What does it do and what do I need (apart from a PC)

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by Brood, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Brood

    Brood
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    Hi

    I really don't know what a HTPC is apart from a PC playing films/music.

    Would anyone care to briefly expand on it's usefulness over normal XP Pro?

    Thanks
     
  2. sniff

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  3. Brood

    Brood
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    Thanks.

    What I don't understand is why do people do it, I don't see what advantage it has over a dvd player (which most people have anyway). Do people encode their dvd's to HD or something?

    To be honest, when I think about HTPC I just imagine people downloading their films to watch on a big TV rather than buying the dvd.
     
  4. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    Few people would just watch DVDs on an HTPC - in fact, I hardly ever do. What do I do with it? Well, I have my entire music collection there, and that's my main use of it - so 300+ albums available for selection via scrolling through album covers for play/queue. I also use my HTPC as a digitial video recorder (PVR) and have two DVB-T tuners for Freeview duties and and DVB-S2 tuner for satellite (including BBC HD). Finally I watch downloaded DivX/XVid files on it - something that DVD players can do, but not half as well due to the fact that with a PC you can use different decoders. Those are just my uses, others additionally use them for gaming, web-browsing, etc. etc.
     
  5. smitsa

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    Hi John,i'm currently looking into purchasing a satellite tuner for my HTPC,which one are using and would you recommend it for use with vista 32bit and windows MCE? Thanks for any info.:)
     
  6. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    I have a Hauppauge HVR4000 and, no, I wouldn't recommend it for use with MCE. It's a hybrid tuner combining Analogue TV, DVB-T, DVB-S2 and FM radio; hybrid effectively meaning "you can use only one tuner at a time". With MCE, due to current guide limitations, you'll be restricted to just using just one of those tuners without completely reconfiguring things - for this price, I'd go elsewhere. If you're not desperate to get something, and you're not interested in dealing with encrypted streams, then I'd personally hang-on just a bit and see how this pans out. Usual MCE guide limits will still apply, but you'll have the choice of either dual DVB-T or dual DVB-S within MCE at a good price-point, and it looks like it claims to packge DVB-S integration in MCE (although we'll see how good this will be on launch). That's not to say BlackGold haven't had issues in their past though...
     
  7. Cafe Racer

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    Not sure if the other posts have made this clear, but it's main purpose is for watching Live TV.

    So you get guide and program info, Recording TV, from the guide, via keywords and via "series linking". You can record one channel whilst watching another channel, if you have two tuners.

    If you have a proper "Media Extender", currently either an XBOX360 or soon one of the DMA boxes from Linksys, you can Watch/Listen/View all the stuff on your media center on other TVs around the house, I understand this includes Live TV off the tuners in your Media Center, but it'd be worth checking.

    You can do listen to Music Library, watch your DVD Library (with add-in), watch recorded TV on other PCs, schedule recordings and watch recorded tv from t'internet (with add-in), View your Pictures.

    And this is all via the "10 Foot Interface", which means sat on the sofa using a remote control, on your nice big TV.
     
  8. Brood

    Brood
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    Riiiight, I finally see what the all fuss is about.

    The satellite tv is very interesting but because I live in France it's totally useless ...

    oh well, thanks for the info!
     
  9. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    I too live in France & use dual FloppyDTV satellite TV tuners in Vista Media Center. What makes you think that it's useless?
     
  10. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    The only one really worth considering is the Floppy/FireDTV devices from http://www.digital-everywhere.com Cards from other manufacturers can work particularly with Free To Air channels but nothing beats the FloppyDTV for ease of use in Media Center, troublefree installation, reliability & best of all decent support from the manufacturer.
     
  11. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    The only one worth considering? Surely that's a bit strong for FTA? A single FloppyDTV card comes to ~£140 delivered - for anyone not considering introducing a CAM into the mix that's pretty poor value for money, even more so for anyone thinking about a dual tuner set-up. If the BlackGold card does what it says on the tin, and the OP isn't desperate, there's a clear advantage in waiting a month or so - two weeks for the card to be out, then a month for it to be out in the field and show how good/reliable it is. In common with the FloppyDTV card, it does also seem to attempt to package MCE integration out of the box.
     
  12. Cafe Racer

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    I think nigel was on about for Satellite (DVB-S and DVB-S2).

    I wouldn't go with FloppyDTV/FireDTV unless you needed CAM support.

    There are plenty of Dual Tuner DVB-T Cards out there that work well (and some that don't), so unless you wanted top-up TV I wouldn't pay the extra (and I have two FireDTV's in one MCE, and two BlackGold DVB-T tuners in another)
     
  13. jon_c0

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    I know, so was I - FTA satellite - the question related to a satellite tuner, no mention of Sky. I can understand that FloppyDTV has fans, and particularly Sky subscribers, but for the FTA viewer the premium is huge against (a) other single tuner DVB-S(2) cards and (b) potentially the new BlackGold, which seems to at least promise MCE integration for FTA viewing out of the box. If I were buying now, and I was interested only in FTA, I'd at least be waiting to see how the BlackGold card panned out - it might turn out to be a dud, but for what it promises at that price-point... Well, it has piqued my interest :).
     
  14. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    For Media Center I would definitely recommend the FloppyDTV device even just for FTA channels. While you can e.g. buy a DVB-S card for less then half the price the FloppyDTVs are guaranteed to work with minimum fuss in particular with two or more tuners in the same PC. You will also have the option of using a CAM for encrypted channels at a later date.

    I have tried many different DVB-S cards over the years (Hauppauge, Technotrend, Technisat etc) & for Media Center non is as easy to use as the FloppyDTV. Even at over double the price of a bog standard el-cheapo DVB-S card I think that it is money well spent if you balance the hours wasted & grief suffered in getting one of these other cards to work reliably in Media Center.

    Outside of Media Center for example using the excellent DVBViewer then it is a different story as this software works well with any of the above cards.

    The Black Gold dual tuner card may be wonderful but because of their track record in fixing customer problems with their DVB-T (Freeview) cards I will reserve judgement.
     
  15. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    I'm reserving judgement too, especially after the S3 issues and tuners going AWOL that lead (eventually) to the mods to their dual tuner cards already out there. However, if you're a current or potential FTA viewer not desperate for a card, it would be foolish to not hold on the few weeks for it to be available, out there and for folk to start using it - particularly as it offers dual DVB-T tuners in the same package and claims to provide a similar "out of the box" experience to the FloppyDTV package. With the FloppyDTV setup you really do pay a huge premium, I would guess, for the CAM support - something that will remain dormant for the vast majority of FTA users that won't move to subscription services in the future (particularly the case with freesat on the horizon and the "freeing-up" of the constraints on C4 etc.).
     

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