Which streamer and HDD recorder ...and the moon

Lucullus

Standard Member
I would like a HDD recorder which can also stream audio/video content from my PC (including from the DVD drive on the PC if I am not asking too much).
May I have some advice on which ones are really good please?

I have a satellite receiver and a Virgin digital box (cable) and the HDD will be used to record from them (via scart inputs) and backup the recordings to my PC via Ethernet (maybe wireless?). Ethernet will be used for streaming as well.

Add on freeview (twin tuner?) capability if I decide later on to give up to my Virgin box - not mandatory.

PVR with EPG on top would be nice to have but probably not essential since I will be mostly recording from the Virgin box and satellite receiver - unless you tell me that the EPG would work on recordings from external sources (via scart connection).
Needs to be silent and would score extra if I can change the HDD inside (not really of concern if I can backup to PC).
Recording formats preferably non proprietary (MPEG, AVI, ...).
Good picture and sound quality.

Can you please help? As you can read I not very good at this and probably asking for the Moon. If it is the case I need to be told so. But if only part of it can be achieved by a particular setup please let me know.

So must have:
1. Streaming from PC via Ethernet the popular formats (MPEG, AVI,VOB, MP3,WMA)
2. Recording from external sources via Scart or similar (the idea with this is to replace my VHS recorder - :eek: yes I am still using that)

Icing on the cake:
3. Freeview dual tuner with PVR-EPG

One more thing. I am not into HDTV yet. Maybe in a few years. Hopefully this will increase my options and reduce my costs.:rolleyes:

Any idea please let me know.

:lease:
 

tony_yates

Active Member
I would like a HDD recorder which can also stream audio/video content from my PC (including from the DVD drive on the PC if I am not asking too much).
May I have some advice on which ones are really good please?

I have a satellite receiver and a Virgin digital box (cable) and the HDD will be used to record from them (via scart inputs) and backup the recordings to my PC via Ethernet (maybe wireless?). Ethernet will be used for streaming as well.

Add on freeview (twin tuner?) capability if I decide later on to give up to my Virgin box - not mandatory.

PVR with EPG on top would be nice to have but probably not essential since I will be mostly recording from the Virgin box and satellite receiver - unless you tell me that the EPG would work on recordings from external sources (via scart connection).
Needs to be silent and would score extra if I can change the HDD inside (not really of concern if I can backup to PC).
Recording formats preferably non proprietary (MPEG, AVI, ...).
Good picture and sound quality.

Can you please help? As you can read I not very good at this and probably asking for the Moon. If it is the case I need to be told so. But if only part of it can be achieved by a particular setup please let me know.

So must have:
1. Streaming from PC via Ethernet the popular formats (MPEG, AVI,VOB, MP3,WMA)
2. Recording from external sources via Scart or similar

Icing on the cake:
3. Freeview dual tuner with PVR-EPG

Any idea please let me know.

:lease:


I'm not sure you can get exactly what you want. This TVIx box can stream media, has a an HDD and you can buy a digital tuner (single) to make a PVR, but I don't know if you can record from other sources (this is something I don't need therefore never look for it as a feature).

Rhubarbe will along later to put me right.

It's annoying for me, as the TVix box almost does what I want but can't play DVD discs with out ripping them first, but it may work for you. Also at the price it sells I'd rather build my own HTPC.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Tony,
Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes HTPC is an option (if HTPC is what I think it is - meaning a living room PC) but it presents a few, rather annoying, disadvantages: looks, needs a keyboard and mouse and more importantly noise.

I told you I am after the moon...
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
I would like a HDD recorder which can also stream audio/video content from my PC (including from the DVD drive on the PC if I am not asking too much).
May I have some advice on which ones are really good please?

I have a satellite receiver and a Virgin digital box (cable) and the HDD will be used to record from them (via scart inputs) and backup the recordings to my PC via Ethernet (maybe wireless?). Ethernet will be used for streaming as well.
A DVD recorder will do this but it will only have one DVB-T tuner and it as like as not won't have ethernet (or at least I don't know of a DVD RECORDRER with ethernet.

Add on freeview (twin tuner?) capability if I decide later on to give up to my Virgin box - not mandatory.
Tvix will take a single DVB-T tuner and will stream to your TV from a PC but won't ever have twin tuners. Twin tuner Freeview recorders don't accept an incoming signal via scart so you won't be able to record anything except that which it receives via its own internal tuners.


PVR with EPG on top would be nice to have but probably not essential since I will be mostly recording from the Virgin box and satellite receiver - unless you tell me that the EPG would work on recordings from external sources (via scart connection).
There are a couple of proprietary formats that will let you do some of what you want but I think these are limited in function and aren't the way to be going.
Needs to be silent and would score extra if I can change the HDD inside (not really of concern if I can backup to PC).
Recording formats preferably non proprietary (MPEG, AVI, ...).
Good picture and sound quality.
AVI is just a container. Mpeg2 is the most common format for DVB-T files but many HDD recorders use their own proprietary headers that complicate matters.

Can you please help? As you can read I not very good at this and probably asking for the Moon. If it is the case I need to be told so. But if only part of it can be achieved by a particular setup please let me know.
I'll try. :)

So must have:
1. Streaming from PC via Ethernet the popular formats (MPEG, AVI,VOB, MP3,WMA)
Tvix, PCH, various others (at your own risk ;) ).
2. Recording from external sources via Scart or similar
DVD Recorder of a HTPC, or a TiVo (shudder).

Icing on the cake:
3. Freeview dual tuner with PVR-EPG
Topfield TF5800PVR or Humax 9200T

I think that a Tvix with a T430 DVB-T tuner and a good DVB-T DVD recorder with HDD will sort you out as well as anything. Forget the Twin tuner Freeview box. My suggestion will get you two Freeview tuners that you can use to record direct to HDD, a recorder that you can hook up your sat receiver to via scart and a streamer for the files when you have them to your TV.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
Tony,
Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes HTPC is an option (if HTPC is what I think it is - meaning a living room PC) but it presents a few, rather annoying, disadvantages: looks, needs a keyboard and mouse and more importantly noise.

I told you I am after the moon...

See I told you Rhubarbe will put me right.

As for how an HTPC looks, how about this HTPC case with the right software you can control it with just a remote, the more you spend the quieter it will be, I'm just going to turn up the volume.

Again, tho' Rhubarbe has way more experience of this than me (so know's what other problems exist) I really see an HTPC as a way of bringing all I want under one roof so to speak.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Rhubarbe, most obliged for your lengthily reply.

Tony thank you for a second approach to the problem.

Bottom line I need either a:
1. HTPC. Hm! daunting as even though I am at ease building a PC, I am a novice to AV setup
or
2. TivX + T430 tuner + DVD recorder with HDD (this would be the one recording from external sources). Not going to think about the final bill yet.

Taking it step by step.
First: DVD reorder with HDD. From what you are telling me there is no way to play the content off the HDD because of the proprietary format, even if I can find a way to access the HDD from the PC - which in itself seems to be a no option with today's technology.

But anyway, would anybody be able to recommend a good DVD recorder with HDD? I can see players/streamers reviews but not much about recorders. Preferably with 2 scart inputs (for my sat receiver and Virgin box from which I will be recording) and an exit for connection to TV.
Is there such a thing?
Would I be dreaming if I would hope it to have in addition an Ethernet port?:rolleyes:
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
HTPC MKVII (God help me):

Mini-ITX socket P mobo: http://www.bcmcom.com/bcm_product_mx965gme.htm
Intel T7700 C2D mobile 2.4GHz x 2
4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM
160GB 2.5" HDD
Pico PSU 120W 12-25VAC PSU
HiperMedia HMC-2K53A-H3 case.
Quad tuner DVB-S/T card
slot loading DVD-RW

That's as quiet as I can get, but I am not going to bother until the Linux port of XMBC is stable.

DVD Recorder: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=469709

Don't know much about this but it always looked good to me. You can't put files from PC onto DVDR and I don't know if it has 2 x incoming scarts (doubt it).
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Man, I feel like going out of the house for the first time. I am starting to learn something.
Thanks for the hints. Much apreciated.

Would 120W PSU be enough for the components selected?

I am not going to bother you with XMBC as is way over my level. Linux is not my strong point anyway so on the HTPC I would probably put XP Media Centre or similar. Hence 4Gb is probably too much.

I have not joined the HDTV revolution yet so HDMI is not of immediate concern for me. I have a nice TV, capable of progressive and this is enough for now. So instead of a quad tuner I would be looking for a scart/component card if such things exist. Even better could I add scart connections and component connections via an USB adaptor?

DVD Recorder. It looks nice. I will look it up on reviews. It has two scart connections but only one IN. Which prompts a question: Is there something out there that allow multiplexing multiple scart entries into one?
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
120W will suit my HTPC MKVII. I have an Athlon XP3200 with two HDDs and a pair of DVD-RW drives attached to an energy monitor and that only draws 79W (hard to believe but entirely true).

I have never been able to find scart brackets or component, though the HiperMedia HMC-2K53A-H2 barebones has component out. Most PCs for use with non HDTVs just have to make do with what they call "TV-Out" (S-Video), or even composite (Video out). I wouldn't touch either.

I really know very little about DVD Recorders, never having owned one.

HTPC MKVI used MCE. What a complete waste of time and space that is. Won't play ISO, won't play AVCHD..... Junked it even before I had finished setting it up.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Fair comments.
S-Video not really attractive. RGB is a minimum these day I should think.

MCE not playing ISO is a big let down. Did not think of that.

Hm! This project requires more a bit more thought and probably a big doze of compromise.:(
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
I wouldn't even bother with an HTPC unless you have an HDTV.

If you want to stream ISO I would recommend a Tvix M-4100SH.

BTW, you say you are not inot HDTV as yet and will welcome its decrease in cost over the next few years. You can buy 1080p HDTV LCD TVs for less than it'll cost you to buy an HTPC and it'll give you a whole lot less grief, IMHO.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Hm! I am not sure I understand why a HDTV would help in my project?
All I want is to stream AV content from my PC in the dining to the TV in the lounge. Plus replacing my VHS as the principal method of recording from my cable box and sat receiver.

I did find this http://www.elliondigital.com/eng/product02_1.html (with good reviews on MPC) which fits the bill rather nicely but I decided that is probably better to wait for the F/W to mature a bit.
One thing I do not understand is why the network performance of these devices is so poor with the technology available today?


The reason behind not being an early adopter of HDTV, is more the lack of HD sources (belief probably fed by lack of knowledge) than being a financial burden.

Anyway bottom line is that I am fairly content with the quality of how the AV is dispensed at the moment in my house. However I would like better and more convenient access to a wider range of it. :)
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
The trouble is that what you want to do cannot be done by one device. OK, a HTPC could but connecting a HTPC up to an SDTV is nasty: you'll get composite vidoe only most likely on a UK TV.

Recoding from the cable box and sat receiver requires a recording device with an mpeg2 encoder - like a DVD recorder.

Streaming to your TV requires a network connected device of which there are many, as you have by now discovered, but don't make the mistake of assuming that all the manufacturers (and some of them are just rebadged Chinese "mee too" products) will develop the firmware to make the things work as you'd like - they don't. You need to find a manufacturer with a good track record in this area and that is why I would recommend the Tvix over more or less anything else.

As to why they all have such lousy networking ability; this is due to the fact that the chipset (SOC - Solution on Chip) device is made by the same manufacturer: Sigma Designs (and this also explains the same underlying faults and unreliability because there are allegedly errors in the Sigma low level code).

It occurs to me that you don't need a DVD recorder with two incoming scarts because you just daisy chain the sat box and the cable box through the one that has two scarts - one in and one out.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Thanks for the info.
Composite video is not an option. Which kind of rules out the HTPC.

I would gladly get a Tvix but value for money the Ellion thingy is much better and has the inputs I need. It lacks functionality (some of it quite basic) hence my desire for the product to mature before I risk my money.
OK it is probably Chinese but the support seems to be active on the MPC forum sign of a willingness to improve.
I am not in a hurry (view the offer on the market I am waiting for now).

Good idea to daisy chain the two boxes. But how I will be able to select which one from if they come on the same scart? (assuming that they both will be powered up.)
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
No idea I am afraid. Not something I have ever done, just read replies containing the suggestion.

Don't worry about them being Chinese: nearly all of these things are.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
The trouble is that what you want to do cannot be done by one device. OK, a HTPC could but connecting a HTPC up to an SDTV is nasty: you'll get composite vidoe only most likely on a UK TV.

Lucullus, out of interest what connection type (RGB, s-video, composite) do you currently use?

Mmm, surely you could get RGB connectivity to the TV via the VGA port, or is the RGB on an analog VGA port different to the RGB a SCART interface on a telly expects?

You certainly can get an s-video signal connection from an HTPC, both of these would be better than composite.
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
Yes VGA needs converting before it would be in the format that would be accepted by a TV set.

Before you assume that S-Video would be OK you need to check that your TV accepts S-Video: most (other than fairly new) UK TVs will just display in black and white if you connect to them with S-Video.
 

Lucullus

Standard Member
Well, the TV (Toshiba 36ZP series) is 3 years old and accepts quite a few signals.
It has 3 Scart (RGB capable), Component In for progresive and an RCA entry at the front which I suspect can take S-Video.
I have all my boxes (Sat, Cable, VHS) going through Scart with RGB (RGB is a visible improvement over S-Video signal), and the DVD player through component with progresive scan.

I never made the connection between the RGB on the TV and the one output by a video card, so I dont know if it is the same thing.
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
When I had a CRT and HTPC MK1 I spent ages trying to find a way of connecting it to the TV. RCA doesn't take S-Video. S-Video has a 4 pin connector - mine had the connector but when I used it I just got monochrome.

I found a connector on the Internet that claimed to be an RGB to scart that connected to the red white and yellow outputs on the PC and a cable that ran to a scart that went into the TV. I had loads of email conversations with Nebula about the cr4p picture before working out that what I had actually bought was a composite to scart connector. Yuk.

To connect VGA RGB to the TV you need a converter box, something like £100 in the UK or maybe half that in the USA.

Most so called media centre PCs only come with S-Video and composite.

Until I got around to buying an HDTV the whole shooting match was a nasty mess.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
Until I got around to buying an HDTV the whole shooting match was a nasty mess.

I can see how this could arise, the results from my first search for a vga to scart rgb came up with instructions on how to make it yourself :eek: I have since found other cables but they seem too cheap i.e. £6.99 to have any confidence in them. Interesting discussion all the same, trouble is I'm now thinking of buying a CRT TV, I don't know (not really looked yet) whether these come with a connection suitable for an HTPC except s-video.
 

rhubarbe

Well-known Member
They don't, as a rule. The best you'll get is component (YUV) and that is rare as hens' teeth on European TVs.

I have never tried a VGA to scart cable but satisfy myself that if it were that simple nobody would make VGA to RGB conveter boxes.

Old fashioned CRT with its legacy connectors was just another way of marginalising us and preventing us from taking advantage of the world market in AV equipment. Things are better now that we have a universal standard for HDTV - at least in as far as the things will accept 50 or 60Hz signals.
 

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