Archive | December, 2004

User Journal Round Up

Posted on 30 December 2004 by

There’s been a few interesting journal posts in the byopvr user journal section

Wayne is an older byopvr-er and could use some help planning his project

JLVD posted two lenghty but insightful looks at the ups and downs of building a PVR and his overcoming hurdles like internet-less XMLTV guide updates and a less than sexy computer case

ejk keeps throwing more hardware at his DIY PVR problems, Lowbrow has updated SageTV to control a Motorolla DCT2244 cable box via serial cable using the MultiDCTTuner Plugin, and finally Steve 525 is happy with his pvr350 after upgrading his PC from a lowly 466MHz

Windows Media Center Edition 2005 vs The World

Posted on 30 December 2004 by

The venerable SlashDot had a post the other day about Windows Media Center Edition vs. The World Surprisingly no mention of byopvr though =(

“sam_christ writes “An article in today’s Investor’s Business Daily (Google cache) and an article by TV industry pundit/predictions-huckster Philip Swann say the same thing: that Microsoft’s Media Center Edition will be a big flop in 2005. Meanwhile, from what I can tell much more powerful alternatives to Microsoft’s MCE bloatware are thriving: commercial products like Snapstream (see their 6-tuner Medusa PVR built for about $1200), Showshifter and open-source freeware like Mediaportal and MythTV. From what I’ve read about Microsoft MCE and all of its DRM and content restrictions, I have to agree with both of these articles.”

Some excellent comments if you sift through the chaffe of /. to find it regarding why the Windows Media Center Edition 2005 DRM and DRM in general is a bad idea (for consumers).

Cory Doctorow on the evils of DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Posted on 30 December 2004 by

Cory Doctorow post explaining why DRM is evil and counter productive in response to comments from Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson.

….Nope, they’re using it (DRM) to sell you the same crap for more money. Chris loves his Microsoft Media Center PC, “essentially a DVR on steroids” — at least, he loves it so far. That’s because he hasn’t been bitten on the ass by it yet, like this guy, who bought a Media Center PC so that he could catch the Sopranos and burn them to DVD. When he bought the PC, it was capable of doing that. Halfway through the season, the studios reached into his living room and broke his PC, disabling the feature that allowed him to burn his Sopranos episodes to DVD. And if you got suckered into letting your cable company give you a “free” PVR, you’ve got a nasty shock coming this season: your episodes of Six Feet Under will delete themselves from your hard drive after two weeks, whether you’ve gotten around to watching them or not.

If you want to watch all the Sopranos or Six Feet Unders in a row at the end of the season, you’ll have to do it on Pay Per View. You’ll have to buy what you used to get for free: the right to record a show and watch it for as long as you’d like. You get less, you pay more. And the studios can change the rules of the game after you’ve bought the box and brought it home: the only way you can protect your investment is if you can somehow ensure that no studio executive decides to revoke one of the features you paid for back when the box was on the show-room floor. Remember, these are the same studio execs who are duking it out for the right to limit how long a pause button can work for.

Forgive me if I keep beating the no-DRM, anti-broadcast flag drum because it’s an imporant backbeat to the logic and thinking behind the concept of building your own PVR.

CableCards for Digital Cable, just not for your PVR (yet?)

Posted on 30 December 2004 by

There’s a little something in this week’s Circuits section of the New York Times about CableCard ( NYtimes free reg required or bugmenot *wink*), a newish technology for cable TV that you’re going to be hearing a lot about soon.

Here’s the scoop: CableCard is literally a card that you pop into the back of your TV set so that you can get rid of your digital cable box and plug that coax directly into your digital TV (it’s sort of like how you can use analog cable on a cable-ready analog TV without a cable box). What’s the card for? It’s to make sure you aren’t stealing cable, so it stores all your account information and descrambling stuff. Besides meaning you have one less ugly component to deal with, getting rid of the cable box also usually means better picture quality and you don’t have pay rental fees for your box any more (though we have faith that the cable companies will eventually find a way to charge seven bucks a month for CableCard rentals).

Besides obviously needing a CableCard-ready TV set (most new digital HDTVs have to have CableCard slots), there are a few downsides, like you can’t access your cable company’s onscreen programming guide and you can’t order pay-per-view or video-on-demand programming (at least not using your remote), but the real deal killer for us is that you won’t be able to use it with a digital video recorder. That is definitely changing (we know Sony is planning a CableCard-ready HD digital video recorder and TiVo has told us they are working on one), but in the meantime we’ll live with the setup we have now.

CableCard Story clipped from

MythTV Backend on Mac OSX?

Posted on 27 December 2004 by

From mythtv on Mac OSX


“This guide is meant for those who would like to try out the latest MythTV code on Mac OS X, but are having trouble setting up the development environment. Many folks have had trouble figuring out which dependencies and versions are necessary, so this will help you get to a known working configuration. If you like to copy-and-paste commands, you’ll love this guide.”

I do not know whether this is just a frontend or not, but from first glance, it appears so.
Maybe this is what the Mac users have been waiting for.

Congrats to the Giveaway Winners!

Posted on 25 December 2004 by

Congratulations to tripperdan99 on winning the PCAlchemy sponsored SilverStone Lascala SST-LC11 HTPC Case Giveaway!

Maiku was randomly selected in the bonus round rampy sponsored pvr150 or media mvp giveaway. Thanks everybody for the suggestions. I can’t implement them all, or right away, but it’s good feedback on the types of stuff I can focus on for 2005 to better serve the community’s needs. Maiku check your pm’s to let me know whether you’d prefer the pvr150MCE or the MediaMVP =)

We’ve got some other cool giveaways coming up very soon so stay tuned! (and happy non-denominational holiday season, btw!!!) =P

BONUS Give-away! WinTV PVR150MCE or MediaMVP

BONUS Give-away! WinTV PVR150MCE or MediaMVP

Posted on 22 December 2004 by

First things first. Don’t forget about the PCAlchemy Sponsored give away of a SilverStone Lascala SST-LC11 HTPC Case which ended December 23rd at noon (EST)!!! If you haven’t entered DO SO NOW, as time is running out! Time’s up for the PCA giveaway winner will be drawn shortly!!!

BONUS GIVEAWAY: I’ve decided to spread some christmas cheer of my own by sponsoring my own giveaway to again, thank the loyal readers/posters/users of BYOPVR. (sorry due to shipping/customs hassles this giveaway is open to continental US registered users of byopv’ers ONLY…we’ll do an international giveaway at some point next year, hang in there DIY PVR folks across the pond!)

Simply reply to this post with at least one comment, article you’d like to see, or suggestion to make byopvr better and you’ll be entered in the random drawing for your choice of a WinTV PVR150MCE or a Hauppauge Media MVP.

This giveaway is running ONLY till December 24th noon Eastern time! So get crackin with your suggestion comments/entry below! The giveaway is now closed.

UPDATE Feel free to continue submitting suggestions, comments, etc, but only entries/comments before noon will be considered for the random drawing. Good luck — drawing to take place shortly — may the mysql random query god’s smile upon you this chrisbo!

TEAC America launches USB 2.0 TV Tuner/PVR

Posted on 21 December 2004 by

From engadget:

“TEAC announced the launch of its new USB 2.0 TV Tuner/PVR today, apparently the smallest device of its kind on the market (so small, it seems, that they couldn’t even take a picture of it). The tuner will let anyone still jonesing for a TiVo turn their PC into a full-fledged time shifting, video capturing, DVD burning machine. And it’s bus-powered so there’s no need for batteries or an AC adapter, although we wonder what kind of toll it takes on a notebook battery. The unit, which also comes with a remote, will be shown at CES and available to consumers on Janurary 1st. No word on pricing just yet.”

PCAlchemy Giveaway and stay tuned for a surprise!

PCAlchemy Giveaway and stay tuned for a surprise!

Posted on 20 December 2004 by

UPDATE: This Giveaway is now closed/over stay tuned for more giveaways!

Reminder: Don’t forget to enter our latest giveaway sponsored by PCAlchemy where the lucky winner will receive a SilverStone Lascala SST-LC11 HTPC Case

Go to the official PCAlchemy SilverStone Lascala LC11 giveaway post for more details and entry information.

So don’t forget to enter if you haven’t already, and then stay tuned to see if you are the lucky winner. Fear not if you aren’t the lucky winner, as there’s more goodies and surprises coming soon!

Keep an eye on the site over the next few days for a random surprise from rampy

Avermedia UltraTV 1500MCE Review

Posted on 17 December 2004 by

TV Harmony just posted a Review of the Avermedia UltraTV 1500MCE . The AverMedia UltraTV 1500MCE sports an MPEG-2 encoder, which is key (to be considered a viable DIY DVR option, IMHO).

“Competition is a great thing for consumers and good example of this is the battle being waged in the video capture card market. Both Hauppauge and AverMedia have released sub-$100 MPEG2 Encoder cards to the market this year, and at a $70 street price, the Hauppauge 150MCE and the AverMedia UltraTV 1500MCE both give the consumer a lot of bang for their buck. I had a chance to try the AverMedia UltraTV 1500MCE, and I found it to be a great value.”