Media Centre PC

We have not gone to freeview yet for various reasons.Mainly that we have a hard disk recorder which means we can record one programme while watching another, chase play etc.

To get similar functionality with freeview we'd need a PVR which cost heaps.

So I am thinking I could build a media centre pc to do this.I have no experience in this area so I'm just wondering what I'll need to build this beast.

Obviously a TV tuner card, video card.What else.XMBC! etc

geek__sms_, Nov 5, 5:04 pm

Windows media centre works quite well. You can buy cheap USB tv tuners that work well from dealextreme. You will need more than one if you want to record one and watch another, but you can probably buy dual tuners too. If you have already got a PC, you can set it up on that first to see how well it works.

geek_mattnzw, Nov 5, 5:45 pm

I've just started thinking about doing the same thing and I stumbled across this:
http://digitalnow.com.au/product_pages/Quad.html
I need to do a little more research to see if it'll work here.

geek_meathead_timaru, Nov 5, 6:25 pm

Windows Media Centre is part of Win 8 is it not.Will this do timer recording etc!

geek__sms_, Nov 5, 6:54 pm

I have freeview setup on Windows 7, I use both satellite and uhf. Its not too hard to set up. The only issue is getting the guide through uhf, it needs a bit of work (satellite guide is fine).

geek_macnamara, Nov 5, 7:12 pm

What would be a good dual tuner card!

geek__sms_, Nov 5, 7:14 pm

geekzone.co.nz forums have some good info.

geek_macnamara, Nov 5, 9:23 pm

Cheers.I'll look into it.

geek__sms_, Nov 5, 11:00 pm

You will pick up a tivo box cheaper than building an MCPC. Obviously less functionality.

geek_pyro_sniper2002, Nov 5, 11:32 pm

Yeah I was looking at a Tivo as an option and they're pretty cool but I recon I could put a cheap PC together for much less and more functionality and fun!

Unless I can convince Telecom to give me one as I heard some people have done ;)

geek__sms_, Nov 5, 11:45 pm

i got a satelite tv tuner card with linux kanotix via hdmi to my tv the new tv only found analog channels and i can also run xbmc media center on the machine if i want . i just run kaffeine as my tv programm since 5 years now. only the last month i got a tv as monitor befor the 19 inch monitor from pc was my tv screen. now its the 40" tv acting as monitorfull hd only dont buy hd tvs.

geek_intrade, Nov 6, 8:15 am

raspberry pi running openelec with a usb dvb-t dongle ,very cheap and useful pvr ,less than $100 :)

geek_velenski, Nov 6, 8:19 am


Yeah I had thought about that option but it would only be single tuner.

I do like the idea of a quad tuner ;)

geek__sms_, Nov 6, 8:37 am

I used to run a Win7 media centre with a Hauppauge tuner with a basic sky decoder and S-Video output for a legacy CRT, but shortly after the small form factor power supply died we inherited a large flat screen, so I asked sky for the free MySkyHDi upgrade and will move the billing onto the Vodafone account for the $15 credit.

My observations on media centres are that add-on graphics cards for S-Video output overheat and fail regularly. Motherboard HDMI graphics probably have the lower risk of overheating. And the small form factor power supplies are fraught with danger - you need power and good cooling because it's sitting in the TV cabinet in the lounge and there's plenty of heat everywhere. And the fans and disks need to be completely silent, noisy equipment is a barrier. And a good remote, and ongoing training for the users - when the wife asks for the VCR to be reinstalled, it's a fail.

geek_gyrogearloose, Nov 6, 10:01 am

We run a Win7 based HTPC and I love it. However if cost is a factor I doubt you'd build a reliable, quiet, grunty enough HTPC for less then you can by a retail freeview PVR.

geek_smac, Nov 6, 11:02 am

pi + openelec + usb dvb-t = cheap and works well enough.

geek_velenski, Nov 6, 11:21 am


Hmm.but as above, is it limited to single tuner!Plus you need to add storage, screw around with a keyboard or replacement, remote, case etc etc A good HDD based freeview PVR is maybe $300 for no brand up to $500 for panasonic.

geek_smac, Nov 6, 1:39 pm

I have a Win7 PC hidden away out of site with a dual uhf tuner card installed. Media Center handles all the scheduled recordings. I then use Xbox360's around the house as media center extenders to watch tv. It is simple to setup and no-one in my household has had trouble using it.

geek_segadc, Nov 6, 5:15 pm

I also have a twin tuner card and 1.5 TB hard drive in my PC,this allows me to watch it in the bedroom on the PC, as well as the xbox with media centre extender on the main TV with the media centre remote.

best way to go i reckon

geek_shall, Nov 12, 6:05 pm

What graphics cards have you been using! I've got a 7 year old XP MCE HTPC here that has never skipped a beat. Its running an ancient Radeon 9600XT, recently upgraded to UHF DVB-T (2yrs ago) and still going strong.

geek_lostdude, Nov 12, 6:27 pm

We used to use a home built media center, but it hasn't been used for anything in the last few months since we got a blue ray dvd player with front usb.
Plays smoothly pretty much everything we want it to.

geek_mrfxit, Nov 12, 8:22 pm

as much as i love XBMC. if you want to record TV then media portal is a better bet. if you go on media portal forums you will learn lots. I am running an old core 2 duo system but no tuner yet.

geek_fordcrzy, Nov 12, 8:37 pm

You'd be very hard pushed to put one together for the price oftivo, or even find a tivo these days to buy.

geek_mattnzw, Nov 12, 8:55 pm


Yeah that's my problem.Telecom aren't even giving them away now.Bugger!

geek__sms_, Nov 12, 10:46 pm

I bought a freeview satellite box (can't get terrestial in Blenheim) with a usb slot which acts as a PVR for under $100.You can attach an external hard drive with it' own power supply or usb sticks

geek_olwen, Nov 13, 9:26 am