HCPC MCE functionality vs TIVO plus £ spend for Arcam DV89 pic/sound quality


Ex Member

Although OK with building PC's & using them daily, I'm new to the HCPC concept. From playing about recently with a modded XBOX playing MP3's & then managing to FTP MP3's & Vdeo from laptop to NetGem Iplayer I'm starting to feel the urger for a HCPC :smoke:

Currently I have a TIVO lifetime 120GB, plus Arcam DV89 DVD player. Thoughts are if I can get a HCPC that performs TIVO function & picture/sound quality of DV89 for similar money as latter items s/h, then I could be in for a change of kit.

Few questions then please

1. Can a HCPC with MCE replicate the functionality of a TIVO ...especially season passes ?
2. What spec / price ready built HCPC will provide same picture/sound quality of the DV89 ?

Probably have a top budget of £800, but would prefer lower if it meets the above criteria

Will be feeding into Denon 3805 amp then onto PW6 Plasma with dual slot board.

All advice appreciated. Cheers guys



Are you watching Freeview through your netgem iplayer?

If so thenyou will see a huge improvement if you can connect your TV via DVI to your PC and use a DVB card in your PC.

I am using this and I also have a Netgem .. the difference in PQ is huge!

See my other new thread in this forum to see pics.


Ex Member

Thanks for reply. Yes, am using Netgem for freeview, but have to say I am impressed with quality via component outpur from box......were you using the same ? If yes, then PQ improvement is a plus for me :thumbsup:

Nobody else out there got an opinion on Tivo question or quality vs decent DVD player ? There must be lots like me who are tempted with jump to HCPC, but want some honest feedback on functionality / quality vs decent dedicate seperates.

Cheers Dave


Established Member

this is exactly what we have done. I cannot comment yet on quality as I haven't received one yet, but my Hi-Grade will come Thursday at the latest, Elonex sometime after that. I am pretty sure it will be much better picture wise. Season passes I believe will be ok but no suggestions. My biggest concern is the fact you can only choose one EPG from satellite/freeview/terestrial - so even though you can have two tuners, there is no point in mixing any broadcasts. I would have loved to get a digi tuner and a analogue tuner with a combined EPG. :) Maybe in MCE2006!

The fact you can backup to DVD and have all your music / photos in one location and connected to a TV/hifi looks very inviting.


Standard Member
DJW said:
Nobody else out there got an opinion on Tivo question or quality vs decent DVD player ? There must be lots like me who are tempted with jump to HCPC, but want some honest feedback on functionality / quality vs decent dedicate seperates.

I'm also very interested in this question as my TiVo (120GB, Turbonet and TiVoWeb) died last week :(

I could buy a 2nd hand unit off eBay for around £100 and rebuild it but I'm tempted to build an HTPC instead and loose the £10/month subscription and the extra cabinet from the lounge.

I would aim to replace the following devices with one good quality HTPC plugged into my Yamaha DSP-595A amp:

* TiVo PVR
* Netgear MP101 networked MP3 Player
* Kiss DP-500 networked DivX/DVD player
* Sony SB920 analogue tuner
* Marantz CD-63 CD Player

So far I've been looking at the Silverstone LC11M case, Nebula Electronics PCI DTV card, Showshifter and Digiguide software.

I have NTL cable so I'd need some sort of IR blaster to change the channel on the STB (I've looked at the Red Rat but understand they going out business).


Ex Member
Thanks guys for your replies.

Come on, the rest of you smug gits :rolleyes: :laugh: with your lovely HCPCs.....share your thoughts with us mere mortals please ;)


Prominent Member
I am waiting for an Elonex Artisan at the moment. I've tested my pwd6 plasma (same as yours) with fairly high spec'd laptops (connected to the vga port) and it gave a pretty acceptable picture.

but...I wouldn't replace my denon 2900 (connected via component) with a hcpc. They're just not in the same league in my opinion.

So i'm getting the artisan to do recording from sky/email/web ect, but the denon is staying for movies.


Standard Member
You should be able to better the DVD picture quality with a HCPC as, in addition to 1:1 mapping to your plasma to bypass it's scaler, you can post process video using FFDShow to get a further improvement.

DigiGuide should be able to give you season passes etc. to replicate the TiVo functionality, however I've not used it. The Nebula DigiTV card gives me excellent picture quality on an 8ft screen so you should be fine on 42".

Plus you can surf the 'net on your TV, burn recordings to DVD and serve media ( pictures, music, video ) to other PCs/network clients in your house should you so desire. I've had one for a little over a year and I doubt I'll ever switch back - with a projector the picture quality of post-processed DVDs at 1280x720 via DVI will be hard for a stand-alone player to touch. The only downside is the time spent fiddling with it - as most elements are software based there's a constant temptation to improve things...

Don't forget a Gyration wireless mouse and keyboard for control duties...

Good luck



Standard Member
After another days thought I've decided to ditch my NTL cable box. The vast majority of off air stuff I watch is available on Freeview and I don't subscribe to any movie or sport channels.

I'll be saving £10 on the TiVo subscription and £20 on NTL per month. I'll save £360/year which is just over half the money I need to build a decent HTPC.
(I have 1.5GB RAM, Radeon 9600PRO, NEC3500A, 2x160GB HDD, Quiet PSU, etc. already).

I've ordered a Thomson DHD4000 dual tuner Freeview PVR for recording duties in the mean time. I can stick the 120GB Maxtor from my sick TiVo straight in it for 60-70 hours digital recording. Hopefully this will alleviate my TiVo cold turkey.

I've also ordered the Nebula DigiTV PCI card. I'll play around with this and Showshifter on my 'server' PC and purchase a Silverstone LC10M, new CPU and mobo when I'm happy it all works OK.


Ex Member
Thanks guys.....lots to think about.

Thanks to MarkE19 for following link on TiVo vs MCE

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