Shall I build my new media centre?

Discussion in 'DIY Computers' started by Henry Law, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Henry Law

    Henry Law Guest

    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
     
    Henry Law, Dec 21, 2011
    #1
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  2. 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
     
    Philip Herlihy, Dec 21, 2011
    #2
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  3. Henry Law

    root Guest

    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.
     
    root, Dec 22, 2011
    #3
  4. Henry Law

    Henry Law Guest

    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
     
    Henry Law, Dec 22, 2011
    #4
  5. 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
     
    Jaimie Vandenbergh, Dec 22, 2011
    #5
  6. Henry Law

    Mark Guest

    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.
     
    Mark, Dec 22, 2011
    #6
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