Replacing old HTPC + PCI card with laptop + ?


Novice Member
I'm in the UK and I have an old Sky dish (no good terrestial signal here) which is connected to my old home-made HTPC (Windows XP, hauppauge wintv-nova-s-plus PCI) which I am going to replace with a laptop (Windows 10), an external HDD (already bought) plus some kind of receiver. My budget is very small and I'm just hoping to replicate my current functionality. The simplest like-for-like solution would be a Hauppage USB receiver plugged into the laptop, but I'm tempted by the idea of getting a separate box (one that records onto an HDD) to make the whole business of getting up to date channels, TV listings and then scheduling recordings easy at last. On my HTPC I have ended up using Transidet, DVBViewer, TVBrowser, and SchedulesDirect, but it's clunky, inconsistent, and seems to require a lot of maintenance (probably because of how I have it all configured)

Here are things I have/can do now (roughly in order of importance) that I'd miss if I didn't have

I have HD
I can view BBC radio schedules and record
I can do what I like with the file that I have recorded - no DRM issues. Even if it's just to make a soundclip for fun, I like that control
I get to see TV listings about a week in advance (although there are sometimes gaps)
I can have subtitles on playback (so long as I record TS)
My setup is networked so I can transfer files
I can edit a recording time - adding an extra minute at the end, for example, or shortening one to avoid a clash
I can quickly go back 10 seconds in playback with one key stroke
I can take a screenshot
I can record in both MPEG format and TS format
I can record two shows at once (on the same transponder)
I can select from which transponder to access a channel - occasionaly useful when I want to record two shows at the same time
I can access BBC extra channels (red button etc) by finding them and bookmarking them
I can sort my own favourite channel list, with folders
I can use different programs for playback

Things I would quite like to add/improve:

Easier EPG browsing and setting recordings
Easier channel updating
Red button (not a deal breaker)
Subtitles recorded as a default (is this possible?)

Things I'm not bothered about (for now):

FTA channels not on FreeSat
Twin tuner
Other satellites apart from Astra 28.2
Standardised channel numbers
On Demand etc (since I will do this from the laptop)
Signal to extra TV's

Might a box solution give me all/most of these? Am I right in thinking that to get Freesat EPG I have to accept DRM on HD recordings? What do people use for EPG when they are accessing FTA?

Also, is there anything big I may not have thought of?

Thanks in advance!


Hi Gez and welcome to the forum.
I'd have a Freesat machine, but leave it to others to advise.


Distinguished Member
All Freesat pvrs encrypt the recordings with the exception of the original Humax Foxsat HDR when loaded with the custom firmware available on this forum. This also adds some networking feature the op would want generally not available.

A much better solution would be an Enigma 2 based Linux generic satellite receiver from Vu+ or Xtrend though lots of other makes about at different budget levels. You can setup 7 day EPG and auto updating channel lists very simply on most recent images via the remote. You'll have a bit of a learning curve but it'll surely be simpler than what you're doing already...

Recordings are unencrypted and contains subs if broadcast. Networking is built in, you can even record to files shares on a pc or NAS. You can also remote control the box by web interface or phone/tablet.

The only thing missing from your list is red button support but you can keep doing what you're doing there.
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Well-known Member
I have an xtrend et8500 and I am very happy with it, The Vu+ are more expensive but have the advantage being able install Kodi, they can also trnscode soi easier to watch from remote locations (if you need that).


Novice Member
I've decided to use my new external USB HDD with the laptop, so now I need to find pvr storage for my new box (almost certainly linux enigma2). I will have a 1TB 3.5" HDD once I dismantle my current HTPC and it's not very old, so it would seem a shame not to use it.

Am I right in thinking that SATA or internally fitted is more stable than mounting a 3.5" drive externally via USB and an enclosure?

I believe not all the machines will accept the 3.5" HDD internally - does anyone know which ones do?

Or of course there's E-SATA - might that even be better? The GiGaBlue HD X1 1x DVB-S/S2 is currently down to £69 and has E-SATA. As has the Xtrend ET7500 HD 1x DVB-S2 Single tuner currently at £109 and the Dreambox DM500HD V2 1x DVB-S2 at £99. Any thought on these?

Thank you again!

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