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Re: [HDTV-in-SFbay] Re: Building a HDTV PC

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  • Chris Weiss
    For those running the EyeTV 250 on Mac Minis, which model and how loud is it? I ve got one on a CoreDuo and when I run full screen, the fan cranks up to
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 30, 2007
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      For those running the EyeTV 250 on Mac Minis, which model and how loud
      is it? I've got one on a CoreDuo and when I run full screen, the fan
      cranks up to unreasonably loud levels.

      Also, if you do choose to go that route (EyeTV + Mac Mini), you
      absolutely need 1gb or better of RAM. It's pretty much useless with
      512mb in my experience.

      I personally can't recommend going the HTPC route - I tried ~5 years
      ago and spent far too much time fiddling and tweaking and dealing with
      incompatibilities and the desperate chase for silence. The fiddling
      about was fun, but it was just such a PITA for day-to-day usage that I
      never actually used it as an HTPC.

      Could you run an HR10-250 without a D* account? It does get OTA and
      they're quite cheap on ebay now. I'm guessing it could be hacked to
      run sans-account by someone deeply interested in going that route.

      Granted, that was 5 years ago and using the first release of Windows
      MCE (MythTV was just starting up around then).

      --
      -Chris
    • Dag Forssell
      Here is an update on my HDTV adventure so far. My Tivo subscription ran out in early December as scheduled. I registered the same Series 2 unit in my own name
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 22, 2008
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        Here is an update on my HDTV adventure so far.

        My Tivo subscription ran out in early December as scheduled. I
        registered the same Series 2 unit in my own name and "tried" it for
        just under one month while I kept looking.

        Fry's did not have a special on Beyond TV. Did not even carry it.

        I purchased the Hauppauge HVR-1600 from Amazon and downloaded the
        Beyond TV trial from Snapstream. It all worked fine on one of my
        recent, 2G, a6045n Pavilions running XP when connected to Philips
        MANT510 for antenna and Basic Comcast cable.

        I noticed the Pavilion a6177c refurbished at Fry's for $500 (575 with
        tax and shipping) and bought one. This multimedia computer came with
        Hauppauge HVR-1800, an Nvidia video card that is very quiet, MS
        multimedia remote and wireless keyboard and mouse.
        Ran it at first with a 17 inch LCD screen. TV looked great. Then I
        purchased a Samsung 24 inch, 1920x1200 LCD at CostCo for $400 plus tax.
        I just sent in the $50 rebate request.

        I ran Beyond TV trial for the 19 days on this Vista computer, then
        switched to MS Media Center. I conclude that Tivo broke new ground,
        Beyond TV and others created equivalents for PCs and now MS has created
        a slick equivalent that is included with the OS.

        I am happy with MS Media Center. No need to purhase Beyond TV. Both
        work just fine, but MS Media Center works best. For sure, the remote is
        made for the MS program. Slick special functions such as Aspect. So for
        just a bit more than the price of a Tivo HD box with lifetime
        subscription (an offer that was on the table in early January at $700
        ples tax) I have a setup that is much better, including a true HD
        screen (which we watch sitting on the coffee table, not across the
        room).

        I find that when I aim the Philips MANT510 at Sutro 24 miles away at
        288 degrees I get those stations, sometimes with dropped frames (when
        they are on the air). If I place the antenna on the other side of my
        house, aiming at Mission Peak / Monument Peak nort of Milpitas, 14
        miles away at 140 degrees, I get another selection. Both placements
        pick up 1021 nicely. I ran these tests early in the day, so many
        stations were not broadcasting it seems.

        For a better, more permanent antenna setup, I am considering trying
        Philips MANT950 ($80 at Amazon with two five-star reviews) installed in
        my limited attic space. What if I aim it at 124 / 304 degrees? That's
        16 degrees off 140 and 288. Now that I think of it, I will turn my
        MANT510 at least 16 degrees to either side and see just what happens.

        How about another MANT510 ($25) connected at the same time backwards
        through a splitter? Easy enough to try :). From what I have read about
        antennas, this should not work.

        While OTA digital seems unreliable at the moment, analog Comcast
        signals look much, much better with this setup than it did with a 27
        inch Panasonic just three years old. We have given it away already.

        I suppose the Hauppauge tuner which encodes MPEG directly times every
        line so there is no horizontal fuzziness. I also guess, just guess,
        that the software interpolates between lines to fill the screen with an
        image that has no visible lines the way our TV set did.

        To sum up: I am happy with the multimedia computer and inexpensive
        screen. Cable TV looks great, the record function is slick. Program
        info (for which Tivo charges a fortune) is free from FTC websites and
        all the programs use it. Digital OTA is gorgeus when it works and will
        work even better in the future.

        Best, Dag

        --- In HDTV-in-SFbay@yahoogroups.com, "Dag Forssell" <dag@...> wrote:
        >
        > Thanks to several people who have been kind enough to give me
        > information and suggestions, particularly Reinier, Deane, Dave,
        > Red2grass, Mike, and Ross.
        >
        > I shall take Dave's suggestion to wait for Thanksgiving to see if any
        > deals materialize at Fry's regarding Beyond TV.
        >
        > I expect to get a tuner card with Beyond TV to verify that I have
        > dependable signal before I make further decisions about a dedicated
        PC
        > or possibly Tivo, now that TivoToGo has been made available.
        >
        > I should be all set in a month or so.
        >
        > Thanks again, Dag
        >
      • Leo G. Divinagracia III
        ... lol... since i got a 32 vizio for the bedroom, i soon wanted a standalone media PC. so when fry s had a refurb HP 7750n (IIRC) machine on sale, i got
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 22, 2008
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          Dag Forssell wrote:

          >
          > To sum up: I am happy with the multimedia computer and inexpensive
          > screen. Cable TV looks great, the record function is slick. Program
          > info (for which Tivo charges a fortune) is free from FTC websites and
          > all the programs use it. Digital OTA is gorgeus when it works and will
          > work even better in the future.
          >


          lol... since i got a 32" vizio for the bedroom, i soon wanted a
          standalone media PC.

          so when fry's had a refurb HP 7750n (IIRC) machine on sale, i got one.

          eventually, the built-in nvidia 6150 video card gave me lots of stuttering.

          so i went and got an ATI card wit HDMI outs. but that had the infamous
          green screen issue.

          so returned that sucker and got a 7800 nvida card that is stable like heck.

          i really like the media center that comes with vista. though vista in
          itself is another IT issue with me... lol...

          too bad it cant do CABLECARD QAM or i'll ditch my crappy moto 6412, buy
          another MCE machine and add a multi terabyte SAN to it... lol.

          i added a 300 gb external drive and boy, i can now save all my network
          HD shows for what seems like forever.

          my tiny RCA pie plate and loop antenna (the one i've been using since i
          got my initial RCA HD set 6-7 years ago) now does the duties of picking
          up OTA and wow... no PIXELATIONS/macroblocking like comcrap's signal...

          my only issue with MCE is i cant switch between tuners (i added a
          cheapie USB ATSC tuner when frys had on sale for $35... ;) machine
          came with a PCI hauppage card).

          another bonus? once i have the machine wired via wire vs wireless, i can
          access it via my xbox 360...
        • Larry Kenney
          Hi Dag... Sounds like you ve got yourself a nice home computer set up for watching and recording HD. There are some comments you made that I felt I needed to
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 22, 2008
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            Hi Dag...

            Sounds like you've got yourself a nice home computer set up for watching and recording HD.  

            There are some comments you made that I felt I needed to comment on, though.  You wrote:
            > I find that when I aim the Philips MANT510 at Sutro 24 miles away at 

            288 degrees I get those stations, sometimes with dropped frames (when they are on the air). 



            (snip)


            > While OTA digital seems unreliable at the moment, analog Comcast 
            signals look much, much better with this setup than it did with a 27 
            inch Panasonic just three years old. We have given it away already.


            (snip)



            >Digital OTA is gorgeus when it works and will work even better in the future.  



            "when they are on the air", "unreliable at the moment" and "when it works" all seem to indicate that you aren't receiving reliable OTA reception.  Except for when all of the Sutro stations have to go off for tower or antenna maintenance, which is seldom, the stations are all on the air all the time and all provide very reliable service.  


            If you're finding that you aren't receiving all of the stations all of the time with your OTA set up, it sounds like you're getting signals that are right at what they call the "cliff edge"... not you see them, now you don't... depending on conditions.  If that's what's happening, you need a better antenna, because the stations are there to receive.  



            Larry


            SF










          • Dag Forssell
            Larry, Thanks for your note. I think you are right that I am on the edge. The distance is 25 miles and I do not have line of sight to the Sutro Tower. There is
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 23, 2008
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              Larry,

              Thanks for your note. I think you are right that I am on the edge.
              The distance is 25 miles and I do not have line of sight to the Sutro
              Tower. There is a ridge some 600 feet in front of me, slightly above
              me.

              I just ordered Philips MANT950 from Amazon. I will mount it 20 feet
              higher, with new, high grade cable. I think it will be better.

              Thanks, Dag

              --- In HDTV-in-SFbay@yahoogroups.com, Larry Kenney <Larry@...> wrote:

              <snip>

              > > "when they are on the air", "unreliable at the moment" and "when
              it
              > > works" all seem to indicate that you aren't receiving reliable
              OTA
              > > reception. Except for when all of the Sutro stations have to go
              > > off for tower or antenna maintenance, which is seldom, the
              stations
              > > are all on the air all the time and all provide very reliable
              service.
              > >
              >
              > > If you're finding that you aren't receiving all of the stations
              all
              > > of the time with your OTA set up, it sounds like you're getting
              > > signals that are right at what they call the "cliff edge"... not
              > > you see them, now you don't... depending on conditions. If
              that's
              > > what's happening, you need a better antenna, because the
              stations
              > > are there to receive.
              >
              > > Larry
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