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CaptNKILL
11-19-06, 03:26 PM
My sister watches and records tons of shows on TV, and she's been using horrible VHS tapes for a long time. This year (for christmas) I want to set her up with a DVR configuration of some sort, but I don't really know anything about it.

My brother has a ATI Theater 550 PCI-E TV Tuner in his system and it seems to work really well for this kind of thing (using BeyondTV), but for my sister, I think a simpler setup that works directly through the TV would be better. She wouldn't have any problems using a PC based TV Tuner and recording setup, but it'd be a big mess hooking everything up through the TV and running cable all over the place.

I'm not really looking for anything fancy. We have standard (non-digital) cable, no HDTV and we already have a separate surround sound receiver and a DVD player, so we don't need any big combo setups.

I think the option to connect to a PC or network (wireless or wired) would be a plus too, in case anyone wanted to record something and keep it on a PC.

We'll only be using this on one TV for now, and the budget is very limited, so the lowest priced system with a decent amount of storage is pretty much required. Also, I think some (maybe just tivo?) require a subscription, and I really don't want to do that.

Links to good DVR related sites are welcome too.

Thanks guys. :)

This is going to be a big christmas for my family... lots of crap planned... :p

EDIT: I'm looking at prices and I'm getting kinda scared... I had no idea these things were this expensive. A decent tv tuner card only costs $30-$60, but these DVRs are almost all over $250. :o

a12ctic
11-19-06, 03:44 PM
get a tv tuner and set up mythtv for her, its nothing short of amazing, bassicly free tivo with more features if you set her up a HTPC

CaptNKILL
11-19-06, 03:48 PM
Yeah I'm looking at more prices and it seems like DVR isn't nearly as wide spread as I thought. There arent many options and the prices are pretty high.

TV Tuner cards on the other hand range from dirt cheap and decent quality to cheap and good quality...

I think I might get her one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814127987
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814129050

Since I know for sure that the Theater 550 Pro is a good chip.

And my brother already has the registered version of BeyondTV so we could probably get away with using that on her PC too. Its an excellent program.

EDIT: I was also looking at one of these... much cheaper, and the reviews look good, but I don't have any experience with the "Fusion 878A" chip.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814122221

I looked around a bit and I guess that Leadtek one is pretty good. Its cheap because they stripped out the "extras" like an FM Tuner (don't care about or need one of those) and the recording software (don't need that either).

Q
11-19-06, 04:31 PM
Windows Media Center, Windows Media Center, WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER!!!

I've owned three Theater Pro 550 based cards. In conjunction with MCE it is bliss, especially with a dedicated hard drive. Right now I'm running two of them. MCE does a great job all around. The quality is great and it does the best job of scheduling recordings and prioritizing them in the background.

I can record two shows while playing Oblivion. The shows don't get choppy or drop frames and Oblivion gets hit maybe 2-3fps. Its awesome.

I've used most of the major PVR software. I've used Beyond, Snapstream, ChrisTV, Meedio...eventually I decided to lay the cash down for MCE and its been worth every single penny. BeyondTV is OK, but its definitely not the best by any stretch of the imagination.

Thats a great price on both cards.

a12ctic
11-19-06, 04:41 PM
Windows Media Center, Windows Media Center, WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER!!!

I've owned three Theater Pro 550 based cards. In conjunction with MCE it is bliss, especially with a dedicated hard drive. Right now I'm running two of them. MCE does a great job all around. The quality is great and it does the best job of scheduling recordings and prioritizing them in the background.

I can record two shows while playing Oblivion. The shows don't get choppy or drop frames and Oblivion gets hit maybe 2-3fps. Its awesome.

I've used most of the major PVR software. I've used Beyond, Snapstream, ChrisTV, Meedio...eventually I decided to lay the cash down for MCE and its been worth every single penny. BeyondTV is OK, but its definitely not the best by any stretch of the imagination.

Thats a great price on both cards.
mythtv is the best period, even better than MCE, and its free.

mullet
11-20-06, 09:05 AM
Media Portal FTW, I have been using it on my 65" for over 2 years runs like a champ & yes its free.
http://www.team-mediaportal.com/
http://www.team-mediaportal.com/images/zoom/bluetwo/viewsize/snap002.jpg

CaptNKILL
11-28-06, 08:18 PM
Has anyone ever used one of these?
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16815123001

Trying to get any info about tv tuners is like pulling teeth. I'm half tempted to just get my sister a VCR cleaning kit and a big pack of VHS tapes.

I've been tearing my hair out every time I look this crap up for weeks. I have to decide on one, but there are no recent tv tuner reviews anywhere online, no active sites dedicated to tv tuners and no yahoo\google search results that arent from stores or customer review sites.

Can anyone please just recommend me a PCI tuner card that will give decent quality with minimal problems on an Athlon XP 2ghz system with a gig of ram.

:banghead:

I really don't even want to get one of these because she prefers watching things on TV and there isnt any easy way to get her PC connected to the tv.

I'm so confused.

How are DVD recorders? Do they work just like a VHS recorder?

:banghead:

:(

Q
11-28-06, 08:23 PM
mythtv is the best period, even better than MCE, and its free.

Wow, that looks really nice. I'd always heard of it, but never gave it a shot because of all the shoddy freeware TV apps for linux I'd tried before. Next time I set up a dual boot system I'll make sure to give it a try. I like the PIP support.

crainger
11-28-06, 09:20 PM
Yup. MythTV is probably the best. I don't use it as I have a dedicated HD PVR (Couldn't be bothered setting up a PVR capable HTPC), but my sisters boyfriend uses it and it works great.

Still MCE is great. I've seen a lot of Tuner Cards bundled with OEM MCE and a MCE wireless keyboard and remote.

Clay
11-28-06, 09:56 PM
How well do these homebrew setups work with satellite TV? I have Dish Network and always been under the impression that the tuner cards out there are intended for use with cable TV.

CaptNKILL
11-29-06, 06:23 AM
Yes they do, and they are reasonably priced if you just get the regular DVD+/-R recorders (with no HDD, burn to a DVD+/-R only). :)
Thanks, I'm sold. :)

I looked them up and there is a pretty decent one available at walmart for around $90 and people around the net are saying good things about it. I think that will be perfect. The media is much cheaper than VHS tapes and from what I can tell, it works exactly the same way except they never wear out.

I can't even describe how horrible some of the recordings are that my sister watches. They sound like the entire episode was recorded underwater and the picture is blurry as hell.

Digital recordings FTW. :D

CaptNKILL
11-30-06, 12:30 AM
Anyone know how long DVD+RW disks last or roughly how many times they can be rewritten with a DVD Recorder?

I'm trying to decide if itd be easier and more cost effective to go with a pack of 25 4x +RW disks for $21 or a pack of 100 16x +R disks for $26.

I'm leaning toward the +RW disks, but if they only last for 2 or 3 burns and begin to get unstable, then its not worth the risk of losing recordings.

I havent used any RW disks in over 5 years, and they were terrible back then.

CaptNKILL
12-06-06, 10:56 PM
Anyone know how long DVD+RW disks last or roughly how many times they can be rewritten with a DVD Recorder?

I'm trying to decide if itd be easier and more cost effective to go with a pack of 25 4x +RW disks for $21 or a pack of 100 16x +R disks for $26.

I'm leaning toward the +RW disks, but if they only last for 2 or 3 burns and begin to get unstable, then its not worth the risk of losing recordings.

I havent used any RW disks in over 5 years, and they were terrible back then.
Anyone?

I'm going to be buying the disks tonight or tomorrow night. I need some recommendations. :)

DVD+R or DVD+RW?

ynnek
12-06-06, 11:11 PM
If the main users are technically disinclined(or uncaring), I would consider getting a normal Tivo then.. I can get a box for free now, if you sign up for a subscription.. a 3 year subscription is at $13.95 a month is $455 for 3 years. Cheaper than it will cost you to make a decent DVR..

True, you will need to still need to pay if you use it more than 3 years.. But lets think.. how long will you *really* be using it for? If you made a home made DVR, how long do you think it will last? You think in 3 years they'll probably be moving up to digital cable, HDTV, etc, and will probably want a more capable DVR anyways?

Don't forget if its pc based, you have to maintain it.

I use an older version of BeyondTV.. It works, it has its quirks. Based on my experience, I don't have too much faith in the company snapstream itself. I'm waiting till I upgrade to digital cable to reconsider.. and unless cablecards and whatnot make a HUGE leap forward in performance and support, I'll probably just get Tivolike DVR unit...

My dream HTPC was going to be a digital cablecard HTPC with a quadcore CPU, the latest nvida vid card ,and a boatload of mem.. so that it can record stuff, share, and play all the latest games at the same time without a hitch.. However, cablecard seems to be stuck in a rut..