Is their a way to use a computer as a receiver with Bell ExpressVu - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question Is their a way to use a computer as a receiver with Bell ExpressVu

I am using my computer as a HTPC and I am thinking about going with Bell ExpressVu as my TV service provider. If I do I would like to be able to use my computer as a receiver and a PVR. Is their a way to do that?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 09:13 PM
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No, you can't.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 09:42 PM
 
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You can use it with a standard non-pvr receiver, and use your HTPC to do the recording
I don't know of a single provider that doesn't require a STB to view their digital programming...
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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I guess I should make my question more general. What I really want to do in fact is to be able to select a channel from my computer, which runs FreeBSD, and record it on my drive. This would allow me to remotely select a show to record during the day by SSHing my home computer. I don't mind buying a receiver from Bell...
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 10:28 PM
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You will need to use something like the Hauppauge HD-PVR. I am not sure about freeBSD, but it works with linux.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-06, 10:46 PM
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Do you want to use your computer to record HDTV or SD? SD is much easier, HD will require a Hauppauge HD-PVR capture device. Then you need recording software - such as MythTV or SageTV and as rsambuca said - I am not clear if they work on FreeBSD but they do both work on Linux. SageTV also has a remote client called Placeshifter that allows you to not only set up recordings remotely but also stream content, including live TV, over the net - just like a Slingbox.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 12:04 AM
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When you sign up with Bell TV your terms of agreement will prevent you from using any other type of reception of their signals other than with one of their own receivers.

That's really what you're asking, so the simple, blunt answer is no, as jayoldschool said.

What is your location? In some parts of Canada you can get HD OTA stations with special cards and devices, and MythTV has been ported to FreeBSD: http://wiki.freebsd.org/MythTV



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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Are there still reliability issues with the HD-PVR or they have been solved by Hauppauge?

If I got a HD receiver from Bell and I hooked an external drive to it, would it be possible to transfer some recordings from the drive to my laptop or this is something that is only possible with a device like the Hauppauge?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:01 AM
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I have two HD-PVRs and have no reliability issues - others have lots of problems. That is on Windows - I am not sure if the BSD/Linux drivers are better or worse.

As far as I know, but I am no expert on Bell, the only way to transfer these in HD is with an HD-PVR unless your box has an active firewire port or that box can be sent to Nextcom for the R5000 mod (seems to only work on 6000 series boxes from Bell, if you are interested in that then Google it).
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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On Bell website it says that an external drive can be hooked to their HD receiver to transform it into a PVR. I guess I would need to know if this is possible to read/decode the files recorded by the receiver.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:14 AM
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You can try that - I hope you have more luck then we do with Rogers as there is no way to get data out of external drives that are used with Rogers PVRs.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldrouin View Post
<snip>select a channel from my computer, which runs FreeBSD, and record it on my drive. This would allow me to remotely select a show to record during the day by SSHing my home computer. I don't mind buying a receiver from Bell...
I'm sure that you aren't surprised that FreeBSD-specific support info will be somewhat limited on this forum, but here are some generalities from a Linux guy who's been through this...

Things you will need:
- BellTV receiver and subscription.
- TV/video capture card and the associated driver software for FreeBSD (e.g., Hauppauge 150 (SD) or Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212 (HD) -- but select one that has FreeBSD support!). This capture card will take the composite, svideo, or component video and analog or spdif audio outputs from the BellTV receiver and capture it onto your hard drive.
- IR blaster and the associated driver software for FreeBSD. This device will allow your computer to signal the BellTV receiver to change channels as required.

If you can get these basic components working, a very rudimentary method to record from a SSH session would be something like (loose pseudocode):
Code:
    irblast 627   # use an irblaster command to tune to BellTV channel 627
    cat /videodevicename > /recordings/myshow.mpg &
    sleep $duration
    kill above_cat_process
I'm doing something similar to this to capture HD recordings from my BellTV 9242 with my HD-PVR 1212.

For standard definition, I use MythTV to manage my PVR150/PVR350 recordings from my BellTV 2700 and 4700 receivers (and it includes a web interface for remotely scheduling recordings).

There may very well be more refined software to manage this for FreeBSD, but I'm not familiar with it.

/ashtonp
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldrouin View Post
On Bell website it says that an external drive can be hooked to their HD receiver to transform it into a PVR. I guess I would need to know if this is possible to read/decode the files recorded by the receiver.
This question is asked a lot on this forum and the files are encrypted, therefore cannot be read by a computer. Firewire is not active on BTV STBs, so it's either SD or the Hauppauge.

See the following on Recording HD if that's what you're after.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=14099

Also see the following post, useful for those new to the forum - search tips, FAQs, etc:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57741

57's Home Theatre (Latest equipment & photos)
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:24 AM
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This is getting a bit OT but why use FreeBSD? No offense guys (I do play around with Linux occasionally on one of my PCs and I am familiar with Solaris) but Linux is a bit of a niche and FreeBSD is kind of a niche within a niche. I am not saying to go to Windows but there are more supported Open/Free OS options.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 01:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldrouin View Post
Are there still reliability issues with the HD-PVR or they have been solved by Hauppauge?
My HD-PVR (an early model shipped after the first hardware update) has been very reliable (using the latest "alpha" version Linux driver).

The main issue I have is that a dropout on the spdif audio causes the unit to stop recording. Also happens with the Windows driver, btw.

Do a search for spdif audio dropouts in this forum to see the severity of this problem with BellTV receivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pldrouin View Post
If I got a HD receiver from Bell and I hooked an external drive to it, would it be possible to transfer some recordings from the drive to my laptop or this is something that is only possible with a device like the Hauppauge?
Recordings transferred to external drives are encrypted, and this encryption has proven secure for a couple of years now.

Yes, the Hauppauge is the best option for now.
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