Over the weekend, I put together a Home Theater PC (aka HTPC). Basically it is a PC that emulates a TiVo device where you can record your TV programs into a computer hard drive. Only More!
Mike Green sent a computer that he had retired (PIII-700Mhz, 70G HD, DVD Player) and I added a TV tuner card and video card with video output (to view on a TV) and made the conversion.
The main function is a Personal Video Recorder (PVR). Like a TiVo device, it can record TV programs, schedule recordings, or record all episodes of a TV series. There is a service called Zap2It Labs that offers a free download of the programs offered by our local Comcast cable service. See below for an image of the program guide. It also refreshes a 14 day listing every morning at 3am.
Additionally it can manage audio and video archives, allows you to set up and listen to Internet radio programs, and to play and rip DVDs. There are a number of plugins (more…) available which I will eventually figure out how to implement.
I started out by trying Media Center on the Windows Media Center Edition, but, try as I might to load driver after driver, it simply does not support the remote control that came with the PVR card I had (Hauppauge PVR-150). So I switched over to a free application called GBPVR. It works quite well and the images you see on in the PVR Gallery are from that application.
I have estimated that I will be able to keep about 6000 songs (our entire CD collection) and about 30 hours of video on the current hard disk, but I can expand that later. I’ll also want to get a DVD burner to archive special videos.
So far so good…