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812 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 25


Topic # 48520 15-Nov-2009 10:52
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Hi there,

I'm a newbie into the world of HTPC but am about to dabble in the very near future. Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be taking possesion of an old P4 2.8Ghz Dell PC which I'd like to turn into a basic HTPC. I have a spare radeon 9550 128mb AGP video card I was going to put in it to enable video out. I'm on a pretty tight budget so I'm only really wanting to fork out for a tuner card. We have both a satellite dish and UHF, and although I'm unable to try and see if Freeview HD works we do get Prime and Maori TV via analogue very clearly. I've got a few questions that I hope you guys can help with. Basically I would really like to be able to watch freeview and be able to schedule recordings, preferably be able to record and watch a different channel or reocrd 2 different channels at  the same time, ie dual tuner.
My first question is, will it be better for me to try and get a DVB-S or DVB-T tuenr? We only have an old CRT and have no plans in the near future to upgrade the telly to an HD one (read:no money in the budget for that!) so I'll only be needing an SD signal on the telly. Is one signal easier to handle/record than the other? I would have thought DVB-S would be easier on the CPU but I could be wrong.
Will this PC be able to handle recording 2 or even 1 channel in with either DVB-S or DVB-T?
The PC will be running XP so I was thinking of trying GBPVR or Mediaportal. From the reading I'm doing I'm currently leaning towards Mediaportal. Are there certain types or cards/tuners that work better with Mediaportal?
I'm also wanting to be able to use a remote to change channels and navigate menus etc, I notice that a lot of tuners don't come with remotes or provide shody-looking card style remotes. From what I read many of the Hauppauge tuners come with really good remotes. Am I better to just get the tuner card(s) and then get a seperate MCE remote or something like that?
Keeping in mind the tight budget, I was hoping to get some thoughts from you guys on what might be some good ideas for me.

Thanks.

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481 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 5


  Reply # 273187 15-Nov-2009 12:20
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The MPEG2 satellite transmissions are far less demanding on a HTPC in terms of graphics processing and file sizes compared to the H.264 terrestrial transmissions. With a dish already in-place and no requirement for high definition I would go for Freeview via satellite.

You won't find many dual tuner DVB-S cards, and with an older PC you probably need PCI rather than PCI-e interface. Something like the Hauppauge Nova-S Plus card which is available at around $100 would fit the bill, but you would need to install two of them to be able to record two channels simultaneously - provided that you have two free PCI slots.



812 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 25


  Reply # 273296 15-Nov-2009 19:54
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Deev8: The MPEG2 satellite transmissions are far less demanding on a HTPC in terms of graphics processing and file sizes compared to the H.264 terrestrial transmissions. With a dish already in-place and no requirement for high definition I would go for Freeview via satellite.

You won't find many dual tuner DVB-S cards, and with an older PC you probably need PCI rather than PCI-e interface. Something like the Hauppauge Nova-S Plus card which is available at around $100 would fit the bill, but you would need to install two of them to be able to record two channels simultaneously - provided that you have two free PCI slots.


Thanks Deev8. I thought that would be the case, with sat vs terrestrial signals. Yes it doesn't have any PCI-e slots but I'm pretty sure it's got 3 empty PCI slots. It may be I go for something like this and add another tuenr card at a later stage.

I'm also wondering if with these types of setup if you can use storage on a server via a gigabit network. It's only got a 40gb hard drive and if I'm able to record tv onto networked storage that would give me more flexability.

 
 
 
 


62 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 273318 15-Nov-2009 21:28
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Our household HTPC is an old work PC. It's packed pretty tight inside but no problems with cooling or reliability. It's brilliant. I've installed a 500gb drive and can network to my laptop ('client') and watch my recored programmes and backed-up movies through there if I don't want the TV on or I'm somewhere else in the house. I can also use the HTPC to watch any internet TV, like the pro surfing contests when they're on live.

With mediaportal, you can tell the software where you wanted recorded TV to go, so I imagine a server option is really easy.

I don't feel the need to go HD or update my HTPC. Does everything I need it to, and cost me very little money. I see the time I put in as an investment though, not an expense.

481 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 5


  Reply # 273441 16-Nov-2009 11:12
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CutCutCut: I'm also wondering if with these types of setup if you can use storage on a server via a gigabit network. It's only got a 40gb hard drive and if I'm able to record tv onto networked storage that would give me more flexability.

That shouldn't be a problem at all. Before the appearance of Freeview|HD I used an external USB-connected disk for all my recorded TV on an older HTPC.

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