The DVD guys have conceded and Blue Ray is the future (at least until
something better comes along). Cost is coming down considerably. Remember
when a Betamax was over $1500 and then a VCR was down to $20 over time?
> But, all you really need is
Only if the PC has all the programming capability that a cable company DV-R
has for setting schedules. I don't know if they do or not yet. Nice to
know that even if I'm away my series recordings will start without me
intervening, even season to season.
Agree there. From what I can see though, the downloaded product is not the
full resolution and can be even lower if you don't have a fast enough
connection. Blu Ray give 1080p but the downloaded is only 720p or less from
what I've found. Of course, that may change too.
I have two Hauppauge HVR-1600 tuner cards, and a Hauppauge HVR-2250 dual
tuner card in my computer. My 1600's are connected to an outdoor antenna
to pick up over-the-air broadcasts (HD and SD), and my 2250 is connected
to my cable company to pick up free QAM channels (unencrypted channels
accessable without a cable box, mostly local broadcasts and a couple of
extras like Discovery channel). If I had enough slots available, I would
use two HVR-2250's, but right now I have more PCI slots than PCI-e slots.
I have a 1 terabyte hard drive I dedicate solely to video, though I'm
currently using less than half that space despite dozens of music videos,
home movies, and over a months worth of HD TV recordings. This leaves me
plenty of working room for editing home movies and whatnot.
I use the excellent free software "GBPVR" to schedule and record my TV
shows, with a $20/yr subscription to "Schedules Direct" TV listings. This
allows me to schedule recordings up to two weeks in advance, as well as
automatically recording repeating series episodes or other recurring
Then I use Comskip and VideoRedo to automatically locate and remove
commercials from my TV recordings.
We use a Tvix M-6600 media player to stream my recorded shows from the
computer, over our home network, to our TV in the living room. I only
have the one media player, but I could easily hook up other media players
to watch shows in other rooms if I wished.
Surprisingly, this all has minimal impact on my computer resources. I
can easily record 4 HD shows at once, while streaming a prerecorded show
to the media player in our living room, while my wife plays Farmville on
Of course, this means my computer runs 24/7, but it's usually running
other tasks like defragging drives, or processing other files anyway, so
that's not an issue.
Admittedly, there's a bit of a learning curve and tweaking to get
everything setup properly. But being able to record four shows at once,
while watching a fifth, and no subscription fees makes it more than worth
it. True, we're basically limited to the major broadcast networks, but
I'm not interested in paying for the extra cable channels anyway.
Combine our TV recordings with a couple of movies from Netflix each week,
and streaming Netflix movies through my BluRay player, and we have WAY
more shows to watch than we have time for.
Oh, and for those rare shows on a channel you can't get, you can usually
find them online or as a torrent download.
Interesting setup and not too costly. We don't get any OTA reception to
make putting an antenna feasible though. I'd still need a decoder as most
everything we watch is on the encrypted channels. History, TLC, Science,
Nat Geo and all pay-for.
How is the resolution on the Blu Ray downloads? I understand they cut the
resolution if you have a slower connection. Seems like a handy way of
getting movies though.
Have you checked your location at www.antennaweb.org?
You might need a larger antenna, but I would be very surprised if you
couldn't get ANY OTA reception.
You can still use GBPVR and the tuner cards with cable boxes, but you
have to use IR emitters and whatnot if you want to change channels. You
would also need a box for each tuner if you wanted to record more than
one show. I've never looked into that, but I know people on the GBPVR
forum discuss it all the time and could probably provide more info.
Also, I thought I read somewhere that most cable companies carry the
local broadcast stations unencrypted (Free QAM). The cable companies
usually won't tell you that though, as they want you to rent the box.
But, I haven't looked into that in a while, so that could be outdated
Are you talking about Netflix? If so, I really haven't paid much
attention to the resolution, as some movies are SD and others are in HD.
I don't know what res the HD movies default to, though the quality
setting changes depending on the speed of your network connection. I
have a 42" plasma and have been pleasantly suprised by the quality of the
Of course, only a small subset of the Netflix movies are available for
instant viewing, mostly old movies, or those that are less popular. You
won't find many (any?) new releases for instant viewing.
Also, I think Netflix downloads are limited to stereo audio. Last I
checked, 5.1 audio is not available.
If you're talking about torrent downloads, the quality is whatever the
person who encoded it used. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's
horrible. Sometimes the picture is excellent, but the audio is in a
foreign language. :) But, I limit my torrent downloads to TV shows I
can't record myself, and rent Blu-rays through Netflix.
Good point to consider HD, I missed that. Your comment got me
wondering where all the Blu Ray recorders for use with a TV are?
There are a lot of them out there as Blu Ray burners to connect to a
PC at a reasonable price already, but I haven't seen similar targeted
at the TV market. Is it because that market is largely going to
personal video recorder instead? Those are available that are HD
compatible and if you don't need long term storage on removable media,
would be my choice.
Yes, the coax cable just daisy chains into the DVD and out to the TV.
I kept my old VCR, fed the output of it into the DVD, then the output
of the DVD into the TV.
Now my TV source is cable or DVD, while my DVD source is cable or
VCR. That way I can
have all the features of the DVD, but still have the capability to
watch movies and recorded
videos on my VHS tapes. Takes 3 remotes to do it, but it works well.
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