: Newbie Question: Build custom PVR with Videotron/Illico HD
2007-10-22, 12:51 AM
I just got a new laptop equipped with Vista/MS Media Center and I would like to use it to build my own custom PVR to use with videotron illico HDTV service. Basically, since I already have the gear and I don't want to shed another 600$ on a videotron PVR, I would like to connect the laptop to my illico HD decoder (Pace 551HD) and use it to record HDTV. I know and I don't mind the fact that I will not be able to listen to any other TV channel while recording with such a setup.
I want something that I can program in advance to record HDTV will the best quality possible. I'm quite new to this so I'm a bit at a loss on what I need. I'm planning to always use the Pace as tuner and for all for TV/Cable functions. The laptop will only be used to record and playback.
Right now, my Illico decoder is pluged to the TV directly using an HDMI connection (of which I only have 1 input on the TV). However my TV/Monitor has an Analog RGB/VGA connection that I was planing to use to connect to the laptop. So the missing link is from the HD terminal to the laptop.
Any ideas, suggestions? I'm sure this was done before but I cannot find the information on a similar config.
Thanks in advance
The only way to record from a STB in HD is via firewire. I can't remember if the Pace has firewire or not. There are several threads in this forum on firewire recording from SA/Pace STBs (couple of links below), however, it's not easy and it's not always possible. Do you have a firewire connection on the laptop? If not, you're out of luck. You can record SD from the S-video connection.
See: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=14099 Recording HD
Then read: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57741
2007-10-22, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the info! Yeah I do have a firewire connection on the PC. Unfortunately, there's no firewire on the Pace 551, only USB (and all the usual video/audio) outputs.
Any quick, cheap and easy alternatives for my setup? I'll check out the thread you mentionned
Any quick, cheap and easy alternatives for my setup?If you want to record HD, unfortunately not. Perhaps you could trade your Pace for an SA3250HD with someone, which I believe has firewire, but I'm not sure how/if the SA3250HD works with Videotron.
2007-10-22, 01:35 AM
Oh well, I see, and I just checked the threads you mentionned, that it is pretty much impossible to do what I wanted, miht as well get a PVR from videotron...
However, say I want to use the (gasp!) S-video output to record SD, how do I then do it? I have an s-video port on the laptop. Is this just an output? or an input as well? Which software should I use. Again, I'm a complete newbie to this
You need an S-video or composite video input on the laptop, along with analogue audio input (red/white) cables or a mini-jack input. Not sure if your laptop has these.
Don't know anything about software though, someone else will need to help you.
2007-10-22, 01:41 AM
Ok, I'll check it out. I think the s-video is a output not an input. I guess I'll need some kind of capture/extension card with this input.
Thanks for te quick reply
2007-10-25, 12:05 AM
Well, you'll need either a USB tuner or a networked tuner for your laptop. I don't know if there is any PCMCIA alternatives.
I use a network tuner because I don't want my PC to reside next to my Illico box (and because I can stream/record the signal to many PC's at the same time).
2007-10-25, 12:44 AM
Yeah, I'm now planning to use the illico box as the tuner and send the feed to the laptop through an s-video connection. I am thinking of using something like the plextor ConvertX px-av200u as a A/D converter (see my other post). However I'm not sure if that will work with Vista MCE. Also I am worried about using the laptop CPU (intel core duo 1.67Mz, 1Gig RAM) with a software MPEG encoder. Should I use a HW encoder (like the Hauppage PVR-350) instead? I am also worried about whether I will be able to use the laptop as a programmable PVR with such a setup.
The laptop to TV connection will be through VGA cable, as my TV/Monitor supports it.
What do you think? Should that work?
2007-10-25, 01:50 PM
If it has an IR blaster and is recognized as a tuner by Windows, I think you should be fine, MCE will do the rest.
2007-10-25, 01:59 PM
Well that's what I'm worried about. The PX-AV200U is not really a TV tuner, but more like a A/D converter which takes the analog signal from the s-video in and converts it to a digital stream (that's how I understand it anyways). I'm not sure how vista MC works for these. Will it recognize the video feed from the USB port? I think it should with the right drivers. Also the MPEG encoding will be done in software so I dunno how much load this will take on the CPU (I have a core duo 1,67 MHz/ 1Gig RAM with Vista). Should I get a HW encorder instead (like the Hauppage WinTV-PVR)?
Also I'm only planning to use the computer as a pure PVR (not an HTPC per say). So for that I don't think I need an IR blaster right? Of course that means I will have to manually program both the STB and the MC to record stuff but I'm ok with this.
What do you think?
2007-10-29, 10:36 AM
If you are using the computer as a DVR, you will need an IR blaster to control the cable box, unless you want to use it as a simple manual video recorder.