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I have viewed the forum many times before, but this is my first post. I started a build on a budget HTPC a couple years ago, but never really finished. My original goal was really just to have a mAtx PC to run HD movies on. As I lost interest waiting for the industry to decide the new format, the computer just collected dust on my a/v rack. Now I have decided to use the pc to run media portal and to record HDTV. Here is a quick run down of the current components that the PC is running with.


GA-K8N51GMF-9-RH socket 939 nVidia 6100 chipset

Athlon 64 3000+

MSI NX8500GT HDMI Out

1gig Corsair XMS DDR 3200

40" Samsung 1080p LCD

Attic Antenna for OTA HD

I am getting rid of DirectTV and will be exclusively using my OTA antenna.

So here are my issues / questions:


1) If I go internal tuner it has to be PCI low profile due to my graphics card taking up my PCI-e slot. I do not need NTSC or QAM. It has to be Windows XP or MCE 2005 compatible. I cannot find a well reviewed low profile PCI card for XP. Is there one out there?


2) I originally went with the pci card direction because I was worried about cpu consumption with software encoding on my outdated system. However, since I am only worried about digital signals is that really an issue. What about recording ATSC, will that cripple my system on a card without h/w encoding? Since it is so difficult to find a good PCI low profile card, is USB the way to go for my digital only needs?


3) What am I really giving up if I go either way since I am only worried about ATSC signals? Which USB tuners have a good mix of quality, sensitivity, and stability while keeping with the low budget theme that I have.


There is lots of info out there, but I still couldn't lock down a tuner that really fit my needs. Any help or opinions are greatly appreciated.
 

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I'm also looking for PCI tuner for OTA digital programming. There are lots of tuners out there but it's quite difficult to tell which one will have good reception.


The PC I'm using had vixs pure tv-u 48a3 tuner which was not very good in tuning. Once it got the channel, it was crystal clear but it needed a VERY good signal. A 'digital switch' government compatible box (Tivax STB-T8) was able to tune in over 40 channels vs this one for only 8.


One thing that you might want to consider is to buy a PCI video card and then buy a dual tuner PCI-Express card.


Anyways... if someone has suggestion on what recent tuner cards on PCI to use I would appreciate too..
 
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