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54 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 96893 6-Feb-2012 18:51
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Hey guys,

I'm planning on building a HTPC shortly, and was wondering how to connect Sky to it so that I am able to watch and record Sky through WMC? We already have Sky set up atm. Is it as easy as pulling out the cable that currently plugs into the TV from the Sky box (labelled 'TO TV' on the back of the Sky Box) and plugging it into a TV tuner in the HTPC? Like this one:http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=12872&ref=pricespy?

Also, we currently have a Sony DAV-S880. The amplifier is a bit dodgy now though, I guess just from age, in that sometimes it must be left off for a few hours before it will turn back on. Is it possible to ditch the amplifier and plug the speakers straight into the HTPC? Or is it better to get a new amplifier and plug that into it instead? Just wondering as I have not seen a sound card with speaker jacks that match what are on the back of the amp. Can someone suggest a new amp for me if that is the case?

Not sure if it matters or not but I really would prefer to use WMC as the my technophobe family are comfortable using it already.

Thanks in advance for any help! 

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  Reply # 578020 6-Feb-2012 23:24
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What sort of Sky box do you have?

If it's just a standard sky box, or you have a MySky but are comfortable recording in SD only, then a Hauppauge HD PVR or a Hauppauge Colossus should do what you want.

If you have a MySky and want to record in HD then you will need also to add something like an HDFury into the mix as well. Fairly trivial to set up, but the costs start to mount.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 578334 7-Feb-2012 17:54
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It's just a standard Sky Box. So I want something a PVR-150 rather than a HVR-3300?



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Master Geek


  Reply # 581085 13-Feb-2012 21:16
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So nobody can tell me how to record sky on a HTPC?

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  Reply # 581119 13-Feb-2012 21:58
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You are correct.
You need something like the PVR150.
It has RCA and S-video inputs so you can connect anything to that has those outputs and record it in WMC.
The problem you will have doing this is that you will only be to record whatever channel you are watching on Sky.
You will also have a bit of work getting an EPG into WMC.




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  Reply # 581124 13-Feb-2012 22:02
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I *told* you how to do it. Connect an internal or external capture suggestion to your HTPC. I suggested either the Hauppauge HD PVR (external USB) or a Hauppauge Colossus (internal) which are pretty much best of breed, and provide an upgrade path to HD if you want it. There are other cheaper solutions as well - google something like "video capture windows 7" and you should find heaps of options.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 581143 13-Feb-2012 22:40
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Okay but I am not sure at all how the cables fit in? This tuner business has messed with my head.

Going from my Sky Box to my TV I have the red and white RCA cable which I think do audio? And also an S-Video cable which I assume does video?

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=16255&ref=pricespy
Looking at the image of the suggested Colossus where do these three plugs connect to? I would guess the RCA cables go into two of the RCA plugs on the A/V input (does it matter which colour?) but where does the S-Video go?

Sorry for being such a noob!



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Master Geek


  Reply # 581145 13-Feb-2012 22:48
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Also, solely for cost cutting purposes, how would I connect it if I instead chose to purchase a HVR-3300?

Would I notice any loss in quality this way?

If it matters at all I will be using a receiver with HDMI inputs and plugging the HTPC into this via the motherboard HDMI port.

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  Reply # 581146 13-Feb-2012 22:54
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Probably no point spending the extra dollars on the HD capture card as the standard Sky boxes don't do HD output.
You can get some Sky boxes that will do component AV output, and this will give you the best picture, but it's still not HD.
The MySkyHDi box is the only one that does HD output.

You may be able to get a 2nd hand PVR150 on TradeMe.
In fact I sold two late last year myself, average price of about $30.

The Sky box will have more than on set of AV outputs. They usually have to SCART outputs and one set RCA (red, white & yellow) outputs. So you would need another cable to connect the Sky box to the PVR150. A Scart to S-video & red+white RCA for audio will give you the best picture.





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  Reply # 581161 13-Feb-2012 23:46
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Can't provide much further detail on the Colossus (sorry) as I haven't used one. I do know from researching products for myself that it reviews well, and has component capture - which at least the newer Pace-230 (which I used to have) and Motorola (which I now have) Sky boxes will output. Component will give you a marginally better picture then SVHS, which in turn is better than composite. I also can't comment on the suitability of the HVR3300, as I know nothing about it.

Good cards now have hardware compression, which will take the load off your HTPC's processor. This is important if you (say) want to record a couple of TV channels or watch a film while it is capturing. Cheaper cards, like the crummy Pinnacle I used to have, rely on software encoding. This loads the processor, makes running simultaneous tasks more challenging, and gives video glitches if the system load gets too high.

I do have the HD PVR, and it will do composite, SVHS or component capture. It isn't cheap (circa $NZ 270 at the moment, I paid slightly more), but I figured quality plus an upgrade path to HD if I want to later was worth it. I believe it also integrates well with WMC7 (haven't tried it). Mine is currently on a shelf, awaiting a long delayed new HTPC build.

I have also heard good things about the Blackmagic Intensity capture card, which one of the guys at work has.

Kinda depends on your budget, how much capturing you plan to do, and how much you care about quality.

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  Reply # 581167 14-Feb-2012 00:49
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JimmyH: Kinda depends on your budget, how much capturing you plan to do, and how much you care about quality.


I think that may be a key question which you haven't really given us an idea about yet.  Linked to that is what sort of TV do you have? ie old CRT or an HD panel of some sort?

Unfortunately there are so many ways of setting this sort of thing up it does get very confusing.

If you want a really basic, low budget setup go for the PVR150MCE (if you can find it).  The MCE version (Mediacenter Edition, now replaced by MC Kit versions eg WinTV-HVR-1700 MC-Kit)  include remote controls for Mediacenter rather than the basic Hauppauge WinTV one, as well as IR Transmitters to change the chanel of the Sky box.  This would let you record via the S-VHS inputs (S-VHS cable and red/white audio).  However as mentioned you would not be able to easily get an EPG (guide) into Mediacenter so all your recordings would have to be setup manually, like old VCR recordings - channel, start time, end time etc.

If you wanted to spend a little extra you may want to add a DVB-S card as well.  This would give you a much better picture for Freeview channels (not HD but better than Sky via S-VHS).  It would also allow you to "receive" the full SKY+Freeview EPG using something like EPG collector.  This would give you much better user interface plus you would also be able to record/watch more than one channel at a time.  Quite a bit more "tinkering" to get it set up but it would be worth it in my opinion.  Of course if you are in a Freeview terrestrial location you may want to look at adding a combined DVB-S/T card or something so you can get a full HD picture (if you have an HD TV and that interests you).

The Collosus/HD PVR tuners mentioned may well be worth it if you think you may want to upgrade your sky at a later date.  You would use them instead of the 150 or 1700.  I am pretty sure they both come with Mediacenter remotes and IR Transmitters but don't quote me on that.

Finally for the ultimate FULL HD, quality setup you would want to have a good read of the threads here about using card readers and feeding the Sky directly into the DVB/S cards but that is a pretty steep learning curve.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 581488 14-Feb-2012 18:09
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I would like one of the newer cards with hardware compression I think, as I like the idea of minimising CPU load.

As for the TV, we will be getting a new one, not sure exactly which model but it will be 1080p and possibly 3D. I would ideally like to have one with built in Freeview, so I can watch the free channels in HD which poses another question. Can I output the Freeview from the TV into the HTPC for recording?

As for price there is no strict budget, but does $150ish sound about right? The HVR-3300 is slightly less than that.

Computer Lounge's info says "Triple format TV tuner for your PC! Analogue TV, Freeview DVB-T Digital terrestrial TV and DVB-S Digital satellite TV in a single slot half hight PCI-e board," but I don't see the connectors on the back. So will I be able to connect both Freeview (in HD) and Sky (non HD) to this? I'm probably being ridiculously thick right now but I just can't see how it can connect up. Here is an image of the back of the card: 

Where do the two RCA and the S-Video plugs go?

And I think I am struggling enough with this to not want to attempt the card reader :p

Thanks for all the help so far btw guys! 

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  Reply # 581526 14-Feb-2012 19:37
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donthaveacow: I would ideally like to have one with built in Freeview, so I can watch the free channels in HD which poses another question. Can I output the Freeview from the TV into the HTPC for recording?
 

Don't think you'll find a new TV without Freeview buil tin nowadays.

And no you can't record. Freeview TVs have only audio outputs, no video.


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  Reply # 581529 14-Feb-2012 19:44
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donthaveacow: Can I output the Freeview from the TV into the HTPC for recording?


You don't need to anyway because the HVR3300 has a Digital Tuner which will record Freeview off air in HD.

And the A/V input is the svid socket. Like my HVR2200 will come with an adaptor cable with RCA sockets for composite and audio.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 581551 14-Feb-2012 20:53
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How does the Digital Tuner record Freeview? I don't have a Freeview box or anything, do I connect it up to the old UHF aerial?

Oh so there will be a plug that takes my S/Video and two RCA's into a single S/Video? I thought the S/Video port on the card would only be able to handle video?

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  Reply # 581566 14-Feb-2012 21:41
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donthaveacow: How does the Digital Tuner record Freeview? I don't have a Freeview box or anything, do I connect it up to the old UHF aerial?

Oh so there will be a plug that takes my S/Video and two RCA's into a single S/Video? I thought the S/Video port on the card would only be able to handle video?


The digital tuner is a Freeview tuner. Just plug in a UHF antenna.

It is an A/V socket. Not sure about svid. Maybe only composite and audio L/R. Would need to read the user manual.

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