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HTPC TV Tuner Device Survey

  • My preferred HTPC OS is WIndows (describe apps in thread)

    Votes: 24 64.9%
  • My preferred HTPC OS is Linux (describe apps in thread)

    Votes: 6 16.2%
  • My preferred HTPC OS is Apple (describe in thread)

    Votes: 5 13.5%
  • I prefer Hauppauge devices to other brands (give model numbers in thread)

    Votes: 20 54.1%
  • I prefer other brands to Hauppauge devices (describe in thread)

    Votes: 4 10.8%
  • I prefer USB TV Tuner devices

    Votes: 3 8.1%
  • I prefer internal PCI or PCI-E TV Tuner cards

    Votes: 24 64.9%
  • I prefer external TV Tuner boxes for HTPC (give model names in thread)

    Votes: 3 8.1%
  • I use only ATSC devices

    Votes: 10 27.0%
  • I use ATSC and NTSC combo devices

    Votes: 17 45.9%
  • I use separate ATSC and NTSC devices

    Votes: 5 13.5%
  • I use QAM for Clear Cable channels (describe in thread)

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • I capture video from other devices (describe in thread)

    Votes: 4 10.8%
  • HTPCs require advanced computer knowledge and savvy

    Votes: 20 54.1%
  • HTPCs are easy for anyone to use

    Votes: 14 37.8%
  • HTPCs are too much trouble to build and operate satisfactorily

    Votes: 2 5.4%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The purpose of this survey is to examine the preferences of HTPC users for their TV Tuner device(s), whether they are an internal PCI or PCI-E card, a USB device, or an external box. This is a multiple-choice survey, so please examine all the options before finishing.

The accompanying thread is not for discussing those devices since there are already existing threads dedicated to them. Comment in this thread if you just want to clarify something you answered in the survey.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Commenting on my votes, I use Mandriva Linux with MythTV as the HTPC app, and I prefer internal PCI cards but also use Hauppauge 950Q USB devices too. I prefer to run separate NTSC PCI cards, so I do not use the combo functionality of my ATSC devices. I also capture video from my camcorder over Firewire (IEEE 1394). Clear QAM channels are available on Delta Cable so I used to scan for them, but their channel numbers were constantly changing and I could not be bothered with it anymore so I disconnected it. I find that MythTV on Linux requires advanced computer skills and savvy, but that's because I ask it to do exceptional tasks. For users with low to moderate computer skills I would not recommend an HTPC due to its compexity of administration.
 

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I use SageTV on Win7 with two PCI-E AverMedia Duets (ATSC only). This setup is sufficient for me since my only TV source is ATSC OTA. One of the primary reasons I went with Sage is because of their extender boxes, of which I have two (HD200s).

I think that HTPCs require a level of computer skill that is high relative to the general population (though on an absolute scale the level of knowledge required for a basic setup would be low to moderate). Because of the maintenance required I wouldn't recommend an HTPC to any of my friends or family, even though I really like my own setup.
 

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My HTPC...

- Intel Celeron E3200 processor
- Asus P5KPL-CM mobo
- Kingston 4GB DDR2-800 RAM
- 1TB WD Black HD
- Hauppauge HVR-2250 dual-ATSC TV tuner
- Asus/Nvidia GeForce GT220 video card
- Win7 (64-bit) Home Premium OS
- Combination Windows Media Center and VLC for audio and video playback
- Samsung DVD R/W drive
- OCZ 600W PS
- Nmedia HTPC-1000B case, with LCD display
- Keytech wireless keyboard/trackball combo
- Harmony 659 remote

The section of the survey that asks about the technical capability to use an HTPC, are a bit ambiguous...

HTPCs require advanced computer knowledge and savvy (yes to build and setup, no to use)

HTPCs are easy for anyone to use (yes, but requires some technical knowledge to build/setup)

HTPCs are too much trouble to build and operate satisfactorily (again, if you have the technical knowledge, it's not a problem to set up. My wife can use the HTPC that I've set up, so it must be easy to use, she wouldn't want to use it, if it was complicated)
 

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I build everything around the windows media center

linux takes too much tinkering,even compared to windows

apple is too locked down, and I really don't much care for their software


i build everything inside Antec fusion cases (roomy and almost silent)

small dual cores paired with passively cooled video cards (asus 4350 HD at this point)

I used to use pvr150's (hauppauge) for SD capture, but have moved to hauppauge HD-pvr's to capture HD

I also tend to download a ton of shows now too. easier than capturing a lot of times
 

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I like to tinker, but it can tiring after a while...especially when there are family members who are not computer inclined.

For, anyone who wants to get in OTA-HD with HTPC game, Windows Media Center is actually quite easy to set up and USE. The hardest part is to setup the TV Signal with the correct US zip code for GTAers.

Newer Hauppauge tuner cards like HVR-1250, HVR-2250 seem to be very well supported in WMC and priced right. There is no good reason for me to beta on anything else.

Media Browser is a nice addition, mostly for looks. I would rather use WMP or MPC.

The biggest PITA for 7MC is the .wtv recording. You need another 7 machine to play back. Media Boxes don't play them without conversion.
 

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I currently use Windows 7 media centre extended to two xbox360 extenders. The HTPC is a quad-core phenom 9500 with 4GB of RAM and 1.3 TB of storage. The tuners are 2 950q usb tuners which I prefer as they were extremely cheap and can be moved to a laptop, or desktop. I use a harmony 610 remote to control everything. My next step is to virtualize the windows7 install, but i need to test to the tuner to ensure they are visible in a hyper-v virtual machine
 

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For, anyone who wants to get in OTA-HD with HTPC game, Windows Media Center is actually quite easy to set up and USE.
But it's not very good for people who don't live near a US border city. Clients that can use Schedules Direct or that provide Canadian listings as a service are better for everyone else.
 

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But it's not very good for people who don't live near a US border city. Clients that can use Schedules Direct or that provide Canadian listings as a service are better for everyone else.
Someone made it easy to configure the Media Center Schedule to work on Canadian channels. I tried this out on Vista and WinXP Media Center Edition but it didn't work. But it works fine for Windows 7.

http://thegreenbutton.com/blogs/pnear/archive/2009/08/10/enabling-atsc-amp-qam-in-canada-for-windows-7-rtm.aspx
 

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Interesting, except that the links to the Canadian channel instructions don't work. :confused:
 

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When I was trying to install it on WinXP Media Center, I emailed Peter Near about my issues. I found him to be pretty responsive, but in the end, I had to use Win7.

You might want to contact him, to see what your issues are, and if they can be fixed.
 

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Server is running Sage TV 6 (in the process of upgrading to Sage 7) on WinXP, formerly on WinHS.

Tuners are 2xHauppauge HD-PVR both connected to Rogers SA3250HD cable boxes, Hauppauge 1850 - one tuner for ATSC + one tuner for Svideo connection to Rogers SA3200 box.

Channel changing is done via firewire for HD boxes and USB-UIRT for SD box.

I have five Sage HD-200 extenders and I also use Sage Placeshifter clients.

My former HTPC also has a Kworld ATSC-110 card which is better at tuning weak channels than the Hauppauge 1850 even though it is about 3-4 years older - I will likely move this over to the current HTPC.
 

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I'm running MythTV using Mythbuntu 8.10. The real selling point for me was the diskless frontend support, which allows me to keep the frontend in the bedroom quieter since it doesn't require a hard drive. I also find it the best for a networked environment (at least compared to MCE), but I think I could maybe do the same thing with SageTV.

I've got 6 tuner cards, 5 of which are Hauppauge. 2x150, 250, 950, 950Q. The other is a Dvico Fusion HDTV5 RT Gold.

Master Backend: 250 -> SA3200, 150->SA940, HDTV->Ant
Secondary Backend: 950Q->Ant, 150->Analog Cable (this is a dual boot machine, that's usually in windows for BluRay/DVD viewing)

Of the six tuners, 4 are PCI, and the most used tuners (250, 150, Dvico) are all PCI.

The 950 is currently not in use, but I'm sure I'll find a place for it by Aug 2011 :D

Of the combo devices I have (950s and Dvico), I only use them for ATSC, but that's mostly because I haven't been able to get it or need it working.

Basic Mythtv was OK to setup. I've had to tweak quite a few things, and it's still not 100%. (Perhaps I tweaked it too far!) It does take a good deal of knowledge, experimenation, and google skills to get things the way you want.
I've had more luck tweaking and fixing things on the Linux platform than I did using MCE. Perhaps it's because of my experience, but I find it harder to debug issues on Windows.

As for usage, I think HTPC are OK for anyone. There is more functionality, so there's some learning required.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
vejostde said:
The real selling point for me was the diskless frontend support
Nice, and they can be built with mini-ATX boards and a fanless graphics card, all mounted in a tiny case too. Does it boot from the network too, or from a memory card or other device?
 

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To clarify my answers:

- I use SVN trunk MythTV (installed on MythDora 12.23)
- for NTSC I use and prefer 2 Hauppauge PVR-250 cards
- for ATSC I use and prefer 2 Silicon Dust HDHR tuners. I also have a single Hauppauge HD-PVR connected to a Rogers 3250 STB that I am playing with.
- in terms of complexity, I went with the approach that it is moderately difficult to difficult to setup and maintain, but for 'users' i.e. people watching TV, it is simple and easy to use (my wife and daughter don't have any issues using it) for it's intended purpose.
- I have one master backend in the basement with all tuners attached, and a 1.5TB NAS storage unit, and 3 frontends (2 Zotac ION hand built boxes, and one Acer Aspire Revo which is essentially identical to the Zotac's in terms of hardware), all frontends have local disk (2.5 inch laptop drives) and are all silent or nearly so. The Revo I can only hear if I put my ear closer than 1 foot. All of this is running on a wired GigE network.
 

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I use single box solution - Win 7 32-bit, on an AMD-based (quiet!) HTPC that sits under my TV in the living room. 1.5TB storage, and acts as server for rest of computers in the house. I use an ATI Theater HD 750 tuner card (PCIE), tuning NTSC analog cable and some QAM channels. My cable provider is Easlink.

Previously I was a Hauppauge fan (HVR-1600) and used that for a few years with an STB/IR-blaster configuration. Performance was good, but when I switched to using the Analog Cable tuner in the HVR-1600, I suffered really bad interference on most channels.

The ATI HD 750 analog tuner doesn't have that interference, AND can tune both Analog and QAM channels from the same cable (the HVR-1600, 1800 and 1850 all require two separate cables). Plus it's TINY!

Overall, setup and maintaining an HTPC is not simple, but once it's working, then 7MC is great. Just a shame about the WTV format... but that's another discussion.
 

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I use Vista 32-bit w/ WMC on my main TV and will switch to Windows 7 64-bit w/ WMC shortly (which I use currently on my laptop). I use a nVidia DualTV PCI dual NTSC tuner card and a Hauppauge 950Q USB tuner with the bundled antenna. I am currently in the process of building a jed GH10 rev2 antenna and have a DViCO FusionHDTV7 Dual Express PCIe dual ATSC tuner card in shipping.

On simplicity, I agree with others here; the setup can be difficult but general use is easy. I setup my main TV over 3 years ago and have not had to modify it since while my wife and friends/family are able to use it no problem for live/recorded TV, ripped versions of all our DVD/Bluray/HDDVDs through MediaBrowser, weather/sports updates and emulation console gaming through emuCenter with XBox 360 controllers.

I expect that I will go through some pains when doing my new install soon with both ATSC and NTSC tuners in Canada but am confident that once setup it will work as smoothly as Vista as been.
 

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- HTPC 2.0 Dual G5 Power Mac
- HTPC PVR Eye Tv 200 connected to a Fibe TV console
- Storage 2TB Raid 1 drive connected via USB to an AEBS on a GigE home run network
-XMBC for recorded movie and TV playback

Using the AEBS and the USB attached storage allows for all other Mac computers in the house to connect to and use the media without a server.
 

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I have a Win 7 64 bit computer in my basement. i7 CPU, 8 TB of hard drives, 2 dual tuners (Hauppauge 1800's). OTA HD ($45) antenna using Nears hack to bring HD channels and TV guide into Media Center. HDMI cable splits 25 foot audio/video from HTPC to upstairs TV (with an IR repeater extension) and to home theatre Optomo HD200 1080P projector and local monitor. In-wall/ceiling speakers and 12" sub-woofer for sound. Media Center PC (always on) stores all home data, pictures, music, movies and backups all media drives. Home has 5 Linksys 2100 extenders and 2 XBOX's 4G's that can also be used as extenders. Issue: extenders don't play HD Bluray rips (but are OK with HDTV .wtv recordings).

Want cablecard, won't buy HD Cable box + Hauppauge HD-PVR (too bulky/wasted space/complicated), compared to OTA HD recordings that are perfect and free. Will wait or die (whichever comes first) to buy a PC cable tuner (e.g. cablecard) or more OTA HD transmission comes.
 

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Intel i5-750 based computer...

- Hauppauge HVR-1250
- Hauppauge HVR-2250
- OS: Windows 7 Home, 64-bit
- Software: Windows Media Centre
- 2.5 TB of storage

Thoughts: Initially a learning curve like anything. But once setup they are dead simple. My girlfriend records all her shows, watches them when I'm not there, deletes them when done, etc. etc.... Plus I use WMC for all my music now (previously used PS3 as a media player)

For people with a PS3 and using WMC for their PVR solution, the PS3 will stream the *.wtv files. It's not perfect but works fine over a 54 MBit router. Would likely be better if I had a gigabit router (as both the PS3 and my computer support it).

I would build HTPCs for friends if they wanted, easy enough and simple to use...
 
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