The cost seems reasonable enough compared to the rentals from Comcast that it sounds like a good idea, especially right now.
I'm thinking of getting this Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe - 5205-DCT06IN-PCIE
tuner, currently on sale for the same price as the 4 tuner model ($199.99), and then building an HTPC around it, though I wonder if I could do something else, like get the external model (also on sale for $199.99
), or buy one of these Magnavox boxes they're selling in places like WalMart
, except there's little information about its capacities other than disk size (500 GB).
I'd like it to be as versatile as possible, which would require it to be operable by someone with no
technical interest or skills in PC's or anything of the kind. Which seems like it would mean a remote control should run the entire thing, which perhaps one of those Logitech universal remotes could handle, but it seems like there are more than a few who have had trouble getting remotes to work with HTPC's.
I've looked through some HTPC threads here, and one of the questions I have is: How much trouble is replacing the cable box? It would save monthly fees, but I'm unclear on what, exactly, can't be done without the cable box except for On-Demand things and have read complaints about channel changing speeds on these tuners. I've got a few premium channels, which I think means Comcast has to be able to address the M-Card multi-stream cable card they rent for the tuner(s) to allow decoding such channels, and I thought I read somewhere about some people having difficulty with that, but I may be confused about it. It does seem like I'd have to get the information that pops up on the TV which the cable box provides when one presses the "Info" button on Comcast's remote from somewhere else, but I don't know anything about that, and it would seem like I'd have to pay for that. But again I'm ignorant about this stuff.
I really don't want any problems that can't be solved, and one of the things that worries me is that my cable box now and then tells me there's no signal when the kitchen TV, which is on SD channels only, is still receiving fine. It hasn't happened in several months, but it makes me wonder if because my signal is apparently weaker than it should be the DVR will be even worse. Also, ideally I'd like to be able to move the data from the machine to a NAS if I ever decide to build one, and if there's a way to send it to other TV's that would be quite nice, too, though I haven't seen anything inexpensive that allows it with one possible exception which I have not researched yet (a Slingbox
that I assume I'd have to have available network connections to something to connect to each of the various TV's, and that brings back the question of remote controlling).
I'd like to keep the costs from going crazy, of course, but since it will save $15 a month for the DVR if memory serves, that justifies spending more for reliability, which probably means running cooler (Platinum PSU, low-power CPU) and good, easy-to-clean fans and vents. I don't care about gaming on it, but I'm still not clear on the software situation. I've read a little bit on here about Windows, and Windows 7 Ultimate (which I have and is the current plan for use here if need be) and Windows 8, which I'd probably rather not, but I'm generally ignorant about it all.
The plan is to get a moderately small SSD for quick start and reboots when needed, a decently fast low-power processor, and enough memory to do any conversions and/or transfers to more than one TV at the same time, if needed. I assume 16 GB should be sufficient.
Any advice and thoughts would be very much appreciated.