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HD Antenna to HTPC to HDTV?

Last response: in Home Theatre
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August 5, 2010 4:48:11 PM

I want to have an HTPC in the living room. I will also be installing an antenna to receieve HD signal OTA. My main questions are:

1) The HDTV we have does not have an HD receiver. As far as I know, a PC HD receiver is cheaper than the box top. Can I receive signals from the PC receiver to send it over to the TV?

2) If question 1 is good, what should I shoot for in an HTPC to do this? Cost/Specs?

3) What is the best software? I'm only aware of windows media center and would be looking for alternatives.

Thanks!
-K

More about : antenna htpc hdtv

August 5, 2010 5:31:47 PM

Do I need a special card or will any TV Tuner card be able to receive the digital signal from the antenna? Also, these cards don't have an HDMI output, should I get a card (all-in-wonder) that has an HDMI output?

I plan on building an HTPC, I want to receive HD over the air using my PC as the HD tuner/receiver and display it on my HDTV.
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August 5, 2010 5:35:43 PM

First of all- Welcome to Tom's shuusin

To answer your questions:

1) Yes, a PC HD tuner can pull in over-the-air digital channels and send them to your HDTV. If your TV does not have a built-in tuner, then it must be a little old. Does it have DVI or HDMI or is it even older with only RCA component inputs?

2) The beauty of an HTPC is that it can be anything you want it to be, depending on your budget. It can be a TiVo, gaming console, media tank, jukebox, blu-ray player, and streamer all in one. What is your absolute budget?

3) For softare, Windows 7 Media Center is outstanding for PVR functions. If you want to look at alternatives, research SageTV and/or BeyondTV. For blu-ray playback you will need 3rd party software such as PowerDVD or Total Media Theatre if you are interested in that aspect of HTPC use.

I suggest you make a post using the How To Ask For New Build Advice format.

In the meantime, check out http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/ to get a good overview of HD tuners and what to look for when shopping for a tuner that suits your needs.

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August 5, 2010 5:37:42 PM

shuusin said:
Do I need a special card or will any TV Tuner card be able to receive the digital signal from the antenna? Also, these cards don't have an HDMI output, should I get a card (all-in-wonder) that has an HDMI output?

I plan on building an HTPC, I want to receive HD over the air using my PC as the HD tuner/receiver and display it on my HDTV.
What video card (or onboard video) does your computer have? The tuner card pulls in the TV signal, the video card on your computer outputs to the TV. The all-in-wonder cards are a combination of tuner plus video card that input and output on a single card.
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August 5, 2010 6:14:23 PM

Thanks for answering my questions rwpritchett.

I have not built this computer yet, so it has nothing. I was thinking an all-in-wonder would be easier since its one card, that it wouldn't run as hot or loud as two cards. I'm assuming two cards with one TV tuner and one video card to output to the TV.

My HDTV is not that old; I must be caught up in the old hoopla about HD-ready and HD-whatever. We have a Samsung plasma (don't have the model number here but I'm guessing its PN42C450B1D from google) from March 2008. It does have HDMI and DVI inputs. From what you are saying, this TV should already be capable of getting HD signal over the air? That would be my most important takeaway from here.
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August 5, 2010 6:32:38 PM

If I remember right, to prepare people for the digital transition that took place last year a law was passed to require all TV's sold after a certain date to have a built in digital tuner. 2005 I think? Anyway, your TV is rather new so it should already have a built in OTA tuner. Hang on, googling your TV...

Yep, it has a built in ATSC tuner (that's over-the-air digital TV).

So all you need to do is connect your antenna to your HDTV's antenna coaxial input. Be sure that your coaxial cable is the newer RG-6 stuff and not the older RG-59 cable though. Older homes may have the older cable.

If you are still interested in HTPC, let us know and we can advise you on a build.

BTW, the all-in-wonder cards were great in their day, but they haven't been made for quite a while. It would probably be in your best interest to either use modern onboard video or a video card with a separate tuner if you decide to pull the trigger on a HTPC.
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August 5, 2010 7:06:43 PM

Thanks a ton, you've been a huge help.

Would it work if I still ran the antenna through the HTPC instead of the TV? I figure there would be less source switching if the TV was always set to read from the HTPC.
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August 5, 2010 7:19:40 PM

An HTPC with a tuner card will work with your antenna. Compared to the built-in tuner on your TV, it will give you the added bonuses of being able to schedule and record TV, allow you to pause and rewind live TV, and give you a program guide to see what's on.

Also, if you select a dual tuner card (or install multiple single tuner cards), you can watch TV while recording another channel, or record 2 channels at once.
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