Your Daily Phil

My attempts at an HTPC

Posted by lozenp on April 24, 2008

I have a dream of one day not having to use the cable company’s set-top box as a DVR. I love the potential freedom I would have with my content by using a Home Theater PC as my DVR, especially the portability of the content, and the freedom to access it from remote locations with tools like WebGuide.

There’s a lot to consider (cable card, QAM, etc.) but I decided the best way to start was to get a PC, hook it up to my 50-inch DLP and see what happens. So far, the answer is “not much”. Here’s the specs of my PC to get things going:

  • Dell Precision WorkStation 360 from 2004.
  • Windows XP Pro.
  • 2GB RAM.
  • 3.2GHZ with an Intel 875P chipset.
  • Nvidia 7600 AGP video card with 512MB memory.
  • Hauppauge WinDVR 1600 TV tuner card.
  • WinTV and Beyond TV for viewing.

I’m not even trying to get it set up as a DVD/Blu-Ray machine yet, I first want to prove I can get QAM and OTA HD, record it, and slowly ween myself from Comcast’s grasp. The problem is, I can’t get HD to play. It drops frames, it’s choppy. I tried watching recordings, same issue. I tried viewing a recording on a different, much fast and newer PC, same thing. So now I’m stuck, and I’m turning to you, my four faithful readers.

I’ve gotten some ideas from the AVS Forum, but at this point I’m trying to get help wherever possible. If you know a good resource for answers, leave a comment.

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2 Responses to “My attempts at an HTPC”

  1. Rich said

    Do you know if it’s a capturing problem or a playback problem? I did a quick search and saw a lot of people with your video card reporting problems with choppiness etc… If you don’t know, maybe burn your captured video to a DVD and see if it has the same choppiness. Are you experiencing the same problem with QAM and ATSC (OTA)? Not much help here, but I’m interested in what you find out.

  2. lozenp said

    I actually pulled a recorded clip and put it on a different PC, much more powerful, and the same issue was there, choppy video. I got a lead from someone on the AVS forum that I’m going to try. I’ll keep you posted.

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