Potential Linux XBMC HTPC/PVR Build


Standard Member
Hi there, and apologies that my first post is a request for help!

I'm looking into the possibility of putting together a HTPC that is able to:

  • Run XBMC on a linux distro, the more lightweight the better
  • Stream media from a seperate file server
  • Stream HD TV, multituner DVB-S2 or DVB-T2 if possible
  • Record from the tuner to a network drive, presume gigabit LAN.
  • Play Blu-Rays
I currently have the following components sitting about that would ideally be incorporated:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.7GHz (Arctic Cooling freezer 7)
  • 4Gb XMS2 DDR2 mem
  • Abit FP-IN9 Fatal1ty 775 motherboard
  • 40Gb Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD
  • X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion PCI sound card
  • Antec Truepower 650W PSU
  • Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP BDRom + DVDRW
I will be picking up a passively cooled PCI-E GPU, something affordable with HDMI out. Also a gigabit LAN card and potentially a new cooler, depending on how the old one is sounding after all these years! I would ideally run this rig without a hard drive, to save power and cut down on noise. I have also been eyeing up the Logitech DiNovo Edge, but am a bit dubious about Linux compatibility.

I have been eyeing up the Zalman HD503 case as a potential housing for the build, due to the fact it supports full ATX motherboards and looks pretty stunning. However I am unsure that the remote control and LED screen would be compatible with Linux XBMC, does anyone have any experience of this?

I am completely out of the loop with regards to TV Tuners nowadays, can anybody give me any advice on what might be suitable for this build? I am yet unsure whether to go the DVB-T2 or DVB-S2 route.

I guess if there are too many driver issues, I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world if I have to resort to using Windows.

Cheers guys :)
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Active Member

Have you considered windows 7 and Mediaportal, it's based on xbmc and with a couple of plugins looks very similar.

My build is not dissimilar to yours and I'm very pleased with it.

Last time I checked PVR functionality hadn't been integrated into xbmc and I couldn't get MythTV and XBMC running together satisfactorily and had problems with a MCE remote and getting things to work, although I admit that I am a linux newbie.

Whatever you decide, you'll get loads of help here.




Standard Member
Thanks for the response :)

I think it may have to be a Windows job after all! I think the features of the LCD, remote, TV tuners drivers and the special stuff on the keyboard are going to lock me down unfortunately.

Can anyone give me a heads up regarding TV Tuner manufacturers? last time I was looking for one Hauppauge were the big brand but they don't seem to have really released much in the last 3-4 years! Anybody have any experience with cards made by "BlackGold Technology"? They look good on paper, if a little pricey.

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Duk3y - depends what type of tuner you want and in what form factor.

Blackgold have the only real internal solution for DVB-T2 (aka Freeview HD) which us a dual-tuner DVB-T2 PCI-E 1x card. Pinnacle have a USB single-tuner DVB-T2 tuner as well.

When it comes to DVB-S/S2 then Blackgold have a couple of dual-tuner solutions - including one with dual DVB-T (Freeview SD in the UK) tuners as well.

The TBS 6981 Dual DVB-S2 PCI-E 1x card is pretty well regarded and is quite good value on Amazon.

Hauppauge seem stuck with single-tuner PCI models for DVB-S/S2 still - though the Nova-S2 HD has been a stalwart card for many of us. (Though I've had issues with LNB power in some set-ups - even with the Registry Hack)


Active Member
Also worth mentioning the HDHomerun DVB-T network tuner, which you just connect to your network and any computer in the house can use the tuner. It's not HD (yet) but a very elegant solution to having TV around the house.



Standard Member
What about the TBS Dual DVB-T2 PCIe TV Tuner Card? It seems to be the same as this card marketed by Tranquil:
PCIex Dual DVB-T2 card - Tranquil PC Limited Store
According to their site it is based upon a Samsung tuner.
AFAIK, the crunch for Linux and other open source PVR apps is whether it has BDA drivers.
The main problem (for me) is that it doesn't seem to have a half height bracket. THe main advantage is that it has an RF loop through (unlike the BG)

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