View Full Version : Advice on building computer media center?

09-29-2012, 12:01 AM
My Tivo II has died. It had a built in DVD burner so I could record the games and put them on DVD. So I need a new system to store the games and I want to load up a couple terabytes in a computer and store everything there.

I've researched and from what I can tell the following are true:

1) To hook cable directly to the computer and have it change channels and record shows directly I need a coded card from Insight/Time Warner, a cable box without the box.

2) If I use an external cable box I can use an IR changer for the box. Tivo worked this way, but it wasn't 100% and I'd like to avoid it.

3) 3rd option is to use a cable provided dvr, set it to record, but then intercept the connection between the box and the tv with a hauppage HD recorder that then goes to the computer and you set it as well. So the cable dvr changes the channel reliably and the computer picks up that feed.

3a) You could of course do that asynchronously, where you just set the dvr and then later you play it and let the computer record it at the same time. I'm leaning to this process.

4) To then play back on the TV of course you just change the input on the TV to the computer. fine for me to do, wife has trouble with that sometimes. Don't ask why, she is completely tech literate.

Concern #1:

As I understand it shows can broadcast a bit in the digital (HD) broadcasts that instruct the dvrs/Tivo to allow recording or not or allow copying or not, and if the no-copy bit is set you can't then download it usign something like the Tivo services on their Tivo III boxes. I'm very worried about investing in the equipment and then find that IMG decided to turn that bit on one day.

The way around that seems to be the computer/hauppage device between the dvr and the tv. Then when you play the show off the dvr you get it without the copy bit and the computer doesn't care and stores it.

Concern #2:

Software for the computer. A couple of products out there. Windows Media Center is an option, will have to pull up my bookmarks for the others I found. Anyone with experience with the computer/software set up itself? I can do the setup, but can't find much great advice on the software.

So, anyone got a setup that accomplishes the goal of long term show storage? I'm open to all suggestions. I need to get it set up in the next 3-4 weeks so I'm ready for the season.