I recently built a new gaming PC and want to turn my old PC into a DVR. My Tivo died a while ago after a lightning strike, and I don't like the DVR the cable company is providing.
PC is fairly decent, PENT 4 with 1G RAM and 100G+ HDD, AGP video, plenty of PCI room.
What do I need to buy to convert it to a good DVR? I see the PCI tuner cards discussed and looked them up on Newegg.
Do I need to step up to MCE, or can I stick with XP?
I am looking for dual tuner support, probably not digital or HD programming as I think these are only available with the decoder box from my cable company.
A good remote is almost a necessity. My Tivo remote was great, the cable DVR remote is bad.
I use the Saber2020, 2 tuners with the best resolution in the price range. It comes with software, but not a remote. I got a remote with the case I used, but found the Logitech DiNovo Edge keyboard to be a much better solution (though incredbibly expensive for a keyboard). You can buy iMon remotes as a separate item, with software. You'll find that most hardware is optimized for use with MCE, which is what I use in place of either the iMon software, or the Saber s/w. There's also third party software, such as BeyondTV, Sage TV, and Myth TV, but some of it can be a real hassle to deal with, esp. drivers.
I use a Sapphire Theatrix, virtually identical to this card from ATI. It has worked well for me and has a good picture. However, if you want dual tuner capability, you will need two of them. Alternatively, you could look for a Hauppauge PVR-500. It's a dual tuner card and I've heard lots of good things about Hauppauge's hardware mpeg2 cards. You'll pay about twice as much for that card as for a single tuner card, however.
As far as software goes, I use GBPVR. It's free and works for everything I want to do with it. A lot of others use linux and MythTV.