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BYOPVR in Hartford Courant: Build Your Own PC-Based TV Recorder

Posted on 21 July 2005 by

We made the Hartford Courant today!

Check it out: Build Your Own PC-Based TV Recorder

It’s more a “local boy makes geek” angle than a howto, but it’s an interesting read none the less (of course *I* think so because it’s about me!)

With the availability of digital video recorders such as Tivo for as little as $100, you might wonder why anyone would bother building such a device from scratch. Pettersen said there are several motivations.

One is flexibility; consumers who make their own recorders can build to suit themselves. Some might favor extra-large hard drives for spacious storage. Others might lean toward wireless connectivity or some other feature. Still others want to store photos, music and other data. Whatever the goal, the PC can be molded to achieve it.

“It’s a little bit like hot-rodding a car,” Pettersen said. “Anything you could think of adding in there, you can.”

UPDATE: If you’re visiting the site for the first time via the article:

First, Welcome! Second, here are a few links to get you started:

How To: Build a really, really, really silent PC

Posted on 26 March 2005 by

Oh sure, I let my MaximumPC magazine subscription lapse and they put out this gem: How To: Build a really, really, really silent PC “Is this thing on? We assembled a Pentium M-based rig with a fanless power supply, and ended up with the quietest air-cooled PC we’ve ever heard.”

It’s not a cheap proposition though using a nearly 500 dollar pentium M CPU

Ingredients:
Intel 2GHz Pentium M 755 ($440, www.newegg.com)
AOpen i855GMEm-LFS motherboard ($275, www.newegg.com)
Zalman VF700-AlCu VGA cooler ($40, www.zalmnusa.com)
Antec TriCool fan ($20, www.antec.com)
Antec 350 watt Phantom ($175, www.antec.com)
1GB of Corsair Micro DDR400 ($200, www.corsairmicro.com)
Pioneer DVR-A08XLA ($150, www.pioneerelectronics.com)
Smart Drive 2002 hard drive enclosure ($55, www.endpcnoise.com)
Antec SLK3700-BQE ($100, www.antec.com)
Floppy drive ($10, www.newegg.com)
Windows XP Professional ($200, www.microsoft.com)
Arctic Silver 5 ($8, www.arcticsilver.com)
Akasa Paxmate ($20, www.akasa.com.tw)

UPDATE kdhamann rightly points out that SilentPC Review is another really good resource for info, and well… reviews of quiet PC and noise dampening components.

Plextor ConvertX PVRs Now Support Linux

Posted on 08 March 2005 by

Plextor just released an open source (GPL) Linux SDK for their very cool ConvertX PVR USB tuner/encoder product

This is great news for Linux PVR users who want to use an external device (linux support for the other major external tuner/encoder the Hauppauge wintvPVR USB2 was a little sketchy) or want hardware based MPEG-4 encoding in their MythTV or Freevo homebrew PVR. The ConvertX supports Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux!

The full press release is available here

Slashdot on Plextor PVRs Now Support Linux

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Media Portal 0.1.09 Released

Posted on 01 March 2005 by

Media Portal, the very cool open source windows media portal/PVR solution, has released version 0.1.09

My TV : Many fixes for multi-tuner and single tuner setups
My TV : added radio support for DVB-s/C/T and analog capture cards
My News : increased maximum number of feeds to 100
General : MP now keeps a backup of the log file and mediaportal.xml file
General : added key lookup in list views
General : now respond to y/n keys
My TV : speeded up my tv/recorded tv which was very slow
My TV : free-diskspace management for recordings
My TV : faster tvosd/zaposd
My TV : added list view to recorded tv
My TV : added default channel group ‘all channels’
My TV : fixed crash using MSN and fullscreen tv
Setup : map radio channels to specific cards
Setup : fixed EPG grabber for DVB-S/C/T
Setup : fixed wizards
Setup : added options for free-diskspace management
Setup : edit shoutcast channel searching when you add a new radio channel
Setup : integrated SS2 setup with the rest of the tv settings
My Pictures:better picture zooming

news via HTPCnews

FCC Broadcast Flag Court Battle

Posted on 23 February 2005 by

Oral arguments in the case against the FCC Broadcast Flag were heard earlier this week, and in surprisingly rapid fashion a ruling has been handed down.

The US broadcast regulator has been told by appeal judges it has “crossed the line” with an anti-piracy tag which stops programmes being copied.

cnet coverage: Court questions FCC’s broadcast flag rules and slashdot commentary for good measure.

Note: this finding, while vindicating… doesn’t actually overturn the FCC mandate, as I understand it, but i’m not a lawyer… It just finds that the FCC over stepped it’s mandate, and it seems that the FCC’s stance is if they don’t currently have the mandate, they’ll easily get it from congress. =(

Still a lot to shake out, but it is an encouraging sign. I definitely recommend checking out and if you are so inclined donating to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and scoping out their Digital Television Liberation Front Anti-Broadcast Flag page and their DIY HDTV PVR cookbook

Although I side with the slippery slope folks and think the broadcast flag tramples on fair use rights, engadget attempts to Demystifying the Broadcast Flag with a much less reactionary look at the broadcast flag.

TVHarmony post with some more coverage of the broadcast flag case

$499 Mac Mini as an HTPC or MS MCE killer?

Posted on 15 January 2005 by

“Apple introduced their new low cost $499 Macintosh server (at Mac World). If you visit PVRBlog, you’ll see it’s generated some buzz for being an interesting way to build an HTPC (Home Theater PC). It’s got a 1.25Ghz (or 1.5Ghz) G4, easily powerful enough to crunch video streams, as well as a 9200 Radeon graphics card with DVI,VGA, SVideo, and Composite out. It’s only weakness is the small hard drive (80Gigs) that comes standard. The small form factor definitely gives it a little extra in the cool factor category.”

copsted from TVHarmony’s mac mini htpc entry

Preliminary Linux IVTV Driver Support for PVR150 & PVR500!

Posted on 03 January 2005 by

Whoot! Although it is a preliminary release, there’s encouraging news that the linux folks will be able to use the cheaper Hauppauge WinTV PVR150 with mythTV/Linux!! Good job Ulf, Chris Kennedy, and anyone else that pitched in on coding, documenting, experimenting, testing, etc this frequently asked for linux tuner/encoder driver in the IVTV project

Here’s a copy of Ulf’s message on the IVTV-Dev mailing list

“Here is a patch for ivtv-0.3.2a, that enables audio and PAL tuner support.

It is not finished in any sense, but since there is a lot of activity about the 150 cards on the mailing list a though that I should share it in its current state.

If you use this driver. I urge you to donate $10 or more to the Asian earthquake and tsunamis victims through the Red Cross organization.

Please see the doc/README.cx25840 file for usage information.

The patch can be downloaded from:

http://eklund.to/cx25840-wm8775-2005-01-03_23.56.03-patch-for-ivtv-0.3.2a.gz

TivoToGo Launches Today

Posted on 03 January 2005 by

TivoToGo Launch today ( Yahoo news PR clipping | SF Chronicle | wired news coverage )

“The long-awaited service feature called TiVoToGo, set to launch Monday, will give users their first taste of TiVo untethered.

No longer confined to TiVo digital video recorders in the living room or bedroom, subscribers will be able to transfer their recorded shows to PCs or laptops and take them on the road – as long as the shows are not specially tagged with copy restrictions. That’s also the case for pay-per-view or on-demand movies, and some premium paid programming.”

(emPHAsis mine) SlashDot also picked up on the discussion I quickly downloaded the TivoToGo desktop sofware, BUT it can’t “see” my TiVo because I haven’t been upgraded to version 7.x of the TiVo software =( So that was a pretty useless, paper launch IMHO…

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BBC pilots TV on Demand over Internet

Posted on 03 May 2004 by

BBC introduces flexible TV with online trial via Slashdot

exerpt:

“Later this month, the BBC will launch a pilot project that could lead to all television programmes being made available on the internet. Viewers will be able to scan an online guide and download any show. Programmes would be viewed on a computer screen or could be burned to a DVD and watched on a television set. Alternatively, programmes could be downloaded to a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)…”