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  1. #1

    Default How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Hi guys,

    With the price of oil and electricity increasing at the same rate as our 15 month old twins insatiable appetite for food, we are having to cut back on some "luxury items". One of the first things to go is Telstra Clear's cable TV service. We are going to keep the TCL broadband service at this stage however.

    So on to the project.... I used to have standard digital Sky TV, and the dish is still on the roof of our house. I have a old Pentium 4 1.8Ghz PC with 512MB of RAM and a 250GB HDD that was recently retired when we got a new laptop. Is it possible to purchase a PCI card that will install into this PC that will allow us to decode the Freeview signal and also record the programmes? We do not need HD capabilities. The old PC currently has a 128MB AGP GFX card with video out to the TV and can playback movies in qulaity that is acceptable to us (it connects to a Sony 38" CRT).

    I'd love some advice on this guys, I have searched the forums, but most users are wanting to build top of the line PVR's to record and playback HD in max resolutions. I don't need this type of setup, and am after basic functionality of decoding the digital freview signal, recording and playback capabilites.

    If anyone has any thoughts or has done something similar and has any links or advice, I'd much appreciate it

    Macca

  2. #2
    Network Engineer SolMiester's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Marked for later reading...!
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  3. #3
    Unknown Device wratterus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Quote Originally Posted by SolMiester View Post
    Marked for later reading...!
    x2
    Microsoft: "You've got questions. We've got dancing paperclips."

  4. #4
    Computer Tech
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    I am using an old AMD AthlonXP 1900+ with 1GB RAM running Windows XP and MediaPortal as my Freeview decoder.
    I am using two Hauppauge Nova-S Plus PCI cards that have the cable from the satellite attached.
    Mediaportal is a great program as it works in a client/server configuration.
    What that means is that you can use the main TVServer to watch/record TV and you can also install the client part on any other PC on your network and they can then also watch live TV or any recorded shows.
    Having the two TV cards means that you can be watching/recording more than one channel at a time.

    Have a read here for more info. It is a little outdated now as the new version of Mediaportal includes the main Mediaportal program as well as the TVServer and plugin and you just choose which configuration you want to install.
    Last edited by CYaBro; 12-05-2008 at 11:20 AM.

  5. #5
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Any tv tuner that supports DVB-S should be able to do the job, your system specs may be marginal for decoding the signal but the satelite is only transmitting DVD quality not HD so it should be possible.

    A possiblity if the processor is a bit slow is to get a graphics card that supports pure video ( Nvidia ) or the ATI equivalent. All GeForce series cards accelerate mpeg2 decoding to some degree.

    I haven't actually used the DVB-S though so you may want to wait for advice from someone who has.

    I have just built a budget machine out of some old bits and pieces ( and a new MB ) for freeview DVB-T HD viewing, but It seems an X2 3800+ / 7050pv onboard graphics combination can't quite handle TV3 & TV4 in 1080i ( drops a few frames so doesn't look smooth ). Plugging in a 7600GT as a test fixes this and so does a faster cpu.

    edit: too slow typing Cya beat me to it

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Or come on over to www.gbpvr.com and try out some New Zealand home grown PVR software.

    Your machine will be fine for the recording aspect as that doesn't take any cpu. And with Dvb-s you should be pretty ok for display... Kind of borderline. But it might be worth a go.

    I'd recommend the Hauppauge HVR3000 card, it's a little dearer, but if later on you wanted to look at the HD side of things (DVB-T) then you'd already have the tuner card....but you would be up for some more graphics hardware to watch it.

    I think there is a straight dvb-s card Nova S I think it's called, but it's pretty similar money...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Seconding Mediaportal, i run it on my HTPC and for free software its amazing. the new TV server really rocks. have a look for sure.

  8. #8
    Senior Bantu's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Thirding MediaPortal.
    Also check out http://cranznz.googlepages.com/
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bantu View Post
    Thirding MediaPortal.
    Also check out http://cranznz.googlepages.com/
    Thanks Bantu I was looking for that page but couldn't find it.

  10. #10
    Computer "Specialist" Agent_24's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to turn a old PC into a Freeview decoder/recorder?

    I use GB-PVR, and I like it. Might have used MediaPortal IF the damn thing had actually worked (it would just lockup and crash when trying to scan my tuner card)

    Which, by the way is an ATi Theater 550 Pro, and last I checked is a brick in linux - so bear that in mind. Works fine in windows though.

    Check here for the DVB-S tuner cards: http://www.pricespy.co.nz/pno_10737.html

    Plugging in the card is the easy bit. It's getting the drivers, software and codecs running optimally that's the fun part, so don't expect it to work perfectly in 10 minutes...
    Non-system disk or disk error. Replace and strike any key when ready.

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