:: need a TV tuner card... advice please (and HTPC stuff)

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by liamt, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. liamt

    liamt
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    Hi guys,

    im biting the bullet and getting rid of virgin tivo and going to build myself a PVR/NAS/media/gaming pc.

    well, im actually going to use the pc in my sig since it rarely gets used any more.

    thing is, i need a TV tuner card.

    can i get some advice as to which is a high quality HD card for UK freeview HD? all the reviews i keep finding on google seem to be a few years old.

    tivo lets me record 3 things concurrently. so would i need a 4 input tuner for this? do i have to get an aerial splitter to split this into 4 inputs? or am i missing something (surely the card could split the signal, like tivo does?)

    i do have an old sky dish hooked up but no idea if its working (was here when we moved in). would that be better than using an aerial? i know the aerials work as i used them before we got virgin hooked up.

    i would like HD. are all tv tuner cards limited to 1080i? i guess broadcasts are only 1080i anyway? i know tivo does some 1080p @ 24. but i guess this is just for on demand movies?

    im also looking at making this PC a DLNA server and using it as a NAS (my NAS box is 4 years old so will likely die soon). im looking at RAID for the NAS and i guess i need a PVR style HDD to cope with all the reads and writes?

    im looking at windows media centre for PVR and xbmc for all media and everything else. can i use my win8 tablet, iphone and windows phones to control this htpc? that would be pretty cool [​IMG]

    sorry if this isnt very clear... not finished my coffee yet!

    also, i hear windows media centre is the same for win8 as win7, is this true? would it be worth upgrading to win8 from win7? im trying to do this cheaply but i do want a decent quality TV tuner card.
     
  2. liamt

    liamt
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  3. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    I want to get one of those at some point. The trouble is, I saw a USB dual-tuner in PC World a few weeks ago, and it was only £20. So now I have a quad tuner setup (which is brilliant) but it's all SD.

    Anyway, how are you finding your card?
     
  4. liamt

    liamt
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    hasnt arrived yet - i only ordered yesterday.

    i did a lot of research on the tuner to get. these seem to get the best reviews and great picture. if i can i want to use HD as much as possible. SD on a 42" TV isnt great.
     
  5. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    I would prefer HD too, but going quad-tuner for £20 was a no-brainer for me. I wish there was a good USB version...
     
  6. liamt

    liamt
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    you certainly cant complain at that price. i just read that the cheaper cards arent that great quality wise and can be a bit flaky. sounds like you got lucky :)

    i can always add another later but with a lot less channels im hoping that 2 concurrent recordings should do. its all a bit of a minefield for someone that doesnt know that much about multiplexes etc.
     
  7. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    It was a Hauppauge one, that seems to be £40-50 everywhere else. It's the newer/current version of what I already had, so I didn't even need to install any drivers :)

    Have you tried MediaPortal? I didn't really get on with some aspects of it, but the multiplexing thing it does is seamless.
     
  8. liamt

    liamt
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    i havent tried much yet. i had a play installing xmbc on my tablet and managed to control it with iphone app, which was pretty cool.

    planning on using MS Media Centre for Tv and XMBC for everything else. i like the way it scrapes info on movies etc. i dont have many ripped to the NAS yet, just the ones my son watches a lot. i need to have a big sort through our mp3 folder though. its a bit of a nightmare for these apps to navigate as we have it structured in a way they dont like much.
     
  9. speedyyellow

    speedyyellow
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    I've had that TBS dual tuner card for a couple of years now and its really good (although it is the only tuner card I've ever used). I get all the HD channels no worries through windows media centre.

    As you're going to be using WMC you might want to take a look at MediaBrowser3. It does much the same as XBMC but has full WMC integration so that you don't have to jump back & forth between two apps. There's no way my wife would cope with jumping into XBMC to watch her stuff without me being there to help, but with MediaBrowser its all just there when she turns the TV on.

    The downside is MediaBrowser doesn't have the same community behind it and is not as configurable as XBMC, but for me at least the trade-off is worth it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  10. liamt

    liamt
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    It still hasnt arrived :( apparently these are brand new cards and only came into the country today

    Will look into media browser but my wife isnt too bad with tech. Does it let you view iso and scrape info for mp3s etc??
     
  11. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    liamt, will you post back if you try MediaBrowser with WMC, please? ISO playback is something I would add
     
  12. liamt

    liamt
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    sure, will do.
     
  13. speedyyellow

    speedyyellow
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    I never used it but the older version supported ISO mounting so I'm sure it's still there in the latest version. Scraping mp3's shouldnt be an issue either.
     
  14. liamt

    liamt
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    will it scrape movies too?
     
  15. speedyyellow

    speedyyellow
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    Yes! It does pretty much everything that XBMC/Plex does only it has an add on to fully integrate it into WMC. So you can be watching a movie and bring up the TV guide over the top, or have your live TV playing in a thumbnail while you browse through your media library.
     
  16. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    I think I might just bite the bullet on this. I'll have a go with it one evening this week
     
  17. speedyyellow

    speedyyellow
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    It should be said there's nothing stopping you running multiple systems at once, so you can try something new out without changing your existing setup.

    I have mediabrowser and plex servers both running at the same time indexing the same files as I'm currently contemplating ditching the HTPC and using the plex dlna server to get to my content.
     
  18. kneelbeforesod

    kneelbeforesod
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    I'm treading carefully mainly because I'm using a low-end CPU. There's probably no major overhead, but I'll take an image first, just in case
     
  19. liamt

    liamt
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    yeah, get a backup first. you never know how certain software can conflict or mess up other stuff. the joys of IT!
     
  20. liamt

    liamt
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    ok, finally got tv card in and fresh windows install (win7).

    a couple of issues with windows media centre....

    when i flick amp input MCE seems to close down. thats a bit crap!

    when trying to do the sound setup it crashes and i need to sort out sound properties again. very annoying. maybe thats because im using my video card to output sound to my amp? works fine in games and media etc though. seems to be an issue with the wizard.

    quality of TV was good though. HD channels look virtually same as virgin :)
     
  21. AMc

    AMc
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    IIRC WMC is only available on Windows 8 Pro or Ultimate + you have to pay for it as an extra. Once you've done that it is exactly the same as W7 so I wouldn't bother upgrading if I were you.

    I have a Peak dual SD freeview tuner and a single hauppauge HD sat tuner.
    Last time I checked Microsoft hadn't bothered to provide listings for BBC3HD and BBC4HD on satellite - so you can tune them in but either share the SD listings or not record from them. I like to choose to record in HD for good stuff and SD for most stuff to save disk space so at the moment these channels are useless to me unless I use another listings provider - more trouble than it's worth to me. :)

    WMC is pretty good, I've been using it for a few years on W7 and I like it but it doesn't feel like they ever really finished it and Microsoft have more or less abandoned it as a "product". In a couple of years the idea of recording broadcast TV will probably have been killed by on demand for almost everyone so I'm not expecting anything now.
     
  22. Stiggy

    Stiggy
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    I just copied/swapped the listing for BBC3HD and BBC4HD on Freeview to the channel numbers for satellite. Maybe if you don't have a DVB-T2 tuner you can't do that.

    I'm still very happy with W7 Media Center as it does everything I need. I certainly wouldn't bother upgrading to Windows 8.

    I agree streaming is the way forward, as I use both Netflix and Amazon Instant Video extensively now.
     
  23. AMc

    AMc
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    Nope, you can copy what you receive but not something you don't. It's hardly a big deal.
    In general I find WMC is happy to record the same program twice - once from DVB-T and again from DVB-S at the same time. The listings vary slightly, even down to having two separate series entries with the same display entry.
    If I were starting again (and now that DVB-T2 is in my area) I would only get DVB-T2 tuners not the mix of both which takes more administration and offers me no extra choices that I actually need.
     

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