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External TV Tuners/PVR Devices Tested

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-want-my-pctv dept.

Television 136

Solomon writes "TV Tuners for the PC have existed for a long time but with the ever increasing popularity of TiVo-like services and the possibility of replicating such features on your Windows PC with little effort and a small investment, tuners have been getting a lot of attention this year. Today there's three-way shootout posted at TechSpot with products from Digistor, Transcend and a very appealing offer from RTV called the VEG that lets you play consoles in your monitor. Although neither of these devices can match TiVo completely, they do give you a very cheap alternative."

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LOL TV IS FOR FAGS (0, Flamebait)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170276)

and owned by jews

LOLOL

Re:LOL TV IS FOR FAGS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170353)

TV DID WTC LOL

first bitch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170281)

my penis is big

hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170283)

hi everyone

fuck (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170288)

the world

An appealing VEG? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170296)

Oh, yes, take me Sir Cucumber TiVo. Take me!
Three-way shootout... ...or menage a trois?

why not Jihad? [anti-slash.org]

hrm, kinda reminds me of . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170301)

this [bibleplayer.com]

TV (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170312)

I love my TV. It makes me feel better.

CmdrTaco wears molester glasses (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170325)

Coupled with his pug nose, wispy moustache, and narrowly set eyes, he's a walking amber alert.

It will be nice to have this (0)

norculf (146473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170327)

Now that all the torrent sites are shut down I'm going to have to do the work myself. :P

wow (2, Informative)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170329)

With all the spam in here its starting to remind me of my inbox.

Anyway, I have a 9600 all-in-wonder, and I really really like the cable tv tuner deal. I desperately need to upgrade, but I am having a hard time parting with the built in tuner. I suppose these would be a good alternative.

Jerry
http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170388)

Since many stations are switching to HDTV with a digital signal (at least partially) you would think that NTSC tuners would be of no use anymore.

My question is, what is the point of having an analog NTSC tuner when most people are in range of a digital signal, especially when going to a computer hard drive or a video card?

Re:wow (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170480)

Well, I have comcast for a cable provider (yeah, I know), and I get a whopping 14 HD channels. 6 of them are premium, which I don't subscribe to, 2 are sports, which I don't like, 2 are crappy "in-HD" showcase channels, leaving 4 local channels in HD. CBS, NBC, FOX and some other crap.

No discovery, no learning channel, no history channel. So 99.9% of what I watch (other than Cops) is still in NTSC).

Jerry
http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

Re:wow (2, Funny)

wizbit (122290) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170568)

leaving 4 local channels in HD. CBS, NBC, FOX and some other crap.

I'd have written it, "CBS, NBC, ABC, and some other crap," but, to each his own. :)

Re:wow (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170659)

Very nice...

Actually, I think all of the networks are crap. I just don't get ABC in HD, which is the one I would want to be in HD if I had the choice.

I'm with you on the Fox dig, though. Cops is the only thing they've got going for them.

Jerry
http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171050)

You must not have seen Arrested Development yet. Best comedy on TV right now and its on Fox.

Re:wow (1)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170425)

Yeah it looks like a nice alternative. The eye catching part is that it's slim and compact. And that is important just because I hate constantly bending over to the back of my pc to unplug a bunch of cables constantly.

I thought it was unwise - (2, Interesting)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170336)

...to use USB tv tuners. Arent there problems with moving all that video across the USB interface? I remember talk about making an Xbox run Myth off a usb tuner, and it was quickly denounced as impossible....I heard the same thing about a laptop and a WinTV USB hauppauge tuner....

So? Is this true?

-thewldisntenuff

Re:I thought it was unwise - (4, Informative)

topham (32406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170377)

USB 2.0 has sufficient bandwidth if the device performs onboard encoding. (MPEG2 for instance).

Re:I thought it was unwise - (1)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170379)

Well, with USB 1.0, yeah, there isn't enough bandwidth. Didin't RTFA, though, did ya? "As a side note, you must have at least one USB 2.0 port available in your machine, or you won't be able to use any of these devices." Its right there, USB 2.0 is needed, and it has plently of bandwidth (comparable to Firewire 400).

Re:I thought it was unwise - (0)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170406)

This is /.

Does anybody RTFA? ;)

-thewldisntenuff

Re:I thought it was unwise - (1)

updog (608318) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170717)

Even USB 1.0 should be sufficient if the device has a real-time MPEG encoder. With MPEG2, encoding at 6 Mbps (about 1/2 the USB 1.0 12 Mbps bandwidth) using IBP encoding will give you decent video.

6 Mbps using MPEG4 encoding is even better, you have plenty of bandwith for great quality video.

Of course this is assuming a single tuner device - for multiple tuners, you'll probably need high-speed USB.

Re:I thought it was unwise - (2, Informative)

Schmucky The Cat (687075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170412)

A USB full speed (1.1) interface is good enough if the USB device has it's own electronics to compress the signal or if it is just forwarding an already compressed signal.

A USB high speed (2.0) interface is good enough by itself.

Use Firewire then. (2, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170864)

I don't know what's available on the PC for this. It is known that USB really isn't up to the requirements for streaming video. On the Mac side there the new El Gato EyeTV 500 [elgato.com] . The choice in Firewire is mostly because it is required for HD video streaming, not to alleviate some USB silliness.

Re:Use Firewire then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170997)

It is known that USB really isn't up to the requirements for streaming video.

Typical Mac user! Everything they say is 5 years out of date...

Re:I thought it was unwise - (1)

yet another coward (510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171379)

I am unaware of any USB tuner supported by Linux.

Get a Hauppauge PVR-250 or PVR-350.

The Hauppauge PVR-150 and PVR-500 do not work now under Linux. They may work within several months..

Be careful (2, Informative)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170338)

...of any external tuner that claims to let you play console games. *Every* external tuner I've seen has had too much lag to let you play console games.

Re:Be careful (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170369)

Why do you even need a tuner for consoles? Get something with composite or s-video input for a lower price and better quality.

Re:Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170415)

Heck, you can go better than that. Most recent consoles can do VGA output with the right equipment.

Re:Be careful (1)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170437)

Some people want to be able to play PS2 games using their laptops as displays.

Re:Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171268)

doesnt help for ps2 but get an xbox and a xbox2vga converter.

works like a charm, even with pc-beamers (no, not the scotty kind of beaming)

and you can put in a 400gb hdd and never ever have to swap a game or dvd in and out - beats that laser problem the ps2 has too :)

you can also boot linux, but then theres not so much to do, better to put slayers evox or something similiar onto it (replaces the xbox menu and its logic)

Re:Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171339)

So get an external adapter with these inputs...

Re:Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171565)

i hooked up xbox to wintv usb tuner...the picture was horrible.

Hooked xbox up to HDTV Wonder and looked much better and didnt require as much cpu

Doesn't include the best product (3, Informative)

beetle496 (677137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170362)

They failed to review the best product available, EyeTV [elgato.com]

Re:Doesn't include the best product (1)

hexdcml (553714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170662)

I guess this is a Windows only test? I have an eyeTV USB, and although console play is terrible (the lag is 2-3 seconds) I still love it as a TV device, and also an analog capture device - though the quality isn't great, it will suffice. elgato makes some awesome products :)

Re:Doesn't include the best product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171292)

one of the cooler things I have done with instant messengers like yahoo it to hook it up to my video in and stream it over the net

voila, instant console and xbox broadcast ;)

Nice Google Ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170373)

Anybody else get the Piano Tuner advertisment?

this is a narrow target market (2, Insightful)

ccbutler (840014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170401)

not a bad little roundup... however as someone who is seriously in the market for a value ended PVR, i would have like to have seen a comparison with a hardware Mpeg2-encoded PVR in the mix.

The author mensions the word 'quality' quite a few times... some hardware encoded screenies would have been a good way to measure those statements.

Notes from A MythTV User (5, Informative)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170427)

DO your research FIRST, and just buy a PVR-250 or PVR-350. Friend of mine didn't listen to me, and went and bought himself a cheap $29 tuner card for $180 -- and no MPEG.

I have an old non-mpeg tuner card, and it works great with MythTV. Dedicate a box to the task. Get a nice TV-Out card that you can live with. Get the remote control, or a longer-range wireless keyboard.

MythTV blows my mind everytime I use it: KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv]

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (2, Funny)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170500)

and went and bought himself a cheap $29 tuner card for $180

Wow, you really need to sit your friend down and have a talk with him.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (5, Funny)

MrTaz65 (113158) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170545)

Or sell him something :)

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170619)

PVR-150 has hardware MPEG and is much cheaper (like $75-90 instead of $130).

I'm sure there are differences, but I don't know what they are.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (3, Informative)

wizbit (122290) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170680)

Chipset is similar, I believe. The 250s (and the "Media Center Edition" 250s) add additional inputs - I believe the 150 only has S-Video and a tuner - and a remote on the non-MCE model. The 350 adds its own tv-out (though it's a bit of a pain to get working properly) and can do nice things like re-interlace the tv signal so your set gets the extra niceties like closed-captioning, and better picture quality from what I've heard. The 350 is up around $150-170 if memory serves.

They're not great gamer cards, btw, so you might be better off looking at an nvidia chipset if you want to play games on your homebrew pvr.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (1)

Rob Parkhill (1444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171201)

The PVR-150 [hauppauge.com] has an IR blaster built-in. No idea if MythTV supports it or not. You'd probably have to deal with the nightmare that is LIRC to get it to work.

The PVR-150 MCE/OEM is similar to the PVR-150, but without the IR blaster or receiver, and no 3rd-party software. It also includes and FM tuner.

The PVR-250 [hauppauge.com] has Coax and S-video inputs, and a 1/8" stereo plug for audio input. It also has a IR input for the remote control.

The PVR-250 MCE (OEM) [hauppauge.com] edition has Coax and S-video inputs, and RCA jacks for audio input. No IR input, as it has no remote control. I don't think you can buy these direct from Hauppauge, they are OEM-only devices.

The PVR-350 [hauppauge.com] is like the 250, but with an S-Video output, MPEG-2 decoder, and an FM tuner.

Hauppauge finally put up a page that compares all of their tuners [hauppauge.com] in one spot.

PVR-150 does not work with MythTV. (2, Informative)

yet another coward (510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171168)

The PVR-150 does not work with the ivtv driver or Myth. It is close to working. According to the mailing list, the audio does not work yet. One developer reported a solution. He has not rolled his code back into the main driver yet.

I hope the PVR-500 becomes supported by ivtv. It has two tuners on a single card, a great gain for people building compact MythTV systems.

Be very careful when purchasing hardware for MythTV. It is a fantastic package, but only with the right hardware.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (1)

dunc78 (583090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170703)

I have an awesome 486 for sale that your friend might want to buy. It even has a turbo button for playing the more demanding games such as Wolfenstein. I am willing to part ways with it for a mere $2000.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (2, Interesting)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170899)

A few weeks ago, I picked up a Hauppauge PVR-250 which I'm using with MythTV. It all works great, except when it comes time to burn to DVD. It turns out that the variable bitrate mpeg2 streams that the Hauppauge PVR-250/350 cards put out aren't fully compliant (or at least not using the latest linux ivtv drivers). This isn't a problem during playback, but when you want to convert to DVD format using standard tools like transcode/mpeg2desc and mplex, the audio and video drift out of sync.

It took me quite a bit of googling and trial and error to figure out how to deal with the problem. (short answer: replex; longer answer: get mythtvburn and see how it does it). If I'd known about this going in, I would have spent more time researching other hardware options.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (2, Informative)

JWW (79176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171084)

You know, you can modify the bitrate and capture resolution for the 250's, its not a constant setting. You can configure it from inside myth.

I've used avidemux2 to edit out commercials and have burned that content to DVD just fine.

Re:Notes from A MythTV User (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171178)

The PVR 350 is not worth it to me until Hauppauge gets off its butt and makes the video decompression work under linux.

I go the $29 route myself. In fact my computer is recording a show at this moment. I don't see the point of paying $150 for a hardware compressor when a CPU powerful enough to do the job costs half of that. Plus I can use any new gee-whiz codec that comes along.

What about my TV's tuner (-1, Offtopic)

Radix37 (670836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170454)

My 3+ year old tv is experiencing problems with its built-in tuner. Sometimes it'll just lose the 'lock' on the channel I have it on and go to snow. I can up/down to get it back usually, but sometimes I have to go to a farther away channel for it to fix itself. Has anyone ever replaced a tv's tuner or would it be easier/safer to just deal with it, buy a new tv, or just use my capture card to watch tv...?

Of course, my parents have a tv from the 70s that works fine... go figure.

Re:What about my TV's tuner (0, Offtopic)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170526)

offtopic !?

To answer your question, is the tv worth repairing ? I bought my girlfriend a decent 31" for about $129. It might be an obvious issue if you crack it open, but if it's more complicated the repair bill/parts might not be worth it.

Re:What about my TV's tuner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170674)

most vcrs have perfectly good tuners...if your tv has a composite in just plug a vcr into that and use the vcr to tune channels

Re:What about my TV's tuner (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170682)

If you can repair it yourself then it *might* be worth doing.

However it's unlikely that the problem will jump out at you, and modern tv's use fairly compact circuitry that'll not be easy to work with.

Re:What about my TV's tuner (1)

Cariboo (20973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170814)

It more than likely is a problem with cold solder connections on the main circuit board. It can be a very tedious job, but you'll end up saving yourself about $60.00 if you do it yourself. Just remember to unplug the TV.

Yay Windows (Sarcasm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170456)

Am I the only one who even though I actually use Windows more than Linux only wants Linux on my HTPC (PVR or whatever you call it)?
On the one hand, I could use MCE or XP and SnapStream, on the other hand, I could get more features cheaper and without the limited lifespan that affects all Windows software. I mean, these things might actually work with MythTV, but how the hell would I know without digging through all the reviews and catalogs that google turns up?

And still only the PCHDTV card and the WinTV cards really support Linux at all. WTF?!

no interest whatsoever (1, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170535)

Warning: I'm on my Christmas Trolling Spree (TM) :)

I mean things like:

replicating such features on your Windows PC with little effort and a small investment

doesn't make me shiver or feel anything besides deep sadness for the (again) experienced ingorance wave.

First, I don't care how newbies are just discovering that their computers can do more than playing nobrainer video games for the price of a used car.

Second, still don't really care how greenhorns can make a Windows PC record anything. I mean I do to some extent like helping people out, or such, but not to the extent to read about it on /. front

Then, let's say there are people out there who use their computers for PVR-like purposes for more years than the supposedly informed writer knew such pieces of hardware exists. Sometimes I just wonder how many useless rants could one write on some evident applications of computers these days and there would be a mass of people who would still buy them as new stuff.

I'm out, hopefully no more /. this year :) More "news" like this on the front page and it will be for good :)

Re:no interest whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170723)

Beautifully said - thank you!

satellite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170549)

wake me up when their are directv or dish network compatabile cards. I refuse to give money to charter.

Re:satellite (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171445)

hauppauge has an fta card that will decode dish (and bev) with the "correct" software.

Re:satellite (1)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171687)

FTA isn't very usefull. I think the poster wants something that can work with an access card. If I could buy a card that can do encrypted DTV or DishNet I would be all over it. I have yet to find one, though Adaptec had a prototype years ago. It would have to accept a standard access card and view any channels I'm paying for with the account that card is connected to. That would require support from the sat company, which they are not likely to give us.

Not to imformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170552)

Although neither of these devices can match TiVo completely, they do give you a very cheap alternative

These devices with their budled software can't match TiVo but a good card like the PVR-x50s or a cheap card with a stong CPU can far exceed what TiVo can do in a MythTV setup.

The problem is the $ products tend to avoid things like automatic commercial skip, or worse yet (TiVo) some want to add their own. All this for what? $15 a month

I don't think so...

Have you actually used tivo (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170702)

The biggest thing about tivo is that IT JUST WORKS.

I've played around with snapstream and mythtv and they work ok, but getting reliable guide data can be a pain in the ass.

I know i spent more than 1 hour a month trying to keep snapstream running - hence tivo is cheap too.

Re:Have you actually used tivo (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171338)

Only if you're working on your snapstream when you'd otherwise be getting paid. Your free time doesn't give you any actual cash. Sure, your time does have a value, it its value is not in dollars and cents terms.

TV tuners (5, Insightful)

basic0 (182925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170559)

I was interested in TV tuners and PVR software and so forth for a while, but then I realized that being able to watch and record TV on my computer still does nothing to improve the actual content that passes for entertainment on TV.

Re:TV tuners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171015)

Actually, it does statistically.

Rather than having to watch what's on during the small fraction of time you're willing and able to watch TV (say 5% of the time) you can store the "best of the worst" played any time during the day and watch it at your leisure.

you'll basically be getting an improvement in content equal to the reciprocal of the fraction of the day you can watch TV (in the case of 5% viewing time, you get an effective 20-fold increase in program quality)

It's hard to argue that EVERYTHING on TV is without merit, and even in the case of tiny but finite quality, this increase will still hold.

Note that my formula is a bit over simplified as there aren't really decent shows on all channels 24/7 but the basic idea is sound.

Re:TV tuners (1)

jred (111898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171053)

The beauty of PVRs is that you get to watch what you want, when you want. There *is* some decent stuff on tv (cable, at least), it's just never on when I happen to get time to watch tv. With my pvr, whenever I sit down to watch tv, I know I'll get to watch something I like.

Go South Park!!! :)

Looking for one for Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170579)

I haven't done research yet, but I know Firewire is practically designed to carry video. I have heard that there are a lot of these designed to hook to Firewire, so I'm a bit dissapointed by all three of the reviewed models.

I think anyone who has tried one of these http://www.apple.com/imac/ can't help but think of it as the perfect design for a PVR.

nnooiissee

Re:Looking for one for Mac OS X (1)

spiralscratch (634649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171781)

Like one of these [elgato.com] ?

DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170616)

One aspect of the review mentioned the Indeo codec for one of the devices.

There was also no mention whatsoever of hardware MPEG2 encoding.

If it doesn't encode MPEG2 in hardware, it's not worth buying. Period.

Re:DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170946)

Not necessarily-- the MythTV help page recommends budgeting for 1GHz per processor for doing software encoding, then cheap TV cards are an option. Alternatively us lucky people in Europe can receive MPEG2 streams over the air using DVB tuner cards, no encoding necessary.

Re:DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! (2, Informative)

steve_bryan (2671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171367)

"... us lucky people in Europe can receive MPEG2 streams over the air using DVB tuner cards, no encoding necessary"

The lucky people in the USA can get our MPEG2 streams free with an antenna and OTA HD tuner. But awareness of this capability is still quite limited. It seems as though the cable and satellite companies have succeeded in convincing most people that HD is only available by paying a monthly fee.

Re:DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170989)

Instead of getting a card / box with built-in MPEG encoding, why not budget that extra money on a faster CPU instead?

Windows PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170620)

..the possibility of replicating such features on your Windows PC

Windows PC? You mean Linux or other OSs can't do that task? Well.. MythTV [mythtv.org] is the killer app and it runs on Linux. While all my Windows apps died waaay too often I'm glad I found a rock solid Linux solution that has impressive list of features.

Do it cheaper/better with Linux? (4, Informative)

EvilGrin666 (457869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170627)

Its a shame they didn't compare these products against MythTV [mythtv.org] . I've been using it quite happily for some time on my Linux box equipped with a Hauppage TV card. I suspect it works out cheaper than the options offered in the article and has comparable features [mythtv.org] to a tivo...

Re:Do it cheaper/better with Linux? (1)

djxploit (748198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171162)

i am running much the same setup only within australia. works perfectly here

What if you don't run Windows? (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170640)

This being /. it would be reasonable to expect a comparison of their ease-of-use under a (for example) RedHat or Debian box, or even BSD.

Anyone know?

Cheap? (2, Insightful)

voidptr (609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170669)

Although neither of these devices can match TiVo completely, they do give you a very cheap alternative

How cheap is it really going to be by the time you've added everything up.

A dual tuner DirecTV tivo with 80 hours space is $100 and $5 a month covers up to 8 of them on an account.

I doubt you can get a pc with sufficient horsepower, storage, and a couple of these capture dongles for that.

Re:Cheap? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170739)

Yeah, that was my thought - I just got a 40gig unit, $50 after rebate, $60/year for the service, and it works great. Since I have kids I don't have time to play with MythTV anyway but it would be kind of hard to justify all the hardware costs. I don't watch all that much TV & I'm not really concerned about archiving stuff, but it's cool to be able to save a few decent movies on there for the babysitter to watch and fill the rest with kids shows.

Re:Cheap? (2, Interesting)

spicydragonz (837027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170858)

With Myth TV on a pc you can then edit/burn/email shows/clips to people. Also since the system is next to your stereo you might as well just play your mp3 collection. Plus since most people have "extra" Pcs around you can use one old PC as a Myth box for cost savings.

Re:Cheap? (3, Insightful)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170907)

you're comparing oranges and apricots here.

They are comparing a STB box tivo for analog cable with one of these... besides, what self respecting geek doesn't have a spare hand me down PC laying around... to throw a tuner/capture card in?

FWIW the best benefit to building a PC based PVR isn't cost/subscription savings... it's CONTROL over the content. No one is going to be expiring six feet under DVR recordings [boingboing.net] without my consent on my PC DVR.

*shrug*

Re:Cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11170916)

Can that $100 Tivo box rip my DVDs and store them on the Tivo device for later viewing (DVD jukebox)? Can it rip my audio CDs and act as a music Jukebox? Can it recognize and skip commercials on recorded TV shows? Can it play my DivX files? Can it act as a server and broadcast audio/video to different devices on my network?

What, it can't? Linux based MythTV [mythtv.org] can. You see, there's a tiny little difference there :)

Re:Cheap? (1)

jkerman (74317) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171003)

Directv does not charge *any* tivo fee if you have the higher end packages

PVR without the monthly fee? (1)

sleepingsquirrel (587025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171019)

Is there any digital PVR type of machine that I can get without paying the $15/month fee? I'm wanting something to replace my VCR, but without the tapes. I don't want or need it to automatically record "suggested" shows for me. And I don't care about most other frilly Tivo features. I don't have cable TV, and I don't need it to play my MP3s or be connected to the 'net. Just plain-old record channel 4 at 8PM for one hour, etc. I want to pay $250, plug it in, and use it. Is there anything out there like that?

Re:PVR without the monthly fee? (1)

dsmark (692605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171060)

Get a Tivo Basic unit, you don't need pay monthly.

Re:PVR without the monthly fee? (1)

sleepingsquirrel (587025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171617)

Hmm. So what features are available if you don't subscribe? Here's a choice quote I found on their website [tivo.com] ...
A TiVo® box is intended for use only with a paid subscription to the TiVo® service. Without the TiVo service, a TiVo box has extremely limited functionality. No functionality is represented or should be expected.
And wouldn't I be a sucker if I paid for their "lifetime" subscription plan, since tivo isn't [tivo.com] HDTV ready, and analog transmissions are scheduled to end [fcc.gov] in 2006?
Television stations serving all markets in the United States are airing digital television programming, although they still must provide analog programming until the target date set by Congress for the completion of the transition to DTV - December 31, 2006. That date may be extended, however, until most homes (85%) in an area are able to watch the DTV programming. At that point, broadcasting on the current (analog) channels will end and that spectrum will be put to other uses.

DVB ? (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170672)

frankley MPEG is broadcast to me so I dont need to do anything but shunt it down the wires but linux and windows for that matter are really BAD at this becuase of the tuner drivers conexant should be ashamed

sort out the DVB drivers and you make more sales right now anyone who buys anything to do with DVB that is not a Set Top Box gets burned
(the linux drivers are new and in 2.6.10-rc3-bk16 and sothe old truth is once again new = buggy alot of great work is done but more to do )

regards

john jones

yuck (2, Informative)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170848)

could they pick some of the crappiest cheeziest bunch of external tuners to test?

What about hauppauge wintv usb 2 or plextor convertX PVR [byopvr.com] (which has both PC and Mac pvr software)

For internal devices I like the wintv pvr250. Yes the pvr150 is cheaper and comes with a better remote/ir blaster, but the pvr250 is better supported in linux with the ivtv drivers being pretty mature/stable for that card.

*shrug*

rampy

Re:yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171244)

The PVR-150 does not work to a useable extent under Linux. Yes, a device that works, the PVR-250, the "better supported" than one that does not work, the PVR-150. The PVR-150 is close to working, but I strongly advise against buying one for use with MythTV unless you are a developer who plans to write the code to make it work. Otherwise, get a PVR-250 or wait for the PVR-150 to be supported.

My silly TiVo/Mac setup (1)

macslut (724441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170892)

I've tried various hardware/software solutions on Mac and PCs, but as expected nothing was really a TiVo.

I don't know why it took me so long to do this, but I eventually just bought a cheap used TiVo with a lifetime membership (about $200) and hooked it up to my Mac. The benefits are that it's not using any of my 4 internal drives or FireWire/USB ports. It has all the advantages of TiVo...suggested recordings, remote programing, home media, etc... but I view it on one of my monitors either full screen or in a small window.

I can easily transfer shows off and burn to DVD, and since one of my monitors has a secondary ntsc input port, I can always continue to watch even if for some reason I need to restart my Mac. Also no problems if a show is on that needs to be recorded at the same time I might be doing some heavy processing.

I say this almost every day, but Apple should buy TiVo. They could put a FireWire port on the TiVo box and/or create an OS X version of the software...this plus a million other areas of synergy.

OS X support? (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11170930)

I'm looking for an external solution (firewire) with OS X support that will allow me to hookup to the satellite hookup that is provided in my flat in Austria.

Has anyone done this?

Re:OS X support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171177)

Elgato makes firewire DVB tuners for terrestrial and satellite digital TV. Here is a link to their product breakdown: http://elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvmai n#

Re:OS X support? (1)

steve_bryan (2671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171269)

Take a look at www.elgato.com for more information. They make a whole range of products exclusively for Mac OS X. I have their first product, a USB external box for NTSC video and most recently they introduced a firewire connected HDTV tuner that works with the most recent Macs (you probably need a G5 to get really satisfactory performance). It isn't as though their software has no flaws but it is quite good and they continue to support all their products with software updates.

Elgato does not have a digital satellite solution for the US market but they might have something like that for some european markets. Check their web site for details as they definitely do have products specifically for european markets.

I wish that Apple would do something bold in the TV/PC market like acquiring Elgato in order to promote their solidly designed products with Apple branding. I bet there would be a large percentage of current Mac buyers who would be thrilled to get HDTV capability for a new G5 iMac but it just isn't being marketed effectively. It would add a significant dimension to the digital hub strategy.

It would be similar to their earlier move of acquiring the German company Astarte and getting all that DVD authoring expertise. I get the feeling that Steve Jobs' aversion to TV content might be an impediment to this possibility.

Re:OS X support? (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171623)

Amazing! They even have a distributor in my home town! Thanks!

Re:OS X support? (2, Informative)

yet another coward (510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171452)

Here [elgato.com] is the best chance. If any company makes such a product, El Gato [elgato.com] is the one.

Linux USB2 MPEG-2/4 tuner/encoder? (1)

jeif1k (809151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171186)

Does anybody have recommendations for an external Linux-compatible TV tuner with MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 encoding and a High Speed USB2 interface?

Re:Linux USB2 MPEG-2/4 tuner/encoder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171411)

I recommend that you build one and write a driver for it. Linux support for external tuners is unicorn shit. First, it's imaginary. Second, it would stink if it existed at all.

portable PVR and laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11171529)

isn't this really suited for use in hotel rooms for all those "in-house" movies? How soon before the company outbound sales guys all will want these?

USB HDTV (1)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171796)

I bought one of these [usbhdtv.com] recently. So far, I like it. It does a good job with analog cable too (unencrypted digital cable channels work too but over-the-air is looks better). The worst I can say about it is that there aren't any Linux drivers, AFAIK at least. I save HDTV shows to my Linux server. HDTVtoMPEG2 and related tools work on the saved streams.

Standard def is so last century ;-).

Just bought me a TiVo (2, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171835)

I just picked up a $199 (after rebate) TiVo from Best Buy.. the 80 gig model. Add to the $199 the cost of lifetime subscription to TiVo's programming service ($299).

So yeah $500 is a lot for a glorified VCR... but I have to say that the damn thing is so easy to use it was worth it.

I set the thing up to my wireless network in minutes. Now I can stream MP3s onto it from my server. Photos too.

Sure you can piece your own together using MPEG decoder cards and free (or not) software, but you're gonna spend more time tinkering than you would watching TV. And if you include the price of your computer, you're gonna spend a lot more than the $500 that I did.

Not to mention the thing will never lock up, get a virus, or need to be reinstalled.

Saving direct stream of DVB-T, possibile or not? (1)

Ecio (824876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11171902)

Does anybody know if it's possible to save the dvb-t mpeg stream directly on the disk with some dtt pci card?

I read somethere that this is possible for (some?) dvb-s cards.... does it work on dvb-t cards too?

I would prefer saving it rather than re-encoding to mpeg2 while capturing...

Any suggestion for european dvb-t cards that have this feature will be appreciated ;)
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