In the next couple of months I am intending purchasing either a HTPC setup OR buying (when they come out) a Freesat HD box with built in PVR system. I'm very undecided over which route to go. I appreciate the HTPC offers more options e.g. internet, DVD etc. however I have a few questions I haven't been able to find answers for which I thought maybe some HTPC owners could help with. I'd be using Vista MC with the latest pack on a HTPC, and either option would be hooked up via HDMI to a 32 inch LCD.
- In terms of picture quality, is there any difference between a HTPC and a good quality HD set top box for viewing both BBC HD and normal SD channels?
- I assume with the latest pack VMC will allow you to record HD material in it's original format?
- On a HD Ready TV, how well does VMC handle the aspect ratio/resolution? Will it display the same as a set top box or will there be additional borders or annoying aspect ratio problems?
- I understand you need to download the EPG for VMC over the internet. When it's downloaded, assuming it shows a weeks worth of TV, can you then setup recordings for the week and have them record without being connected to the internet? Or for recording to work does it require a constant internet connection?
- Does the HTPC work as well as a PVR in terms of waking up from standby, recording a TV program, then going back to standby?
- When a normal Freesat box is on standby it's silent. What happens when a HTPC goes into standby - is it silent or are any of the fans still running?
- If you purchase the Microsoft remote control, does this let you change channels, adjust volume, switch the HTPC off etc. as easy as a normal PVR remote does?