Live tv hardware for beginners?

Discussion in 'MediaPortal 1 Talk' started by enchant, July 18, 2018.

  1. enchant

    enchant Portal Pro

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    I'm finally upgrading my HTPC and installing the latest version of MP1. I was thinking that maybe I should think about watching live TV as well. We recently did a partial cord cuting and we only receive broadcast channels through the cable. These get decoded via our TV, but there are a few annoyances.

    So I was wondering how much hardware I need to add to my new PC to view (and only view) live tv. I won't be doing any recording. I'd like it to handle 1080p, but not 4k. I just don't want to pay a ton of money for hardware that isn't necessary just to view.


     
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  3. tony72
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    tony72 MP Donator

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    I guess you'd just need a cablecard tuner, other than that, any relatively modern PC should be able to handle 1080p TV playback. I can see a Ceton InfiniTV card and a Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 external tuner, both around the $100 mark on Amazon, but hopefully someone familiar with cablecard setups will comment, I don't know much about them.
     
  4. enchant

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    Thanks for the reply, Tony. So you figure that regardless, I'm probably going to be looking at the $100 for a reasonable card? That's not unthinkable at all. I just didn't want to buy way more than I need, like buying a $2000 gaming platform for my grandmother to browse the web.
     
  5. Alberto83
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    Unfortunately in Italy we don't use cable tv, so i can't really tell about the tuner but i bought a €80 dual DVB-T2 tuner and i'm more than happy with it. I guess there's not that difference with cable tuners.

    Regarding the setup any Intel integrated graphics card can support 1080p with hardware acceleration. I have a Pentium G4600 (Q3 2017) and it handles any H264 and H265 (hevc) content in 1080p without any problem. It's a little less performant with HEVC 10bit but we're talking about a 15% CPU usage in decoding instead of 5%, so nothing you really should worry.

    I'd try to go with at least a dual tuner setup though. I don't know how it works with cable, but for DVB-T it's a no brainer solution as it allows you to watch and record two channels at the same time. If you later want to use ethernet to "distribute" the tv signal to other clients, you might even go to a quad tuner card instead. It's undoubtedly more expensive, but it allows you to watch/record 4 channels at the same time with a single cable input, which for some is a real deal.
     
  6. enchant

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    Thanks for the info. I won't need that sort of setup, as I'm only going to be watching (and not recording) one channel at a time.

    Several months back, we switched from a full triple-play cable package (phone/400 channels tv/internet) to purely internet, but the cable company still delivers about 50 channels down the wire. We gave back the cable box and simply plug the wire into the tv and let its tuner decode them. However, we're only interested in about five of the 50 channels, and I'm assuming that I'll be able to configure Mediaportal to only display what I want in a nice package, rather than having to hit the up-channel button 30 times to get to channel 66-2.

    We primarily watch previously recorded TV ("Videos" on MediaPortal). Most of the rest of what we watch is streamed via Firestick. But from time to time we want to catch the weather on our local channels.
     
  7. tony72
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    For sure you can choose exactly which channels to show in your EPG, and set up any channel groups you like. Speaking of EPG, that's something else you should probably research; where I am I get EPG data broadcast along with the channels over DVB-S, but I think you'd have to use one of the other methods to get EPG data from an internet source, which is a bit more work to set up.
     
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