Thinking of using my computer as an HD DVR. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mick Wright, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Mick Wright

    Mick Wright Second Unit

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    Like the title says, I'm thinking of turning my computer into a high definition dvr. I must have some HD signals to watch on my new tv, but I can't justify paying the exorbitant cable fees. I rarely watch tv without time shifting though, so the HTPC looks to be my best option. Here are my questions (sorry there are so many):

    1. Is there any way I can test my ability to receive HD signals before proceeding? According to www.antennaweb.org the HD stations I'm capable of receiving require a "red" type antenna. I'm approximately 18-22 miles W of each station, but I live in a first floor apartment (of a three level complex) on the end opposite the signal. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a very good signal. If I can, I'd like to use a set top antenna, but I'll probably need one with an amplifier (I think). Any recommendations on antennas to suit my needs?

    2. What other equipment will I need for my computer? I assume a video card with DVI and/or component outputs and a sound card with spdif output. I may also add a large hard drive (160 gig) for long term storage (since archiving is not possible at this time.

    3. Will I need any software to tune signals and operate the DVR? I assume the answer to this is yes.

    4. Can I archive standard definition programs with my dvd burner?

    Couple of other things: my pc has an AMD 3 gig processor, and will have to also be used as my main computer.

    I appreciate any advice given.
     
  2. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  3. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    You don't just need a graphics card, you need a HDTV tuner card, that will allow you to receive the signals from an antenna and display them on your monitor (via your graphics card) and store them on your harddisk.

    For indoor antennas, Radio Shack has one for about $50 that is generally considered pretty good. And if it doesn't work out for you, you can return it.

    In any case, no HDTV tuner (standalone or as a PC component), no viewing high-def television.

    -Christian
     
  4. Mick Wright

    Mick Wright Second Unit

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    Thanks for the info guys. I have a better understanding of what I need now.
     
  5. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    I have a regular DVR PC at home. I am running Gentoo Linux and MythTV. I like the Gentoo version since it is easy to install programs. You don't have to worry about what program needs what. It does it for you. As for MythTV, it has a bunch of plug-ins. You can have movies/music/web etc. Also, you can set up recordings via the web interface. Gentoo does take some time to install, but the doc's is good. Here are some links for you.

    Gentoo
    MythTV
    HOW-TO for Gentoo
     
  6. Mick Wright

    Mick Wright Second Unit

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    Thanks Jeff.
     

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