Completed My x15e HTPC Project (1 Viewer)

winsys11

Portal Member
September 26, 2005
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Melbourne
Hi everybody, what a great piece of software MP is. Congrats to all involved.

I got interested in htpc when I wrote some ShowShifter plugins for a customer, but SS had too many limitations for me.

Likewise, MCE not supporting analog and Digital together was a bummer,a s I wanted to watch Foxtel (analog) as well as HDTV.

My searches bought me to here, and I'm glad I did !

I read just about everthing on this forum, and jumped in with both feet !

My setup:

Case: x15e
MB: Gigabyte 8I915 pro duo
CPU: socket 775 3.2Ghz Intel
RAM: 1Gig DDR
Video: Gigabte X600
TV cards: 2 x Compro DVB-T300 digital, 1 x PVR-150MCE analog
Sound:5.1 on MB
HDD: Western Digital 40Gb ATA + WD 250G SATA
DVD: Lite-on DVD-R
PSU: Zalman quiet 400W
Remote: MCE 2005 remote, and MS remote keyboard
MP: 0.2.0.0C1


I have a couple of 3.4Ghz P4's as work machines, so I knew the stock intel coolers were rubbish. This baby has a Zalman 7700 cu on the CPU, Zalman on the Video, and a low noise Zalman case fan running off the 5v

It runs at between 35 to 50 C, depending on load.

You can hear the fans from about 1 meter away, but an normal viewing distance not.

In any case, (pardon the pun) noise isn't an issue, as the HTPC mostly sits at S3, completely quiet. I awakens to d/l the guide (XMLTVGrabber), and to record when needed. I switch on and off with the remote.

The IR blaster controls my Foxtel STB beautifully (thanks Frodo!)

The only down side is my tv has separate remote buttons for power on and off, which means I can't switch it with the MCE remote (only one button for tv power). I solved that by making the tv go to standby when no DVI input. Obviously the TV powers up for getting the guide and recording, but i'll live with that at the moment.

I now use the PC power button on the remote to control my stereo system power.

I bought the Compros, as they are hybrid cards, and I thought I'd get Dig and analog, but alas, the analog recording (sw encoding) was totally useless, so now I only use the digital part. I added the PVR-150 as it has hardware analog encoder, and works great. Doesn't matter, as the Compros were $129, and a Fusion (digital only) was $169, so great value anyway.

All in all, I'm very happy with the system, and it has a high WAF !

I've been able to record 2 digital channels and foxtel simultaneously with no problems. ( next test is to do that whilst watching a DVD, and also playing a pre-recorded show on another PC via the LAN!). Nuthin' like stress testing.....

if someone can tell me how to embed a pic (I don't have a web page) I'll put some piccy's up.

thanks for reading,

Mark
 

Taipan

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    Nice setup Mark... :D

    I am interested in this comment....

    winsys11 said:
    I've been able to record 2 digital channels and foxtel simultaneously with no problems.

    I would like to add a second card to my setup to enable me to record a DVB-T channel while I am watching another DVB-T channel, and to listen to FM Radio (thus it would be a Digital/Analog, or hybrid card). But, I have seen a lot of posts where people have had problems with using 2 DVB-T cards with MediaPortal.

    Can you listen to FM radio through MediaPortal on your Compro card?

    Your setup doesn't list a Fusion card, but you mention it in your description. Which DVB-T cards do you use to watch/record two shows at the same time?

    Do you have any advice/hints on getting 2 DVB-T cards to work happily together?
     

    winsys11

    Portal Member
    September 26, 2005
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    Melbourne
    thanks Taipan.

    I'll elaborate on my cards (a bit of history)

    I originally bought one compro DVB-T300, with a view to "playing" with MP
    I set it up in a 1Ghz P3 as a test box

    after installing the drivers, it worked with MP straight away, no prob at all.

    The digital side was great (view & record), but the analog side was crap for recording (viewing was great).

    I thought "ok, gruntier box needed", so I got the 3.2 Ghz P4

    Made no difference at all.
    after reading more on the forums, I concluded that the analog side was s/w encoding only, and would not ever work satisfactorily.

    Next step was another Compro so I could watch one HDTV whilst recording another. Added the card, MP recognised it, no problems at all ( I only bothered to use the DVB part, as I knew the analog part was useless)

    I then added the third card (money pit?) specifically to be able connect my Foxtel. I selected the PVR-150 as it's a well mentioned card, the price was good, and it did hardware encoding.

    I added the PVR, MP recognised it, again no problems at all

    So, my system is now like this...

    antenna into Foxtel STB, then out to a splitter, one feed out to each Compro. Another output from the splitter feeds the rest of my house (I go thru the Foxtel STB first so I can still watch foxtel on other tellys)

    MP is configured as 4 (logical) cards

    card1 is compro1 DVB-T record/watch tv
    card2 is compro2 DBV-T record/watch tv
    card3 is PVR-150MCE record/watch tv
    card4 is generic s/w card (analog part of one of the compros) NOT record/watch tv

    because card 4 is configured not to record, all analog recording is done via the PVR-150

    all this means:

    I can record HDTV on card 1
    I can record HDTV on card 2
    I can record analog on PVR-150
    I can watch analog FTA on Card4 ( if I want)

    I may delete card 4,as I can't imagine wanting to watch telly whilst recording from two other channels !

    OK, all of this should work the same with two Fusions instead,as I don't really need/use the analog part of the compros.

    I only mentioned the Fusions as the price at the time was AUD169, and the Compros were only AUD129. So even though I don't use the analog part of the Compros, they still seemed to be better value for $$ than the Fusion.

    BTW, my Dad has a Fusion and has no problems with it. My choice was purely financial.

    Although I'm using the 0.2.0.0 version I haven't really had any instability problems. Certainly not any I would attribute to having multiple tuner cards.

    The biggest difficulty was getting the "sleep" stuff to work properly, ie sleep/wake via remote,wake to record, get guide. It ended up being just a matter of BIOS settings and plugging the remote's USB into the +VSB powered port.

    I hope this helps mate.
     

    winsys11

    Portal Member
    September 26, 2005
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    Melbourne
    I forgot to mention radio (pity i can't read previous posts whilst typing this :)

    The other reason I chose the PVR-150 is for the radio functions. The Compros don't do FM radio

    Radio setup just worked "out of the box"

    Mark
     

    winsys11

    Portal Member
    September 26, 2005
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    Melbourne
    More comments.....

    I only feed composite video+audio from Foxtel STB into the PVR.

    If i connected the antenna (from splitter) to it, then I would also be able to record analog FTA, but really whats the point?

    What the hell, I might add 'x' number of cards and record EVERYTHING from EVERY channel on a 10 Terabyte HD cluster. :)

    I'm sure MP would handle it with ease.......
     

    Taipan

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    Thanks Mark, that is very helpful.

    So, all I need to find now is a single card that has both DVB-T and FM radio, that is supported by MediaPortal. I notice that Dvico have announced a hybrid card - maybe that is the one to go for?

    I don't know if this is true or even relevant, but it seems that FM radio works best on a hardware encoding card (like the PVR150) - but I don't think there exists a card that is both DVB-T and analogue, with hardware encoding for the analogue side?
     

    winsys11

    Portal Member
    September 26, 2005
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    0
    Melbourne
    I saw the Dvico card, but had some concerns..

    Doesn't look like it has FM.
    Blurb on web indicates h/w analog decoding, but doesn't actually say as much.
    Says its compatable with MCE. Given that it's a well known limitation of MCE to not be able mix dig and analog tuners, this may be a bit of marketing bullsh!t

    If you just want radio, you could try one of the cheap BT878 based analog cards, like the old "flyvideo" or winTV(?) cards, TECS has them for AUD 75

    maybe have a look at the Twinhan
    http://www.twinhan.com/product_D+A_1.asp

    It says digital with FM. I havn't any experience with this card, so it's a guess only

    I haven't been able to find a hybrid card with h/w analog.

    I also don;t know about mixing different digital cards in MP, although it "should" work, as I mix two different kinds of cards....

    Now, if only I could figure out how to post a JPG....
     

    hwahrmann

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  • September 15, 2004
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    Mark,

    also thinking of getting the X15e.

    How's the TFT working?
    Also what was the approx. cost of your setup above? Still need to convince the better half of me. :D

    thx,

    Helmut
     

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