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TV Tuner Set-up


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Hello Everyone,


First time posting, so go easy on me. This is my first HTPC build, but I have build computers before. I've always wanted to make one but never got around to it. The one thing that has had me confused is the TV Tuner card and now with DirecTV and 2 cables coming into my house, i'm more confused. I know it can't be hard to set up but i just can't picture the layout of how all the cables connect.


The way i have things set up now is pretty standard. I have an A/V Receiver, DirecTVs box and my HDTV, it's 2 cables coming into the house to DirecTV, HDMI from DirecTV to the A/V Receiver, and HDMI from the A/V Receiver to my HDTV. I have connected my computer to the A/V Receiver before and I had it connected through a HDMI cable. The sound and video went through the receiver to the TV like it should, but i also had no TV functions from Windows Media Center because i didn't have a TV Tuner card.


Can someone help me out here with some advise or maybe a link on how all these cables fit together? The TV Tuner card is the last piece of my build and i'd to be a little more informed before i make this last purchase. Thanks

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  • vinylfreak


  • ikon


  • eagle63


  • thebutcher0


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First up let me say I have no experience at all with DirectTV, but I know my way around home theater setups.

First thought is that you would want audio through your AVR and not the TV for better sound quality (eg surround); correct?

If so, the cable setup is as follows:

DirectTV input to HTPC tuner card

HTPC out via HDMI to AVR

AVR out to HDTV via HDMI and Mute the TV



Edited by Renny
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If you're using DirecTV, I think you really only have 1 option for a tv tuner, the HD-PVR: http://www.hauppauge...data_hdpvr.html


Take a look at their product page, it should give you a flow-chart of how the cables all connect. But as you can see, it's not a card that goes in your computer - it's an external set-top box that connects to your DirecTV box. This is one of the problems with building an HTPC (or more accurately, a 3rd-party DVR) around DirecTV or Dish - you have to put up with having 2 set-top boxes and an IR blaster to coordinate channel-changes. As awful as cable companies are, the mechanics of building an HTPC around a cable input is much easier as you can use a cable-card tuner that fits inside your HTPC. I don't mean to discourage you because what you want can certainly be accomplished, but frankly it's more of a hassle when you're a satellite subscriber.


Another option would be to use an over-the-air antenna to get local channels, which can easily be fed though a tv-tuner (a different Happauage tuner) and then to your HTPC. Obviously if you care about non-local channels that can only be had via DirecTV then this option doesn't' make sense. Just throwing it out there because a lot of people are "cutting the cable" nowadays and if you live relatively close to a metro area you'd be surprised at how many channels you can get via antenna.


Finally, DirecTV's own DVR's have gotten much better. They can even do multi-room viewing now. Again, not necessarily trying to talk you out of an HTPC - just throwing other options out there. My parents have DirectTV and the DirecTV DVR's and they're quite good if recording TV is your primary concern.

Edited by eagle63
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Just wanted to say I think it would be a good idea to mention the countries/regions you're talking about when discussing HTPC. For example, AFAIK, Cable Card Tuners are a USA-only thing. I'm not aware of any other country that has them.

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Hello again and thanks for the replies. As you can see from the time stamp, it was late and i had spent close to 2 hours reading posts about this before i came across this web site. Thanks ikon for your post, i didn't think of adding that. So let me add a few more things.


I live in the US, I get all my TV channels (local and all the rest (250+)) through DirecTV and to me a HTPC is a computer that is hooked up to an A/V receiver which controls what you watch. ( TV, Movies, Music). I'm only saying that because of when i tried to use Windows Media Center and i got a message about not being connected to recieve TV, something like that. But it did do everything else. I can watch netflix or hulu, Put in a DVD movie or play something from YouTube.


Renny-Yes, that's how i would like it set up but it's the part from (DirecTV box to the Computer) that has me confused. If i use HDMI for all my connections, how do i get a good connection from the box to the computer, it's only a coaxil cable.


eagle63- From what your telling me, It's almost saying i should keep my setup like it is, use DriecTV for my channels and recording tv and use my HTPC for everything else (movies and music). I do like this option though but it seems like it's getting away from the HTPC concept.


And just an FYI, I don't understand what some of these terms mean like AFAIK. sorry

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I have been a Media Center user since 2004. I am also a long time Dish Network subscriber.

Trying to get a High Def Dish or Direct TV signal into a Media Center PC is at Best , very difficult. As eagle63 stated , the Hauppauge HDPVR is the one of only 2 devices out there that can even begin to accomplish what you want to do. Hauppauge also offers an internal PCIE card version of the HDPVR called the Colossus http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_colossus.html.


I do own an HDPVR , but I could never get it configured properly to work with my Dish Signal and Windows Media Center. It has been about three and a half years since I have tried to get this working on my HTPC. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to even try to get this to work. You will need software from DVBLogic http://www.dvblogic.com/ and also software from 1geek1tool http://1geek1tool.com/hdpvr. Both of these sites have Forums which should give you more up to date info on how to set this up. When I attempted this years ago , my main issue was I could not get the channel changing within Media Center to work. The HDPVR does however record a Beautiful High Def stream.


I am seriously thinking about trying to get my HDPVR set up again , once I get Windows 8 and Media Center up and running. It might be a little easier to set up since some years have passed since my first attempt.


I am currently recording content off of my Dish Receiver with my HTPC. Unfortunately that content can only be recorded in Standard Def. It makes me cry to even talk about it in public :-''''( Even though it is a Hi Def signal , it is connected to my Media Center in analog. I use a Hauppauge HVR 1600 dual tuner card.




I have one Coax connection going to my Roof Top OTA Antenna which brings in ATSC OTA. My Dish signal is connected to the card by an S-Video connection which I then have to convert to a Composite connection which leads back to the Dish box. (Yes I said composite connection. The lowest quality video connection out there) The audio from the Dish is connected with just red and white RCA audio jacks. Not ideal by any means, but I have put up with it for years. I have a picture of the card connections below. The Dish Receiver connection is located on the lower part of the 2nd. card.




I would highly recommend you trying an OTA Antenna. In addition to the SD Dish signal I pull into my HTPC , I also record 4 separate HD streams of ATSC OTA from my rooftop antenna. In addition to the HVR 1600 I already mentioned , I also record one OTA stream on a Fusion HDTV Gold 5 PCI card pictured below.




I record two other OTA HD streams with my Silicon Dust HDHomrun Network tuner which I highly recommend. So I can currently simultaneously record 4 OTA HD streams and one SD Dish stream at one time.

Over The Air ATSC HD picture quality is the best picture quality you will ever see. The only thing that beats it would be BluRay content. Its better than HD Dish, HD Direct TV and HD Cable. And except for the cost of mounting an antenna , its Free! I just recently upgraded my HD Antenna.




I get over 55 free OTA channels. Depending on where you live you might not even have to erect an outdoor antenna to get good reception. I just happen to live about 75 miles from the Chicago market. At night I have already been able to pick up Milwaukee and Madison WI , which is about 160 miles from where I live.


If you try to go the HDPVR route with Direct TV we would all love to hear how it works out. I might even give it another shot after I get Win 8 and MC up and running. The really sad thing about all of this is , back when Windows 7 was being Beta Tested , Dish Network (and supposedly Direct TV) had beta HW that integrated Very Well with Windows 7 Media Center. They never brought it to market. I tested the Dish HW it work well.


Don't know if you can get Cable , but Cable Card integrates much easier in Windows Media Center than Satellite TV. Keep us posted and good luck! ;)

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