Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)
> I'm interested in putting together a PVR (or should I say DVR?).
I have no idea whether we should call it PVR or DVR. I tend to call it
a DVR if it looks like an applicant (such as a TiVo). I tend to call
it a PVR if it is made from a conventional PC. This is just my way of
calling it. I don't know if this is right or not.
> 1. Reliably record TV programs to hard drive with the video quality as close
> to the same as how I would see it on live TV.
I use Beyond-TV software and a Hauppauge PVR-250 TV tuner and capture
card. The result is good in term of video quality. However, my TV
screen is not that great (25" 3 years old low end TV); in fact, the
recorded video "seems" to look better on my PC monitor. Therefore, I
am not a good judge in TV video quality.
> 2. Play back the recorded video on my TV (not just a computer monitor).
This works. I think this is a function of the video card in your PC.
If your video card has a TV-out port, you should be able to show video
on your TV screen. You can check this out now -- just the cost of the
My video card is supposed to display the same image in both my PC
monitor and my TV screen at the same time. But currently I can only
show the video in either the PC monitor or the TV screen one at a
time. I hope yours is better.
> 3. Skip commercials (either by using a remote with some sort of 'skip'
> button, or by having a program do it's best to strip them out).
Beyond-TV has a feature to scan the video and mark the commercials;
then you can skip them. But this has one shortcoming: This takes a lot
of CPU and disk-I/O to accomplish this. I just don't bother with this;
therefore, I turn off that feature. I find that using the remote
control to skip commericals is so fast and easy that I don't miss that
skip-commercials feature. All this takes is hit the fast-forward
button four times, and hit the fast-backward button once (or none) --
> 4. Have a remote control.
I use FireFly remote control that I bought together with Beyond-TV.
> I only have analog cable, not digitial. I own an old ATI ALL-IN-Wonder
> card, and it view's TV fine on my computer, but seems very unreliable when
> using the "Digital VCR" software piece to record.
Not sure. I am wondering if that ATI video card uses your CPU to
encode the video into MPEG format. That may be OK for very powerful
CPU. But that can be slow for low-end CPU. I use Hauppauge PVR-250
card to use hardware to encode the video into MPEG -- no problem and
very low CPU utilization.
> What hardware should I consider purchasing to accomplish the above? Will
> the hardware come with the necessary software?
As mentioned above, I use Beyond-TV software, Hauppauge PVR-250 TV
tuner and capture card, and a FlyFire remote control. I also need a
special serial cable from Beyond-TV to connect the PC with the DirecTV
RCA decoder. And I also need some S-video cables, audio cable ... etc.
Very recently, Microsoft introduced their Windows Media Center 2005 OS
that you can use to upgrade the OS in your PC. You may also consider
that. There is one unique "feature" is that there are some devices
called Windows Media Extenders that will only work with PCs that have
Windows Media Center 2005. If you really like those Windows Media
Extenders, you have no choice but to get Windows Media Center 2005.
You still need to get a TV-tuner and capture card and a remote though.
I haven't used Windows Media Center 2005; therefore, I cannot tell you
how good/bad it is.