Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible to use a HTPC as a PVR? Right now I just have a 10 year old regular rabbit ear antenna for HD OTA reception (yes, the reception sucks as I only get 8 channels). I'm assuming I have to buy something for my computer to take a coaxial input.

Can the software PVR do what the Rogers PVR do such as watching the show while recording and pausing TV?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
It's a fairly open-ended question, without a few more details, the short answer is yes. The long answer can be found if you search for Windows Media Center or MythTV. I've been doing what you describe for over 6 years, for what it's worth. Oh, and my system is WAY better than a Rogers PVR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
Is it possible to use a HTPC as a PVR?
WinTV, SageTV, MythTV, GB-PVR, MediaPortal and Windows Media Center (I suggest you check them all out) will all do what you want. There's lots of existing threads on this topic.

Right now I just have a 10 year old regular rabbit ear antenna for HD OTA reception
I suggest you look at the OTA antenna design area. A Gray-Hoverman antenna can be built for almost nothing out of scrap house wiring, a few screws and washers and a piece of scrap wood. It will work better than rabbit ears.

I'm assuming I have to buy something for my computer to take a coaxial input.
A Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 or WinTV-HVR-2250 (I recommend the 2250) will do the job. (They include an OEM version of WinTV.) There are lots of other threads on tuners solutions.

Can the software PVR do what the Rogers PVR do such as watching the show while recording and pausing TV?
Definitely. Depending on the hardware, many shows can be recorded while watching recorded or live TV. I suggest you review some of the FAQs, sticky threads and existing threads on HTPCs and OTA. The search function is also very useful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
910 Posts
Comparing a computer based Media Center to a Rogers PVR box is an insult.

Windows Media Center and other front end solutions like Myth, Sage, GBPVR, Media Portal are made for OTA-HD. They work so good it's not even funny.

The recording can be watched over you network.

If you need to, you can archive the recordings as MPEG2 and then trim, or convert to any format like H264. You can't do it with cable PVR box.

If you have a TV with ATSC tuner, you can then watch TV and record 2 shows at the same time.

Yes, minimum dual ATSC tuner is a must IMHO, in case you wonder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
Is it possible to use a HTPC as a PVR? Right now I just have a 10 year old regular rabbit ear antenna for HD OTA reception (yes, the reception sucks as I only get 8 channels). I'm assuming I have to buy something for my computer to take a coaxial input.

Can the software PVR do what the Rogers PVR do such as watching the show while recording and pausing TV?

Thanks.
I have never used a cableco DVR, but the advantage of a HTPC system is massive storage (I have 4 TB of TV storage), multiple tuners (I have four), and the biggest advantages are that I can remove commercials, and every computer in the house can play the TV recordings as well as extenders (I have 5). No cableco PVR can match that. Plus, I can record OTA HD (using a $45 antenna mounted on the side on my house) and pay nothing for the signal and I understand the quality is better than HD cable. I can pause while watching live TV. With Windows 7, I use the included TV guide. The WAF using a HTPC PVR is very high.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,338 Posts
A PC based PVR is superior to what the cable companies offer in almost every way. The only downsides are higher upfront costs and a higher level of complexity for setup and ongoing maintenance. But if you are going OTA only then the overall cost will be much lower over the long run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Well, I have 7 tuners, 5 HD and 2 analog, I can watch recordings, movies, or listen to music anywhere in the house that I have a frontend, the player automatically skips commercials, I have 1.5TB of storage currently (infinitely expandable, limited only by money), the guide is customized to the only channels I am interested in, and goes out 12 days. And that's just off the top of my head. Rogers PVR can't touch any of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
Note: The following is for OTA and analog cable channels only. In order to receive HD cable channels from Rogers you must have a Rogers STB or PVR.

A PVR can be broken down into three main components: software, hardware & guide data.

ScaryBob gave a good list of the software options. Some run on Windows, others on Linux (there may even be OS X PVR software) and many are free. (There are also several Linux distributions, like Mythbuntu and LinHES, which are tuned to be a PVR.) Many offer functionality beyond recording TV as well. Note: some of the software, like MythTV, give ways to separate the viewing client from the recording server. Personally I have a MythTV backend recording server and watch the shows using my PS3.

Hardware requirements is a function of what you are capturing, what the software supports, and how you are playing back the recordings. HD broadcasts are sent as a compressed digital signal, so the software simply needs to write the bits to the disk - low CPU required. SD broadcasts are either compressed in software (CPU intensive, less common) or by hardware on the capture card. In either case the video must be decompressed for viewing which is either CPU intensive or requires a video card which has hardware decompression and is supported by the PVR software.

Finally, the guide data can either be provided by the PVR software vendor, from a third party vendor like SchedulesDirect, or from data embedded in the OTA signal (the quality of this data is very location dependent).
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top