: Advice on upgrade Windows Media Centre to record HD

2009-11-11, 05:59 PM
I have been running Windows Media Center since 2005 on an Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHZ. I have two Hauppauge 150MCE adapters. My two HD capable Shaw Cable HD tuners are connected with Composite out to the two tuners cards. The PC has 4 GB of memory and is currently running Windows 7 Ultimate.

I can record standard def stations but would like to upgrade to be able to record the HD stations as well.

I'm guessing at minimum I would need to replace the two Hauppauge TV Tuner cards with some HD capable device.

This area is new to me. Does this work with Shaw tuners? Was is the connection from the Shaw motorola boxes to the tuner card (Component + stereo L & R or HDMI??)

What, if any issues are there with copyright or playback restrictions with the recorded HD content?

The media center is in my basement and I access the content Via a LinkSys DMA2100 extender connected to my 1080P TV via HDMI cable. I also have an Xbox 360 that could be used for the extender if the DMA cannot handle the HD content.

If anyone that has gone down a similar path could provide some guidance or advice I would appreciate it.

Does this work? What are some Tuner cards that others have used successfully?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Victoria BC

2009-11-11, 06:14 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Suggest that you spend some time going through the extensive posts covering all of your questions, and then come back with any remaining queries. Most of this stuff has been discussed to death, so people won't be in the mood to cover it again. Start with the stickies and go from there.

Some quick thoughts:
- your processor is fast enough for HD
- you don't list your vid card, so that might be an issue (search the model number in the forums)
- to get HD from the Shaw boxes, you'll need to use component via something like the Hauppauge HD PVR (it records component in, has an IR blaster and works well). You'll need one for each tuner
- if you record off component there are no restrictions on your data
- if you can record off firewire you'll get a better recording but copyright flags are honoured
- Nothing accepts HDMI in (other than TVs), and composite is SD only
- XBOX is fine for running HD

2009-11-11, 08:58 PM
I'll add to the good advice you've gotten so far...

The Hauppauge HD-PVR is your only option at this point to get HD from your Shaw boxes. You'll need two HDPVR devices, as well as addon software called DVBSBridge.

The HDPVR records in h264, which is a newer and more efficient compression than MPEG2. However Media Center only supports h264 content in Windows 7 or in the Vista TV Pack update (go with Win7, TVPack is buggy). Additionally, since the recording is in h264 your Linksys extender won't be able to play it back. The Xbox plays it back without issue.

Bottom line for recording HD Cable is that you can do it, but it'll take a bit of work and might cost you a bit on new hardware (notably the tuners and a replacement for your Linksys).

Another option, if you're anywhere near a large city, is to look into over the air high definition. Let me know what city you live near, and I'll let you know if that's a reasonable option or not.


2009-11-11, 09:01 PM
Should've read a bit more, I see you're in Victoria. Check out the OTA reception forum for Victoria (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=107971&page=82) to see what other people in your area are able to receive. If the channel list is decent, then that might be your less expensive route to get HD. In that case, you'd be looking at an antenna ($50ish), a dual tuner ATSC card ($100ish), and it'll work with your existing extenders.


2009-11-12, 12:43 AM
The Hauppauge HD-PVR looks like a good option. I might go snag one and give it a try. If everything works out well, I'll get the 2nd one and complete the conversion by upgrading my disk space in the Media Center from 300 GB to 1 TB.

I will only be accessing the content on the Media Centre via extender - Xbox 360 I guess since it supports HD - so didn't think the video card in the server was a concern.

Again, thanks for the tip and I will give it a shot.