Thinking of building a HTPC/PVR, need some advice.

By vnf4ultra
Sep 29, 2006
  1. Ok, so I'm thinking of converting one of my pcs into a htpc/pvr and have some questions that I hope some of you here can help me with.

    First off, the system is a:
    Athlon 64 @ 2.4ghz
    1GB ram
    80GB hard drive
    Dvd burner

    I have many questions, first, since almost all video tuner cards are software decoding based, will this system be enough to record hdtv(720p/1080i) while watching a show? A guy I know said to do that I'd need a dual core cpu(preferably intel), and he said that athlons aren't good for video decoding/encoding, is this true?

    Also, I am trying to find a good pci or pci-e x1 tuner card. I want to get both ntsc and atsc over the air (OTA) broadcasts. I also want it to have a remote, and I really want the card and remote to work with myth tv (unless someone knows of a better htpc/pvr software). I was looking at the kworld atsc_110 at newegg, it has bad reviews on xp mce, but seems to be good for myth. Any suggestions on a tuner card, or if the kworld will work for me?

    If my hardware is ok, I guess I'd just need a tuner, and maybe a larger hard drive.

    If anyone has suggestions or more information, please post, it'd be appreciated.

    I probably have just as many questions on setting myth tv up, but this is the hardware section, and I guess I'll ask those questions once I decide on the hardware required.

  2. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Plenty... except for the HD you'll need 160GB as a min. I use 300GB Maxtor PATA 16MB Cache.

    I've built a AMD 64 for this purpose also... (I have pictures of this here on techspot gallery)

    This is what I use for a tuner card: I have purchased 4 of them. You can record up to 4 different cable channels or watch and pause live tv. If you want to do more goto (there you will find free pvr software.

    I also use the MVP connected from the HTPC over the network to stream video and audio to the tv in the living room. I also have 4 of these for each room that has a tv. To playback MPEG2 video, watch Live tv (also pause it, ff/rw it too.) Can listen to Shoutcast Radio, playback MP3 music, look you your my documents/my pictures folder on your tv. This can also be done on your PC. You'll need the GBPVR software to stream the video to the TV using MVP. If you don't want that you can use your PC instead. This PVR-150 also comes with WinTV2000 software which you can record or better yet dub video from your old VCR to your PC to make MPEG2 and then transcode into a DVD.





    MPEG record specifications:

    MPEG2 record datarates:
    2MBit/sec, 4MBit/sec, 6Mbit/sec, 8Mbit/sec, 12Mbit/sec.
    Selections for DVD Standard play (8MBitsec), DVD Long Play (4MBit/sec) and DVD Extra Long Play (2.5MBit/sec)

    NTSC format* at 29.97fps: Full D1: 720x480, MPEG1: 352x240

    PAL format* at 25fps: Full D1: 720x576, MPEG1: 352x288

    Audio capture formats: 32/44.1/48 KHz, 16bit stereo, 192/224/384Kbits/sec

    Video digitizer: 10 bits
    Chroma sampling: YUV 4:2:2
    Four line adaptive comb filter for both NTSC and PAL to remove dot crawl
    Fast video locking for security camera applications
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    This is what you would see on your tv when using MVP

  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Here is something I've re-designed called H-MVP from MVP linux xml images for GBPVR which is a sample of what you would see with GBPVR software on your TV or PC.


  5. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Thanks for the information tipster.

    I have another question, will my pvr require internet access?
    Ideally, I'd like to not have to use the internet if possible.

    Does hauppauge make any pci atsc tuners? I can't seem to find any.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    The Hauppage 150-500 cards won't do hdtv, but they are hardware encoders rather than software. So you don't need anything over 700Mhz or so if you just wanted to record.

    I'm fighting with mythtv right now on a suse system (A64 2800+, PVR-250, 1Gig RAM) not having much luck even getting into mythtv, having problems with mysql database (it doesn't exist in /usr/share/mythtv/database/mc.sql) and google doesn't help. Havent gotten around to asking on a suse or myth board.

    Anyway back to your topic - you really do need internet access so it can download tv listings.

    I don't know what atsc is so I can't answer that part.
  7. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Atsc is tv that's broadcasted over the air (antenna reception) that is digital and may or may not be in high definition.

    I was thinking it might not need internet, since over the air atsc broadcasts a program guide already.
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    I would recommend at lease 1.0 GHZ PC... I've tried it PIII 500 MHz, PIII 900 MHz they were okay but you couldn' t watch Live TV. So I did build a P4 2.6GHz the gone with AMD 64 2.0GHz.

    As to the Picture Quality, I used to use PCTV that was software base MPEG recording the picture was awful. That card used the CPU of the PC to record MPEG even using WinDVD Recorder software the picture was still grainy.

    PVR-150 has the Hardware Encoder Chip, DBX Sound 125 channels. Not HDTV you'll need the PVR-card that handles that. You can use Digital Cable box with Serial port 9-pin and connect that to your PC to record all the Digital Cable channels onto your PVR-150. The PVR-150 MCE uses analog RCA jacks for video: 5-pin s-video and analog video (yellow) and true left and right audio (white/red).

    ATSAC what's the connection for that? I
  9. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Atsc is just like regular over the air broadcasts(except digital), in that it uses the same antennas and the same cable (coax). It's the same cable you'd get with standard or digital cable and has a "f" (I think that's the name)connector terminal.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Yes I use same...

    2 Digital Cable Box uses both RF and Video
    I also have 2 HDTV Digital Cable Box with DVR and HDMI
    With the PVR-150 you can use software called grider and serial 9-pin cable that goes to the PC to control the Digital cable box to pickup record and view those digital channels via S-video/analog video to PVR-150. It works.
  11. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Well, I got a HD tuner now. I went with the avermedia MCE A180 ATSC tuner. It works in windows xp now, but it seems like it might be very difficult to get ubuntu to work with myth tv and the card properly. Maybe I'll try Mythdora(fedora) or Knoppmyth. I'm a little dissapointed with my digital reception, I tried with a indoor antenna and only got 3 channels, hopefully I find more. According to titantv, I should have at least 15 or so in my area.
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    I'm now using Vista RC1's media center with the card. It works nicely. I think I'll give up on linux, it's way too much configuration for me.
  13. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Now that I've got vista mce setup, I have some issues. First, one channel I'd really like to get, comes in fine, but has no audio. The weird thing is the same tuner/antenna get the station fine(with audio) in windows xp, so I'm guessing it's a vista bug or configuration error. Second, I know that another station is broadcasting on multiple subchannels(5), but I can only get the first station in either xp or vista. In vista it shows "perfect reception" for all five subchannels, but only shows the first when I try to watch tv, the other channels are "blank" even though titantv says programming should be on the channels. Any ideas on how to fix these issues? Also, does anyone know where vista stores it's channel configuration settings? I'd like to take a look to see if maybe a channel's data is incorrect, causing my problems.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...