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Building a PC based TIVO/SKY Plus Box

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by scook17, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. scook17

    scook17
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    I'd like to build a PC to record take the input from my Sky Plus box and record it in MPEG4 format, including Dolby Digital. I want to capture with full frame, uncompressed AVI. The I could encode it in whatever format I liked from MPEG2 to MPEG4 using a software encoder and a reasonably powerful CPU.
    I want to play the recorded video and audio back using component video output and optical/coaxial out to my 56" TV. I'm having problems finding a card with component or RBG outputs to drive the TV, as well as one that has RBG inputs for recording. Can anyone suggest one?

    I've already tried this with the ATI Radeon 8500DV card, so I know my computer can handle full frame, uncompressed AVI. The problem with this card is it uses S-Video which doesn't give good signal quality. My 56" Toshiba TV has both RGB and component inputs, but I can't seem to find a card which will both capture and replay in either RGB or component. S-Video input to the TV looks poor by comparison to RGB. I don't have any kit (yet) with component video output, so I've not been able to test that part of the system, but I'm told it's of a similar quality to RGB via the SCART.

    As for recording/playback of Dolby Digital, I've found you can use the SoundBlaster Audigy II (24 bit) which seems ideal and also has a firewire input as well. I want to transfer all of my CD collection to MP3 format, to create a jukebox. The Audigy has a digital input on the card, so you can read the music direct from the CD in digital form.

    Has anyone tried any of this already and got things working ok?

    Kind Regards,
    Shane Cook.
     
  2. Azrikam

    Azrikam
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    I haven't tried it, but I was seriously considering it when I bought my new PC.

    But, from what research I did do, it just wasn't feasible. You'd need a very powerful machine that was dedicated to this, so that means you couldn't use it for anything else while recording. (that stopped me right there)

    Considering how cheap a TiVo is nowadays (if you can find one), it's much more economical. The TiVo doesn't have the overhead of a bulky OS, so it runs very smoothly despite having a rather weak processor. Plus, it's apparently very easy to hack, so you can pick up a 120 GB HD and add it to the existing one, giving you tons of recording time. I'm doing mine tonight, so wish me luck. :)

    You can even go so far as to get a broadband card for it and stream your recordings off to a real PC for archival purposes. (burn to CD, whatever)

    Course, it all depends on what you're looking for, and what you're willing to spend. For me, the TiVo is perfect. Check out ...

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/

    ... for details if you're interested.
     
  3. scook17

    scook17
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    I'm prepared to allocate a dedicated PC, as I'll shortly be upgrading my motherboard so I'll have a 1.2Ghz Athlon chip which can easily support full frame capture and then later processing (non-real time) into MPEG4 when the box is not doing anything, eg overnight.

    I also want to use the box to playback and store MP3's from my CD collection. I'll use the usb connector to connect up the digital camera to show various holiday snaps etc. As a PC, it can also have some decent games installed and play them on a big screen.

    It's just a matter of finding a suitable graphics card. A decent, AV looking, case would also be cool to. Does anyone know where I buy a case which looks like a piece of AV gear?

    Kind Regards,
    Shane Cook.
     
  4. alexpocock

    alexpocock
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    Not sure if this is the sort of thing you are looking for but there are small pc cases here http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/product.php?subcat=4

    some of them though only have room for small form factor motherboards however

    Alex
     
  5. Messiah

    Messiah
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    Take a look at something like the ATC600 here

    or alternatively you could try a DIGN case. Do a search on these forums for DIGN and you should get a load of threads.
     
  6. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Microsoft have released (in the States) Windows XP Media Centre Edition which claims to be able to act as a PVR.
    This version of Windows will not be available for sale on it's own though - you will have to purchase a system with it already on.
    They are supposed to be releasing to the rest of us early next year.

    XP Media Centre
     
  7. scook17

    scook17
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    An interesting idea. Sounds a bit like a PC equipped with the ATI Radeon DV software & card (PVR, Remote control, TV In/Out, Firewire) with the added bonus of a digital sound output. If only my ATI 8500DV had a digital in/out port or I could buy a montherboard with one built in, then you could do the lot with one card.

    I noticed the recent version of media player (v9) now has the ability to convert CDs to WMA files (like MP3's) automatically. Judging by the file size at maximum quality VBR (around 10MB per song) I can get most of my CD collection on he hard disk. It auto-detects the tracks as well, so produces easy to use music center. Actually, thinking about it, it will probably index movies in the same way. I might take one off one of my DVDs and give it a try tonight. Maxtor has just released a 250GB disk, so that's around 50 DVDs in MPEG4 format!

    Kind Regards,
    Shane Cook.
     
  8. scook17

    scook17
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    I've found a card which will output in component video, called the RealMagic XCard, which is the basis of the MPEG4 KISS DVD player:

    http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products/xcard_features_specifications.htm

    It requires the use of a monitor as well though, which is somewhat stupid, but it's a reasonably priced card. If used with a card that have TV in/out, eg my 8500DV card, this card could do the S-Video TV output and capture.

    Has anyone tried this card?

    Kind Regards,
    Shane Cook.
     
  9. eugdog

    eugdog
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    Whilst there is a huge difference between Video and S video I cannot really tell the difference between S video and RGB and componant - and I use a 100 inch ultra high contrast projector!!!!
     

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