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154 posts

Master Geek

# 14331 28-Jun-2007 09:29
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Well after lurking for a long time to Geekzone, it was time to sign up.

But are there any Vista MCE gurus laying around ? I have a question (or three).

Is it possible to assign a tuner to channels like Media Portal ? Basically I'd like to use the best of Freeview with the best of Sky Digital and get clever. Currently I have a 500 card with Sky digital going in via analog video in, and the old vhs machine (which still has the rf aerial plugged into that) into input #2, for dubbing down old vhs pgms the kids have recorded, and for watching tv1,2,3, while recording 1,2,3, via SD, yucky but it works.

90% of viewing is currently done through Sky Digital. But I would like to go down the path of using Freeview and their benefits, replacing the 500 card with whatever is needed if required (DVB-S to begin with and DVB-T when that comes alive probably).

So the ultimate goal would be :
* select 3, the system tunes in Freeview TV3
* select 70, the system tunes into the Sky Digital box, changes to Ch 70 (it currently does that with the IR Blasters so no problems there)
* set record 3 via the EPG and it tunes to Freeview TV3 and record, yet if I want to watch TV1 it can tunes to Freeview 1 and display that.
* set record to Ch70 it will change SD to 70 and then record it. Currently I have to book 70 on the SD remote as well as book it on the EPG
* select 20 and it tunes to Freeview V8 Supercars. mmmmmm. And end up assigning channels to numbers that I want.

Is such a system viable under Vista MCE ? A one stop media centre that gets the best from Freeview whle still supplying Sky Digital services when I want them ?

It's a new build htpc machine, sitting in a Silverstone case in the stereo cabinet working pretty good. I've been reading up on mcraes setup here which is ideal using MediaPortal. And it has got me thinking if Vista can do the same. Currently the Vista system has a high WAF so I'm quite reluctant to change.

I'll leave adding station logos to channels instead of the bland text number for another day.

Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated thanks.

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209 posts

Master Geek

  # 76178 28-Jun-2007 11:44
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As far as I am aware this is not possible with MCE unless you're willing to accept some major problems.

The problem is that MCE will currently only support a single type of tuner.

So if you were thinking of installing a DVB-S card for freeview and an analogue card for sky then this won't work. (Yes I know that DVB-S cards aren't natively supported by MCE either but there are drivers which act as if they are DVB-T cards instead getting around this limitation.)

The other problem that would bite you if you went down this track is that MCE believes that all channels are accessible on all tuners. So for instance you can't say to use one tuner for freeview channels but the other one for Sky. I believe you can change the preferred tuner but this would only help if you always recorded/watched something on one of the systems first before recording on the other system. But of course for this to work you would have to use analogue cards for both systems thus really eliminating the benefit of the change in the first place.

The next version of MCE is rumoured to fix these limitations but these are just rumours so far.

If on the other hand it was possible to decode Sky using a DVB-S card and a CAM then this would definitely be possible but that's another topic entirely.

The other thing to take into account is I believe Sky are updating their decoders to view freeview directly rather than rebroadcasting their own stream so as long as you are happy with it still going through an analogue card this may be all you want but I get the feeling you are more after the quality that the freeview MPEG stream would provide.

Finally sky's next decoder is meant to have "computer connectivity" so this might work in the longer term but until they announce what this connectivity is I wouldn't hold my breath.

154 posts

Master Geek

  # 76182 28-Jun-2007 12:22
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Thanks for the concise and prompt reply - it all makes perfect sense !

If the Sky decoder would display Freeview that would be nice, as the amount of data compression currently used by Sky is my main drive to switch to Freeview. Laziness on my part is why I use Sky digital for free to air watching anyway Laughing

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