Want to build a PVR unit - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Want to build a PVR unit

Its time to return my HD-PVR box back to Rogers as I refuse to pay the ridiculous $25 a month for rental.

I wanted to convert my PC into a PVR unit. My current PC is:

AMD X2 3800+
1Gb RAM
ATI X800XL video card
750 Gb Hard drive space
Windows XP MCE

I wanted to add a relatively cheap tv tuner/capture card and convert this PC to a PVR box. Not looking for HD video at this time.

My question is: Can I just get a cheap card get the EPG (guide) info off the cable so I can schedule recording? Not looking for dual-tuner capability, just ability to record while I'm busy with other things....

I subscribe to the rogers premium package (upto channel 60). Will I be able to pick up all those channels with such a card?

Any advice/suggestion for a cheap card is appreciated. I did try searching the forums, but could not find answers on EPG guide info, etc.

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:50 PM
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mavrik, as per you the PM and email you received when you joined the forum. Retail links are only allowed in our shopping forum. Your post was edited.



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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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My apologies....

If I can mention the name of the card, its a "Leadtek WinFast TV2000 XP Expert TV Tuner".
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Can I just get a cheap card get the EPG (guide) info off the cable so I can schedule recording?
No you will need to get guide info from the net. The only thing you will be able to record is the analog stations unless you subscribe to digital cable and then you will have to output the analog signals to your pc



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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:57 PM
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You can't get the same EPG as the Rogers box (not that you'd want it anyway) since that functionality is send to the cable box over the control channel.

What you want to look into is something like SageTV. If you search for that here you will find some discussions.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply Hugh....

To get the guide info off the net, do I need some special software?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 09:07 PM
 
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I bought Snapstream with the Hauppage card (1600 I think) and the guide to my analog cogeco comes thru it. I think I paid $90 for the tuner and $80 for the software. Free updates, can schedule a recording thru the web.
It's been working pretty good for the last year or so.

Last edited by toyayo; 2008-04-03 at 10:11 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-03, 11:33 PM
 
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You don't need to buy anything special to get the guide data. You stated above that you have Windows XP MCE installed, which includes the guide data for free.

Once you have a tuner card (MCE requires a tuner that does MPEG-2 encoding, which is common now), MCE will recognize it and walk you through a quick setup process. Once complete, you'll have access to a guide, Live TV, the ability to record, and the ability to play back recorded TV.

For what you're looking to do, you're only missing one relatively cheap component - the tuner card. There's another thread here with tuner card suggestions, there are lots of good cheap options. Be sure to check that it is MCE compatible, some of the super-cheap cards might not have the required MPEG2 encoder.

Pete
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-05, 10:21 AM
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You need PVR software (Sage being one of them), and it will know how to get the data from the net. You may have to subscribe to a guide data service, but some offer free guide data. I don't know a whole lot about them, as I use TiVos.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-06, 01:12 PM
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You can also record from a standard or HD STB using S-video and RCA audio. The results are good but not in HD format. All you need for that is a video capture card and (optionally) a second STB. Some ATI video cards have video capture built in so all you would need in that case are the software and cables.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-06, 09:18 PM
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You will likely also want a remote control for your TV. IMHO your best bet is to buy a Hauppauge PVR-150 card MCE edition that comes with a remote. This works beautifully with MCE. Get the card and give it a try. If you don't like MCE then you could try other software like Sage or BeyondTV. These cards are available at many of the more popular Canadian stores and online sites.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 2008-04-08, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys.... Excellent forum.... All the help is appreciated....

I'm gonna look into picking up a card sometime this weekend..... Will report back on my success/troubles once I have my setup up and running....
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