HTPC setup

bebop

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Not sure the best place to put this topic, so please relocate it if need be.

I'm thinking about apdating my PC to include an HDTV tuner card. Anyone else here have experience in that and have any helpful comments? I currently have a home-made OTA antenna, Dish Network 722 receiver, an Onkyo 606 receiver and a Sharp Aquos LCD TV. I have the audio and video from my pc running to my HT.

I'm thinking that one day I'd rather stop paying for TV and just use the equipment I have (or could purchase) to watch TV. Mainly I like recording things ahead of time and watching it back at my leisure.

I'm new to this site as of today and still exploring.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#2
It's pretty easy to do, but finding enough programming can be a bit of a challenge. Hulu is by far the most popular (for me) online streaming site for shows and while they have a lot, I just don't see enough to convince me to cancel my satellite service.

What kind of PC do you have right now? Laptop or Desktop?
 

bebop

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
I have a desktop, Pentium Quad core 2.7GHz, 4GB RAM, and multiple hard-drives. I goto hulu once in a while - hopefully they keep getting more content.

Most of the stuff we watch could be obtained via OTA, but it's more convienent to pay $5/month for the guide info and subscribe to locals from Dish Network (though I heard the option to not pay is going away). I suppose the DTV-Pal DVR would be a good choice and not tie up my PC...but I'm not sure what I could get though my PC.

Maybe listing sources would be a good direction for this thread.

I'm familiar with the satellite source and the OTA in my area, but what else:
  • Hulu
  • Netflix/Roku (cost involved)
  • FTA (never looked into much)

FTA service isn't one I've looked into, but I'm assuming that it doesn't have the programming I'm interested in.

Is it worth connecting a TV tuner or similar hardware to my PC and seeing what I can do? I was told that using windows media center has some interesting options, but I've never explored it - and kinda doubted it was worth doing.
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#4
I have a desktop, Pentium Quad core 2.7GHz, 4GB RAM, and multiple hard-drives. I goto hulu once in a while - hopefully they keep getting more content.

Most of the stuff we watch could be obtained via OTA, but it's more convienent to pay $5/month for the guide info and subscribe to locals from Dish Network (though I heard the option to not pay is going away). I suppose the DTV-Pal DVR would be a good choice and not tie up my PC...but I'm not sure what I could get though my PC.

Maybe listing sources would be a good direction for this thread.

I'm familiar with the satellite source and the OTA in my area, but what else:
  • Hulu
  • Netflix/Roku (cost involved)
  • FTA (never looked into much)
I use http://www.dtvusaforum.com/internet-tv/2990-watch-tv-online-list-websites.html for checking different shows out on different websites. They've got a lot of programming, but not really enough for me. I know a lot of the OTA broadcasters have online programming too in case you missed the show when it originally aired which is nice.
 
Last edited:

thor79

DTVUSA Member
#5
Couple more options (programs):
Boxee - Primarily online content...I just started using it. It's nice because it pulls in video from a bunch of different internet sources (including Hulu and most major sites for TV networks). You can search for a show you want to watch and if it finds it, it will display all sources available. As an example I used it to watch an episode of Burn Notice off of USA's site the other night...and it was also available off of Hulu.
XBMC - This is more about your own local content, though they do have some plugins for online sources. The online portion isn't quite as smooth of an experience as Boxee is though. I prefer it when viewing my own content...much better interface for that.

I can definitely recommend a Roku unit...it's not just about Netflix anymore. It offers a bunch of free net programming (through their channel store) as well as video rentals via Amazon Video on Demand. Get the $99 version and you'll have a bunch of HD (no more than 720p at this point, that's all the Roku can produce) content even if you don't go for Netflix. I do also recommend Netflix as well. I subscribe and use only the online streaming via my Roku. Their library of videos is usually slightly older (a year or two) to really old shows. A much smaller library than the DVD's/Blurays they have available through the mail, but it's still quite a good collection.

I have Boxee and XBMC running on my HTPC, my Roku, an Xbox 360 (and the Zune TV and Movie Library, and my PS3 (with the PSN library). My NAS (Network Attached Storage) houses my movie and TV collection. I basically converted all my DVDs to x264 format so they could be played through XBMC (no discs involved). I get 4 out of the 6 major local channels (thanks to this forum) direct into my HDTV. When I moved into my apartment my plan was to do Internet and OTA only...with no cable (other than internet) or satellite to save money. I have to say right now...I really don't miss it (especially since I would be paying basically double on my cable bill).

I gave Media Center a try but I couldn't get it to recognize the Dell Tuner I had (one my dad gave me...it supports HD Content). I found a program called Media Portal that supported it though and it also turns your HTPC into a DVR which is handy. I haven't given it a try since I moved to my apartment though. Now that my TV isn't going through a DVR it might be more useful to me since I won't have the control delay I had with the dual DVR setup (Tivo DirecTV receiver + Media Portal).
 
Last edited:
Top