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Digital cable channels?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
One of these days I'm going to replace my beloved Tivo with an HTPC. At this point, I'm still in the "research" phase to see how much I need to save up and exactly what I can and can't do with an HTPC.

Thes are the things I really want out of an HTPC:

1) Record in HD via cable - How much hard drive space would a 1 hour 1080i show take up?

2) Record digital cable channels - I know that the newer Tivo HD boxes have slots for something called a "Cable card". These allow the Tivo to tune in digital cable channels without a cable box. By law a cable company MUST provide these as an alternative to a cable box. Are cable card readers available or necessary on an HTPC?

3) Record something one one channel and watch something else on a different channel at the same time - would this require two tuner cards?

4) Burn shows that I record to DVD for later viewing (can currently do with my Tivo but it's slow and a royal pain in the butt)

A new TivoHD will run me about $300-350. So I'd like an HTPC build to be not a whole lot more than that. If it turns out that I'd need to spend much more than about $500, I'd probably just get the TivoHD instead and deal without being able to do #4 since I know a TivoHD will do 1-3 for me.

Also, I have an extra copy of Vista Home Premium. Would I be able to do all this using the media center features of that?

Thanks!
     
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post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
Oooh - I just came across this article about the Cable cards. Blech...

http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/cablecardtuner.html

Sounds like I might be better off just getting a Tivo HD since it will do all of those things for me.
     
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post #3 of 8
Yup.. HTPC can't do HD cable due to DRM. There is one external box that allows cable cards for HTPC but it's like $500.
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Utter lameness...

If that's the case is there any reason to build an HTPC over buying a Tivo?
     
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post #5 of 8
I can't think of any unless you've already got a media library to begin with. In that case it would probably be cheaper to build a media server and connect that to a receiver or your TV.
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by e_dogg View Post
Utter lameness...

If that's the case is there any reason to build an HTPC over buying a Tivo?
Some HTPC advantages:
No subscription
Folding
Placeshifting
Full internet browser
Cheaper (not including OS)
Can be used as a media server
Better audio
Blu-Ray upgradable

The HD recording is really the big issue.
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post #7 of 8
Just wait for analog to die (2009). There'll be plenty of CableCARD accepting decrypters then.
Also, I heard a while ago that it's possible to use an emulator to decode it or something like that. I wouldn't know, though, since I live in Israel.

As for #3 - You need a separate tuner for each recording.

It's worth it. TiVo is a big meh. I have never heard of a device you buy and need to pay monthly for...
It's like "okay, you bought this monitor. Now you must pay us $10 every month or it won't turn on."

What the hell? They get enough money as is. Greedy bastards.
Edited by Coma - 5/31/08 at 2:39am
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Akiyama Mio
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coma View Post
Just wait for analog to die (2009). There'll be plenty of CableCARD accepting decrypters then.
Also, I heard a while ago that it's possible to use an emulator to decode it or something like that. I wouldn't know, though, since I live in Israel.

As for #3 - You need a separate tuner for each recording.

It's worth it. TiVo is a big meh. I have never heard of a device you buy and need to pay monthly for...
It's like "okay, you bought this monitor. Now you must pay us $10 every month or it won't turn on."

What the hell? They get enough money as is. Greedy bastards.
I've been a Tivo user for about 4 years now and absolutely love it! Well I love everything except for the fact my current Tivo doesn't do HD. The $10/month gets you the channel guide and software updates, which is ok by me.

For $250-300 it seems like I can get a box which does pretty much the same as a $900 HTPC would (save for saving my DVD collection on hard drives and other media server type tasks). I'll probably just go with the Tivo since it doesn't seem that the extras I'd get from an HTPC will justify the cost.
     
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