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uk.tech.tv.video.pvr Personal Video Recorder (PVR) (uk.tech.tv.video.pvr) Hard disk-based Personal Video Recorder(PVR) systems.

Getting started



 
 
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  #21  
Old November 26th 03, 10:41 PM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
Simon Slavin
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Posts: 107
Default Getting started

In article ,
Peter Bell wrote:

If only the TiVo software was available in a Freeview PVR which records
the digital stream as received ...


This is how the Pace Twins PVR works. It records the MPEG2
stream. If you want to record digital TV but don't want to
subscribe to Sky or Tivo, then I'd recomment the Pace Twins.
It's a complete PVR with an internal 20Gig disk (upgradable)
which can be used to later output the programme to a
conventional video recorder should you decide to keep it.


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  #22  
Old November 27th 03, 08:01 AM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
gary dawes
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Posts: 6
Default Getting started

Wik wrote in message . ..
Greetings all,

Nomex suit on
As a newbie to this arena, I come seeking knowledge.

We have Telewest cable (analogue, still!) and a nice big widescreen TV,
surround sound, yadda, yadda.

Two things that my g/f and I have been mulling over:

1) succumbing to the lures of Telewest's digital cable service (hey, we've
got everything else!)

2) some form of PVR. My g/f's been driving this one as she's seen the Sky+
ads, TiVo, etc.

I'm an IT spod by "trade" and as such, we have a whole host of systems in
the house doing generic PC stuff.

I've been contemplating building a discrete PVR box for a wee while, now,
but having never tried before, need some guidance. I was thinking of a
"Shuttle" style PC with a decent sized (120GB) drive combined with a card
like the Hauppage WinTV PVR 350. Sling a 802.11g wireless card in the
back, hook it up to the broadband and away we go.

Or am I being immensely naive and there's a lot more to it than I've
considered?

Are there better ways of going about this?

Anyone have any experience of similar or alternate solutions?

Hardware and software recommendations?

Thanks in advance.


I've notcied a few questions in this thread so far so I'll try to
answer some of them.

I'm using Mythtv, and it's great! Runs on Linux. The box is an Athon
1700, 256mb, 2 analogue tuner cards, and a 80GB disk. Overall the
whole thing is very stable and hardly ever crashes, If there is a
power failure or the box has to be hgard reset then it is back up in
about a minute or so.

It can be a pig to install though. the Mythtv package itself is ok,
it's all the other required packages. However there is loads of
documentation, and a busy mailing list, and there are packages
available for Redhat, and debian etc.

It has live tv pause etc like Tivo, but we hardly use it, relying on
the video recording features instead. I also like the fact that I can
run the frontend to Myth on other computers on the LAN at home and
watch recorded programs remotely. Even Live tv works over the LAN.

There is also another Linux solution called Freevo, when I started
playing with all of this Freevo did not do any form of video
recording, but I understand it does now, may be worth a look see.

cheers

Gary
  #23  
Old November 27th 03, 10:41 AM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
Chris Croughton
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Posts: 63
Default Getting started

On Wed, 26 Nov 2003 16:56:58 -0000, Ric
wrote:

"Chris Croughton" wrote in message
...

Which brings up another point -- how stable are the various systems?
My experience of Windows is that it tends to need rebooting at least
once a week, for instance, which makes it not very reliable for
long-term use. Whereas Linux tends to have OS uptimes measured in
years (but the PVR software itself may not be that robust).


I am a big fan of Linux and don't overly like windows but I feel I
have to stick up for it at this point. In my work environment I have
a Windows 2000 Server that has been up for just over 3 months - ever
since I commisioned it in fact!


Possibly it depends whether it is only being used as a server, compared
to running other stuff on it (IE for instance). Certainly Win2k is more
stable than Win9x, but IME it still degrades over time when being
actively used with interactive apps.

I agree that a lot would rest on the stability of the software - but I
think that a dedicated windows machine that did nothing but handle the
PVR thing should run for quote a long time. I would be more worried
about corruption of the EPG database or something similar.


Is this a known problem, or just a "it might sometime"?

And whereas a VCR will just stop recording if you lose power for a
minute or two, Windows and Linux have a tendency to say "Ooh, no
shutdown, better check the whole disk" which with anything over a
gigabyte is painfully slow...


Yes, but it would still reboot okay - and as long as the PVR software
is set up to start on boot you would still get all subsequent
recordings no problem. Whereas many VCR's (there are exceptions I
know) would lose all the programming information.


Mine will last for about half an hour, I think. But the outages I get
tend to be for a few minutes only. Of course, that's why I have several
UPSs g.

There are advantages and disadvantages to running your own PVR - and
in many cases you should probably set your video as well of there is a
programme you really can't bear to miss.


Except that the cable box will be on the wrong channel, almost
certainly. Which is why I have my current system -- a K6-2-500 AT
system (so no silliness about powering on, some ATX boxes wait for
manual switch after losing power) running Debian GNU/Linux (with a small
hard drive, 300MB or so, so fast to fsck), controlling the cable box.the
VCRs and the MD deck. Time synchronised to one of the atomic clocks
(NPL, US Naval Observertory or somewhere like that)...

If, on the other hand, you just like the idea of having things
recorded for you when you didn't even know they were on - then it may
be just the thing for you. For example, I enjoy watching Cheers - not
enough for me to check the tv guide for it every day and set the
video, but its nice that if it happens to be on channel 4 around
lunchtime my PVR will record it while I am at work. Then, when I have
a spare half hour and I flick through my recorded programs I can kick
back and watch it.


My usual problem is that 99% of the time there is nothing I want to
watch or record, and then there are three things on at the same time
(when I am out at work, of course) and I only have one channel. But
only a real excess of technology can solve that (lots of cable boxes,
PVRs, etc.), although possibly if I can get FreeView to work I could
have several cards for that (for the radio channels, mainly).

Chris C
  #24  
Old November 27th 03, 10:44 AM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
Chris Croughton
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Posts: 63
Default Getting started

On Wed, 26 Nov 2003 16:48:45 +0000, Yannick
wrote:

Not true of Tivo, It runs a flavour of linux and my machine has been up
now for 136 days continuous. When it did go down last (power outage) it
came back up in under a minute. It is very robust. In fact the most
comon faults are disk failures which could happen to any divice with a
HDD but replacements are easy to create or purchase over the net.


Yes, the TiVo uses its own filesystem which doesn't take ages in fsck.
Bog standard Linux systems, though, take a time which seems to be more
than linear (i.e. twice as big takes more than twice as long) to check.
Using an ext3, ReisserFS or other 'journalling' filesystem should cut
this down, but still not 'immediate' bootup.

Chris C
  #25  
Old November 28th 03, 11:49 AM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
Ric
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Posts: 14
Default Getting started

I would be more worried
about corruption of the EPG database or something similar.


Is this a known problem, or just a "it might sometime"?


As SnapStream PVS does not currently provide a UK EPG I am currently using
third party software to transfer XMLTV data to the snapstream programme
guide database. This is not an ideal solution as there are more points to
go wrong. I.e. XMLTV data is not always accurate and doesn't provide
listings very far in advance. Then the third party software does its
stuff - which I have had no problems with, but it is not supported by
snapstream and could go wrong at any time! Genreally though I would say
that this is not a "known" problem.


Mine will last for about half an hour, I think. But the outages I get
tend to be for a few minutes only. Of course, that's why I have several
UPSs g.


How many outages do you get? I haven't had one for years. UPS's are a good
idea because you can set them to shut the machine down safely so that there
will be no reboot problems when the power comes back on. If you have a good
enough one and, as you say, you only have short outages then that would mean
you could carry on recording throughout (providing you weren't reliant on a
cable box or such that was not protected).


My usual problem is that 99% of the time there is nothing I want to
watch or record, and then there are three things on at the same time
(when I am out at work, of course) and I only have one channel. But
only a real excess of technology can solve that (lots of cable boxes,
PVRs, etc.), although possibly if I can get FreeView to work I could
have several cards for that (for the radio channels, mainly).

My next step would be to have one analogue card that gets the stuff from the
cable box - and one freeview card that will be able to pick up much of the
same stuff thus enabling two recordings at once.


  #26  
Old November 28th 03, 04:10 PM posted to uk.tech.tv.video.pvr
Chris Croughton
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Posts: 63
Default Getting started

On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 12:49:28 -0000, Ric
wrote:

I would be more worried
about corruption of the EPG database or something similar.


Is this a known problem, or just a "it might sometime"?


As SnapStream PVS does not currently provide a UK EPG I am currently using
third party software to transfer XMLTV data to the snapstream programme
guide database. This is not an ideal solution as there are more points to
go wrong. I.e. XMLTV data is not always accurate and doesn't provide
listings very far in advance. Then the third party software does its
stuff - which I have had no problems with, but it is not supported by
snapstream and could go wrong at any time! Genreally though I would say
that this is not a "known" problem.


OK. I haven't looked into the XMLTV stuff much (I get my data from
DigiGuide, which means that there are three PCs involved in the setup --
DG under Win98, my software under Linux on my main machine which sorts
and selects it and creates a cron list, and the machine with the IR
adapters which actually does the control).

How many outages do you get? I haven't had one for years.


Well over one per week. These aren't big outages, typically a few
seconds, but that's enough to reset PCs (or if it's a critical length to
lock up the PC so that it can't be reset until you remove the mains plug
for several minutes).

UPS's are a good
idea because you can set them to shut the machine down safely so that there
will be no reboot problems when the power comes back on.


That's one reason. They will also get over the short ( 5 minute)
outages, spikes, brown-outs (I've had several down below 180V) and other
nasties.

If you have a good
enough one and, as you say, you only have short outages then that would mean
you could carry on recording throughout (providing you weren't reliant on a
cable box or such that was not protected).


So put the cable box on the UPS as well (it doesn't take much power
compared to a PC). Oh, and unless you have an LCD monitor don't put the
monitor on the UPS, that will drain it fast.

My next step would be to have one analogue card that gets the stuff from the
cable box - and one freeview card that will be able to pick up much of the
same stuff thus enabling two recordings at once.


Since most of what I want is radio, several Freeview cards plus cable
for the TV programmes would be best for me.

Chris C
 




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