Decided on TV card, what about software?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by GeorgeStorm, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    As above really, don't have a clue what I'm doing

    I'm planning on building a media pc for the family to go with a new tv

    Aiming to replace the current HDD recorder they use

    Current spec:
    Some media case (looking at silverstone lascsala since it seems to be the cheapest which supports full atx boards)
    msi 790 platinum
    e4300
    4gb ddr2
    750gb WD HDD

    Some tv card?

    Looking to be able to record one channel while watching another, preferably record two while watching another.

    We have digital tv and freeview, no sky etc and obviously analogue has been stopped in the UK.

    Looking for both recommendations to cards, and to whether this is the best way to go about it?
    Am looking to replace the black box, be able to watch iplayer on the tv, be able to save recorded files with actual names rather than just a number and a date which it is at the moment etc
     
  2. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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  3. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    I'd want to be able to record hd content, so I guess the BlackGold would be the one to go for?
    What's the difference between the BGT3620 and BGT3630, since they are the same price on scan

    And so I can just plug in the arial, and then watch, record tv on the computer? Never used anything like this before, so sorry if the questions are obvious.

    Thanks
     
  4. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    The BGT3630 is a single dvb-t2 and a single dvb-s2 tuner. The bgt3620 has 2 dvb-t2 tuners only. The simplest way to use either card is with W7WMC (all I ever use). HD content takes up a lot of disk space (probably 2gb per hour). SD is half that. Not sure if your E4300 will be able to process all the data if you end up recording two HD channels while watching a third but it should be fine for SD (which is all I use).

    Add something like this and I'm pretty sure you'll be well pleased. Windows Media Centre Remote Control : Remote Controls : Maplin Electronics
     
  5. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Wait, so I can record two channels and watch a third with the 3620? (all hd in theory)
     
  6. robbo100

    robbo100
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    It depends upon what software you use. With WMC, you will be able to watch or record a single channel for each tuner you have. So both the cards you are looking at have 2 tuners (of one type or another), so you can watch one and record with another, or record using both.

    If you use other software (I know MediaPortal does this, but I am not sure what other software also does it), you can record the whole mux using a single tuner (a "mux" is effectively a "frequency" and there are a number of channels broadcast on a single frequency - you can see here that Sandy Heath (DVB-T2 transmitter broadcasts 6 frequencies Freeview on Sandy Heath TV transmitter | ukfree.tv - independent free digital TV advice). With DVB-T2, all the HD channels are broadcast on the same frequency, so you can record them ALL with a single DVB-T2 tuner (BBC HD, BBC One HD, Channel 4 HD ITV1 HD). Leaving your other tuner to watch or record other SD channels.

    I personally wouldn't worry about an E4300 being underpowered for recording more than one HD channel, it is more down to your motherboard throughput and HD capacity than processing power. I would think you could record all 4 channels simultaneously without too much problem.

    You main worry is that the graphics card might struggle (I can't see what one is fitted to the mainboard). You may benefit from installing a PCI-e graphics card such as the ATI 5450, which will be easily powerful enough for playing back HD content.

    Robbo100
     
  7. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Ah ok, and cpu wise, can always overclock it, and even possibly replace it with a quad if worst comes to worst. (the chip can do 2.7 with no effort)

    Gpu wise, I've got various cards sitting around, including an 8800GT, which I'd be tempted to just shove in, then wouldn't have any problems surely?

    And I think it will start with a single 750gb HDD, not sure though.
     
  8. robbo100

    robbo100
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    To be honest, an 8800GT probably isn't enough if you ever intend to watch bluerays, but should be just enough for HD TV, however because your processor is a bit on the slow side, you might want to aim for something a little quicker. I would just give it a try. Does the 8800GT have HDMI?

    I have an 9600GT with an E7400, and it is fine (my other PC is a slightly quicker AMD XII 265, with an ATI HD5450 which is perfect.

    A single film recorded off HD TV takes about 10 gig, so a 750 GB drive will not give you a massive amount of head room, but it is a good start. You can always add another drive in at a later date if you need it.

    Robbo100
     
  9. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Yeah, only reason just looking at 750gb drive atm is because we already have it, and with current HDD prices, although they have come down a little, I'd rather wait before investing in some 2tb+ drives.

    And about the 8800GT, really? I guess I'll have to do some testing, and no I don't think it does, so looks like may have to invest in a new gpu aswell, was hoping to keep it cheap for the family :/

    Although, why would the 5450 be better? (considering it's a far weaker card? :/)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  10. robbo100

    robbo100
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    the HD5450 can be picked up new for less than £28.

    Why do you say that the 8800GT is a better card than the 5450 (why is it a "weaker card")? The 8800GT is about 4 years older than the 5450.

    The 5450 is far more powerful, is DirectX11 and output HD Audio over HDMI. The 8800 doesn't even have an HDMI cable. You can get better cards if you want to spend more money, and you can get NVIDIA equivalents for about the same money if you prefer.
     
  11. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    I was referring to actual graphical processing power, Dirext11 won't help with video playback (as far as I'm aware), only thing it does have is HDMI, which is a fair point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  12. Habanos

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    The 8800GT is considerably faster than the 5450 in terms of processing power. It doesn't have as many video decoding features (although it still decodes MPEG2, VC1 and h.264) but it's more than good enough. I used one with a 2.0GHz Athlon 64 X2 for playing Blu-ray without any issues.

    The only downside to it is the power consumption.
     
  13. robbo100

    robbo100
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    I stand doubly corrected :)
     
  14. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    I wasn't there to correct you, since I wondered if it was to do with encoding, merely stating why I'd said what I did :)

    Yeah, I'll probably end up going for something like a 5450 anyways, since it doesn't have a HDMI port as far as I'm aware (will double check later when I can be bothered to find it) and as Habanos said, power consumption will be considerably higher :/
     
  15. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    And back to the tuner front, so will the family still be able to watch TV using the TV's built in tuner? At the moment they can use the 'black box' or the TVs own tuner, so in theory, we would be able to record two separate things (say BBC1 HD and Dave) using the blackgold card and then watch ITV using the TVs tuner?
     
  16. robbo100

    robbo100
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    Yes, as long as there is an antenna cable plugged into the TV.
     
  17. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    I thought the antenna cable plugged into the tv card in the PC? Or am I not understanding what you mean?
     
  18. robbo100

    robbo100
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    You need an antenna cable plugged into each tuner you use, irrespective of whether your tuner is in your PC, the TV or is in a set top box.

    You asked if it was still possible to watch TV using the built-in tuner and the answer is yes, as long as that has an antenna plugged into it (you will also need an antenna cable connecting to each tuner in your PC.
     
  19. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    So, if we only have one cable coming into the room, I'd only be able to use one tuner on that blackgold card in any case?
     
  20. Habanos

    Habanos
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    Terrestrial signals (unlike satellite) can be split.

    If you're in a post-DSO area, you may be able to get away with a Y- or T-splitter to share the signal between the TV and the computer. If not, a distribution amplifier or multi-output "signal booster" (but only a low gain one) should do the job.
     
  21. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    If you currently have no issues with tv reception, then a simple low loss splitter from any high street "tv" store will do.
     
  22. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Right, well I think I might go ahead and order some new shinies today :D

    So the setup will be:
    e4300
    msi platinum
    4gb ddr2

    430 tagan PSU
    30gb OCZ SSD (they won't want to leave it on all of the time, so fast boot times are a must)
    750gb WD HDD (just to start with)
    undecided on the gpu front
    silverstone lascala
    blackgold 3620
    All with whichever TV the parents end up buying :p

    So, onto the software front, was thinking linux since I want them to be able to use it as a normal pc aswell as just a media centre type pc, but don't want to pay for windows, and parents don't like pirating.
    So, say I were to use fedora (my personal favourite distro) then what would be best for the whole media centre front, xbmc?
     
  23. robbo100

    robbo100
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    XBMC won't play live TV from your Blackgold 3620. I believe you can install a hack to allow it to play TV from the MythTV or MediaPortal TV Servers, but I don't know anything about how to set this up. Also, if you plan to use this hack to play live TV using the MediaPortal TV Server then you will need to run the MediaPortal TV Server on a Window PC.

    Robbo100
     
  24. Habanos

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    Take a look at OpenELEC. It gives you XBMC configured out of the box, and also includes the PVR support (but TV/PVR support in XBMC is not remotely close to 7MC or MediaPortal yet)
     
  25. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    You'll have to leave it on (or in standby) or it can't record.
    Junk the SSD and buy W7HP, then run WMC. Unless they don't need it until next Xmas?

    or run mediaportal under XP.
     
  26. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Are there really no decent linux alternatives?
    SSD would only cost me £30, and instead of that I'd have to buy a HDD which wouldn't be a lot less most likely.

    I'll give it a think, rather not use windows, only use it on my main pcs for gaming.
    But in the end the family want something that will work, although as it turns out, they may wait until easter, since they've spent a fair amount this Christmas already (including the new tv)
     
  27. robbo100

    robbo100
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    If your parents are grandparents or the legal guardian of any children in full time education (or if either of them are teachers), then they can get Win 7 Pro for £38 from software4students.

    If you use S3 standby when the system is not in use then your boot-up times will be only about 5 seconds even without an SSD. You could run the OS from a 40 Gig partition on the 750 Gig drive you have budgeted for.

    Where are you getting the SSD for £30?!!!!!

    If you are really on a budget an SSD is an unnecessary luxury in my opinion and if Live TV is a key requirement then you have to spend the money where it will make the real difference!
     
  28. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm
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    Getting a 30gb SSD 2nd hand, I rarely buy anything new unless I absolutely have to. (getting it with another item, and idividually priced at 37.50, so 30 was a slight underestimation)
    Yeah both my brother and sister are in full time education, I'm going to see if I can get more MSDNAA stuffs :p

    Yeah Live TV is a must, will be the main use no doubt when I'm not there :p
    Think I might pick the SSD up anyways, since it's a nice price.

    I'll look into buying a Windows license (just saying it makes me feel queasy :p)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011

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