Possibly dumb tuner question


Established Member
So, now i've got my bluray rip playback sorted i figured i'd start looking into my next project - tv tuners :thumbsup:

I've been reading around all afternoon trying to get to the bottom of what would be needed but i'm still a bit confused!
Currently i have sky+. I'd be looking to replace this and use the inputs from the dish. So going by that i need a dual tuner dvb-s card right?
But, then there is all this talk about the HD stuff being moved to S2. So actually i want an dual tuner S2 card which are backwardly compatible?

Now, for the the dumb bits:

I've read that when watching a "stream" from one of the tuners the PC actually needs to do the work of decoding it. Does this apply for recording aswell? Eg, will recording 1 HD channel and viewing another require my PC to be powerful enough to decode 2 H264 thingers at once?
Similarly if i want to record 2 while playing back a recorded show?
Or is recording less stress on the system than playing back?

Will i need to move my dish at all. Or will i be able to pick up the free channels with it pointing towards "murdoch's satellite"?

How does Freesat fit into all this?

I hope all that makes sense.


Presuming Ed

Prominent Member

What you say is right.

A dual tuner dvb-s card would do you fine (as would two single tuner dvb-s cards right now).

Probably around the same time Channel 4 HD comes to Freesat, all Freesat HD channels might move to DVB-S2. That's some way off.

So if you want it NOW - buy 2 £30 Compro DVB-s cards from Scan. Otherwise wait for a decent dual tuner DVB-S2 card to come out - probably over £100 but will have DVB-T tuners too.

Remember the HTPC owner's motto - you can't have too many tuners. So you buy two now, you buy four more on one card in a year, you have 6 tuners. Provided you have the space in your PC.

Decoding only happens at playback. Recording is just slapping whatever comes through the dish onto a disk. The software doesn't care what it is.

How Freesat fits into this is a good question. Always worth remembering that Freesat is, effectively, just an EPG. And an EPG is what turns a PC with some satellite cards in it into a user friendly HTPC.

Most popular softwware - Mediaportal, Windows MC, DVBViewer now has a way of getting a 7 day EPG but that's going to be right at the top of your things to do.


Established Member
Excellent explanation Ed. Thanks a lot!


Established Member
Ok, another question.

Can you mix the tuner types in the same HTPC? For example, if i were to buy a dvb-s card now could i supplement it with an S2 card at a later date?

Is media centre clever enough to use the correct tuner for the correct channel? Eg, use the S2 for HD?


Established Member
Mediaportal has the ability to mix and match any type of card/tuner whether its DVB-S/S2 or DVB-T, MP asks you which card takes priority over recording.

So if you wanted to record BBC HD it would select the first tuner which supplies BBC HD (which would be a DVB-S tuner). However if you wanted to record Virgin 1 then a DVB-T tuner would be used (as virgin 1 on free sat is encrypted).

MP can give you the chance to set priority to a tuner, and you can merge two or more of the same channels from multiple tuners.

I've only ever used mediaportal, and as such dont know what other solutions are out there.

I'm waiting till the new blackgold card comes out in december (dual dvb-s/s2, Dual dvb-t). As it stands I dont watch a lot of TV (due to lack of decent channels on freesat), I only ever want to record the F1 races if i'm at work, if only they would show F1 on BBC HD.

Cafe Racer

Established Member
You can with 7MC and MP.

With 7MC you set tuner priorities, so if you're recording something in HD on one channel (lets say you only have one S2 tuner) and try to tune into another channel that is both HD and SD, it will only be able to use the SD tuner.

Edit: Snap (ish)


Established Member
Thanks guys. Just what i wanted to hear :thumbsup: Especially with 7MC and MP being the 2 front ends i like best.

HAve you got a link to the new blackgold card Lobster? Its not the BGT3540 is it, as there is something on their website about it being withdrawn?


[Edit] Don't worry, i've found it under the turnkey products (huh??). The 3595 right? That certainly sounds like it might be worth waiting for. [/Edit.
Last edited:


Established Member
Yep thats the one, gonna be a nice xmas for me :) ...hopefully...

I also just ordered Dark Knight on Bluray, guess that means I have an excuse to buy a Bluray Drive now :p

I haven't really used 7mc to any degree, other than trying it out once. I use mediaportal as its something I know and I can actually modify it too.


Established Member
any idea on the price of it? Guessing by the prices of other S2 cards that its gonna cost at least a hundred notes.
Considering its dual S2 + more i'm guessing more.

Ideally i'm after something cheap to see if I (and more importantly SWMBO) like it enough to cancel the sky subscription (just basic package, so won't lose much).
Although, i'm also against buying something cheap only to replace it again when we decide we do like it.

Oh the decisions of an HTPC enthusiast eh?


Established Member
I don't have a pci-e slot on my motherboard, just a regular pci. Guess that rules out the blackgold as can't justify a mobo upgrade.

How about USB tuners? Any cons to those? Do they need to have their own USB slot or could i use a hub?

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