitter and an audio decoder like AC3filter if you need to decode DTS.


As far as the QAM issue, wasn't this fixed in Windows 7 so that any QAM tuner card will work, and you don't have to trick it into thinking its a ATSC card like the HDhomerun did to get QAM to work on Vista?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg /forum/post/16910043


Actually, all you need to get mkv to work on Windows 7 is Haali splitter and an audio decoder like AC3filter if you need to decode DTS.


As far as the QAM issue, wasn't this fixed in Windows 7 so that any QAM tuner card will work, and you don't have to trick it into thinking its a ATSC card like the HDhomerun did to get QAM to work on Vista?

you are right sorry, haali is what you need, i still use ffdshow for decoding though, habit i guess, there is a thread here about the ability of win7 to decode h.264... i haven't tried it though...


and yes qam will work natively in win 7, that's why i was saying you really don't need the hd homerun anymore, unless you like the network connectivity aspect of it...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/16910200


you are right sorry, haali is what you need, i still use ffdshow for decoding though, habit i guess, there is a thread here about the ability of win7 to decode h.264... i haven't tried it though...


and yes qam will work natively in win 7, that's why i was saying you really don't need the hd homerun anymore, unless you like the network connectivity aspect of it...

Ya, I won't be using the network so the extra cost of the Homerun seems pointless. I also did some googling and found out that the Homerun doesn't do hardware decoding so as far as cpu usage it would offer no benefit over any other card. With my ATI graphics card and DXVA acceleration I should be able to record and watch at the same time with no problem. What do you think about those cheap tuner cards I posted from Newegg? I could get 3 of those for $98 shipped. A lot of positive reviews. Most of the 1 star ratings were from people saying the included antenna couldn't pick up a good signal (really what do you expect from that dinky stub) and from people saying they couldn't get QAM to work in Vista Media Center. Well, QAM was never advertised to work in Vista Media Center and that is not the tuners fault.

KWORLD ATSC TV Stick UB435-Q USB 2.0
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal55 /forum/post/16908317


To the OP, I don't think many software packages allow you to schedule internet recordings. Podcast and stuff. Not that I know of or have ever looked into.

(OP here...) That's good to know, thanks. I guess I will need to capture the video files using an RSS program on another PC and store them somewhere on my network, where the HTPC will find them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg /forum/post/16910498


Ya, I won't be using the network so the extra cost of the Homerun seems pointless. I also did some googling and found out that the Homerun doesn't do hardware decoding so as far as cpu usage it would offer no benefit over any other card. With my ATI graphics card and DXVA acceleration I should be able to record and watch at the same time with no problem. What do you think about those cheap tuner cards I posted from Newegg? I could get 3 of those for $98 shipped. A lot of positive reviews. Most of the 1 star ratings were from people saying the included antenna couldn't pick up a good signal (really what do you expect from that dinky stub) and from people saying they couldn't get QAM to work in Vista Media Center. Well, QAM was never advertised to work in Vista Media Center and that is not the tuners fault.

KWORLD ATSC TV Stick UB435-Q USB 2.0

I never used them... I always liked internal cards better than usb ones sticking out of the back. my tower is pretty deep so it barely fits as it is and the usb and the coax would add another few inches, plus i'd be afraid to move the tower and dislodge the usb and miss a recording.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/16910200


you are right sorry, haali is what you need, i still use ffdshow for decoding though, habit i guess, there is a thread here about the ability of win7 to decode h.264... i haven't tried it though...


and yes qam will work natively in win 7, that's why i was saying you really don't need the hd homerun anymore, unless you like the network connectivity aspect of it...

I tried the Haali splitter, I think it's the splitter, but it only allowed 7MC to recognize the .mkv file but still won't play them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rooobosmith /forum/post/16908071


I've used Sage and BTV extensively.


I used a 7600GS card and it worked fine for HD. It just has problems with anything other than overlay mode.

Thanks, but can you clarify about the 7600GS? What problems will I run into if I keep this card? I'm not sure what overlay mode is, or what other "modes" I might want to use. Thanks!


OP
 
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