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Questions about building a Home Theater PC


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#1
nofun

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It's about time to upgrade my current rig, and the more I read about HTPCs, the more appealing they sound.

I have a few questions for the community here, as I want to know exactly what these machines can and can not do. Before I get in over my head, I want to know exactly what I'll need, what functionality I can expect, and any suggestions for components & software.

So without further ado, here are my questions:
  • Is it legal to record TV shows so long as I'm only using them for home viewing? I have comcast cable at home, and they provide local channels in addition to the standard cable package. Is it possible to have my HTPC function similarly to a DVR, and do it legally?
  • Is it possible for an HTPC to have all the features of a DVR? What kind of software do I need to get this sort of functionality?
  • Is it possible to use the HTPC as a standard PC at the same time? For example, can I have one video card outputting to an HDTV, and another card outputting to a standard computer monitor SIMULTANEOUSLY? So (for example) someone could be watching TV and recording a show, while another person works on Excel on a different monitor.
  • If I have the proper GPU and sound card, is there any loss in picture or audio quality?
  • Do I have to buy a special type of DVD to store my movies onto a hard drive? (once again LEGALLY)
I'm sure there's much more to it than this, but I think those are the main concerns I had.

Thank you!

Edited by nofun, 03 May 2009 - 01:15 AM.

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#2
PedroDaGR8

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Unfortuantely, CableLabs has said only devices from certified makers will be allowed to records ALL cable channels. YOu will be able to record unencrypted ones, which are your local channels, but anything more will be off-limits.

It is a big bummer as I wanted to to do this. There are work around but the tend to be more complex (IR Blasters to automatically change channels etc.)
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#3
PedroDaGR8

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double post.

Edited by PedroDaGR8, 04 May 2009 - 09:32 PM.

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#4
nofun

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Unfortuantely, CableLabs has said only devices from certified makers will be allowed to records ALL cable channels. YOu will be able to record unencrypted ones, which are your local channels, but anything more will be off-limits.

It is a big bummer as I wanted to to do this. There are work around but the tend to be more complex (IR Blasters to automatically change channels etc.)



Thanks for the response, that's a real bummer. Monopolistic corporations spittin' on the little guys again. In light of that, there's really no reason to build your own HTPC, I might as well just build my own system and then get a DVR from the cable company.
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#5
PedroDaGR8

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Yeah or buy one from one of the PC manufacturers who have created certified HTPCs so they CAN record cablecard stuff. Its a mess, I wish the government would step in and make it legal for home users to record and make their own dvrs.
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