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PC vs DVD recorder - home entertainment centre

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by lutek lobster, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. lutek lobster

    lutek lobster
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    I would like to get a hard drive of some sort to record TV, but not in large quantities. But I am also keen to buy a home PC for both broadband use, media storage etc.

    I don't want to buy a DVD recorder and a PC if possible (cost and space issues) and would like to future proof to some extent.

    With all the talk of convergence to home entertainment centres, is it:

    1) possible to use a PC to record TV?
    2) something that can be done by a guy like myself with alomst zero tech knowledge?
    3) is the quality of PC HD/PC discdrive comparable to an average DVD player?

    Thanks, :lease: :hiya:
     
  2. stripe

    stripe
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    1) Yes, by sticking a TV tuner card into your PC (or a USB one), or if you can afford one a proper capture card.
    2) It is usually very easy as most devices come with their own recording software.
    3) Depending on your budget, the better the card the better the recording. To get a DVD quality recording you need a relatively modern PC with plenty of memory and a fast hard disk drive and a high end input card. But you can get reasonable results from a £30 hauppage TV tuner.
     
  3. dan1979

    dan1979
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    It's all very possible but I can take a lot of fiddling around, personally I would go for it and use the PC for everything but depends if you have the time to put into it and the patience.
     
  4. SimonInd

    SimonInd
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    A reasonable P4/Athlon with 512MB memory and a Nebula DigiTV freeview card will get you most of the way there. If you want to record Sky then you'll need a Sweetspot or some other capture card. Software is readily available to play and burn DVDs, and make your machine multiregion. As others have said it does require fiddling and in terms of picture quality, if your using a conventional TV, and the graphics card's TV-out then you won't get an improvement in picture quality, however if you have a Plasma or Projector then a PC via DVI or VGA is the best way to make the most of them.

    I moved to a PC a little over a year ago and despite the time spent setting it up, it's been a worthwhile exercise.

    Good luck

    Simon
     
  5. lutek lobster

    lutek lobster
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    thanks for the responses so far. I have just bought a Philips 37PF9986 LCD, and am in the market for a PC (for work and entertainment purposes) as well, and recognise that I need to spend money to save money.

    I currently have an old sony dav s300 system and a sky box. I have a broadband connection, and as I live in Poland, I am interested in trying to maximise the use of internet media to supplement my limited sky viewing (increasingly channels are moving to astra 2d which can't be received without a 3meter dish in poland).

    If you had cash to spare what sort of pc and software would you opt for ?

    Is the MS windows xp media centre the best option?

    Is the new mini mac a better option ?
    Thanks,
     
  6. FruitBat

    FruitBat
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    I've been recording TV on my PC for about 3 years. I use a digital TV card so the PC has very little to do when recording (CPU used for decoding). The CPU is an Athlon XP1700 (1.5 GHz). There's plently of software about to allow you to edit (remove adverts) or recode (fit a film onto CD in MPEG4). I guess there's no DVB-T is Poland, but there are DVB-S cards available to get FTA channels (would you need a 3m dish for all satellites?)

    IMO, the biggest challenge is noise reduction. My PC was intended to sit under the telly, but was too noisy. I'm now planning another attempt with the Aopen i855GMem motherboard which uses the Pentium-M.
     
  7. lutek lobster

    lutek lobster
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    A lot of discussion exists around the noise of a PC. My dell laptop is quiet except for those times that I am loading a CD. If I buy a new media centre PC (suggestions anyone?), are you suggesting that if I were to be recording through a tuner card to the PC's HD, it would be noisy? How Noisy ?!! My armchair is about 12 feet back from my tv - would the noise be discernible from that distance ?

    Much of the talk on this board is extraordinarily valuable, and many of you have deep knowledge of building PCs, but like others I'm sure, I'm never going to have the available time or knowledge to put together my own PC, so am looking for an off the shelf solution - I guess I'm a consunmer...is that an embarrasing admission?
     
  8. SimonInd

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    I've never heard a truly silent PC :) or seen for that matter, however I have had a Dell 8300 for over a year and it's quiet enough to be left on all of the time. I've just had an 8400 delivered so I'll see how that compares but, like you, I didn't have the time or inclanation to build a machine from scratch so I wanted a fairly solid starting point. Granted the black mini-tower doesn't look as nice as a dedicated case but it keeps noise to a minimum and I keep it out of sight behind an armchair.

    Laptops are generally noisier has the little fan has to spin faster to keep them cool. The 8300 has a mostly plastic ( doesn't rattle) case and the drive mounts are damped so it's better than the average desktop.

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  9. FruitBat

    FruitBat
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    I would have thought that laptops would generally be quieter. I'm not sure if all the intel mobile chips are the same, but some of them (dothan?) appear to be very low power (= low heat). You would need a USB tuner for a laptop. I don't know how good the latest are. The last time I looked, Hauppauge USB TV modules were USB1.1.
    Other places to look are:
    www.silentpcreview.com
    www.tv-cards.com
    www.hauppauge.co.uk/board
     
  10. markxtc123

    markxtc123
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    The new Elonex Artisan is reputed to be virtually silent. See thread entitled "How good is the Elonex Artisan?"
     
  11. jackpot

    jackpot
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    I'm looking to do exactly the same. I'm having my PC built for me so i can pick the best parts.
    To be able to record TV what Graphics card can be recommended and also what capture card can be recommended.
    Bearing in mind that ultimately i want to be able to record freeview. Quality is a priority

    many thanks
     
  12. lutek lobster

    lutek lobster
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    Lots of discussion about recording freeview, but in Poland I'm limited to polish freeview channels...no thanks. Presumably it's not difficult to link up a skybox to the pc...so for example, the usb tuner card mentioned above (for laptops), would it be possible to link that to a skybox ?
     

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