Ongoing NIVO (1 Viewer)


Portal Pro
February 18, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT
Home Country
United States of America United States of America
NIVO = Noel Tivo
(my name is Noel, said like Joel but with an N)

I've got it already set up in the living room right now, and I'm building it in installments (read: buying parts in installments). Here's my setup:

AMD Athlon XP 1600+
1x180GB Western Digital HDD, IDE connection (this is the system/rom storage drive)
2x300GB Seagate HDD, SATA connection (set up as a RAID so it's one big drive. This is the media drive.)
GeForce MX 4000 (cheap n cheerful, has s-video out)
Audio is the on-board sound card
Windows XP, SP2
256MB DDR ram, 266Mhz
Antec Overture II case (
D-Link wireless ethernet card
SATA raid pci card by silicon image

Here it is being worked on:

The Antec case came with a silent power supply as well as several silent case fans already installed. I still need to purchase a silent processor fan though to make it actually "silent". When my main computer died a few weeks ago, I figured it was time for not only an upgrade but to start my PVR project. So this PVR, aka NIVO, has been built using some old parts and some brand new parts. As you can see I'm still missing some parts. As soon as it is in stock, I plan on purchasing the Hauppauge MCE-500 (dual tuner w/ fm). Additional parts I will need to buy include a remote control, a wireless internet range extender (damn concrete walls!), and gaming accessories, which I'll talk about next.

Yes, there are cheaper alternatives to building one's own PVR, and yes, they are easier. I've been recording and encoding TV programs for quite some time now using a software encoding card (WDM). It's cumbersome to do, and not very fun to have to watch your tv programs in the office at the computer. A friend of mine at work set up his own PVR on linux using the MythTV front-end software. I don't really know how to work with linux very well, and after a few tests just to see if I could replicate his setup, I gave up on that idea and went looking at alternatives. At first I was going to go with Meedio as my PVR software, but then I saw how it was outdated and not updated very often. My second choice was GBPVR, and the reason for that was that it has functionality in it for the automation of transcoding your recorded videos into XVID. It's really not that great of a program though, so I ditched that and went with MediaPortal. So far, so good, and it looks like everyone here is adding in plugins and functionality actively. I look forward to seeing what comes of this project. So anyways, back to my point about the games. My goal is to build not only a PVR, and not only a media center, but also a gaming center. I plan to put a number of popular emulators on this machine (NES, Genesis, N64, PSX) and just load it up with roms. The second step as far as that goes is to get controllers for it. I found this site which has products that really appeal to me: . I've used standard gaming pads with emulators, but they just don't replicate the feel of the original controllers. So this site offers a good alternative as far as that goes by offering modded controllers that connect via USB. Perrfect.

Now on to my question: What remote should I get?
I see that MediaPortal supports the Hauppauge ones as well as the Microsoft Media Center one. Previous to learning about MediaPortal, I looked into getting the Firefly, by SnapStream. The reviews on it in NewEgg weren't so hot, but the remote itself seemed to be able to do lots of things with the touch of a button, including acting as a mouse. The added bonus of it being RF instead of IR means it can work through walls basically, and that appeals to me personally. If you guys have had good/bad experiences with any of these remotes, please let me know so i can decide on what to get. Thanks.

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