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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2006-04-23 11:19 AM
MARSTG Hi, guys. I am writig here again because I discovered something nice : how to build a cheap PVR with Videotron. First of all you have to discard the Illico from the picture and to get regular TV aka analog TV. There is the Telemax package, where you have among others TSN and RDS and also, only for those that live west of St Laurent blvd, this package also has Space. So u get the coax cable, u throw in a simple analog TV card in the computer (My fav is the Leadtek Expert)and u have the PVR. Picky users can get even a dual TV tuner like the external one at ~150$ found at Costco or the dual TV tuner card designed by nVidia, the NVTV dual with hardware MPEG2 encoding. Theater 550 Pro from ATI also has hardware encoding, but NVTV has best image quality. Downsize for NVTV : it only has drivers for Win Media Center Edition.
2006-04-07 07:10 PM
MARSTG 1) For TV viewing u need an external TV tuner or external video capturing solutions on USB. Try tigerdirect for that or local shops. Try the Leadtek on USB. Nice image quality.
U can't see two channels on Illico in the same time, but u can see with a dual tuner and with classic cable that is not outputted by the illico. A dual tuner is like 150. Try at Costco.
2006-03-09 01:32 PM

hi guys I am a really new to everything you are talking about , but I find it very interesting and challenging, so I'll be hanging around here for a while.
Before I'll asking for some HELP I'll give you an ideea what my system is.

Dell inspiron 9300 , 2Ghz, 70 gig HD,
GeForce688 256MB, 1 Gig ram,
DVD-Rw double layer.
I also have an Illico digital cable box at home an I am subscribed to: "RegularTV + 20 Channel package". So I got about 40 channels.

What I would like to do is to watch tv on my laptop ( I have a wireles network at home, 2 computers:1 laptop - 1 desktop ), but I don't know a couple of things:
1. I guess I will need a tv tuner if I would like to have tv on my dell. So, which tv tuner wolud be the best one, what interests me is the image quality.
I would like to be able to record to if that is possible. But the most important thing is for me the image quality. so a tv tuner card for a dell laptop.
Will the image received has the same quality as the image on the tv?

2. The second thing is , since I have the illico cable box, I am wondering if I wolud be able to change the channels on my laptop, without affecting the programs running on the tv. Basically what I want to do is to watch in the same time, in two different rooms, two different channels : one on my pc and one on the tv.
I don't know if this is possible but I wolud really like to find out if the illico cable box allows me to watch 2 different channels in the same time with the same box. I am thinking that maybe is there a way to by pass the need to buy another illico box.
thank you in advance .
2006-02-04 09:24 AM
MARSTG Update : i upgraded my rig, now I have Sempron 64 bit 3300+ and I tradedthe radeon for a MSI FX5900XT VTD which is equipped with VIVO connectors and so it will be able to make video captures from Illico. I already made a quick tryfor capture and the image looks very good. I used Mainconcept Mpeg encoder which also has the possibility to capture in 16:9 format. I captured some material from Animal Planet and it looks superb. This has passed by the Y RCA cable for video signal and the image was looking fine. My main problem now is the HDD as I have a quite small 40 GB one, which is improper for PVR use, at least not for very long recordings. Plan to upgrade that too to a faster 160GB on SATA. But so long is quite good for the money spent. I found the y cabled at DDO Electronique, a premium y splitter was 10 bucks.
Also what i heard, if u don;t want to see the same channel u record on the tv, is to install a splitter for the tv cable, one input u connect direct to tv and the other to illico. In this way u can watch regular tv and record another channel with the pc from the output of the illico, which makes perfect sense.
2006-01-31 10:22 AM
Originally Posted by northpowell
I told her it would eventually replace the Videotron HD PVR, saving us 20 bucks a month, but I still haven't figured out how to keep the same image quality I enjoy from the PVr in regards to HD signals nor do I know how to program the Media Center to tell the PVR which channels to change to. If I understand your posts correctly, I need the remote, an IR thingy as well as a good TV tuner (USB preferably since the laptop is adjacent to the TV, although my desktop is on the wireless network I have setup).

Hey buddy... thanks for the compliment. I'll try to help!

I'll start with bad news. If you have the Videotron HD PVR, it is impossible for you to replicate the quality on a Media Centre PVR today. It may change in the next year if Videotron adopts Cablecard support, but don't hold your breath on that one. Frankly, if you want to PVR HD signals - I'd keep your current setup.

The maximum you will be able to stream via your computer is 480 unless you get a rooftop antenna for the 3 HDTV over the air channels. This is because you can only record input from the S-Video or component cables. This is mainly due to copy protection issues on HD signals.

If you still want to go forward, here's a question and a few notes:

1. Do you have Media Center Edition on your laptop now?

2. yes you will need the remote and IR thingy - it's only about $40. A cheap purchase.

3. You can easily find a USB tuner and they're quite stable at this point. But, again, only for SD signals. If you tune to a HD channel it will be in SD format with black bars on the top and bottom. Media Center can stretch it.. but think about it - HD downsampled to SD and then back up to HD... meh.

About your games.... this may be a question for the Home Computing forum... take a look at this thread about true High Def from your laptop .

Have fun

2006-01-30 05:52 PM
Can someone sell me a little time?


I have spent the last 30 minutes reading this thread and I am very impressed. Especially with Craig, how he doesn't own a big screen or plasma with that level of knowledge I do not know. I figure he would be working at ANY of the big stores and managing the whole department within 1 week.

Well Craig, if you are still reading this thread, I would bemore than happy to donate a few dollars towards the plasma dream. I am a 30 something guy with a 2 year old and a 1 month old, who has his own business and works from home. In a nutsheel, I have no time to follow these incredible directions and if I did have time, I couldn't anyways because of the lack of concentration due to sleep deprivation.

However, my 2 year old and I have been enjoying watching everything on our 60 inch LCD rear projection TV (lucky kid, all I had at his age was a crappy 20 inch with 6 or 7 channels, he gets HD TV programming with surround sound and the carachters on his shows are twice as big as he is!). I have added via an HDMI cable a kick ass laptop XPS from DELL with the ULTRA 6800, so fun and games is quite a sight at our household, except for one thing.

To justify the expense of the laptop to the wife, I told her it would eventually replace the Videotron HD PVR, saving us 20 bucks a month, but I still haven't figured out how to keep the same image quality I enjoy from the PVr in regards to HD signals nor do I know how to program the Media Center to tell the PVR which channels to change to. If I understand your posts correctly, I need the remote, an IR thingy as well as a good TV tuner (USB preferably since the laptop is adjacent to the TV, although my desktop is on the wireless network I have setup).

So I need, if possible, one or both of the following:

1. A simple breakdown of what I need to do to get the above mentioned going.

2. Perhaps a visit from the Craig Man since he lives so close to us (downtown Montreal).

A bonus would be to show me how come I sometimes get my PC games full screen and sometimes in a lower res which takes maybe 30 of the 60 inches avalaible. I have my res setup at 1900 by 1200 which i took down to 1854 by 1180 to fit the TV but when I run certain apps, it runs them in a smaller area as opposed to maxing them out. I even brought my res down but it takes the screen area down as well. If someone or maybe...the Craig Man can help, I would be a very happy camper since the few free minutes a day that I do have would not be spent trying to figure out this technical crap as opposed to enjoying them.

Thank you all in advance and hope to read from many of you soon!
2005-12-21 09:58 AM
Originally Posted by Jake
If you use two separate cards, one for video and one for audio you may have sync issues when you MUX them.
I had before one AIW and I had no such problems. I hope to work just fine. Keep you up to date when the card arrives.
2005-12-20 04:09 PM
Jake Good find. Better deal than those external USB A/V convertors IMO.

If you use two separate cards, one for video and one for audio you may have sync issues when you MUX them.
2005-12-20 03:55 PM
Originally Posted by MARSTG
As i said I want a cheap PVR, .
After some google searches finally I stopped at this item

I will order it and see how it fits in my system. In general it has some very good reviews and is cheap. I will record the sound directly over my audio input from SoundStorm which has the capability to digitize the audio input line. I found the Y rca splitter at Boutique Electronique on De Sources. There is no noticeably image quality loss with that splitter, and it was just 9.99, premium quality.
2005-12-13 06:54 PM
MARSTG As i said I want a cheap PVR, so HDTV is not a concern yet, and for me, the money = big issue. U can see after my rig's specs. Sure I am thinking of an upgrade to a Gf6150 aka C51+Venice, but I am not sure yet.
2005-12-13 05:16 PM
Why old style TV cards and not ATSC (HDTV)?

I noticed some of you are still deciding to use old style NTSC (480i) PC TV cards for your home made PVRs when there are more and more ATSC (HDTV) cards out there. Is it the cost? For many Canadians the OTA options for HD are getting better and better, especially in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver with Ottawa, Quebec City, and more places in the year ahead and further.


DHC OTA Forum:

2005-12-12 06:36 PM
Originally Posted by Wessen
It took a lot of work to get the right combination of components but now it works great. If only I could record/play digital sound... If you have any questions, post them!
I think you should be able to record digital sound via a digital input connector from the sound card (if there is any). Playing digital sound should be possible with Creative DDTS 100 digital decoder, which is also capable of upmixing audio streams from stereo up to 6.1 in hardware. At, it was around 170 $. It has an adapter for speaker systems with 5.1/6.1/7.1 setup. also maybe you find a converter from coaxial to optical cable to input from the Illico.

I also want to built a cheaper PVR so I was thinking to get some Y RCA cables, to get one jack into a normal TV card and the other jack in the TV, source being Illico. What do you think? Some guy told me I need an amplifier to boost the signal from RCA cables. Where do i find the cables and the booster? I have a 56" wide screen Samsung DLP, the model with foot stand. The computer is linked to the tv by a high quality VGA cable, video card is Radeon 9600XT.
My rig is Duron 1,6 Ghz on a nForce2 MCP-T mobo from Asus + 512 MB ram. What I want to do is to be at least able to record one program on the PC while watching it on the TV in the same time. I don't need to change the channels from the PC, I shall do that with the regular Illico remote.
Please tell me if my ideea is good and what coud I improve at my rig? An Athlon XP Mobile would improve the situation, if overclocked, let's say at 2,2-2,4 GHz? And where do I find the cables?
2005-11-23 02:31 PM
Wessen First I want to thank the posters on this thread for asking/answering most of the questions I had while building my system. I want to share my experiences as an example of success.

Shuttle XPC SN25P (up to 3 sata II HDs, 350W ps, PCIe 16x, 1 PCIe 1x, no PCI, 7.1 digital audio with optical in, optical/coax digital out )

Athlon 64 3000+
2x 512MB DDR 400 Corsair value ram
Samsung 250 GB SATA HD
Sapphire ATI X550 256MB PCIe with passive heatsink
PowerColor Theatre 550 Pro PCIe TV tuner(
DVD/CD burner
Media Center 2005 Rollup 2
latest Catalyst drivers from ATI.
Powercinema that comes with the tv tuner for decoder

Bought most of the system from (Ottawa)

At first I had the ATI All-In-Wonder X600 PRO because no PCI express TV tuner cards were on the market. The tv experience was absolute crap. It took a while for the channel to change and tv could get very very choppy. Thankfully a month ago PowerColor released the first dedicated PCIe tv tuner card. The Theater 550 tuner chipset from ATI is the best solution out there. Even the brand new All-In-Wonder X1800XT doesn't come close, TV wise. I found a canadian online store that carried PowerColor hardware ( and asked them to order the brand new PCIe card for me. I traded in my x600 for a fanless ATI X550 video card because it was pretty much the only one that fit inside my small case alongside the tuner. If you do go with a separated video card/tuner solution inside a Shuttle box, MAKE SURE THE VIDEO CARD FITS INSIDE! You can't get any card with a passive heatsink underneath or a card that takes up two slots (the lone PCIe slot is in the way)

I have a decent quality s-video cable from the illico HD box to the tuner along with a pair of L/R analog audio cables... I unfortunately don't know how to record any 5.1 digital audio with a tuner card. Dunno if it can be done; if so, please share! The computer is hooked into my DLP projector via a VGA cable and an optical cable runs from my optical out into my digital receiver.

I'm using the MS MCE remote control. The little red LED that flashes in front of the illico box's IR receiver doesn't always work so I put some tape over the area to block out ambient light. I programmed the remote to control the volume on my surround sound receiver and to turn it off. This means it replaces both the illico and receiver remotes. I still need another remote to turn off the projector.

It took a lot of work to get the right combination of components but now it works great. If only I could record/play digital sound... If you have any questions, post them!
2005-11-09 12:09 PM
ovcrash I've gone all over the topic, and if i understand this right. I connect my illico box into my CPU and then my CPU to my tv. So it's my CPU that really changes the channel on the TV ???

So if i record a TV Shows, i can't watch another show since my Illico box as only one tuner??

Then it's better to buy a PVR illico box so i can record and watch another channel at the same time. After buy a DVD recorder and connectit to my illico box and do a ILLICO to VCR copy but on the DVD recorder.

I think the CPU with MCE is not the best thing right now since it doesn't give you as much opportunities then the PVR illico box.
2005-10-03 08:12 PM
thomaslally Thanks Craig, again I learned something new. As a matter of fact, not being able to play a DVD from the computer is a big concern for me. The main goal to have MCE was to remove all devices - including DVD - from the living room, but the TV and speakers.

I think MCE is the futur, the future is almost now... almost.

Meanwhile, I'll wait for the HDTV digital cable TV Tuner to come up before to go with MCE. On the new computer, I have Windows Media Center 2005. I'll see what I can get from all this. That's a pretty amazing technology

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