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Adding PVR capability to your PC for Dummies

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by jimmydubs, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. jimmydubs

    jimmydubs
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    Hi all. I’m at my wits end. I’ve spent 3 days trawling the net for the right solution to the problem, but I’m coming up against a number of barriers. Firstly none of the relevant sites/forums seem to go into sufficient detail to cover all the details. Secondly those sites/threads that appear to be going on the right track quickly descend into techno-babble and nerd-speak and mere mortals like me get lost along the way. What I really need is help and advice from people that know what they’re talking about but also know how to communicate the answers to simple folk such as me. Any takers? Here’s what I want to do – I don’t reckon it’s rocket science but maybe I’m wrong.

    I have a spare emachines PC running XP which I want to convert into a PVR/media centre.
    I want to hook it up to my main TV screen.
    It’ll be for normal analogue TV to start with, not Sky or Freeview.
    I want to be able to change channels on the PC via a remote.
    Crucially it must be able to use a planner to record ahead, TiVo-style. i.e. I need to be able to access an electronic programme guide, look ahead a week or so, select the programmes I want to record and then leave it to deal with the recording process in my absence.
    If it can apply a bit of intelligence and record programmes that it thinks I will like, then that will be a bonus – but not essential.
    Oh, and I need it to be as cheap as possible too.

    A Hauppauge-based solution would appear to do the trick, but it would appear that some of their cards come with PVR software and some don’t. They also don’t explain the Win-scheduler software very well. Is this a fully fledged EPG solution which will enable me to select and record programmes from a planner, or does it require a Sky+-style subscription. I’ve read elsewhere that I may need additional software like Showshifter or Digiguide (or both), so now I’m confused.

    Can anyone provide a suitable solution for numpties like me? If you don’t think the above products are up to the job, then please feel free to recommend alternatives.

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Jim
     
  2. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    Hello Jim,

    make your life 100% easier if you have enough signal to get freeview, and get the Nebula DigiTV card, it does exactly what you want, and if you want TIVO-esque program suggesting, i believe you can use the DigiGuide online EPG to program it too (although i've never tried this personally). If you just want simple 7 day EPG however, you can just use the software that comes with the card. The website address is http://www.nebula-electronics.com/

    The best £100 i ever spent on my HTPC.

    Sean
     
  3. jimmydubs

    jimmydubs
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    Thanks for that Sean. I'll check it out.

    Is this a better solution than, say, the ones that Showshifter are offering in their "shop". For example they are currently offering a VBox DVD TV card + Showshifter + remote control for $129.99 which by my reckoning is about £70. Do you know if the Nebula solution has more features and flexibility? If so, can you list them?

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  4. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    I assume you're in the UK jim as you are talking about Sky and Freeview, i don't think they offer that card in the UK shop, they do the DVB software and a Nova-T card for £130 which is about the same price as the Nebula, plus you get a multi-remote with the Nebula, if that sweetens the deal. I've never used showshifter with the Nebula, from what i recall the main advantage was adding chunky graphics and a little bit more user friendliness for a remote. In my old flat that i shared with 2 of the most technically challenged people in the world, they had no problem using the basic Nebula software either with the the remote, or from my pronto, or even using the mouse.

    Edit: I've just looked at the showshifter site, it touts:

    Pause Live TV
    Digital Video Recorder
    Electronic Program Guide
    Home Network Compatible
    Use a Remote Control
    Watch DVDs
    Music Jukebox and CD Player
    Digital Picture Viewer

    Certainly the Nebula does the first 5 flawlessly for me, and to be honest, i've never wanted to use the last 3, i prefer to use other (better?) software to do those tasks.
     
  5. Flimber

    Flimber
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  6. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    If the card is reliable that looks like a top deal :)
     

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