Several months ago I tried Verizon's FIOS which had access to the DVR from any television. After 2 weeks I switched back to Comcast and am now wondering if I can use my PC and keep it in my home office as my DVR (as well as making it into a HTPC). Verizon had an ethernet controller that their coax cable went into. Is this easy to set up on my own? What kind of hardware would I need? Can I do this without having to move the PC to where my tv/receiver is?
You don't know it but you just asked one of the most complicated questions about PCs.
First off Vorizons set up is proprietary and I haven't heard of anything that easy to set up and use.
Second question what you need on your PC depends on what your trying to record. A PVR-150 is great for recording analog cable and it can be used along with an IR blaster to record a S-video signal from your digital cable box but you wont be able to use the cable box while your recording. ATSC or QAM tuners are overrated because most of the premium station are encrypted unless all you watch is free TV.
Next question can this be done without moving the PC away from my TV. Short answer yes but it's going to cost you. The cheap solution is a hacked xbox that can stream video from your windows shares or a media mvp with your computer running GBPVR. A more expensive is Windows MCE used with Windows MCE externder.
I prefer free programs such as GBPVR or Media Portal because they are more expandable and customizable. There are other standalone solutions such as beyondTV or sageTV which I don't use but could save your some time in exchange for more money.
Recently since zap2it stopped service though you have to pay $20 a year for TV listings from schedules direct so it's not completely free anymore.
ORB can stream TV to any web browser or UPNP server such as xbox 360 ect. GBPVR is kinda plain but it has commercial skipping and a web server for streaming locally (The more advanced stuff takes some work but the basics are there).
Media Portal looks the prettiest with the Project Mayhem skin but the program takes some work to get it working right. Orb is a cool web app but has high PC requirements and doesnt work with remotes and stuff. As a plus it has free tv listings.
Anyone else have any other apps please feel free to add to this. I suggest buy a tuner like a PVR-150 that works with just about anything then try out some of the programs till your find one you like then buy hardware that works with that program. I suggest GBPVR as a good well rounded start. I have yet to find a turn key setup that can stream to your whole house with a PC that doesn't cost a fortune or take alot of time to set up.
Thank you so much for that answer! I was hoping it would be easier than that. Since I am using Comcast's DVR is there a way I could use my PC just for my DVD's and then watch them on the TV in the room downstairs from where the computer is? I guess I would still have to be in the room with the computer to brows the DVD library, etc. Oh well...
Well in the US streaming DVD's illegal since you have to break the encryption to do so. The only system I know that does that is out of the box is kaleidescope which rich people buy and costs a fortune. Now if you decrypt your dvd to your hard drive with dvd-shrink or dvd decrpytor then you could stream it with an xbox hacked with xbmc. Most people just transcode them to divx before they stream them. In which case you would use dvd decryptor select only the movie part of the dvd and decrypt it then compress it to divx or xvid using auto gordian knot. Whatever way you do it, it's still illegal. With this you could stream it to a media mvp with gbpvr or xbox 360 (not hacked) with orb. It's cheaper to just buy a dvd player and put it next to every dvd player. If someone has a better way I'm all ears.