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Thread: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

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    Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    I've been using an Xbox with XBMC for several years. I'm planning on replacing it with an HTPC. I'd also like it to do Freeview recording, although I'll probably use my old standalone PVR for day-to-day recordings and just use the HTPC to record shows that I want to backup to my server.

    My understanding is that I'll be able to run the PVR and XBMC concurrently without any problems. Is that correct? I was thinking about using Nebula PVR card because it lets me control TV remotely via the PC. Anyone had any experience of that, or can recommend something else? Link here.

    For a case I was going to go for an Antec, because I love Antec cases. Probably the Fusion Remote.

    I don't like an array of remotes and I'm not sure my wife is ready to learn a new one. My TVOnics remote is programmable so that it can control most DVD players. It doesn't list an HTPC. Is it likely that I'll be able to control the Antec HTPC via my TVOnics remote? Manual here with codes on the penultimate page. Warning: PDF!

    And when it comes to the motherboard, I prefer an Asus manufactured and Intel flavoured. What's a good performance vs power processor for Intel right now? And a heatsink?

    I'll probably use an old passive nVidia 7600 for the graphics.

    So...
    1) Can I run PVR software without interfering with XBMC?
    2) Can anyone recommend some good PVR software and hardware?
    3) Any reason not to go with the Antec Fusion remote?
    4) Will I be able to control an Antec PC with my existing TVOnics remote?
    5) Any suggestions on a motherboard and Intel processor?
    6) Any advice on the cooler?

    Much appreciated!

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    You will get better usage from an AMD setup for HTPC usage one of the energy efficient duel cores (like the 4850e 2.5GHz 45W) with a 780G/790GX motherboard will provide you with all the decoding power you need as well as sound over HDMI, and removes the need for a graphics card cutting energy requirements drastically.

    If your stuck to Intel then, the E5200 is more than you need but anything less just doesn't feel like good value for money. You will need a G45/G43 board to make use of the intergrated graphics or a cheap low power ATI card with audio over HDMI (4350 for example would be perfect for media duties) and any board you like.

    No reason this wont fit in an Antec Fusion Remote and no real reason to look for another case if it has taken your fancy as it is very good for HTPC duty.

    Everything else I'm sorry got no idea

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Quote Originally Posted by Webby View Post
    You will get better usage from an AMD setup for HTPC usage one of the energy efficient duel cores (like the 4850e 2.5GHz 45W) with a 780G/790GX motherboard will provide you with all the decoding power you need as well as sound over HDMI, and removes the need for a graphics card cutting energy requirements drastically.
    I agree, I just built a HTPC for my parents using a 780G motherboard (Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H). Came to just under £200 altogether. Does 1080P fine with the onboard graphics and HDMI out.

    How do you have XBMC set up at the moment? Why would the PVR software interfere with XBMC?

    I'd recommend Windows Media Center either 2005 or the Vista version as the PVR software. I've been using it for a few years now as a PVR with dual freeview tuners.

    If the TVOnics remote has the right codes for controlling MCE then it should work fine.

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    MediaPortal is a good Open Source choice and allows you to listen to music & radio, watch ideos & DVDs and view, schedule & record TV. Another feature is the 'Xbox Media Center - MediaPortal Integration' plugin which should fit into your existing XBMC setup and allows XBMC to communicate with MediaPortal:
    • Browse EPG
    • Search EPG
    • Manage recording schedules
    • Browse and watch recorded TV
    • Create new recordings from EPG or manually

    The MediaPortal website provides a list of recommended hardWare which includes PVR hardware and further info & support is provided via the website Forum.

    Sorry I don't have answers for you on your Antec-specific queries.

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Thanks people. Helpful answers.

    I have had bad experiences with AMD and bad experiences with ATI, so the motherboards that support an AMD processor and have ATI on board leave me cold. I was thinking about the Asus P5N7A-VM which has a 775 socket and Nvidia 7300 on board graphics. It's about £80.

    I thought that the PVR software might interfere with the XBMC functionality because they shared the same processor and the same hard disk. Is that possible?

    I didn't know MediaPortal had an XBMC plugin. That sounds very interesting. I'll take a look.

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Ive had bad experiences with an AMD cpu before, but took the plunge and built a mini ITX media server that does the job perfectly using an amd athlon 4850e and a jetaway geforce 8200 board. Does everything a media server should and more.
    I would seriously take a look at AMD for HTPC purposes

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Okay. So I'll give AMD/ATI another chance. Since they share a motherboard they'll get on, right?

    Here's my basket:
    £61 - ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI 780G Socket AM2+ mATX Motherboard
    £51 - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz Socket AM2 Energy Efficient 1MB L2 Cache
    £30 - Kingston 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 Hyperx Memory Non-ECC Cl5(5-5-5-15) Unbuffered
    £17 - Sony DRU-V200S 20X DVD±RW DL & DVD-RAM Serial ATA
    £23 - Extra Value 400W 12cm Silent Fan PSU - 20+4pin, 1x PCI-E, 2x SATA
    £25 - Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-t PCI Freeview Receiver
    £101 - Antec Fusion Remote Veris Silver MATX Media Center Case - No PSU

    Total = £311

    I have an old copy of XP Home and a 200GB drive which I'll use.

    Anything seem wrong with that setup?
    Last edited by DavidA; 26-11-2008 at 09:21 PM.

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Get rid of that PSU from your list STRAIGHT away!! Cheap PSU's are no go, no matter what kind of system it is. That one doesnt even have a brand name.
    I would look at something like this:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/385W-...uard-SafeGuard

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Following that PSU recommendation I went with a different PSU and case:

    £60 - Antec Minuet 350 Piano Black Slimline MATX Case - With 350W PSU

    The problem with that case is that the Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-t PCI Freeview Receiver doesn't fit in the slot. The case uses some kind of half-height PCI standard that I didn't know existed. How can I work out what TV card will fit in the slot? What is the name of the standard? I've RTFM but can't work it out.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Advice required on HTPC + PVR

    Indeed 1/2 height cards can be a problem as in this case, but a good few manufacturers do 1/2 height cards though normally they cost more. This card is 1/2 height:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Haupp...CE-Vista-Ready

    But you will need to send off to Hauppauge for the 1/2 height bracket, not a problem really and its free. Also this has the advantage of being dual tuner so you can watch and record/record two things at once.

    Hawker

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