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Shall I build my new media centre?

 
 
Henry Law
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      Dec 21st, 11, 6:59 PM
My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable, so it's time to
buy something else. Although I rarely feel the need to be on the
leading edge of technology, it's clear that when upgrading like this I
should get somewhere near it, since I don't upgrade all that often. So
it's a "media centre" of some kind.

If you were in my position would you buy it or build it? Or buy the
hardware and then install the software? I'm fairly good at the building
bit; I'm pretty familiar with Ubuntu Linux, which I use all the time;
and I used to be quite a whizz at XP though I've not done much with
Windows 7 (except curse at it because I can't find anything).

If build it, how do I decide about TV cards and such? Which OS? I'm
reluctantly inclined to say that Windows is the way to go, simply
because most of the hardware manufacturers will support it, but MythTV
looks good (and is free), and I'm fed up with the continual worry about
keeping ahead of security patching. If Windows, would I need "premium"
or "ultimate" or some such extravagance?

I'm not intending to fiddle with the thing all that much, just watch TV,
record programmes, watch stuff from YouTube, iPlayer and such, and
possibly do audio and pictures.

If buy, then where?

--

Henry Law Manchester, England
 
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Philip Herlihy
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      Dec 21st, 11, 7:15 PM
In article <->,
says...
>
> My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
> nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable, so it's time to
> buy something else. Although I rarely feel the need to be on the
> leading edge of technology, it's clear that when upgrading like this I
> should get somewhere near it, since I don't upgrade all that often. So
> it's a "media centre" of some kind.
>
> If you were in my position would you buy it or build it? Or buy the
> hardware and then install the software? I'm fairly good at the building
> bit; I'm pretty familiar with Ubuntu Linux, which I use all the time;
> and I used to be quite a whizz at XP though I've not done much with
> Windows 7 (except curse at it because I can't find anything).
>
> If build it, how do I decide about TV cards and such? Which OS? I'm
> reluctantly inclined to say that Windows is the way to go, simply
> because most of the hardware manufacturers will support it, but MythTV
> looks good (and is free), and I'm fed up with the continual worry about
> keeping ahead of security patching. If Windows, would I need "premium"
> or "ultimate" or some such extravagance?
>
> I'm not intending to fiddle with the thing all that much, just watch TV,
> record programmes, watch stuff from YouTube, iPlayer and such, and
> possibly do audio and pictures.
>
> If buy, then where?


Google for Humax HDR-Fox T2, and save a lot of trouble!

Records Freeview HD onto a hard disk, and (connected to Internet) does
YouTube, iPlayer, iWiki and Internet Radio (where I found the delightful
allbrassradio.com last night). Doesn't do 4OD - only what the "Humax
Portal" sees fit to offer. I don't believe you can record internally
from the Internet, but it has USB connections (not explored yet). The
on-screen keypad for Internet activity is clunky, but otherwise I'm
delighted with it.

--

Phil, London
 
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root
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      Dec 22nd, 11, 9:29 AM
On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 17:59:34 +0000, Henry Law wrote:
> My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
> nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable, so it's time to
> buy something else. Although I rarely feel the need to be on the
> leading edge of technology, it's clear that when upgrading like this I
> should get somewhere near it, since I don't upgrade all that often. So
> it's a "media centre" of some kind.


I'm a little puzzled by this. The TV standards haven't changed in the past
few years, so the sort of machine that could meet them then (for a reasonable
value of "then") should be very similar to what you'd need now.

> If you were in my position would you buy it or build it? Or buy the
> hardware and then install the software? I'm fairly good at the building
> bit; I'm pretty familiar with Ubuntu Linux, which I use all the time;
> and I used to be quite a whizz at XP though I've not done much with
> Windows 7 (except curse at it because I can't find anything).


I'd look to see what components of the existing box are causing the
"unusable" and drop in point-solutions to those specific problems. It's hard
to see (hardware failures excepted) what could have changed much.
 
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Henry Law
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      Dec 22nd, 11, 9:48 AM
On 22/12/11 08:29, root wrote:
> On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 17:59:34 +0000, Henry Law wrote:
>> My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
>> nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable,


> I'm a little puzzled by this. The TV standards haven't changed in the past
> few years, so the sort of machine that could meet them then (for a reasonable
> value of "then") should be very similar to what you'd need now.


> I'd look to see what components of the existing box are causing the
> "unusable" and drop in point-solutions to those specific problems. It's hard
> to see (hardware failures excepted) what could have changed much.


Oh, OK: in the interests of brevity I didn't make myself clear. The
existing unit is a DVD recorder appliance: it records onto external
media (DVD-R+ and several other formats) and will display photos from a
CD (but not a DVD, what?). No internet connection. Records one
programme and if you're recording you can't watch something else (except
using the TV's own tuner, of course). The numeric display is fading; it
sometimes judders and breaks up on playback, and every so often it locks
up completely and I have to reboot it (using a magic button combination
I found on the web). Nothing replacable, nothing servicable. WEEE!

--

Henry Law Manchester, England
 
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Jaimie Vandenbergh
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      Dec 22nd, 11, 10:19 AM
On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 18:15:09 -0000, Philip Herlihy
<> wrote:

>In article <->,
> says...
>>
>> My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
>> nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable, so it's time to
>> buy something else. Although I rarely feel the need to be on the
>> leading edge of technology, it's clear that when upgrading like this I
>> should get somewhere near it, since I don't upgrade all that often. So
>> it's a "media centre" of some kind.
>>
>> If you were in my position would you buy it or build it? Or buy the
>> hardware and then install the software? I'm fairly good at the building
>> bit; I'm pretty familiar with Ubuntu Linux, which I use all the time;
>> and I used to be quite a whizz at XP though I've not done much with
>> Windows 7 (except curse at it because I can't find anything).
>>
>> If build it, how do I decide about TV cards and such? Which OS? I'm
>> reluctantly inclined to say that Windows is the way to go, simply
>> because most of the hardware manufacturers will support it, but MythTV
>> looks good (and is free), and I'm fed up with the continual worry about
>> keeping ahead of security patching. If Windows, would I need "premium"
>> or "ultimate" or some such extravagance?
>>
>> I'm not intending to fiddle with the thing all that much, just watch TV,
>> record programmes, watch stuff from YouTube, iPlayer and such, and
>> possibly do audio and pictures.
>>
>> If buy, then where?

>
>Google for Humax HDR-Fox T2, and save a lot of trouble!


This. Building a machine that does useful TV stuff isn't tricky (a
pair of HD DVB tuners and an HDMI-out, with something faster than a
C2D@2GHz is all you need), but reliable software to do the recording
and such, and with a decent remote control? Bleargh. And building a
near-silent box that looks OK on the TV rack without being insanely
expensive is somewhat tricky, though not at all impossible.

That said, there are advantages to having a full computer plugged into
your TV - it understands all video formats, iPlayer/4OD/etc, can get
to your media collection over the network and so on.

I use an older Mac Mini (2009 model) with a dual-tuner USB stick and
EyeTV software (both from Elgato.com), DVI->HDMI adapter and digital
audio out. I set it up in 2007 originally, and it has been
sufficiently useful all that time - but primarily due to the software.
Which is OSX only.

Cheers - Jaimie
--
"I have an asteroid named after me. Isaac Asimov's got one too.
It's smaller and more eccentric." -- Arthur C. Clarke
 
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Mark
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      Dec 22nd, 11, 10:35 AM
On Wed, 21 Dec 2011 17:59:34 +0000, Henry Law <>
wrote:

>My comparatively ancient DVD recorder (with terrestrial freeview but
>nowt else) is sliding gradually towards being unusable, so it's time to
>buy something else. Although I rarely feel the need to be on the
>leading edge of technology, it's clear that when upgrading like this I
>should get somewhere near it, since I don't upgrade all that often. So
>it's a "media centre" of some kind.
>
>If you were in my position would you buy it or build it? Or buy the
>hardware and then install the software? I'm fairly good at the building
>bit; I'm pretty familiar with Ubuntu Linux, which I use all the time;
>and I used to be quite a whizz at XP though I've not done much with
>Windows 7 (except curse at it because I can't find anything).
>
>If build it, how do I decide about TV cards and such? Which OS? I'm
>reluctantly inclined to say that Windows is the way to go, simply
>because most of the hardware manufacturers will support it, but MythTV
>looks good (and is free), and I'm fed up with the continual worry about
>keeping ahead of security patching. If Windows, would I need "premium"
>or "ultimate" or some such extravagance?
>
>I'm not intending to fiddle with the thing all that much, just watch TV,
>record programmes, watch stuff from YouTube, iPlayer and such, and
>possibly do audio and pictures.
>
>If buy, then where?


There's no single answer to this. If you want you could just replace
your old DVD recorder with a new one. This would be pricy but the
closest to what you already have.

If you want to go cheaper then buy a PVR. It won't have a DVD
recorder but will be cheaper. Many have ways you can extract
programmes from them.

I would imagine that a media PC would be the most expensive option but
you would gain most flexibility. For your requirements I wouldn't
bother though.
--
(\__/) M.
(='.'=) Due to the amount of spam posted via googlegroups and
(")_(") their inaction to the problem. I am blocking some articles
posted from there. If you wish your postings to be seen by
everyone you will need use a different method of posting.

 
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