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Convert Older PC to PVR

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 8, 2010 5:10:48 PM

Hi

I have an older PC - may be 3 years old. I want to use it to record and playback OTA HDTV. I want to play it back to an HDTV. My HDTV has a spare HDMI connection and a spare VGA connection.

I am thinking I will need a tv tuner card and a video card but that's it. PC runs XP but I could go to windows 7 I guess.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks
George

More about : convert older pvr

October 8, 2010 5:18:05 PM

You need windows 7 to run a HDPC. I have yet to find a decent HD tv tuner card. I know they exist but for my current cable box setup its not going so well finding one. I hear that Over-the-air HD is easier to capture then cable or satalite HD.
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October 8, 2010 5:21:29 PM

Thanks so I guess an upgrade to W7 is in order. All I want to receive is OTA HD - that's all I have plus netflix.

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October 8, 2010 6:39:44 PM

None of the hauppauge products seem to do what I want. Unless I am misinterpreting the specs. I just want to record and watch HD OTA on my HDTV.
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October 8, 2010 6:51:10 PM

You don't "need" Windows 7 to run an HTPC. If your current XP box also has Media Center, that will work just as well. If not, the TV Tuner card you get should also come with a program for Watching/Recording OTA TV. That said, however, I'd probably still recommend the upgrade to Windows 7.

The Hauppauge products will record OTA signals, so long as it has an ATSC tuner (as opposed to NTSC or Clear-QAM). I'd also recommend getting one with an MCE Remote Control (like one of these), depending on what type of expansion slot you have available.

-Wolf sends
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October 8, 2010 6:53:39 PM

I looked further into hauppauge, they removed a few products, on of which was for HD OTA like your looking to do. Turtle beach also does TV Tuner cards. I don't know if they do HD OTA.
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October 8, 2010 6:54:51 PM

Wolfshadw said:
You don't "need" Windows 7 to run an HTPC. If your current XP box also has Media Center, that will work just as well. If not, the TV Tuner card you get should also come with a program for Watching/Recording OTA TV. That said, however, I'd probably still recommend the upgrade to Windows 7.

The Hauppauge products will record OTA signals, so long as it has an ATSC tuner (as opposed to NTSC or Clear-QAM). I'd also recommend getting one with an MCE Remote Control (like one of these), depending on what type of expansion slot you have available.

-Wolf sends


He is looking to record HDTV, this does require Windows 7, it was part of the Media Center upgrade. Also, NTSC or Clear-QAM tuners will not require HDTV.
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October 8, 2010 7:02:24 PM

You don't need Windows 7, most the TV tuner cards come with software that will tune and record TV for you. What video card does your machine currently have in it? Do you have a PCI-E x16 slot or something else? What is your PSU wattage? You will probably need a new video card but it's hard to recommend one not knowing anything about what you have now.

And why do you not think the hauppauge products will do what you want? Seems like they do exactly what you are saying you want
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October 8, 2010 8:04:58 PM

I was expecting something with COAX (my OTA HD broadcast) in and HDMI Out - to the TV. Am I looking for the wrong thing ?

Thanks
George
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October 8, 2010 8:48:57 PM

OTA = over the air. It will not use the coax cable unless your cable goes up to an antenna. I think you are talking about the wrong thing.

OTA HD broadcasts get sent out much like the good ol' fashoned rabbit ear TV broadcasts. What an OTA tuner card for the PC will do is pull that signal down, decode it and play / record it for you using the software that comes with the card.

If what you want is to take the HD signal from your cable company, route it to the PC, process it, record it, whatver, you need something else, and I'm not sure there is a good product for that. Cable companies are encoding pretty much all the content they send out, and you either need a tuner card that supports a Cable Card, and your service provider needs to also offer a Cable Card, or you need to use the tuner that the cable company supplies.

You can probably use the cable box outputs to route to a video capture card though and record things that way.
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October 8, 2010 9:51:48 PM

All the Hauppauge TV Tuners I linked above have COAX inputs. Output is handled by your graphics card (HDMI out to your HDTV).

@Hang-the-9

Many newer (indoor) rabbit ear style TV antennas do come with a COAX (type F) connection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_connector

-Wolf sends
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October 8, 2010 10:18:39 PM

Wolfshadw said:
All the Hauppauge TV Tuners I linked above have COAX inputs. Output is handled by your graphics card (HDMI out to your HDTV).

@Hang-the-9

Many newer (indoor) rabbit ear style TV antennas do come with a COAX (type F) connection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_connector

-Wolf sends


I meant the card will not use the coax cable connection in his house already. He looks to have been talking about the cable in the house that gets the cable company signal.

I did say that the cable can go to an antenna, he just can't plug in his cable company cable and expect to get HD off that, and call it OTA. Wrong term for what he wants to do.
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October 14, 2010 4:17:38 PM

All I have is a COAX (I think, It looks a feels like a coax) from my antenna in the loft to the TV in the basement I get about 30 or so channels broadcast (is this different from OTA ?) It does look like the Hauppauge cards that wolf linked to will do the job or indeed the things that raymarv linked to but the downside there is that I won't be able to upgrade the storage. I'll open up the PC and see what slots I have available what vide card etc etc.

Thanks for all you input

George
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October 14, 2010 6:32:34 PM

lmp515k said:
All I have is a COAX (I think, It looks a feels like a coax) from my antenna in the loft to the TV in the basement I get about 30 or so channels broadcast (is this different from OTA ?) It does look like the Hauppauge cards that wolf linked to will do the job or indeed the things that raymarv linked to but the downside there is that I won't be able to upgrade the storage. I'll open up the PC and see what slots I have available what vide card etc etc.

Thanks for all you input

George


Antenna to the cable should work if you have a HD tuner card with that input.

I was thinking you had a coax going to your cable box which is what mose people have.
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Anonymous
November 2, 2010 6:06:03 PM

I'm running a HTPC with SageTV but any version of Windows Media Center willl work.

I highly recommend getting a Silicondust HDHomerun. It has 2 tuners in it so you'll need a splitter from your coax to support both which allows to record 2 channels simultaneously while watching a 3rd. (Don't laugh, with football games, it happens all the time.) You can hookup the HDhomerun to a LAN and watch TV on any PC, too. Don't have to open your PC at anytime.
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December 19, 2010 4:58:45 PM

I finally got the old desktop:

Manufacturer: Hewlett Packard
Product MPN
MPN RE474AA#ABA
Key Features
Processor AMD Athlon 64 2.2 GHz
Chipset NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE
Installed Memory 1 GB (DDR2 SDRAM)
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition
HDD Size 160 GB
Optical Drive Type DVD-ROM • DVD Burner • CD-ROM • CD Burner
Recommended Use Home theater Use
Processor
Processor Type AMD Athlon 64
Processor Speed 2.2 GHz
Processor Manufacturer AMD
Motherboard
Video Output Interface PCI Express
Memory
RAM Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Installed RAM 2 GB
Technical Features
Expansion Slots PCI Express x16 x 1 • PCI x 3
Hard Drive
Hard Drive Capacity 160 GB
Hard Drive Interface Serial ATA
CD / DVD
Optical Drive Type DVD-RW
2nd Optical Drive DVD±RW Dual Layer
Networking
Networking Type Integrated 10/100 Network Card


I want to watch and record TV at the same time I am thinking I need a tuner card input and a video card with an HDMI out ?
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December 21, 2010 7:00:42 PM

Yes, you need a tuner card (either PCI or ethernet) and a video card.

For the video card, I suggest you just get a cheap passive cooled HD5450 like this one.

For the tuner, the only dual tuner that will work for you is the ethernet based HDHomerun. If you go for a PCI tuner, you'll have to settle for a single tuner. What that means is you will only be able to tune into one channel at a time (that really sucks). You could opt to get multiple, single tuner PCI cards to fill your multiple PCI slots, but then you are paying as much as a single HDHomerun which is a dual tuner.

Here's something else you need to consider... Windows XP MC requires one of your tuners to be analog for some stupid reason. Vista and Win7 do not have this limitation. So, you need a tuner that has at least one analog tuner (HDHomerun does not have an analog tuner) if sticking with XP, or you need to upgrade to Win7. I personally have the HVR-1600 which has one digital and one analog tuner and works very good for OTA HD programming. But each tuner is a single tuner and that limits you.

My best advice to you is:

Go with the HD5450 video card, HDHomerun, and upgrade to Windows 7.
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