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2 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 80104 26-Mar-2011 18:17
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Hi, I have a Windows 7 machine which has a reasonable PCIe video card, several free PCI slots and one free PCEe slot.

We do NOT have sky but DO have a sky dish and port on the wall as the previous homeowner has sky.

I would like to get freeview and a EPG running.

And now for the muppet questions :)

1. Do I need to get someone to install a new antenna on our roof or can we use the sky dish or our normal TV antenna?

2. I assume I can buy a tuner card that does freeview and I don't need to buy a separate freeview decoder?

3. Can someone reccomend a high quality tuner card, preferably PCIe that can do freeview and is at a minimum dual tuner?

4. I've heard to get the EPG onto Windows 7 the best way is to use some software to extract it out of the digital message stream, is that right?

your opinions and advice appreciated,

cheers



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Reply # 452144 26-Mar-2011 18:42
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Hi, after months of trying to get good picture with terrestrial and trying different cards, I have switched to satelllite freeview. I can highly recommend the Avermedia Satellite Trinity Card.  It is pcie.  I receive perfect satellite picture and I have the built in Windows 7 media center epg. No other software to install. Records programs perfect and even series record




HTPC Intel Pentium G3258 cpu, Gigabyte H97n-wifi motherboard, , 8GB DDR3 ram, onboard  graphics. Hauppuage HVR 5500 tuner,  Silverstone LC16M case, Windows 10 pro 64 bit using Nextpvr and Kodi


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 452270 27-Mar-2011 03:22
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First question is do you live in a Freeview Terrestrial area? (ie main center - see the Freeview website for coverage maps)  If so you would probably be better off going for the DVB-T option or a combined DVB-T/S setup.
(T=terrestrial S=satellite, sorry if too basic but you never knowSmile)

2nd question is do you have an HD TV?

If you only want DVB-S then

1 No you don't need a new aerial - just use the dish
2 Correct
3 The one mentioned above may be fine - don't know it personally.  The only dual tuner DVB-S tuner I have used is the Blackgold BGT3540 and have found it very good.  You will need to import it ypourself from the UK. (It also has 2 DVB-T tuners)
4 From memory you should be able to just use the Win 7 MCE guide info but you may also want to have a look at the EPG Collector threads on this EPG section on the board here.

If you live in a Freeview HD area and have a HD TV (or may do in the next year or two)

1 Yes you will need an external UHF aerial for DVB-T
2 Still correct
3 You would really want a dual DVB-T tuner eg Hauppauge HVR2200 or a combined one, such as the Blackgold would be even better.  Freeview DVB-S is only SD and will probably not go HD for quite a while (if ever) so the BGT3540 will be fine but if you ever plan to add Sky HD into the equation you may want to look at a tuner that does DVB-S2 as well such as the BGT3595
4 You will definitely want to look at the EPG collector stuff.

Edited for typos.  Doh.

 
 
 
 


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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 452272 27-Mar-2011 05:38
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Hi Poster,
Firstly, I would suggest taking a step back and considering exactly what you want to achieve with regard to budget and type of viewing.

If you really don't mind leaving your computer on all the time (assuming you are doing recordings) and are happy to give up a bigger screen or more relaxed position than in front of your PC for viewing and don't mind forgoing gaming etc while recording then sure stick with what you are doing.

Personally having set up many of these rigs (as part of my old business etc) while I find Windows great for general computing and gaming I find it an absolutely atrocious platform for viewing and recording T.V.

Not only does it restrict you as above but if you want to keep within one nice easy program for also dealing with other media its just an endless hassle of overly restrictive copyright restriction and hassle, even when using exclusively legal material.

Also, don't fool yourself into thinking you can add a media extender to a T.V etc now or later. Those sorts of box's are clunky and make matters even worse with regard to content that can actually be viewed.

So what do I run?

A separate low power consumption box thats hooked to my television. Its always on and ready to record, its also rock solid reliability wise and doubles as a nice backup file server. I can still watch T.V via my laptop etc as it streams live and recorded viewing.

I run Mythbuntu which is excellent easy to set up reliable software that dosn't cost you a cent. A cheap windows MCE remote controls my T.V and the box.

The reason for going into all of this now is that not all cards are compatible with Mythtv is the software packaged with Mythbuntu. So long as you don't mind the slightly lower resolution the ideal cards for you would be the Hauppague Nova S Cards. They are only single tuner but of course you can run more than one, and they are cheap enough to buy. The Nova S is all native and easy to setup so go with them in favour of multi tuner cards that will cause you to rip your hair out to install.

Also, with the satellite based Nova S, you can stick with your sky dish and because freeview on satellite has a natively broadcast 7 day Programming guide you don't have to do any mucking about to get that happening.

If you want to get fancy pants at any stage Mythbuntu/MythTV can do some great stuff like being able to sue an iphone/android etc as a remote control, you can schedule recordings etc from its web interface and likewise download any of your recordings. If you hook it to an amplifier and a good set of speakers its a one stop entertainment system as it deals with your photos, videos and music.

Best of luck with it all, I am more than happy to assist if you want to go down that track. Bear in mind I have come to this conclusion after mucking about with many different systems and this one absolutely rocks. BTW, you needent rush out and get a flash new box to run Kubuntu, an older secondhand machine you have lying around will get you started. Just make sure you are running an absolute minimum of 1GB of ram and a Pentium 4 or better and you should be right as rain. If you are buying new though spec up a bit so you have power to burn for simultaneous recordings etc.

Have fun.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 452471 27-Mar-2011 17:25
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@Gilco2 thanks I'll consider that card - re epg I didn't realise in NZ now that the built in MCE can get the EPG with tvshow names and series recording, that sounds good.... but why all the all the epg collector threads on this and other sites? does the built in stuff have some limitations?

@Mattv thanks that clears up the antenna side of things. I am in a freeview zone in auckland and will get an HDTV so I want to buy something that can support HD so I'll need a external UHF aerial if we don't have one already. Is that likely to be a different aerial to what we currently have for normal TV? I may need to put my second followup question on the EPG forum - but I assume I can extract the epg from the DVB-T signical stream in which case I actually don't need to get a card with satellite support.

@AlexTheCamel thanks for all your thoughts. I've actually had a dedicated HTPC for many years, it's just that until I've never got around to investigating freeview so I know nothing about that side of things, or whats good in terms of modern tuner cards. Since my web scraping EPG collector died a couple of years back I've been meaning to fix that up but I just don't watch much TV hence the low priority on that front to sorting it out :P

Had no copyright issues and quite comfortable with win7 although I was happy with vista mce and xp mce before that so I guess I'm not demanding. I understand that win7 will be more h/w demanding but even my old htpc box is a dual core with 8gb of ram and 4tb of disk so it seems to run just fine. I'm probably keener on cards that are 'higher end' and dual tuner rather than the lower resolution single tuner one you mentioned, but I'll check it out anyway thanks.

I do have mediaportal on the same box and that works ok too but I like win7 more (overall). I did buy a xbox360 just as a media extender (I must be the only guy in the country who has an xbox and no games!!) which worked perfectly, at least until I got a RROD problem after using it as an extender for about 3 years, grrr. I don't need an extender any more now that we've moved house.


@everyone

thanks for the input so far. I still need to figure out what sort of card I need to buy to get freeview and would like to try and do that this week and get something on the weekend.

cheers






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  Reply # 452514 27-Mar-2011 19:04
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ewart: @Gilco2 thanks I'll consider that card - re epg I didn't realise in NZ now that the built in MCE can get the EPG with tvshow names and series recording, that sounds good.... but why all the all the epg collector threads on this and other sites? does the built in stuff have some limitations?



the satellite version of freeview broadcasts in MPEG2 and has a EPG that Media Centers can read (EIT format).  this typically means that you only need a DVB-S card (e.g. the nova-s) and a satellite dish.

the terrestrial version of freeview broadcasts in H.264 and has a EPG that bugger all can read (MHEG format). for that you typically need EPGcollector to parse out the data and a seperate program to load the data into your media center.  Because the broadcast is in H.264 you also need a decent CPU or a graphics card that can handle GPU offloading.

I ran DVB-S with dual Nova-S cards for years, but i have just switched to DVB-T. EPGCollector and Big Screen EPG (for windows media center) was a breeze to setup and its been set & forget.  The picture is also heaps better on DVB-T and the HTPC case is about half the temperature - those DVB-S cards run HOT. 

I'd recommend going for the UHF antenna and the DVB-T card, even if its a little more work.




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