idiot proof PVR for PC with TV guide - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
 
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idiot proof PVR for PC with TV guide

I'd like to be able to look at a live TV schedule on screen, click and schedule a recording. This would just be from basic Shaw analog cable. MPEG4 compression would be nice. Must be reliable. What are my options?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 08:50 AM
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You've set a very high standard. If you want "idiot proof", then buy a Shaw PVR. With a PC, you are going to have computer problems upsetting things and you are going to have to use an IR blaster.

I'm not saying its not manageable but it won't be "idiot proof" which is your primary requirement.

If you're bound and determined, then download free trials for Beyond TV and Sage TV or Myth TV and you can decide for yourself.



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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does Shaw have a SD PVR? I only see their $500 HD PVR.

What TV tuner is recommended?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 11:01 AM
 
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Another option is to get a Tivo. It records in SD and is basically idiot proof for the most part. Even if you accidentally delete some recordings for a period of time you can get them back and the interface is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate. Our family has got one for my parents this year and my brother that gets confused with electronics easily has one and hasn't had any problems for over a year.

The one big drawback is that there is a monthly/yearly subscription that takes care of the software updates, tagging of programs, and the scheduling information. It is $12.95 U.S. /month or $129 U.S./year or you can get a lifetime subscription.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 11:56 AM
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Shaw started selling the Motorola DCT3080 about 2 years ago for about $350 when the HD PVR was $700. Motorola discontinued them and the last time I saw Shaw selling them was for $150 for refurbs. I checked this fall for a relative who started working evenings and they're no longer available.

The 3080 was an analog/digital PVR that recorded about 80 hours of SD on an 80 GB drive. It could also record HD channels but could only play them back as SD.

You might be able to find a used one but I think they are fairly rare.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-24, 03:38 PM
 
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I can't argue with the comments the others have left... if you want idiot proof, go with a set-top box. If you want the ultimate in flexibility and expandability with the added cost of potential PC problems, then the PC-based PVR is the way to go.

Personally, I am running a MythTV box (Linux-based) which is even more finicky than Windows-based solutions but now that it's up and running, it's relatively hands-off. The learning curve is relatively steep to get to this point though.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 2008-12-25, 09:29 AM
 
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Totally agree : HTPC = not idiot proof.

No easy/free solution in Canada - if you go with Beyond/Sage/GBPVR+Scheduledirect, it is pretty easy and will do what you want provided you have a TV tuner card that is hardware encoding and has an IR blaster to change channels.

LG55LW5000/DenonAVR791/MirageOMD5+Nanosat+MM8/ClearStream2/CM7778+3414
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 2009-01-01, 05:54 PM
 
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Well, it's not that bad to set up something like that.

1. buy a computer with a built-in TV tuner or one with tuner in it already. OR buy a USB TV tuner with IR Blaster.

2. Make sure the OS is at the Vista Home Premium so you can use the Media Centre for TV viewing.

Couple of things, changing channel can be slow and iffy and Media Centre doesn't do Mpeg 4 so prepare for some huge files.

bottom line, I am not that computer savvy and it managed to set up my laptop as a PVR.

ps. make sure your computer is powerful enough, I don't know what the min requirement is but my laptop is a Core 2 Duo T7100...


Good luck

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 2009-01-04, 02:45 PM
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You could check out the Nero Liquid TV product.

It is basically a PC DVR with the TiVo interface. You can get two versions of it, the software alone for $99, or the software plus a Hauppauge tuner, IR blaster/receiver, and custom TiVo remote, for $199 US. The software in either case comes with one year service, which you can re-up every year for $99. I think it uses MPEG2, becasue it suppolsely works for file trasnfers to actual TiVos, which are MPEG2. Generally, a 160GB to 320 GB drive is fine for that.
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