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Recording HD TV on HTPC Recommendation Request


blabbate
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Hi all! I'm looking for recommendations on how to record HD TV via my HTPC. I have the following requirements:

 

MUST: Record in at least 720p, preferably 1080i.

MUST: Record/watch at least 2 programs concurrently.

MUST: Be compatible with Windows Media Center.

SHOULD: Be compatible with either Comcast, DirecTV, or Dish.

 

Basically, I want to be able to record at least OTA HD channels, and possibly HD cable channels, on the HTPC instead of using the cable/dish company's DVR.

 

I know this can be expensive, particularly for the cable/dish. I've looked at the Colossus, the HDHomerun, and the Ceton InfiniTV, but I'm still somewhat confused, especially with all the recent changes re: cablecards, providers, etc.

 

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Bruce

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Although I have not tried it myself, Tim D of the BYOB is a big fan of the HD Homerun. From all I have heard, I would go that way instead of the Ceton as the setup is a bit easier and it is easier to share the tuners as well as easier to add multiple units. Just my two cents...

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I don't do this either, but I've read/heard in other places that you should avoid internal tuners. Apparently, the radio emanations inside computer cases play havoc with the internal TV tuners. I heard an interview with a designer for 1 of the big ones (Aver Media? hmmm can't remember) who admitted that interference was the biggest issue he faced when designing internal cards.

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The HD Homerun is great for OTA HD recording. If you want to record unencrypted cable the HD Homerun can do that too (clear QAM). However, if you want to record encrypted content from cable or satellite your choices become limited.

 

On the market right now you can get the Ceton card. You need to check with your cable provider and be sure they know how to set you up to use it. Some may have to provide an extra switch for SDV (switched digital video). Ceton tuners can now be shared across your home network.

 

Beginning in mid-July SiliconDust (makers of the HD Homerun) are supposed to start shipping the HD Homerun Prime. There are 3 tuner and 6 tuner versions. These devices do not install in a PC but reside on your network so they can be shared by all the computers in your home and you don't have to leave a PC turned on all the time.

 

Finally, if you want to record HD content from DirecTV or Dish you really only have a few options.


     
  1. Hauppage sells the HD-PVR which uses a USB connection to an external box to record up to 1080i resolution. Audio is recorded using two channel stereo or optical audio with five channel Dolby Digital.
  2. Colossus which is an internal PCI card that has the same capabilities as the HD-PVR. The Colossus also has HDMI input for recording from an unencrypted source. The Colossus seems to be suffering right now from drivers that are still flaky.
  3. For satellite you also could use the AverMedia AverTV USB HD DVR. This device will also record 1080i but the audio will only be two channel stereo.

 

I have used both Hauppage products with SageTV with varying success. Recording satellite content is not easy.

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The HD Homerun is great for OTA HD recording. If you want to record unencrypted cable the HD Homerun can do that too (clear QAM). However, if you want to record encrypted content from cable or satellite your choices become limited.

 

Can you define "encrypted content?" Specifically, is that just ppv, on-demand, and pay stations? O

 

On the market right now you can get the Ceton card. You need to check with your cable provider and be sure they know how to set you up to use it. Some may have to provide an extra switch for SDV (switched digital video). Ceton tuners can now be shared across your home network.

 

Beginning in mid-July SiliconDust (makers of the HD Homerun) are supposed to start shipping the HD Homerun Prime. There are 3 tuner and 6 tuner versions. These devices do not install in a PC but reside on your network so they can be shared by all the computers in your home and you don't have to leave a PC turned on all the time.

 

I know that with the Ceton card I can record to the HDD in the HTPC. It looks like that's the case with the HD Homerun (Prime) as well. Is that correct? I would essentially set it up through WMC, record it to the drive, and stream it over PCs and WMEs?

 

Finally, if you want to record HD content from DirecTV or Dish you really only have a few options.


     
  1. Hauppage sells the HD-PVR which uses a USB connection to an external box to record up to 1080i resolution. Audio is recorded using two channel stereo or optical audio with five channel Dolby Digital.
  2. Colossus which is an internal PCI card that has the same capabilities as the HD-PVR. The Colossus also has HDMI input for recording from an unencrypted source. The Colossus seems to be suffering right now from drivers that are still flaky.
  3. For satellite you also could use the AverMedia AverTV USB HD DVR. This device will also record 1080i but the audio will only be two channel stereo.

 

I have used both Hauppage products with SageTV with varying success. Recording satellite content is not easy.

 

That's unfortunate. On principle I'd prefer not to go with Comcast, because they're terrible. But I want HD and five-channel sound. Also, it appears that the HD-PVR doesn't have a tuner itself, so I'd still need hardware from the satellite company, yes? I'd prefer to avoid that.

 

This has helped a bunch, thanks. It looks like I may be stuck with Comcast and the HD Homerun Prime or the Ceton, but there's not much I can do about it.

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