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Turn your PC into home theater computer server

By tipstir · 156 replies
Sep 23, 2007
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  1. In this thread you can ask away anything questions you have about turning you PC into HTPC (Home Theatre Computer). You can also go one step more and not only be able to record but to send the media to your TV using a network streaming media device.

    Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 Analog Tuner PCI Card
    Supports RF (Coax) S-Video, Composite Video, 1/8 mini stereo Y connector. for audo. There is also 45 button remote adapter connector.

    With this I can record anything off my analog cable line-up.
    With one tuner you can record 1 program/tv show
    Just have to run a 2-way splitter from your coax line back to your PVR-150.

    One Tuner is okay, but you really need to start off with 2 tuners cards or you can get the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500 it's like two PVR-150 PCI cards in one. At the time that card wasn't available so I just kept getting more PVR-150 cards for a total 4.

    This way I can record up to 4 different cable tv programs/shows at the same time.

    Show here is the HTPC I've built for this purpose:

    Maxtor Ultra ATA 60GB for Windows XP Media Center 2005 SP2 OS/Programs
    SAGETV MediaCenter Server
    Maxtor PATA 300GB HDD for Recording
    Maxtor Ultra ATA 200GB HDD for Archiving Recorded Media
    4 Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 PCI Cards
    Womble MPEG-VCR to remove Commericals from recorded media

    Inside the Case

    Rear of the case
  2. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Stream Recorded Media to your TV

    To playback the media onto the TV I use Hauppauge Media MVP which looks like this:

    Wired MediaMVP

    Default TV Screen

    Re-design TV Screen

    I have more here: http://hosted.filefront.com/tipstir

    Looks like this on LCD SD/HDTV

    Main Menu on 4:3 LCD/SD/HDTV (Black Raptor Skin)

    Videos (Recordings)

    OSD (Recorded TV)
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    When you buy Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 or 500 Tuners you get free recording software called WinTV2000. It's okay but you'll want better. There are couple of free ones they're okay and the ones you pay for. I've been using SAGETV and find its does the job which is to record my tv shows local and cable stations. To me this sure beats using a VCR and yes you can also use your digital cable DVR box still. Since most of dual tuners 120GB to 160GB SATA HDD in there. But you'll limited to two tuners one to watch and one to record. If you record on both tuners you won't be able to watch cable. I figured out you need to add 2-way splitter and attach another coax line directly to your SD/HDTV to watch your channels. Still your tv will be the 3rd tuner.

    On the PC side you can watch and record using SAGETV on your PC. Pause, Rew, FF your Live TV broadcase as well. On SAGETV and the rest of the PVR software out there can allow you to bring those features to your MediaMVP. SAGETV charges you for license for each MediaMVP you have attached to your network. The other free software doesn't charge you. I decided to use the software that comes with MediaMVP but change the look and feel of it as shown in post #2.

    I've been at this since 2004, it's fun to do, but once you get it all up and running you can become your own Media Streaming System Administrator in your dwelling. Now only recorded media anything from MPEG2, AVI, Divx/Xvid can be playback on to your TV. View Photos from My Pictures, Listen to internet Radio from Shoutcast anywhere in your dwelling. Up to 24 TVs with 24 Wired MediaMVP and 4 Wireless MediaMVP can be used on one network.
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    WinTV-PVR 150 and MCE version What's the difference?

    WinTV PVR-150
    This is the one I use...
    RF Coax for TV ANT or CATV
    Composite Video
    Stereo Audio using 1/8 Y RCA L/R adapter

    Same as above except it has FM and RCA L/R Stereo Connections

    If you hook your PC directly to TV using your Video Card S-Video out and your sound card audio out to your TV RCA Left/Right using 1/8 Y Stereo RCA L/R Adapter is another to watch your DVDs.
  5. gavilan

    gavilan TS Rookie Posts: 62

    Very nice setup you have there :D

    Do you know if there is there a version of the MediaMVP that can connect to HDTVs?
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Thanks.. Yes it's coming out soon and it will support Component Video as well as HDMI. I am looking forward for that myself..
  7. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Tipstir (or anyone else i suppose);
    I was thinking of the Haupauge WinTV HVR3000 to go in to my new HTPC build. Am also thinking of running XP Media Center 2005 on it too, instead the appropriate Vista alternative.
    Any thoughts on this? Can't see any info that says the HVR3000 is fully supportive of and by XP MCE 2005 (some others do).
    I also wonder if its worth looking at normal XP and using Media Portal instead. But whatever i use i want to take full advantage of a remote control and possibly a wireless media centre keyboard, so they all need to be compatible.
    Your advice is appreciated, thanks :)
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Media Center has MHN support for media devices streamed over the network XP Pro doesn't have that feature.

    I have one set setup using wireless keyboard and laser mouse from logitech connect to PC running MCE 2005 to HDTV. If setup correctly you can use the mouse or use the Hauppauge 45-button remote instead of the mouse.

    Note: Make sure you have enough cooling fans in the system since these Hauppauge do tend to get very hot when they start to do heavy duty in recordings. They won't crash just they get hot and the case should be kept cool. If you decide to get more than one card look at bearless turbo fans last longer.
  9. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Thanks dude. I will only be wanting the one card, as long as i get a dual tuner one, like the HVR3000. Am looking forward to starting this project. But i have a date with Mickey Mouse on wednesday.....when i fly out to Disney for 2 weeks.......woohoooo! So will start looking into it again after that.

    I don't wanna close this thread though as i need all the info/advice i can get, so please feel free to continue posting your HTPC stuff in here. I'll still be asking questions.
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    This is a sticky it won't be close, so it will be always open..
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    New! MCE 2007 Skin Theme for Media MVP


    This a design I've come up with for those of you who use the Media MVP connected to your SDTV 4x3 mode or HDTV 16x9 mode.


    There is a small emulator that displays this on the PC side is what I use to take the screen shots with.

    Can be downloaded from here:

    1. Download
    2. Then run the installer
    3. That's it and you can start using the MCE 2007 skin theme on MVP.

    More images on the Gallery
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    helius version of Media MVP off Ebay

    $41 to $43 plus shipping - I had bid on two of these I got them this week..

    You get all what you see below.


    rear with RF coax

    I did try the RF coax to a 13" Color TV and it work great the PQ was very good. Normally you don't get RF coax as the retail Media MVP doesn't have that feature. This was made for the helius company only.

    bottom showing the firmware
  13. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    New Blog - for Tipstir!

    I've put together a blog it will have all my media creations and all the network tweaks for wired/wireless and trouble shooting technics to help your network along better...

  14. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112


    Removed by tipstir
  15. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

  16. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Running Network Streaming Media Music Server

    I've been testing a few and found this one works the best... Plus it's for free and easy to setup with security! I run a web server with internal web page and have all PCs both wired and wireless able to access number of sites and maintain the Network through Router, Wireless Access Points and Wireless Drop Bridge. I've added Vibestreamer works nice.

  17. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Running Network Streaming Recorded Media Server

    For streaming recorded media from your cable tuner you can use VLC with any media web server like the free one from SageTV WebServer works great too. But SageTV is required to use. I can access that off my network to view all recorded media off the SageTV Server/Recorder. VLC can work the same way without SAGETV but if you have it works out great!

  18. Myzz617

    Myzz617 TS Maniac Posts: 369

    Wow...so this is turning ur pc into tivo basically right???

    I am building a gaming rig...but after looking @ this thread...i woud be happy if a simple how to type doc was put together for rookies lol

    Someone like my father would be amazed by this stuff :D
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    How does this work

    I write reviews on hardware and software.. This should help you out..

    My review on Hauppuage PVR-150 Tuner Cards (lots to read plus show how)

    My review on Hauppauge MediaMVP

    Really it's not that hard to do..

    You can buy one from already built or build it yourself ( rather this way)
    Need basically 3 Tuner Cards (CATV Analog or CATV Digital or SATV)
    3-way Coax Splitter
    3x R6 Ultra Coax Cable 6 ft
    PC should be 2GHz as the min
    PC should have 1GB of DDR or better RAM
    PC should have 320GB or (500GB or 1TB if you like to record and don't delete you recordings)
    PC should have a Video Card that supports S-Video, DVI or HDMI
    PC should have a Sound Card that supports Analog, Digital Coax/Toshilink
    PC should have wireless keyboard and laser mouse or remote control
    PC monitor should have either 16x9 HD 1440x900 or better

    You can start off simple and move up... When I did this back in 2004 there were a lot of rebates so adding more tuner cards were easy. I also stream the media down to the TV from the PC. Using Hauppauge MediaMVP boxes.

    Now to really get into this you'll need software..

    PVR - free ?


    PVR - pay for.. (SageTV) You're better off with the one you pay for, the free ones can be a bit of a pain in the neck to deal with or CTPVR is good.



    If you need help just post it here...
  20. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Radio Shack 15-2146 Universal Remote Control

    Voice Prompt Universal Remote from Radio Shack by UEI

    Backlight Off

    Backlight On

    I've tried two different remotes one from URC group and now with UEI for Radio Shack for only $14.97. What you get for your $14.97 is a backlight, 58-button remote, learning mode with macro buttons, auto search code lookup, manual pre-program codes, 6-in-1 devices: AUX, DVD, CBL/SAT, TV, VCR, AUD and a female voice prompt which walks you through each step. Now when it comes to computerize voice devices I must have it! But this one caught my eye as I was in the market for some sort of universal remote to replace my 5 remotes in two rooms and 3 or 4 in the other rooms in my house.

    I had purchased the above after doing a lot of research after trying out 3 URC-R6 series (crappy) then moving on to the Logitech Harmony 659 $100 bucks for that one ouch! :eek: I never open that one up and it will be going back later this week.. Voice Prompt Universal Remote was easy to setup and program. To use the learning mode was so easy a child could do it. Okay in this case it's me.. ;D

    Just press and hold setup then when you here the voice then press the [5] then press [1] and the device key you want say in this case [Aux]. Make sure the old remote you had is lined-up going head to head with this remote. Press the button voice remote you want to use let's say [power] then wait for the LED to flash, now press/hold the [power] on the older remote until the female voice says "Success!" Now try out the button and see that it works. Well so far it works.. The voice prompt even checks with you to see if everything is a.o.k :thumbup:

    I must say after getting my Trutech PLV1615T U - 15" Thin LCD SD/HDTV to work with this remote was so easy after I had use the learning feature and some macros. Hauppauge MediaMVP was another one to deal with. Got it working and it’s much better than the 45-button remote I had use from Hauppauge. With the URC brand it worked then forgot the codes. UEI worked like it was suppose too.

    UEI - M780 Digital Cable DVR Universal Remote

    I also have Motorola DCT 6200 SD/HDTV Single Turner but that uses UEI Digital Cable HD M780 universal remote so since I already have UEI Voice Prompt remote shouldn't work? Yes it does! Just had to learn it PVR Menu and M1 which I are the macros for On demand and DVR List. Everything else works like a charm!

    Since all my test on this remote worked so good. I also tried out my Motorola DCT 6412 and DCT 6416 and both worked. Yesterday I drove myself to two different Radio Shack stores and picked up 4 more 15-2146 for a total of five! Hey they work so good I'll do the entire house with them.

    UEI - Female Voice Prompt Universal Remote for Radio Shack

    There is a review on this remote by me here: http://www.epinions.com/content_406503722628


    Network Media Streaming
    5x Hauppauge Media MVP - use learning mode with macros...
    2x Helius Media MVP - use learning mode with macros...

    Dolby Digital/DST Surround Sound Recievers (default) AUD is setup for Pioneer - use learning on 3 macros
    1x Pioneer VSX 608D
    1x Pioneer VSX 509S
    1x Pioneer VSX 490

    DVD/Recorders - pre-codes and learning mode macros
    1x LiteOn DVD/DVD Recorder LW-5101
    1x Toshiba DVD 5-DISC
    1x Philip Divx DVD/Player

    Digital Cable Boxes with or without SD/HDTV and DVR - used pre-codes and learning for two macros
    1x Motorola DCT 2000
    1x Motorola DCT 6200
    1x Motorola DCT 6412
    1x Motorola DCT 6416

    1x Trutech PLV1615T U - 15" Thin LCD TV - learning mode and macros
    1x Daewoo 13" TV - pre-code
    1x Quasar 13" TV/Combo - pre code
    1x Panasonic 36" TV -pre code
    1x Pansonic 27" TV - pre code
  21. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    Major Changes in this Release v1.10 HSagetV Skin for MVP

    Important Note: This is for Hauppuage Software Server and for those who use this software with SageTV instead of the SageTv MVP Client.

    What's New!

    I've re-coded the code so you can see the following changes.
    Change the format of the Main Menu to what you see below:
    Changed the order of selection to: SageTV Recordings, Music, Radio Photo.
    Setup which will open the correct menu per your selection.
    No more jumping around the menus. That's been fixed now.


    1. SageTV Recordings
    2. Music
    3. Radio
    4. Photo
    5. Setup

    Note: For now on all new skins themes will start off with SageTV Recordings (all others will have Videos, Music, Radio, Photo, Setup in that order). This theme has active menus as black text instead of white so you can read what you have selected. Thats for this theme right now. Everything else will follow this format.

    Next version 1.15 will have Photo instead Pictures labeled when you select Photo. Setup will have all menu active text in black. Right now you have some that are. I am still working on it but you can use this theme right now as-is...

    Direct download for v1.10 here:

    Below was taken from the next v1.15 not released yet...

    StageTV Recordings




    Still working on Photo and Setup....
  22. Myzz617

    Myzz617 TS Maniac Posts: 369

    Alright. thanks tipstir...thats enough to keep me busy 4 a while since my game rig is not built yet..Will make a check list and add the additional accessories after my build...as for the monitor i have 2 Hp 1740's. Should I up grade to a HD LCD? If so any recommendations?
  23. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    No you should be okay.. Are you planning on recording and watching recorded media on the PC or on the TV? The way I have it setup I can watch all recorded tv shows on the PC, TV or stream the media onto wireless laptops or wired desktop too. Most users just hook the PC to the TV. Some leave the PC in a closet and just use it a media recorder server. Remote into the box to check on things if needed. That's pretty much how I do it also.
  24. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    v1.15 Released!

    Direct download here!

    StageTV Recordings

    What's New!
    16x9 Support Added to skin mods
    Changed OSD to match the theme, this is my style as you'll soon see.

    Note: I've added support to 16x9 skin ratio.. Don't worry if you have 4:3 it will still display the skin like normal
    If you got 16x9 turn on. With 16x9 SD/HDTV Widescreen you might see the image wider? Still working on that idea!
    My goal is to get more images for Pictures and more rows for Videos instead of 6 down say 12 down. Right now it's just 6.

    STill have to work on Photo and Configure but it works..
  25. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 2,426   +112

    HD Streaming Router WZR2-G300N Replacement

    Well as you know I have 7 Media MVP well the other day this week my router started to drop packets so that now meant time to find another router. So I decided to stick with the trusted Buffalo Routers, but to stay in line with the norm, I did get a N wireless router.


    They have this labeled as a speed demon, well they aint kidding... I just ran some WAN to LAN test on www.speedtest.net and I got these results...

    try #1.


    try #2.


    Also prior loading times with the MVP took forever with my 8MB of RAM 4MB Flash wired router. Now this new N has 16MB and 4MB of Flash, but it has high speed features for HD streaming and wireless up to 300Mpbs.. With the 54G mode I get 125Mbp. But you got to use their network devices to get those results though. Now all media is loads faster. I use to wait for 353 pages with 6 lines per page per TV screen to show Music files. Now it 1, 2, 3 it on the screen. Everything looks quicker. Those 3 ANTs with my two Buffalo WHR-54G-HP Access Points makes the place wireless at strong excellent rating..

    I'll write a full review on post it on www.epinions.com later after all testing.. So far so good. I had to make some changes on my infrastructure. The old way with the NICs are gone the new way with the NICs is here to stay. So if you have some network streaming problems you might want to try out the popular WZR2-G300N.

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