Is anybody archiving the stuff they record on their Tivo/PVR/DVR?
I'm considering getting a DVD recorder/player (now that they're under $200), but I'm also thinking of heading down the slippery slope of a home-brewed media server. Any war stories?
Yep. Unless you're really interested in spending a lot of time on it, stick with the packaged products.
I've been using a pc for dvd player, jukebox and so forth. I spent a week or so feeding cd's into it whenever I walked by it. I can rip and press dvd's should I have the urge to do so. I can play many types of media files.
The nice parts are having your whole music collection online, and a PC makes a dandy dvd player with picture and sound enhancements you cant get with a regular dvd player.
Much of it is rocket science though, and its a pain when something starts acting up in the middle of a movie.
As far as "rolling your own pvr", its possible, but unless you enjoy and are good at things like installing obscure operating systems, you arent going to enjoy this. I played with several packages and a few weeks later went back to tivo.
At least its not expensive. In fact, you want an older ATI video card without a fan (lower noise while still good picture quality); I think I paid $30 for mine. An inexpensive sound card with a fiber optical output to a low cost dolby digital receiver. Some nice but not overly spendy speakers. Throw in a $750 infocus x1 projector and you've got a pretty workable setup.
As far as archiving to dvd, you can put in a disk and push a button with a standalone dvd recorder. Or...you can get a card with video in, choose the video capture software that suits you. Find a bitrate and compression scheme that works for the source material. Capture and edit the material. Run a dvd authoring package that probably came with your dvd drive. Author the video and audio segments and fiddle with them to fit within the disk size. Use a disk burning package to burn the disk. See that your first attempt made a "coaster" and you have to make another one. See that your second attempt was made without setting the type to "dvd-rom" so it plays on your dvd player but not on your friends. Get dvd-rewritable media to avoid throwing 10% of your disks away. Discover that your brother's dvd player is one of the 10-20% that wont play rewriteables.
The audio is easy though. Use windows media player or get realjukebox, which is what I use.
For video captures, the ati all-in-wonder card and its bundled software work fine. Unless you're a gamer, you dont need a newer one though. The old 8500 based cards are more than enough for any video work, have excellent picture quality, lots of connections, pretty good performance for games, and wont cost you much.