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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I hope this is the right forum. I would like to capture HDTV OTA into a computer. I have OTA currently working, a modest indoor antenna which gives me only a few channels. This is sufficient as I don't watch TV frequently. I am more interested in experimenting TV + Computer.

Question 1: Which OS & softwares do you recommend? The OS must be Linux. I am using Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 x64, but will be able to manage any distro you recommend.

Question 2: which tuner card do you recommend? Of course this card must be Linux friendly.

Question 3: Just for my own education, what are the main differences between an USB based tuner and the one having the format of a PCI Express card?

Question 4: Would a traditional wireless Keyboard+
Mouse enough to operate such a HTPC or is there any hardware tricks that beginners should observe ?

Thank you very much for any help.
 

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linux and OTA

get yourself a HDHOMERUN works perfectly with the free software of linux.

HDHOMERUN dual tuner from silicondust, rocks from my expirence, I am running 2 hdhomerun and a tv. record and watch for free tv.

to setup the antennas, it helps since it deals you the quality of signals immediately in percentage. but you will need a network switch or a router to attache it to your network. no need for internal installation of the pc, is hooks onto your network via the rj-45 network port it has. just look up silicondust. and you can use it on any other pc that is connected to the network.

and go get yourself a new 2 tera byte hard drives since it will record just as it is being broadcast, in HD of course.

chow.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Wow that HDHomeRun using Ethernet is really a good idea. I don't see the network bandwidth requirement. Hope that it will run OK on Fast Ethernet 100 Mbits/s.

You said you run two of these on a TV. Why two?

EDIT: Read a review here HDHomeRun Review @ MythPRV.com The device has 100 Mb/s network port. It looks very good, much simpler than card based tuner. I like very much its Ethernet output, I prefer to run an Ethernet cable rather than a RG6 antenna cable. Thank you very much for this excellent advice.
 

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Wow that HDHomeRun using Ethernet is really a good idea. I don't see the network bandwidth requirement. Hope that it will run OK on Fast Ethernet 100 Mbits/s.

You said you run two of these on a TV. Why two?
I think that's supposed to read that the HDHomerun has 2 tuners in the standard unit. There's a also a cheaper 1-tuner version and a high-end "pro" version.

I've got the standard 2-tuner version. It works great on a 50 foot run of ethernet cable. An OTA channel running at 100% utilization is 19.2 megabits/sec. Running 2 channels simultaneously over a 100 megabit connection uses under 40% of the available ethernet bandwidth. My only problem is that fast-action sports is fuzzy on my 24" computer LCD monitor. That's the monitor's fault, nothing to do with tuner.

The HDHomerun has 2 disadvantages...
  • Except for the high-end "pro" model, the tuner uses "zero-config". At startup, it dynamically selects an address in the 169.254.xxx.xxx range. If you want your computer to talk to both the tuner and the internet, you'll need either a network switch or a second ethernet card. In either case, you'll have to manually configure your network card and route. Let me know if you need help.
  • The HDHomerun is ATSC-only. Here in Toronto, every local station except TVO has a digital OTA broadcast.
I'm a "command-line-commando", so I installed just the command-line linux interface. I also don't understand the point of an SQL database, as required by MythTV.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Except for the high-end "pro" model, the tuner uses "zero-config". At startup, it dynamically selects an address in the 169.254.xxx.xxx range. If you want your computer to talk to both the tuner and the internet, you'll need either a network switch or a second ethernet card.
Hi Walter,

Thanks very much for further details. I am fine with OTA only. The IP Address issue is puzzling.

When the HDHomerun is powered on. If it select an IP 169.254.xxx.xxx range, is it because it is not connected yet to the network? I wonder why a network oriented device would not be able to pick up a dynamic IP from the DHCP server of the router.

Also, I have only one antenna, how can I make it work with the two tuners? If any extra hardware is needed to connect, do you know of any good quality parts to recommend?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Reading everything through LittleGreenMan's link the Homerun has a DHCP client and will pick up an address.
Here is an example of the output from the device used to write this page:
[email protected]:~$ hdhomerun_config discover
hdhomerun device 1010C032 found at 192.168.4.220


The HDHomerun is ATSC-only. Here in Toronto, every local station except TVO has a digital OTA broadcast."

?? Isn't ATSC the protocol all NA digital HD/SD OTA tv? So one has to live without TVO until they get with the 21st century.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I thought I hit the jackpot discovering HDHomeRun. But after reading this thread HDHomeRun or Hauppauge 2250?

It appears that the HDHR has two issues:

1- Old ATSC Tuner chip

2- Has two separate FR inputs. May be this is an advanced feature but in my case I have only one antenna.

And several forum members suggested Hauppauge HVR-2250 or 2 x HVR-950Q-USB which have much better ATSC chip. Of course, these tuners don't stream video over the network. I am wondering:

Q1. How bad is the ATSC Tuner of the HDHomerun?

Q2. If the new ATSC chip is so good, I guess the HDHR's manufacturer would update the design, but it seems like it is not the case. May be the difference is not that big?
 

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Littlegreenman,

You only need one antenna for any number of tuners. You simply split the RG6 cable with a run-of-the-mill cable splitter. Your antenna doesn't "tune". It simply captures every scrap of signal on all frequencies and feeds that cacaphony to the tuners. Each tuner tunes in the frequency (channel) it's told to out of the din.

Keep in mind that you might need to use a powered splitter (Home Depot/The Source) if your antenna's signal isn't strong. Each time you split the cable, your signal halves.
 

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Question 1: Which OS & softwares do you recommend?
I use Mythbuntu 10.10

Question 2: which tuner card do you recommend?
HVR-950Q-USB can tune even poor signals (>60km away) compared to other cards
ATI HDTV wonder is cheap, got mine second hand for $10 to tune local (<40km) channels

Question 3: Just for my own education, what are the main differences between an USB based tuner and the one having the format of a PCI Express card?
I have both (as above) - No difference.

Question 4: Would a traditional wireless Keyboard+
Mouse enough to operate such a HTPC or is there any hardware tricks that beginners should observe ?
I use wireless keyboard/mouse for setup, and rarely use afterwards.
I remote control the server in the furnace room with "VNC" built into Ubuntu.
I run HDMI and Optical audio up through floor to TV.
I run USB for Microsoft/Philips compatible remote control down to basement.

Highly recommended.
Quiet, easy to run, low cost.

$1000 - All in, with antenna+amp, server, hdtv, accessories. No monthly cost outside of low electricity cost - i use laptop 2.5" hard disk, 45W CPU, and keep watts low.
 
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