Archive | June, 2005

BYOPVR in Computer Shopper: Media Center DIY Edition

Posted on 22 June 2005 by

CNET/Computer Shopper has a pretty cool Windows MCE 2005 how-to article entitled Media Center: DIY Edition — You don’t have to settle for a preconfigured PC to enjoy the benefits of the latest Media Center Edition OS. Here’s how to custom-build your own rig.

When Microsoft released its Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) operating system, it made it clear the only way to get the OS was with a new PC. Through a loophole in its agreement, however, sellers who are considered PC builders, such as, can offer the latest version of the OS to end users as long as they buy it with a piece of hardware—even if it’s just a $10 cable.

This is great news for do-it-yourselfers who desire MCE’s pleasing interface and control over all their digital media in a PC built to their exact specifications. If you’re one of them, this project’s for you. Component by component, we tell you exactly what you need to build an MCE PC.

The Computer Shopper article gets extra “street cred” for including a link back to BYOPVR, and even listed BYOPVR in the July 2005 print edition of the article as an online resource. I believe that’s our first major print magazine site mention. I love it when the site gets recognized in other articles (online or print)!

PCAlchemy also gets some ink in the Sample Media Center Configuration, which should be handy guide for those of you with “what case and motherboard should I get” type questions.

Welcome: New BYOPVR News Editor — JohnL

Posted on 21 June 2005 by

I wanted to thank and welcome JohnL (The artist formerly known as Johnboy12358) to the BYOPVR team!

He’s going to be handling news submissions and keeping the byopvr front page up to date with the latest news, links to (other sites) product reviews, and other homebrew PVR related tidbits.

I appreciate the help in the news department and hope JohnL gets as much out of the experience as he puts into it :thumbup:


Broadcast Flag is back… Unfortunately

Posted on 21 June 2005 by

Saw a blurb over on Engadget… Sounds like the MPAA is taking a page from the Real ID Act’s book (CNet Article, ZDNet, unRealID) and get its Broadcast Flag Bill passed through on an appropriations bill. Click over to the EFF Home page to read more about the Broadcast Flag. (Also read their news blurb) Join the fight to stop it. I already filled mine out to let my reps know how I feel. It could definately destroy (if enforced) our little hobby of building custom home made PVRs.

For those of you that don’t know, the broadcast flag will be tacked on to any and ALL digital TV transmissions and ALL hardware will be required by FCC mandate to recieve and obay the flag. It will copy protect, and prohibit time shifting TV, among many, many other things.

Slashdot coverage

UPDATE Looks like they had 2nd thoughts and did NOT add the amendment to sneak in the Broadcast flag (yet?)

THOMAS, one of the best sources for Congressional action on the Internet has shown that no amendments occured to the CJS Appropriations Bill. Monday, Slashdot covered the EFF announcing a rumor that a senator was attempting to sneak an amendment to bring the Broadcast Flag into law.

From THOMAS (scroll down to the bottom): “6/21/2005: Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. Approved for full committee consideration without amendment favorably.” Translation: No one attempted to sneak the Broadcast flag into law.”

Visiontek Xtasy ATI Theater PRO 550 Review

Posted on 19 June 2005 by

HTPCNews has got a review of the new Xtasy Theater 550 PVR card. The new Visontek Xtasy PVR card comes in classical PCI and new age PCI-Express x1 flavors, whichever suits your taste best. From the review:

“The software bundle is the one area that really puts this card above the rest of the competition. Instead of going with a inexpensive program such as Cyberlink PowerCinemaTV that the community doesn’t find as a worthy application, VisionTek went the extra mile and included BeyondTV Subscriber edition and a 30 day trial to”

I read through the review and it is compared to the Hauppauge PVR500, and both have their pros and cons. It looks like the PVR500 doesnt keep up with the Visontek with true blacks and whites, but the Visontek cant keep up with the 500 in image sharpness. Go over to HTPCNews and take a gander yourself and see what you think of it.

JohnL Comment — This review is particularly nice because there is included pictures of the streaming video to compare the two. You can actually see the difference in the two cards with the included screenshots.

Meedio introduces Essentials package with new lower price

Posted on 19 June 2005 by

Looks like there is a new contender in the retail channel. Meedio is lowing the price of their Meedio Essentials Media Center Application to $49.95. You’ll be able to get Meedio from, J & R Music World, and a few additional outlets.

From the press release:
“Meedio Essentials turns an existing PC into a powerful media center by letting users organize and access their digital media with a television and remote control. Meedio Essentials is completely customizable, with access to more than 200 add-ins from the Meedio Add-In Directory and through Meedio’s attractive television interface.”

I looked at some of the screen shots and it looks pretty slick. May be worth looking at for those of you that are planning on trying to build a PVR based on WindowXP or Windows2000.

read more for the rest of the release

Continue Reading

Systm: HOWTO Build a MythTV DVR (hd-3000 & knoppmyth)

Posted on 18 June 2005 by

Systm, for the uninitiated is a new online distributed only techie/geek “tv” show. They are producing medium (ok I kid, fairly high) quality video “howto” segments on technology and distributing it online in different formats using bittorrent (legitimate and innovative use of p2p, alert the media!). You might recognize Kevin Rose and Dan “foo” Huard from the now defunct & defiled TechTV show “The Screen Savers”

The second Systm episode features HOWTO make a MythTV box using the venerable KnoppMyth, a HD-3000 Linux HDTV card, an AVermedia tuner card that is supported by the Video4Linux driver project, and a reasonably beefy AMD Athlon 3200+/ 1gig machine.

In any case the MythTV show is available on their site as a .torrent in multiple formats/sizes and I recommend checking it out (and their future broad… er… pod… er… torrentcasts)

Feel free to comment on the episode in the byopvr forum systm knoppmyth thread

SnapStream Stuff: HOWTO Watch BeyondTV Shows on Sony PSP

Posted on 18 June 2005 by

Just saw an interesting HOWTO post over at the SnapStream Blog: How to watch Beyond TV recordings on a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

In a semi-related post from my new favorite magazine MAKE HOW-TO: Run homebrew apps on your PSP! which previously ran a cool article on Free TiVo: Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC using BeyondTV (just to bring things full circle on this post)

PVRs cutting into P&G advertising?

Posted on 15 June 2005 by

Saw this tidbit over on PVR Wire… Looks like Proctor and Gamble is going to decrease how much its spending on TV advertising, and PVRs are partially to blame. Now I don’t know why that is, because I know that on my PVR I never fast forward through commercials.

Although the article does state that there are other reasons for the cutback, such as computer/console games taking more time away from TV viewing .

Another article on PVR Wire indicates that CBS is a network that is turning to product placement versus commercials because of the FastForward act committed by so many of us (but like I said, not me…..)

PVR / HTPC Software Roundup

Posted on 07 June 2005 by

Eric Solheim gives us his round up of different Windows PVR / HTPC software packages for his HTPC setup. His favorite: Microsoft MCE.

via TVHarmony

CableCARD: Not in MCE2005 & Not in Shuttle Pentium M XPC

Posted on 05 June 2005 by

Some sad / bad news on the PC CableCARD implementation front, long considered the panacea to cable HDTV on the PC, as it seems further and further from a reality.

Anandtech reporting that the Shuttle XPC CableCARD reader won’t be supported by the end of 2005.

“We mentioned in our first coverage of Shuttle’s Pentium M solution at CES that the solution was going to launch with support for a CableCard reader. The CableCard reference design is complete and is ready to go into the next version of Media Center Edition, however it seems that concerns over DRM are preventing it from coming to market. Despite the product being done, it doesn’t look like this XPC will be able to launch with CableCard support by the end of this year.”

Chris Lanier’s interesting post as to Why HDTV Support in MCE Won’t Change Until Longhorn Arrives

“A hot topic after the release of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 was when Microsoft would improve HDTV support (Technically it’s still a hot topic). MCE 2005 brought us OTA HD, but that’s not enough for some people. We want full Cable/Satellite HDTV support inside of Media Center. We know that Media Center will support CableCARD’s at some point, you can hear that directly from Bill Gates in The Engadget Interview with Gates. In fact, Gates sounded kind of dumbfounded when asked about CableCARD and Media Center. CableCARD’s are seen as the way to bring premium content into our PC’s.

Here is the problem that everyone is not thinking of. Part of the reason Media Center doesn’t support anything more than OTA is mainly because of the rights management issues. “