tv tuner/PVR cards

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by gadjo, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    hi,

    I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old VCR
    and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need the
    chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...

    I was thinking of going for the cheapie Hauppauge WinTv Go Plus model, it
    looked interesting for its SoftPVR application for encoding in DivX, but my
    pc is kinda old, 1.67Ghz AMD Athlon with 512M Ram. The other Hauppauge
    option is the WinTV-PVR-150 model, which does h/w encoding in Mpeg 2.

    That brings me to my second question, how much space consumption am I
    looking at with Mpeg 2 ? E.g. how many Gigabytes per hour ? Also, assuming I
    can fit more than one 1-hour show (in Mpeg2) on one DVD, is this possible,
    i.e. what utilities can I use to merge multiple recordings on one DVD ?

    Thanks and apologies in advance for all the newb questions (hanging head in
    shame...)
    gadjo, Feb 15, 2007
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. gadjo

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    gadjo <> wrote:

    > I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    > card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    > mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old VCR
    > and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need the
    > chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    > want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...


    What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free, though
    you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that so
    we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    through the commericals. Works pretty well.


    --
    Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98
    Doug Jacobs, Feb 15, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. gadjo

    Justin Guest

    Doug Jacobs wrote on [Thu, 15 Feb 2007 23:13:03 -0000]:
    > gadjo <> wrote:
    >
    >> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    >> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old VCR
    >> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need the
    >> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    >> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...

    >
    > What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free, though
    > you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    > two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    > together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that so
    > we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    > through the commericals. Works pretty well.


    Except MythTV doesn't charge any monthly service and you can burn
    directly to DVD, network easily with the rest of the house, and can be
    built from old parts.
    Justin, Feb 16, 2007
    #3
  4. gadjo

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    Justin <> wrote:

    > Except MythTV doesn't charge any monthly service and you can burn
    > directly to DVD, network easily with the rest of the house, and can be
    > built from old parts.


    Fair enough.

    One thing I wasn't sure from the OP's post was if he was going to use this
    PC as a dedicated PVR - in which case I would reccomend MythTV, and seeing
    what it reccomends for a TV card. Or, if he's thinking he can continue to
    use his PC while it's recording TV - something I'm not so sure is
    reccomended.

    --
    Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98
    Doug Jacobs, Feb 16, 2007
    #4
  5. gadjo

    Alpha Guest

    Get a stand alone recorder with a hard drive. Easy Peasy and saves a lot of
    grief.

    "gadjo" <> wrote in message news:er2iqd$2ij$...
    > hi,
    >
    > I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    > card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    > mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old VCR
    > and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need the
    > chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    > want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...
    >
    > I was thinking of going for the cheapie Hauppauge WinTv Go Plus model, it
    > looked interesting for its SoftPVR application for encoding in DivX, but
    > my
    > pc is kinda old, 1.67Ghz AMD Athlon with 512M Ram. The other Hauppauge
    > option is the WinTV-PVR-150 model, which does h/w encoding in Mpeg 2.
    >
    > That brings me to my second question, how much space consumption am I
    > looking at with Mpeg 2 ? E.g. how many Gigabytes per hour ? Also, assuming
    > I
    > can fit more than one 1-hour show (in Mpeg2) on one DVD, is this possible,
    > i.e. what utilities can I use to merge multiple recordings on one DVD ?
    >
    > Thanks and apologies in advance for all the newb questions (hanging head
    > in
    > shame...)
    >
    >
    >
    >
    Alpha, Feb 16, 2007
    #5
  6. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > gadjo <> wrote:
    >
    >> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    >> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >> VCR
    >> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >> the
    >> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    >> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...

    >
    > What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free, though
    > you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    > two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    > together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that so
    > we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    > through the commericals. Works pretty well.
    >
    >
    > --
    > Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    > http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98



    Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op doesn't
    allow.

    The cable provider I'm with does provide their own PVR's, either rented or
    at a hefty price, and it's not even clear that it can interface with other
    devices... Anyway I'll end up paying more and getting less than what a
    dedicated PVR is capable of.
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #6
  7. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Justin <> wrote:
    >
    >> Except MythTV doesn't charge any monthly service and you can burn
    >> directly to DVD, network easily with the rest of the house, and can be
    >> built from old parts.

    >
    > Fair enough.
    >
    > One thing I wasn't sure from the OP's post was if he was going to use this
    > PC as a dedicated PVR - in which case I would reccomend MythTV, and seeing
    > what it reccomends for a TV card. Or, if he's thinking he can continue to
    > use his PC while it's recording TV - something I'm not so sure is
    > reccomended.
    >
    > --
    > Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    > http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98



    MythTv looks interesting, I've never dabbled with linux but it should be
    useful in recommending a decent card.
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #7
  8. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "Alpha" <> wrote in message
    news:er39qu$qss$...
    > Get a stand alone recorder with a hard drive. Easy Peasy and saves a lot
    > of grief.
    >
    > "gadjo" <> wrote in message
    > news:er2iqd$2ij$...
    >> hi,
    >>
    >> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    >> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >> VCR
    >> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >> the
    >> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    >> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...
    >>
    >> I was thinking of going for the cheapie Hauppauge WinTv Go Plus model, it
    >> looked interesting for its SoftPVR application for encoding in DivX, but
    >> my
    >> pc is kinda old, 1.67Ghz AMD Athlon with 512M Ram. The other Hauppauge
    >> option is the WinTV-PVR-150 model, which does h/w encoding in Mpeg 2.
    >>
    >> That brings me to my second question, how much space consumption am I
    >> looking at with Mpeg 2 ? E.g. how many Gigabytes per hour ? Also,
    >> assuming I
    >> can fit more than one 1-hour show (in Mpeg2) on one DVD, is this
    >> possible,
    >> i.e. what utilities can I use to merge multiple recordings on one DVD ?
    >>
    >> Thanks and apologies in advance for all the newb questions (hanging head
    >> in
    >> shame...)
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    >



    I've given this much thought, and I just can't justify the cost... For the
    same price I could get another more powerful PC. When I say this I'm
    comparing the decent PVR's with fairly large HDD's (160-250GB) by
    LG/Pioneer/Sony. I've looked at reviews for the cheaper brands, too many
    issues with hard drives freezing.

    One other point I should have mentioned, I don't have conventional cable
    with 125 channels, I can only tune into one channel at a time, meaning I
    have to watch what I record. That in itself is not a big deal, the decoders
    are cheap so I can just get a second one from my cable provider, and hook it
    up to my PC. My point is that I dont really need a true dedicated PVR
    because it's useful features would be wasted in my case.
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #8
  9. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Justin <> wrote:
    >
    >> Except MythTV doesn't charge any monthly service and you can burn
    >> directly to DVD, network easily with the rest of the house, and can be
    >> built from old parts.

    >
    > Fair enough.
    >
    > One thing I wasn't sure from the OP's post was if he was going to use this
    > PC as a dedicated PVR - in which case I would reccomend MythTV, and seeing
    > what it reccomends for a TV card. Or, if he's thinking he can continue to
    > use his PC while it's recording TV - something I'm not so sure is
    > reccomended.
    >
    > --
    > Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    > http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98



    I guess this wouldnt be as big an issue if I had a more powerful CPU...but
    you're right it's probably futile in my case. To answer your question, most
    of the time I would be using the PVR to record shows while watching
    something else on TV. As I mentioned in another post:

    "...I don't have conventional cable with 125 channels, I can only tune into
    one channel at a time, meaning I have to watch what I record. That in
    itself is not a big deal, the decoders are cheap so I can just get a second
    one from my cable provider, and hook it up to my PC. "
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #9
  10. gadjo

    GMAN Guest

    In article <er4j8n$p61$>, "gadjo" <> wrote:
    >
    >"Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> gadjo <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    >>> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >>> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >>> VCR
    >>> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >>> the
    >>> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    >>> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...

    >>
    >> What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free, though
    >> you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    >> two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    >> together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that so
    >> we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    >> through the commericals. Works pretty well.
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >> Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    >> http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98

    >
    >
    >Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    >cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op doesn't
    >allow.
    >


    I will never understand why anyone would continue to live in an area where you
    place so many restrictions on yourself.

    >The cable provider I'm with does provide their own PVR's, either rented or
    >at a hefty price, and it's not even clear that it can interface with other
    >devices... Anyway I'll end up paying more and getting less than what a
    >dedicated PVR is capable of.
    >
    >
    GMAN, Feb 16, 2007
    #10
  11. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "GMAN" <> wrote in message
    news:er4q05$bnb$...
    > In article <er4j8n$p61$>, "gadjo" <> wrote:
    >>
    >>"Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> gadjo <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for
    >>>> video
    >>>> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >>>> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >>>> VCR
    >>>> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >>>> the
    >>>> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I
    >>>> just
    >>>> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...
    >>>
    >>> What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free,
    >>> though
    >>> you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    >>> two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    >>> together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that
    >>> so
    >>> we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    >>> through the commericals. Works pretty well.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> --
    >>> Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    >>> http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98

    >>
    >>
    >>Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    >>cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op
    >>doesn't
    >>allow.
    >>

    >
    > I will never understand why anyone would continue to live in an area where
    > you
    > place so many restrictions on yourself.
    >


    Believe me it's tough to get away from this no-satellite regulation here, if
    I was renting it would still be an issue since most high-rises don't allow a
    sat-dish. I'ld practically have to sell my place and relocate somewhere in
    the countryside...and even then who knows...
    Plus it's a really nice area where I am right now... :eek:)



    >>The cable provider I'm with does provide their own PVR's, either rented or
    >>at a hefty price, and it's not even clear that it can interface with other
    >>devices... Anyway I'll end up paying more and getting less than what a
    >>dedicated PVR is capable of.
    >>
    >>
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #11
  12. gadjo

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    gadjo <> wrote:

    > Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    > cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op doesn't
    > allow.


    The Series2 Tivo is "stand alone", meaning it can take input from an
    antenna, standard cable, cable box, or satellite box. The Tivo can change
    the channel on your cable box, but this means that you won't be able to
    watch another channel on your TV while the Tivo is recording something
    unless the TV has its own cable box. In reality this isn't much of a
    problem anyways. After the Tivo has been running for a few weeks, you'll
    usually have more than enough recorded content that you won't be watching
    "regular" TV anymore. Again, there is a monthly fee, which is probably
    higher than what your cable provider is charging but so far, none of the
    other providers' PVR have approached Tivo in terms of usability and
    stability.

    > The cable provider I'm with does provide their own PVR's, either rented or
    > at a hefty price, and it's not even clear that it can interface with other
    > devices... Anyway I'll end up paying more and getting less than what a
    > dedicated PVR is capable of.


    This would replace your current cable tuner with one that has the PVR
    built into it. You could still plug it into your PC, though I don't know
    what that would do for you, since the PVR in the cable box would be in
    control of what channel was being recorded...

    Of course, one of the advantages of the build-it-yourself PVR (like MythTV)
    is that you can add much larger hard drives and have access to other features,
    such as burning shows to DVD or adding additional tuners, allowing you to
    record multiple channels at once.

    --
    Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98
    Doug Jacobs, Feb 16, 2007
    #12
  13. gadjo

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    gadjo <> wrote:

    > I've given this much thought, and I just can't justify the cost... For the
    > same price I could get another more powerful PC. When I say this I'm
    > comparing the decent PVR's with fairly large HDD's (160-250GB) by
    > LG/Pioneer/Sony. I've looked at reviews for the cheaper brands, too many
    > issues with hard drives freezing.


    http://www.tivo.com/2.0.boxdetails.asp?box=series2180hrDTDVR&plan=prepaid3yr349

    This is a 180hr(*) Tivo for $170 and pre-paid service for 3 years. The
    price for the box reflects a $180 discount if you buy directly from
    Tivo.com. Be sure to check your local stores though, as they sometimes
    have better deals available. In addition, pre-paying for 3 years of service
    gives you another $150 off (essentially, you're getting 1 year free)

    This model includes 2 tuners, allowing you to record 2 different channels
    at once - you'll have to check with your current cable system to see if
    you can get any channels without your cable box (like the non-digital
    ones) If not, you would need 2 separate cable boxes if you wanted to take
    advantage of the Tivo's 2nd tuner.

    There is a series 3 Tivo which has an even larger HDD, but is aimmed at
    recording HDTV signals. Because of this, it's still very expensive and
    there have been more than a few problems reported with it. Even if you
    have HDTV right now, I'd wait awhile before getting a HDTV capable Tivo.

    (*) this unit includes a 180GB HDD and has the ability to record at
    different quality settings. The lowest setting, "Basic", gives you about
    1GB/hr, whereas the highest setting, "Best", will give you about
    2.5-3GB/hr. Actual quality will depend on the strength of your cable
    signal, your TV and your eyeballs. I record most stuff at "High", which
    is the 2nd highest setting and it's pretty close to the actual cable
    picture. If you want to later re-record a show onto DVD or VHS, it is
    suggested you use the "Best" setting. Also, depending on how technical
    you are, it is possible to replace the hard drive inside your Tivo with 1
    or 2 larger units. If this is something that interests you, get the
    smaller, 80Hr unit instead.

    > One other point I should have mentioned, I don't have conventional cable
    > with 125 channels, I can only tune into one channel at a time, meaning I
    > have to watch what I record. That in itself is not a big deal, the decoders
    > are cheap so I can just get a second one from my cable provider, and hook it
    > up to my PC. My point is that I dont really need a true dedicated PVR
    > because it's useful features would be wasted in my case.


    So you have digital cable, or is your service so old that you even need a
    cable tuner to get what most of us would call "Basic" or "Basic+Extended"
    cable? If you plug your cable directly into your TV (by-passing your
    cable tuner box), can it tune any stations in at all?

    --
    Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98
    Doug Jacobs, Feb 16, 2007
    #13
  14. gadjo

    GMAN Guest

    In article <er4tk1$cpl$>, "gadjo" <> wrote:
    >
    >"GMAN" <> wrote in message
    >news:er4q05$bnb$...
    >> In article <er4j8n$p61$>, "gadjo" <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>"Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    >>>news:...
    >>>> gadjo <> wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for
    >>>>> video
    >>>>> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >>>>> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >>>>> VCR
    >>>>> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >>>>> the
    >>>>> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I
    >>>>> just
    >>>>> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...
    >>>>
    >>>> What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free,
    >>>> though
    >>>> you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    >>>> two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    >>>> together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that
    >>>> so
    >>>> we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    >>>> through the commericals. Works pretty well.
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>> --
    >>>> Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    >>>> http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    >>>cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op
    >>>doesn't
    >>>allow.
    >>>

    >>
    >> I will never understand why anyone would continue to live in an area where
    >> you
    >> place so many restrictions on yourself.
    >>

    >
    >Believe me it's tough to get away from this no-satellite regulation here, if
    >I was renting it would still be an issue since most high-rises don't allow a
    >sat-dish. I'ld practically have to sell my place and relocate somewhere in
    >the countryside...and even then who knows...
    >Plus it's a really nice area where I am right now... :eek:)
    >


    Well you made it sound like you lived in one of those gated communities. I can
    see in a hi rise where it might be a problem putting a dish hanging out the
    window. My comment was primarily for those uppity gated communities.
    GMAN, Feb 16, 2007
    #14
  15. gadjo

    gadjo Guest

    "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > gadjo <> wrote:
    >
    >> I've given this much thought, and I just can't justify the cost... For
    >> the
    >> same price I could get another more powerful PC. When I say this I'm
    >> comparing the decent PVR's with fairly large HDD's (160-250GB) by
    >> LG/Pioneer/Sony. I've looked at reviews for the cheaper brands, too many
    >> issues with hard drives freezing.

    >
    > http://www.tivo.com/2.0.boxdetails.asp?box=series2180hrDTDVR&plan=prepaid3yr349
    >
    > This is a 180hr(*) Tivo for $170 and pre-paid service for 3 years. The
    > price for the box reflects a $180 discount if you buy directly from
    > Tivo.com. Be sure to check your local stores though, as they sometimes
    > have better deals available. In addition, pre-paying for 3 years of
    > service
    > gives you another $150 off (essentially, you're getting 1 year free)
    >
    > This model includes 2 tuners, allowing you to record 2 different channels
    > at once - you'll have to check with your current cable system to see if
    > you can get any channels without your cable box (like the non-digital
    > ones) If not, you would need 2 separate cable boxes if you wanted to take
    > advantage of the Tivo's 2nd tuner.
    >
    > There is a series 3 Tivo which has an even larger HDD, but is aimmed at
    > recording HDTV signals. Because of this, it's still very expensive and
    > there have been more than a few problems reported with it. Even if you
    > have HDTV right now, I'd wait awhile before getting a HDTV capable Tivo.
    >
    > (*) this unit includes a 180GB HDD and has the ability to record at
    > different quality settings. The lowest setting, "Basic", gives you about
    > 1GB/hr, whereas the highest setting, "Best", will give you about
    > 2.5-3GB/hr. Actual quality will depend on the strength of your cable
    > signal, your TV and your eyeballs. I record most stuff at "High", which
    > is the 2nd highest setting and it's pretty close to the actual cable
    > picture. If you want to later re-record a show onto DVD or VHS, it is
    > suggested you use the "Best" setting. Also, depending on how technical
    > you are, it is possible to replace the hard drive inside your Tivo with 1
    > or 2 larger units. If this is something that interests you, get the
    > smaller, 80Hr unit instead.
    >
    >> One other point I should have mentioned, I don't have conventional cable
    >> with 125 channels, I can only tune into one channel at a time, meaning I
    >> have to watch what I record. That in itself is not a big deal, the
    >> decoders
    >> are cheap so I can just get a second one from my cable provider, and hook
    >> it
    >> up to my PC. My point is that I dont really need a true dedicated PVR
    >> because it's useful features would be wasted in my case.

    >
    > So you have digital cable, or is your service so old that you even need a
    > cable tuner to get what most of us would call "Basic" or "Basic+Extended"
    > cable? If you plug your cable directly into your TV (by-passing your
    > cable tuner box), can it tune any stations in at all?
    >
    > --
    > Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    > http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98


    Herein lies the problem....stupid cable monopoly in my area provides
    decoders without which I can't even get the majority of the "Basic"
    channels, because now I fall under the Digital Subscriber category so they
    ensure by filtering the signal that I'm prevented from accessing the old
    Basic stuff. I can switch back to the basic service, but then I miss out on
    the specialty channels that I'm interested in. If I by-pass the tuner box I
    get maybe a dozen channels (stuff like the weather channel, a few local
    channels...) but those are not the ones I'm interested in recording.

    One way or another I'll need a second tuner, whether I use a dedicated
    PVR/Tivo/PVR Card...otherwise I'm stuck with watching what I record. As it
    stands, it just doesnt make sense to spend $400 or more on a decent PVR if I
    can get the same job done with a $80 pvr card for my pc...
    gadjo, Feb 16, 2007
    #15
  16. gadjo

    Smarty Guest

    I've been using Hauppauge PVR cards for several years along with SageTV
    software. I am totally satisfied with what this combination does, and no
    TiVO or cable company equipment can remotely approximate what this set-up
    does. It has no monthly costs, records multiple channels simultaneously,
    plays back multiple shows simultaneously for family members to view, stores
    content in a very wide variety of formats including those directly playable
    on DVD players, DiVX players, very cheap $99 set-top media players, and
    pocket players, and also supports HDTV formats as well. I started with a
    single recording channel at 1 playback TV / monitor, and now have built it
    to 6 playback locations and 2 simultaneous recordings. The Hauppauge PVR
    cards cost about 60 bucks, and their hardware MPEG encoder does an excellent
    job of encoding excellent video. A TV set in your house can be hooked up for
    $99 and requires no computer except for the recording server, which can be
    connected either through a wireless 802.11.b link or with a wired
    connection.

    This system was recommended to me a couple years ago when I went looking for
    suggestions on another newsgroup. I have been totally satisfied, and have
    helped a number of friends and relatives with similar systems with great
    success. I can't recommend it highly enough, and suggest you might use the
    30 day trial of the SageTV software to check it out.

    Smarty


    "gadjo" <> wrote in message news:er59q6$1ht$...
    >
    > "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> gadjo <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I've given this much thought, and I just can't justify the cost... For
    >>> the
    >>> same price I could get another more powerful PC. When I say this I'm
    >>> comparing the decent PVR's with fairly large HDD's (160-250GB) by
    >>> LG/Pioneer/Sony. I've looked at reviews for the cheaper brands, too many
    >>> issues with hard drives freezing.

    >>
    >> http://www.tivo.com/2.0.boxdetails.asp?box=series2180hrDTDVR&plan=prepaid3yr349
    >>
    >> This is a 180hr(*) Tivo for $170 and pre-paid service for 3 years. The
    >> price for the box reflects a $180 discount if you buy directly from
    >> Tivo.com. Be sure to check your local stores though, as they sometimes
    >> have better deals available. In addition, pre-paying for 3 years of
    >> service
    >> gives you another $150 off (essentially, you're getting 1 year free)
    >>
    >> This model includes 2 tuners, allowing you to record 2 different channels
    >> at once - you'll have to check with your current cable system to see if
    >> you can get any channels without your cable box (like the non-digital
    >> ones) If not, you would need 2 separate cable boxes if you wanted to
    >> take
    >> advantage of the Tivo's 2nd tuner.
    >>
    >> There is a series 3 Tivo which has an even larger HDD, but is aimmed at
    >> recording HDTV signals. Because of this, it's still very expensive and
    >> there have been more than a few problems reported with it. Even if you
    >> have HDTV right now, I'd wait awhile before getting a HDTV capable Tivo.
    >>
    >> (*) this unit includes a 180GB HDD and has the ability to record at
    >> different quality settings. The lowest setting, "Basic", gives you about
    >> 1GB/hr, whereas the highest setting, "Best", will give you about
    >> 2.5-3GB/hr. Actual quality will depend on the strength of your cable
    >> signal, your TV and your eyeballs. I record most stuff at "High", which
    >> is the 2nd highest setting and it's pretty close to the actual cable
    >> picture. If you want to later re-record a show onto DVD or VHS, it is
    >> suggested you use the "Best" setting. Also, depending on how technical
    >> you are, it is possible to replace the hard drive inside your Tivo with 1
    >> or 2 larger units. If this is something that interests you, get the
    >> smaller, 80Hr unit instead.
    >>
    >>> One other point I should have mentioned, I don't have conventional cable
    >>> with 125 channels, I can only tune into one channel at a time, meaning I
    >>> have to watch what I record. That in itself is not a big deal, the
    >>> decoders
    >>> are cheap so I can just get a second one from my cable provider, and
    >>> hook it
    >>> up to my PC. My point is that I dont really need a true dedicated PVR
    >>> because it's useful features would be wasted in my case.

    >>
    >> So you have digital cable, or is your service so old that you even need a
    >> cable tuner to get what most of us would call "Basic" or "Basic+Extended"
    >> cable? If you plug your cable directly into your TV (by-passing your
    >> cable tuner box), can it tune any stations in at all?
    >>
    >> --
    >> Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    >> http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98

    >
    > Herein lies the problem....stupid cable monopoly in my area provides
    > decoders without which I can't even get the majority of the "Basic"
    > channels, because now I fall under the Digital Subscriber category so they
    > ensure by filtering the signal that I'm prevented from accessing the old
    > Basic stuff. I can switch back to the basic service, but then I miss out
    > on the specialty channels that I'm interested in. If I by-pass the tuner
    > box I get maybe a dozen channels (stuff like the weather channel, a few
    > local channels...) but those are not the ones I'm interested in recording.
    >
    > One way or another I'll need a second tuner, whether I use a dedicated
    > PVR/Tivo/PVR Card...otherwise I'm stuck with watching what I record. As it
    > stands, it just doesnt make sense to spend $400 or more on a decent PVR if
    > I can get the same job done with a $80 pvr card for my pc...
    >
    Smarty, Feb 17, 2007
    #16
  17. gadjo wrote:
    > "Doug Jacobs" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> gadjo <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> I'm trying to set up a homebrew PVR using my pc and I'm looking for video
    >>> card recommendations. I've looked at some reviews, Hauppauge is often
    >>> mentioned, any good/bad/ugly experiences ? It's time to retire the old
    >>> VCR
    >>> and I dont wanna spend too much on a dedicated PVR. I dont really need
    >>> the
    >>> chase-replay features like on Tivo, I'm not even a DVD collector, I just
    >>> want something to record my favourite shows when I'm out...

    >> What's wrong with getting a true Tivo? The 80 hour model is free, though
    >> you have to buy the monthly service to use it. If you pay for a year or
    >> two up front, you get a discount. Cheaper and easier than putting
    >> together a PVR. We bought a DVD-burner, and plugged out Tivo into that so
    >> we can dump shows onto DVD. We just pause the burner while we skip
    >> through the commericals. Works pretty well.
    >>
    >>
    >> --
    >> Win cash and giftcards just for clicking your mouse!
    >> http://www.netwinner.com/?signupCode=amuro98

    >
    >
    > Alas, no Tivo for me... Where I am it's pretty much a monopoly with one
    > cable provider, the only alternative being satellite which my co-op doesn't
    > allow.


    The FCC issued a rule several years ago that homeowners' associations
    and land covenants CANNOT prohibit satellite dishes below a certain size.

    --
    --
    Well, whaddaya know? War WAS the answer, after all. Go figure.

    A lone Micronaut lost in a world of Star Wars action figures,
    (The Excessively Parenthetical) Geena-- Worrier Princess

    "Reciprocity... is the key to every relationship."
    --LAPD Capt. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell), in L.A. Confidential

    "Andy Warhol once said that everyone would be famous for fifteen
    minutes. The unfortunate corollary is that everyone will also appear in
    a Freddie Prinze, Jr. movie for fifteen minutes."
    --me

    "This is like driving a Rolls Royce, naked, in mink underpants."
    --Tony Bourdain

    "You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it
    helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons,
    but at the very least you need a beer."
    -- Frank Zappa

    "I'm not sayin' it's the best thing in the world FOR ya; I'm just sayin'
    it's the best thing in the world."
    -- Alton Brown

    "The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is
    that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes,
    wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their
    prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet
    this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all
    the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in
    all history."
    -- Robert Heinlein
    Geena Phillips, Feb 17, 2007
    #17
  18. gadjo

    Justin Guest

    Smarty wrote on [Fri, 16 Feb 2007 22:08:19 -0500]:
    > I've been using Hauppauge PVR cards for several years along with SageTV
    > software. I am totally satisfied with what this combination does, and no
    > TiVO or cable company equipment can remotely approximate what this set-up
    > does. It has no monthly costs, records multiple channels simultaneously,
    > plays back multiple shows simultaneously for family members to view, stores
    > content in a very wide variety of formats including those directly playable
    > on DVD players, DiVX players, very cheap $99 set-top media players, and
    > pocket players, and also supports HDTV formats as well. I started with a
    > single recording channel at 1 playback TV / monitor, and now have built it
    > to 6 playback locations and 2 simultaneous recordings. The Hauppauge PVR
    > cards cost about 60 bucks, and their hardware MPEG encoder does an excellent
    > job of encoding excellent video. A TV set in your house can be hooked up for
    > $99 and requires no computer except for the recording server, which can be
    > connected either through a wireless 802.11.b link or with a wired
    > connection.


    Would you mind mentioning part numbers ?
    Justin, Feb 17, 2007
    #18
  19. gadjo

    Smarty Guest

    Glad to. The PVR cards I use are PVR-150 and I have 2 installed. They have
    released a newer version of the PVR card which is the PVR-250. The playback
    units in some of my rooms are also Hauppauge Media Extenders. They make a
    wired version for $99 and a wireless version for about $139/

    SageTV from FreyTechnologies is the software. The recording PVR software is
    called SageTV Server and is around $60 or $70. The client software, if you
    decide to use another PC as a client is Called SageTV Client for $29.

    The Hauppauge Media Extender mentioned above can be purchased directly from
    Frey Technologies with a Sage client license for $99.

    The electronic program guide is free, and very much like the TiVo. It also
    has current weather info for your local area. The Sage software is a way
    better and much more comprehensive product than TiVO, and allows me to view
    and select all of my music, photos, DVDs, and 2 terabytes (2000 GB) of video
    from any of the 6 TV's / monitors in my house.

    Hope this helps and answers your question.

    Smarty
    "Justin" <> wrote in message
    news:2go.com...
    > Smarty wrote on [Fri, 16 Feb 2007 22:08:19 -0500]:
    >> I've been using Hauppauge PVR cards for several years along with SageTV
    >> software. I am totally satisfied with what this combination does, and no
    >> TiVO or cable company equipment can remotely approximate what this set-up
    >> does. It has no monthly costs, records multiple channels simultaneously,
    >> plays back multiple shows simultaneously for family members to view,
    >> stores
    >> content in a very wide variety of formats including those directly
    >> playable
    >> on DVD players, DiVX players, very cheap $99 set-top media players, and
    >> pocket players, and also supports HDTV formats as well. I started with a
    >> single recording channel at 1 playback TV / monitor, and now have built
    >> it
    >> to 6 playback locations and 2 simultaneous recordings. The Hauppauge PVR
    >> cards cost about 60 bucks, and their hardware MPEG encoder does an
    >> excellent
    >> job of encoding excellent video. A TV set in your house can be hooked up
    >> for
    >> $99 and requires no computer except for the recording server, which can
    >> be
    >> connected either through a wireless 802.11.b link or with a wired
    >> connection.

    >
    > Would you mind mentioning part numbers ?
    >
    Smarty, Feb 18, 2007
    #19
  20. gadjo

    Bill's News Guest

    "Smarty" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Glad to. The PVR cards I use are PVR-150 and I have 2
    > installed. They have released a newer version of the PVR card
    > which is the PVR-250. The playback units in some of my rooms
    > are also Hauppauge Media Extenders. They make a wired version
    > for $99 and a wireless version for about $139/
    >
    > SageTV from FreyTechnologies is the software. The recording
    > PVR software is called SageTV Server and is around $60 or $70.
    > The client software, if you decide to use another PC as a
    > client is Called SageTV Client for $29.
    >
    > The Hauppauge Media Extender mentioned above can be purchased
    > directly from Frey Technologies with a Sage client license for
    > $99.
    >
    > The electronic program guide is free, and very much like the
    > TiVo. It also has current weather info for your local area.
    > The Sage software is a way better and much more comprehensive
    > product than TiVO, and allows me to view and select all of my
    > music, photos, DVDs, and 2 terabytes (2000 GB) of video from
    > any of the 6 TV's / monitors in my house.
    >
    > Hope this helps and answers your question.
    >


    Nice set up, Smarty! However, I felt constrained by this some
    years ago, even though SDTV was all that I could then display.
    I opted for PCs connected to TVs (most ever were three) because
    of all the features provided by the PC - superior video player
    software (most of it free) and local user functionality, of
    course including internet access.

    What I was recently pleased to discover was that, when I finally
    got around to HDTV capture, nothing else changed. The same edit
    software handles the data and the same player software handles
    wired/wireless transmission of HDTV programs with the same ease
    as SDTV. If the TV is SD, the picture is somewhat better,
    albeit letterbox. If the TV is HD then the image is exactly as
    transmitted originally. The 3 TVs are connected to their PCs
    via component, VGA, or DVI.

    So my little system is also "server" based, in that two PCs (one
    does HDTV capture, while the other does SDTV capture, separated
    because of software conflicts between the chosen vendors)
    provide wired playback to each other and the third PC receives
    wirelessly from either.

    I've not found it necessary to implement "Sage" or any other
    like it - I tried it years ago and didn't like it but can't
    recall why, so that's an unfair slur on my part.

    TitanTV, a customizable Guide, also interfaces to the schedulers
    provided by many PVRs - including both that I'm using. Sadly,
    the Hauppauge scheduler is not user-friendly and something like
    Sage is a big improvement over it (may have something to do with
    Hauppauge's catering to OEMs like Sage). The TitanTV site also
    has an OK "favorites" section but it only supports hits in the
    next 48 hours (they do support themselves with advertising, so
    it's somewhat understandable that they want to increase visits).
    It was not too difficult to write a VB program to fetch the
    favorites compilation and organize it somewhat more to my liking
    than Titan has. And, one nice thing about web based info is
    that HTML filters almost entirely eliminate the undesirable
    portions of such pages!

    Add to this "The Futon Critic" a great site for what's new in
    future prime time - worth a monthly visit to see what might be
    of interest in coming months. I've scheduled programs predicted
    by TFC months in advance and most recorded as planned (NBC is
    unpredictable as they try desperately and ineffectively to dig
    themselves out of their last place hole - hell they cancel shows
    at the twitch of an eyebrow of right-wing, red state, red-neck
    viewers;-0). But I digress.

    My system is perhaps more techie to schedule but certainly not
    to set up nor run - truly plug-n-play, if one is networking PCs
    anyway. Hell, using wireless keyboards, even female visitors
    can select a recording from the network and play it on the TV
    they're looking at'-0) Sorry ladies, I could not resist! I'm
    recommending three failed Marys to a four hour father as a
    penance.
    Bill's News, Feb 18, 2007
    #20
    1. Advertising

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