HTPC vs HDD Recorder

Discussion in 'HTPC' started by Draeve, May 31, 2013.

  1. Draeve

    Draeve (Banned or Deleted)

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    G'day guys,

    At the moment we have no way of recording TV at our place, leaving the wife distraught when she misses such wonderful shows as The Voice and Offspring..

    What's the best option between spending $500 odd on something like a Topfield recorder or building a HTPC with recording capability for the same price?

    What about ease of use for the other half, will an HTPc be simple enough for we to just hit record and get what she wants?

    Cheers
     
  2. Dr X

    Dr X Member

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    My other half uses Windows Media Center for recording all the time and has no problem using it.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Draeve

    Draeve (Banned or Deleted)

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    Cool, she is quite intelligent and more than capable of learning to use any system, but there is a "the other way is easier, this is complicated and stupid so I'm not even going to try" factor sometimes lol
     
  4. noober69

    noober69 Member

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    I have a tivo and a htpc. I love the tivo, it is easy to use and changes the way you watch tv, for the better.

    I use a htpc by running windows 7, windows media centre (was free under win 7), and a usb tuner (two channels min). My htpc has a video card with hdmi out so I use a wireless keyboard to control it though my tv. Plays movies, youtube etc
    Either way is good but different.

    A good hdd recorder is best for tv though. Shame there is nothing as easy as tivo on the market now.
     
  5. kesawi

    kesawi Member

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    HTPC will be far more flexible but will also require a lot of tinkering. I use Windows Media Center combined with Media Browser, which does a great job as both a PVR and media player. My partner and our kids have no problems using it and setting up recordings is very easy. Personally having used my HTPC I would never go back to a PVR.


    I have a DigitalNow Quad DVB-T tuner, which allows 4 independent channels to be viewed/recorded simultaneously. A dual tuner card is fine for 70% of the time but I often find I'm recording two channels at once and watching a third. To set up a HTPC with SSD, 2TB HDD, i3 CPU, quad tuner, Windows 7, remote, keyboard and other accessories you would probably need to budget around $800.
     
  6. heller44

    heller44 Member

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    My partner is happy using the htpc which consists of win7 media center for live tv stuff, and xbmc for watching stored movies / eps.

    Unlike the previous post, it is just an ancient c2d with a pci twin tuner card and a cheapy no-fan ati card. Works great, is cheap..
     
  7. Fishface

    Fishface Member

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    A cheap but good HTPC can easily be built for less than $500.

    Use of a Celeron G1610 will cope with HTPC duties and select a cheap twin tuner card. SSD's are a bit of a luxury that you don't need.

    I've liked Topfield boxes but I believe the company is in a bit of trouble. And they are nowhere near as versatile as a HTPC.
     
  8. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    tv tuners are a waste if you don't watch FTA!

    which i don't so i just have it running xbmc and that does it for me.
     
  9. Renza

    Renza Member

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    okay. but the OP did say that he wants to record FTA...

    Media Centre + My Movies 4 (for tv shows and movies) does it for me.
     
  10. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I've got tv cards in my computers and find media centre easy.

    You can get pvrs for heaps less than $500 though. I was looking on Dick Smith's today and they've got some for $150-ish. Didn't look too closely, but at that price it's pretty much the cost of the disk. Grab some crapola cheapie in the short term, and set up your htpc and have time to learn it without missing any recordings you want.
     
  11. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    what's a good highly compatible DTV card to get these days?

    Currently using an old Dvico card but i seem to have issues with using it in Windows 7
     
  12. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    hauppauge cards work well with win 7.
     
  13. southernduckie

    southernduckie Member

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    I have owned a Topfield a few years ago top of the line, and completely crap always froze up crashed, self-formatted the HDD all the time massive power draw 100W when running and 40W standby?. built a HTPC and never looked back better at everything. It is true though they aren't as easy or streamlined to use but worth the time to learn.:thumbup: PS you want a Topfield? got one going cheap
     
  14. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    so much for being "top of the line" more like "top of the trash heap" at council clean up days!
     
  15. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Yep, we had HUGE numbers of them coming back through Harvey Normans when i worked there..
     
  16. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    you get what you pay for and if you pay cheaply then you get a shit product. for me at least buying a brand name gives me some decent level of QC.

    but it's going to always be a catch 22.
     
  17. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

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    After seeing a neighbor go through several HDD recorders, it's HTPC hands down, WMC is ridiculously easy to use and set up recording of single episodes or entire series. Just make sure you get at least a twin tuner.

    I haven't tried the TV tuning options for XBMC or media Portal in quite some time, so I can't comment on those.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Draeve

    Draeve (Banned or Deleted)

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    Thanks very much guys, I think I'll look into the HTPC option!
     
  19. Digit

    Digit Member

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    If you want something streamlined on your HTPC, then just change the software to suit, i personally use MediaPortal as it caters for everything, from live TV to downloaded movies and TV shows. The number of plugins available too is tremendous! Absolutely awesome program :D Only thing it can't do is download TV shows for me as they're released, but you can use other programs for that.
     
  20. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Note that if a PVR has any kind of advantage over a HTPC, its the quality of the tuner. A HTPC is more versatile, has as much storage as you want to give it, and WMC works simply and very well.

    However, most TV tuner options for a HTPC are inferior to the tuners in a PVR, so if you are in an area with marginal reception, the PVR will usually get signal from the weak stations more reliably.
    This is particularly true for USB TV tuners in a HTPC.

    Go with the HTPC, but spend as much as you can afford on an internal tuner.
     

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