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Old April 6, 2008, 08:48 PM
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Default TV tuner box build

just thought I would bounce this off a few of you guys on here, pretty soon I am going to be building a Tv tuner box for my parents. We have digital cable and my father teaches high school social studies, so he goes through a whole lot of video tapes. My mom is getting sick of the clutter, and they have seen the TV tuner I have on my PC and love it. I am trying to keep this one on the cheap side so I am going to use a few spare parts I have. The only objective here it to make something that can record TV and isn't very big. Here's what I have to work with.

CPU: Celeron 430 (Conroe-L) 1.8ghz
Video: 3dFuzuion GeForce 6200LE PCI-E 128mb with TURBO CACHE!!!!!!!! (I know, it blows, but its only for Svideo.)

What I am figuring to do is to pick up a cheap mATX 775 board, thinking BIOSTAR or AsRock. I am thinking I will use an Antec NK2480 case because they come with the earthwatts PSU (which is made by Seasonic). I'm also thinking about going with 2GB of economy memory like Corsair Value Select or Crucial Rendition. I want to base it off the same TV Tuner that I have, the Visontek TV Wonder 600 PCI-E x1. The video card is only going to be there for Svideo out to the TV set. I figure on 2GB of ram due to the usage by the TV tuner, the only thing that worries me is weather the Celeron will cut it for the tv tuner. I'm also figureing on a terrabyte HDD, probably a Seagate. Also I plan on making it XP based, its not really going to be a HTPC but I think it ought to cut it as a digital VCR replacement. It would be cheaper to get TiVo but we'd have to change service providers then and actually purchase the unit which will cost just about as much as building this tv tuner.
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Old April 10, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Does your Dad take these recorded programs to school for his classes? You may want to consider putting in a DVD-RW, They are very cheap these days. I would also recommend a descent sized HDD...Your parents have digital cable, do they have a external box? -does it need some type of smart card etc to acccess the cable channels? You should check into this and make sure your tuner is compatible with the Digital cable signal coming into the house. If your tuner is NOT compatible you could always record from the cable boxes video outputs if your vide card has video in.
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Old April 10, 2008, 12:43 PM
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Your build looks okay for a basic Tv tuner/recording box, but I would make one suggestion: Get 2x 500g hard drives instead of a 1Tb hard drive. My reason: you can get two 500g's for under $100 each, whereas a TB hard drive will cost you well over 200, if not more AND you'll have "all your eggs in one basket". If the Tb hard drive dies, your dad looses everything, so it's something else to remember.
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Old May 16, 2008, 02:57 AM
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well its been a while but things are falling together. I just got a nice deal on a Seagate 1TB HDD with a 5 year warranty. I can see the pros and cons of geting a 2x500 gig HDDs but what decided it for me is heat, its going to be a small case and it can't be too noisey so there it is. Also as far as the cable goes, I'm putting a splitter in after the box, so the PC is going to be stuck on whatever channel the digital cable is but thats alright. Also I think I am going to go with an ATi card since I have two already and they work great. TV Wonder 600s is what I have used so far. Now heres what I am wondering. Are there any good programs out there for just taking commercials out of pre-recorded stuff. I looked at some video editing stuff but I don't want to do crazy text and sound type things, I just want to cut out say from between time index 00:37:14 and 00:41:25. I'm not sure if its just with the ATI tuners but, stoping and starting durring commercials would take too long and be diecey that you wouldn't be able to start recording in time.
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Old May 16, 2008, 07:08 AM
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To note, our local cable while in digital to your home will still have the basic analog channel line-up present. You could set your tuner to have the analog channel line-up through the tuner and the digital TV channel through the Video in. I am unsure if your local cable is like that, I am just mentioning it and you may want to check it out.
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Old May 17, 2008, 01:14 AM
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thats a great idea if I get a dual tuner, I will have to get a bigger splitter and more cable but thats a non-issue. Now as far as I know even if it IS a dual tuner it can only record on one line right? Plus I think recording and watching two different channels, at once, on a Celeron 430 would be kind of pushing it but, then again, you never know, they're quick little chips (faster than about 95% of P4s and I think in some cases faster than some of the PDs too)
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Old May 17, 2008, 08:14 AM
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I know that for such an application a 780G motherboard with integrated graphics would be terrific, and cheap, but not as cheap as a build with spare parts. I have checked into this setup for a friend and found that with 325$ (CAN) you can build a nice basic PC.

Last edited by Para_Franck; May 17, 2008 at 08:29 AM.
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Old May 17, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Yeah I think AMD really has somthing there, a really good integrated chipset and if you use one of their low wattage CPUs you don't have to worry as much about heat, and you get just about as much performance as you would out of an Intel, or enough so that you wouldn't really notice the difference between the two of them for what you would use it for. I will take some pictures as I go. I've decided on a case, mainly because its affordable and has a kickass PSU.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...ufacture=ANTEC

Basically its the Antec Fusuion withouth the LED screen on the front, and with a slightly de-rated PSU, but the PSU is an ANTEC Earthwatts 380w which is made by Seasonic, also its full size so if anything ever did happen to it, won't be hard to replace. I still have to decide what kind of mATX board I go with. I have been looking at a few, the Asus ones are nice but they are expensive as well. I am considering an AsRock one, and I've also looked at BioStar and the like. Most likely its going to have a 965 chipset, I would LIKE to find one WITHOUT integrated graphics as I'm not going to be using them, mainly because I won't be able to find one that has integrated S-Video (I want to use the S-video to set the TV set up as a monitor to control the PC). I plan on using an old GeForce 6200LE which has Svideo. Other than that, the RAM and HDD I already have, so I just need the case, the board, and the TV tuner. I figure that little 35w celeron won't dissapoint for this, and its going to run a whole lot cooler than if I tried to put say a Pentium Dual Core or somthing in there.

Edit: Oh yeah I forgot about the DVD-RW I will have to get one of those too, but even the SATA ones arn't that expensive anymore.
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Old May 17, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bandit87 View Post
thats a great idea if I get a dual tuner, I will have to get a bigger splitter and more cable but thats a non-issue. Now as far as I know even if it IS a dual tuner it can only record on one line right? Plus I think recording and watching two different channels, at once, on a Celeron 430 would be kind of pushing it but, then again, you never know, they're quick little chips (faster than about 95% of P4s and I think in some cases faster than some of the PDs too)
What I meant is if your going digital using your local Cable, you will have to use an external decoder box Right? -> Connect this to the Video input that many Tuners come with. Then just connect up the line to the tuner and tune in all the analog channels (if you have any). If you have a dual tuner card you can record on show while watching another. For quite a while I used a AIW and a separate tuner, this gave me Picture in Picture on the PC which was very cool but also gave me the ability to record on show while watching another. -The only way you will know is to try. If you optimize your system and have a decent GFX card to process this will help. Good luck.
To note: I love having cable TV on my PC and use it all the time. I think I will be upgrading to a new tuner very soon.
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