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DIY DVR

Old 03-29-2007, 04:41 PM
  #1  
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Default DIY DVR

Anybody make their own tivo? I'm about to have an extra computer and thought about hooking it up to the tv so that we can surf the internet during commercials or check tv showtimes or whatever. But in addition to that, I thought maybe it could work as a DVR. I guess I'd just need a bigger harddrive (maybe an external one) and a video capture card. Any experience or suggestions?
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Old 03-29-2007, 05:04 PM
  #2  
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Default Re: DIY DVR

Yup. There are a couple routes you can go. One is to get a USB dongle to hook up the antenna like the one from Pinnacle that I posted about a few weeks ago. Then software does everything else to turn you laptop or whatever into a DVR. This is the best route for occasional DVR needs.

The other route is to dedicate a computer to the DVR function. I have one ˝ built. I am waiting for the cost of internal HD/Blu-Ray combo dvd players to drop to complete the unit. I am using an Intel series D945GNT motherboard, a pair of Maxtor Black Diamond 250gb HDs. The Intel mb features Matrix Raid; that allows me to use RAID type-1 (copy on each HD) for a small OS/system directory, and RAID type-0 (striped data) between the HDs for faster read/write of multi-channel a/v data in a 450gb directory. I have room to add a couple more of those 250gb HDs, just haven't seen the need for it, yet. They are cheap, around $100/each, or $60-$80 when there's a rebate.

That Intel mb has embedded audio for 5.1 surround, and HD video. I have yet to buy a video card, the mb has overlay features. The whole thing was built to support 12 video cameras, 4 microphones, and HD-DVR functions. I actually bought a lower-end, slower processor because none of the applications I run on this thing require much CPU oomph. The security camera video encoding is a function of the camera’s cards. Reducing CPU need helps keep the CPU and case cooler and the fan noise way down.

Oh, for media center use I recommend the newer case fans without bearings. The fan shaft floats between magnetic fields of magnets. At higher speeds the fans are virtually silent. A full speed I can hear the 120mm fan on the front of the case if I put my ear within a foot of it. I haven’t gotten around to getting a quiet, 3rd party CPU fan, yet. The supplied Intel CPU fan is way too loud.

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