Advice Required: Building a new Freeview PC-PVR (1 Viewer)

groovybaby

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December 3, 2017
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...So for fans: bigger is better.
from CyberSimian in the UK
Yes, that's why I suggested 2 x 3" fans (each running at about the same speed as one 6" fan).
Or even 3 x 3" fans (each running at a slower speed than the one 6" fan)

For the best performance, eg: best air-flow/noise levels:
Do the fans have to be mounted vertically, or could they be Horizontal ?

One factor that may be important to you: if you are thinking of using Windows 7, be aware that Microsoft and other manufacturers are refusing to provide drivers and updates for Windows 7...

...but if you take a dim view of Microsoft's arrogant removal of your ability to prevent updates causing chaos on your system...
from CyberSimian in the UK
My very competent-and patient-friend setup his new Windows-7-laptop, with windows 10, to try it out.
And gave up after many month of perseverance, and went back to Windows 7!

I've found that even Windows 7 has some undesirable issues, compared to Windows XP that I'd used quite happliy for many years, so I'm not convinced that the constant updating of OS's are NOT always for the best, it just away to make more money for MS, because obviously they don't get paid for the constant system updates.

So I would have been prepared to try some other OS if mediaportal was able to use it.
Is there a good reason why mediaportal only works on Windows?
Is it just the extra work required to make it function on say, Linux etc?

I appreciate that there's a lot more software, & hardware available for Windows, so switching to some-other OS may add other complications.
But it would be great if MS had a real competitor then perhaps they would be forced to try harder.

But I'm prepared to give mediaportal a go, on Windows 7.

My regular PC has:
MotherBoard: Gigabit (GA-Z87-HD3) with built-in-Graphics
(which supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors)
and...
Processor: Intel Core i5-4670K CPU @ 3.40GHz
(which is a Haswell 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors)

...which I believe are both still available.
But spec wise, would they be overkill for the job in hand?
I don't plan on doing anything other than recording Freeview + perhaps FM radio.
It would also be convenient to access catch-up, like BBC iPlayer etc.

...consider if you could PCI cable riser...
Cheers - J.
So a 'PCI riser cable, like this...' ?
PCI Express x16 Riser Card Flexible Extender Cable -£3.12 Online Shopping| GearBest.com
So the TV-Card can then be mounted Horizontally ?

Many thanks.
 

joecrow

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    Just a couple of further tips, I'm not sure if anyone mentioned that hard disk drives can also be noisy in operation, so I would strongly advise an SSD for the OS disk as it will be both silent and fast to boot up.If you need local mass storage then an additional WD Green (or whatever the equivalent colour is these days) is a good choice.
    Regarding Win 10 it is very simple to return the update process to manual control by changing a setting in "Policies", Google "Win 10 stop updates" for further info. so if that is an issue for you don't be concerned, a working system can be protected from being screwed up with an auto update, while still benefittitng from the latest technology.
     

    CyberSimian

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    Do the fans have to be mounted vertically, or could they be Horizontal ?
    I would suspect that there is no difference between horizontal and vertical, but I am not an expert in cooling technology! o_O

    I've found that even Windows 7 has some undesirable issues, compared to Windows XP that I'd used quite happliy for many years
    Windows 7 includes the Windows Media Center application. It is/was probably the most-used media center application of all time, but sadly it has been removed from Windows 10 and is no longer supported. WMC does some things better than MP, but MP does other things better than WMC. For me, the latter are more important than the former. I like Windows XP too, and that is what I am using at the moment to write this post. :eek:

    I would have been prepared to try some other OS if mediaportal was able to use it. Is there a good reason why mediaportal only works on Windows?
    For Linux there is the MythTV system. I have never used it, but I think that it is a version of Linux that has been customised with all of the settings best suited for using it as a DVR. It has its own DVR software. If you have some time to experiment, it might be worthwhile setting up a partition with MythTV to see what it is like (set up a multiboot system). MediaPortal cannot run on Linux due to the number of proprietary Windows services that MP uses (or something like that). :(

    My regular PC has: ...Processor: Intel Core i5-4670K CPU @ 3.40GHz
    I have only used one HTPC system: my Dell XPS420 that uses an Intel Q6600. So I cannot make any recommendations for alternative processors. But @Owlsroost mentioned that he uses a Celeron processor without problem. That is lower-spec than even an Intel i3. :eek:

    an additional WD Green (or whatever the equivalent colour is these days) is a good choice.
    I agree with this. I have two 5400rpm 2TB Western Digital Green drives in my HTPC, and they are virtually inaudible. I capture TV to a 7200rpm 750GB Seagate drive, and that is audible (but is not overpowering).

    Regarding Win 10 it is very simple to return the update process to manual control by changing a setting in "Policies"
    My understanding is that:

    (1) Windows 10 Enterprise edition allows an enterprise's IT department to switch off Windows 10 updates permanently, by altering a policy setting. But that policy setting is not available for Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Professional.

    (2) For Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Professional, it is possible to delay some updates for a while, but eventually Micrsoft will force them to be downloaded and installed.

    Now possibly that situation has changed, as a result of criticism from users. Regardless, on the Windows 10 laptop that I purchased last year (Sky Lake processor) I installed a spare Windows 7 and now dual boot both operating systems.

    -- from CyberSimian in the UK
     

    joecrow

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    (1) Windows 10 Enterprise edition allows an enterprise's IT department to switch off Windows 10 updates permanently, by altering a policy setting. But that policy setting is not available for Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Professional.
    The policy setting is and always has been available in Win 10 Pro(from the free upgrade version onwards), I have it set on both my HTPC and Desktop. I believe that was correct for Win 10 Home but that also now may no longer be true.:unsure:
     

    JimCatMP

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    So a 'PCI riser cable, like this...' ?
    PCI Express x16 Riser Card Flexible Extender Cable -£3.12 Online Shopping| GearBest.com
    So the TV-Card can then be mounted Horizontally ?
    Yep - range of versions but all do much same, link card to MB via ribbon cable, possibly with some passive components to address noise - remember your inserting additional electrical pickup into high speed digital bus, wiring should other signal sources close to cable unless it's shielded.

    Ref cooling, don't expect tuner cards to get very warm unless they are post processing/encoding/decoding the stream - so generally I'd simply make sure the had enough space for some air flow around them.

    Cheers - JCMP
     
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    groovybaby

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    Tuner Cards:
    So far, I've found these two Quad TV Tuner Cards.
    a: TBS 6205 DVB-T2 DVB-C Quad TV Tuner PCIe Card. @ about £169
    b: HAUPPAUGE WinTV-quad HD PCIe TV Receiver (Item model number: 3875199) @ about £100

    ...but I'm not sure if either have a good reputation, for performance, reliability & longevity, support, etc,.
    or if one is better than the other, or if there are others worth considering.

    So does anyone have experience with either of these cards ?
     
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    porky996t

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    Probably a bit late, but I would go with the TBS. I've had two of their quad cards in my setup and they have been rock solid.

    I would have no hesitation in buying TBS again, should I need to.
     

    groovybaby

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    Probably a bit late, but I would go with the TBS. I've had two of their quad cards in my setup and they have been rock solid.

    I would have no hesitation in buying TBS again, should I need to.
    No: It's not to late, many thanks for your input.
    I'm still planning this, so it's greatly appreciated.

    I'm currently trying to decide on what PC spec I should have.

    BTW: There doesn't seem to be much activity on this forum.
     

    porky996t

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    Yes, I must admit that I haven't been as active as I once was. I've been an MP user and donator for nearly ten years now and use it everyday for TV etc. I think what tends to happen is that as people get used to MP 'just' working they don't come onto the forum - I know that is certainly the case with me, and also work tends to get in the way of things too. Many people probably come and go, they get caught up in the 'newness' of setting MP up and then move onto other stuff, say Sky Q, or Kodi boxes or whatever.

    I get the occasional MP hiccup and have to re-learn how I've done things but it is the daily driver in our house.
     

    CyberSimian

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    I would go with the TBS. I've had two of their quad cards in my setup and they have been rock solid. I would have no hesitation in buying TBS again, should I need to.
    I also have two TBS quad-tuner cards in my HTPC (two of the TBS 6284), but I have had problems with them. Specifically, three of the tuners on one of the cards no longer work. They have progressively malfunctioned, over the last two years. What is really suspicious is the identities of the tuners that have malfunctioned.

    In a multi-tuner setup, TV Server has a particular algorithm for deciding which tuner to select when TV Server needs to tune a channel (either for recording or for live TV). My understanding is that TV Server selects:

    (1) The tuner that is already receiving the MUX containing the channel to be tuned. If that MUX is not already being received, then:

    (2) The highest-priority tuner that is idle and which is capable of receiving the channel to be tuned.

    The significance of (2) is that the highest-priority tuner is selected first (assuming all tuners can receive all channels), and so experiences significantly more use than any of the other tuners. Why does this matter? Well, in my case each time a tuner permanently malfunctioned, it was always the one at the top of the list, i.e. the highest-priority tuner. To quote from (I think) "Goldfinger":

    Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.

    It is not obvious why my setup should be susceptible to the most-used tuner wearing-out prematurely. One possibility would be overheating. But when I installed the cards, I carefully removed the TBS labels from the Samsung tuner boxes in order to uncover the ventilation holes in the tuner boxes (which were otherwise blocked by the labels).

    In addition, my HTPC case is built to the unloved BTX standard that made a brief appearance in the mid noughties. In an ATX tower case, the position of the motherboard means that the components on a card are on the underside of the card, where hot air is trapped. In a BTX case, the motherboard is rotated 180 degrees so that the components on a card are on the upper side of the card, where they can more easily be cooled by convection. And my HTPC case has a case fan for the cards, in addition to the CPU fan and power-supply fan. So I am not convinced that overheating is the explanation.

    I suspect that my experience of TBS is not typical, which is why I did not post originally. Also, the TBS 6284 is two generations behind; it was superseded by the TBS 6285, which was in turn superseded by the TBS 6205.

    -- from CyberSimian in the UK
     
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