Questions about DVR quality and whether I should build one (1 Viewer)




I was wondering if those of you who have made your own DVR or have seen someone's homemade DVR could answer a few questions for me. I am thinking of building one for fun, but I'm not sure if it is worth it.

Here are my questions:

1. When connected to a TV via the TV out on the computer, does the TV
picture look as good as it does when the TV is using its own tuner?

2. Have you seen one that uses the ATI Theater 550 Pro chip? Heard anything about it? I am looking at the "Sapphire 100104SR PCI Interface Theatrix Theatre 550Pro TV Tuner", do you think this will work well?

And Finally:

3. Did you think it was worth the investment? Do you use it regularly? Are the recorded programs good quality?

Thanks for any input. I am trying to justify spending the money because I
have always wanted to build a DVR, I'd just like to hear anyone else's
experience and whether or not it was a good one.



Here is what I have been looking at (I'm trying to get a pretty good system to use as a DVR at the lowest cost). Any suggestions?:

AOpen EZ18 BLACK Socket A(462) AMD Athlon XP/ Athlon/ Sempron/ Duron nVIDIA
nForce2 IGP Barebone - Retail
Model #: EZ18 BLACK

TV Card:
Sapphire 100104SR PCI Interface Theatrix Theatre 550Pro TV Tuner Card -
Model #: 100104SR

AMD Athlon XP 3000+ Barton 333MHz FSB Socket A Processor Model AXDA3000BOX -
Model #: AXDA3000BOX

pqi POWER Series 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 333 (PC 2700) Unbuffered System
Memory Model MD3412UOE - Retail
Model #: MD3412UOE

Wireless Keyboard/Mouse:
BELKIN F8E815-BNDL Black PS/2 Wireless Standard Keyboard Mouse Included -
Model #: F8E815-BNDL

USB Wireless adapter:
GIGAFAST WF741-UIC USB 1.1 Wireless Adapter - Retail
Model #: WF741-UIC

Hard Drive:
160GB Seagate


Portal Pro
January 31, 2005
Hill AFB, UT
Home Country
United States of America United States of America
1. Yes, my picture quality is the same and at times better. (proof tests for the wife. " See.. the quality is just as good")


3. My HTPC was left overs from upgrades, so there fore not really costly. However, I am looking at starting from scratch. For starters

I record shows, pause TV (hey kids, shut up and stop fighting!!) and the wife does it all to. She has even asked when I am buying more harddrive space to record shows. I am not sure what I did before I built mine. Couldn't go back.

OBTW Thank you Media Portal Devs!


MP Donator
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  • March 24, 2005
    Home Country
    United States of America United States of America
    Is it worth building you asked, my answer is a big capital YES. A good HTPC will change your TV experience forever.

    1). The quality of the TV picture is depending on the quality of your video card. My HTPC gives me a good quality picture, which has passed the wife and kids test.

    2). Not familiar with this card. What ever you do, make sure it is a hardware MPEG 2 encoder card, not software (the cheaper cards are using software encoders). If you are going tu use Media Portal then look for a card that is supported by Media Portal. []

    3). I think it was well worth the investment, see below.

    Currently I’m running a PC with 3 analog tuners (digital reception is very poor in the area where I live), connected to a 55" rear projection TV and to a 42" plasma (using a D-Link DSM-320). Every evening we record all the TV programs we want to see and the watch them the next day skipping all the commercials. On an average evening MP is recording two programs while we watch recorded TV using MP and the kids are watching their recorded TV using the D-Link DSM-320 in the other room, all at the same time. All of this only loads my PC by about 25 to 30%.

    Time shifting, recording on harddrive, being able to edit recorded programs, making your ownd DVD's with the recorded programs, EPG recording, and heaps more.

    Finding/making a PC that passes the noise test. PC's can be a bit noisy, and it can be a bit tricky to get the noise down and still keeping the PC/processor cool.


    Retired Team Member
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  • December 26, 2004
    Home Country
    Austria Austria
    guytpetj said:
    Finding/making a PC that passes the noise test. PC's can be a bit noisy, and it can be a bit tricky to get the noise down and still keeping the PC/processor cool.

    i solved this problem! -> the PC is in another room!


    Depends on connection to television. If you previously connected say a set-top box to your tele via component cables and you use s-video forom PC to TV then there will be a quality dropoff. Personally I have a ATI card hacked (software) to output component to my HDTV so I get progreesive scan quality at 480, 576 and 720 as well as 1080i. Can be a little tricky to do though

    Well worth the investment though really recommend it

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