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Re: DirecTV, Dish, or something else?
Old 07-20-2004, 09:54 AM   #21
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Re: DirecTV, Dish, or something else?

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. 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.

Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: DirecTV, Dish, or something else?
Old 07-20-2004, 02:02 PM   #22
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Re: DirecTV, Dish, or something else?

For many years, I have only owned TVs with built in
VCR/DVD players. I would never think of messing with them, or the computer either. This pretty much applies to anything I own. Just want to use it. Tinkering
is avoided at all costs.

John Galt
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A week with DSL & broadcast TV
Old 07-30-2004, 07:23 AM   #23
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A week with DSL & broadcast TV

Ordered Verizon's DSL service a couple weeks ago, installed it last Friday, and I've been running at 1.2 Mbps all week.

When I switch the Ethernet connector between the DSL modem and RoadRunner's cable modem, download speed changes from 1.2 to about 2.5 Mbps. But personally I can't tell the speed difference.

I can tell the price difference-- $29.95 vs $44.95/month. First month free. $12.95 S&H but no installation charges.

I can tell the reliability difference, although I haven't had to deal with Verizon's customer service yet. Hopefully I never will! Sustained superior bitching with our local RoadRunner provider (also our local CATV provider) earned a week's refund for all their problems a couple weeks ago.

We have a $40 Radio Shack broadcast TV antenna in our attic and I'll be crimping coax connectors this weekend. The signal boomed in just fine from our back lanai (every antenna on Oahu is within 20 miles) and the attic already has coax installed. Once I feed the signal through our house loop I'll be able to record all the broadcast stations on VHS VCRs and we'll only need two tuners for the household's TV addicts.

Hopefully next month we're choosing among DirecTV, Dish, & whatever other providers I can find.



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