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Build your own TIVO

3307 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  OldTownTreadles
I'm thinking on building my own DVR and hope someone can point me
in the right direction. I've seen where you can get some kind of tuner
type card to put in your PC, but I do not see how that would work
with cable, or satellite (why bother with just the OA?)

So, are there cable cards or satellite cards that you can plug into a PC?
And if there are, and after those have been installed, how do you handle
getting guide data in a mechanized fashion?

Thank you for any info or URLs that might enlighten me.
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You might notice the lack of answers to this question. That is because you can buy a used TiVo for almost nothing on ebay, put in a big hard drive (>250GB), subscribe to the TiVo service for three years and be done for less than $500. Building a PC that can handle multiple TV signals will run you $1000 or more. From most TiVo users perspective, the aggrivation and extra cost is just not worth it.

However, if you are interested in finding out how to do it your self, google MythTV or SageTV. Or look here. That will get you started.

Good luck.
Thank you. It's not the economical choice, its just something I always wanted to do.
It also has nothing to do with TIVO and outside the scope of TCF
Give him a break. It was the smart place to go for an answer.
If you insist on asking at TCF a better forum for this kind of question would have been in one of the OFF TOPIC (meaning NON-Tivo) areas. Its a good place to go for the information because someone will give you an answer, but this just shows you were too lazy to even try a google search first. A google for, Oh I don't know, mayby "DVR" would get you results in seconds not minutes or hours. The second entry is a wiki for something called a "Digital Video Recorder" it has a lot of links to build your own type sites. TIVO Community Forum is a smart place to go if you have a question about a TIVO. Anyone know how to make popcorn? A snack is needed when watching a movie so this is tivo related also.
It's simply amazing how much effort some people are willing to expend to correct the slightest question of conduct.
No effort at all, I did wait until he got a reasonable answer (mythTV), Then pointed out it was outside the scope. Cuts down on signal to noise ratio, and as I pointed out a google search would have yielded an answer faster than a forum.
The link to the AVSForums is a good place to start, especially the thread containing the hardware list. Here's a good link for info on HDTV tuners:


I built an HTPC a while back and like it a lot. What JW fails to realize is that an HTPC can do far more than just timeshift TV shows. You can turn it into a fullblown media server that's like a Tivo on steroids. I use mine for all my OTA HD recordings as well as a server for all of my DVDs and HD-DVDs. Mine has five ATSC tuners attached and I'm thinking about adding more. Take into account that there are absolutely no monthly fees involved and it starts looking like a pretty good deal. You can start off with a simple HTPC and upgrade as your budget permits. An AMD AM2 dual-core processor platform will give you the most bang for the buck. Toss in a new Nvidia 8500 or 8600 graphics card and you're on your way to HTPC heaven without breaking the bank.

MythTV is a good choice if you enjoy working with Linux. SageTV and BeyondTV are the two top DVR software programs for a Windows platform, although there are others available. Windows MCE has built-in DVR capability but it is limited in the number of tuners it will support. BTV has unlimited tuner support, which is why I chose it to use with XP and it works quite well. Vista is supposed to have all kinds of support for home media options, but with Microsoft's track record I'd hold off on Vista until they release at least one or two service pack updates. I hate buying a new OS only to find out I just paid to be a Beta tester.

I use my S3 for the rest of the cable channels and never have to worry about conflicts. The best part about it is that I can transfer any recorded program to my main PC and burn it to DVD with minimal fuss. Check out the HD DVD Software section at the AVS Forums for info on creating your own HD-DVDs using a standard DVD burner and media that play back in HD on a settop HD-DVD player. FYI - you can do this with files pulled from an HDTivo as well but that's not something we can discuss here.

Currently, the only way you can get a HTPC with cablecard capability is to buy a turnkey unit. You cannot buy the cablecard adapter that will allow any homebrew HTPC to work with cablecards. This means that an HTPC is limited to OTA, analog cable, and in-the-clear digital QAM broadcasts.

There are rumors that Microsoft is working with DirecTV in developing a DTV receiver card that will work in a PC but most likely it will be available only as a complete PC. No word yet as to when this may actually be available, if ever.

As for keeping the S/N noise ratio down in this forum, take a look at the Zipper thread and let me know how that's working out for ya. :rolleyes: 95% of the posts in these forums are noise so what's one more thread going to hurt? Most threads get off-topic by about the 4th or 5th post and turn into a runaway freight train so give me a break, willya?
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Another benefit of an HTPC is that it can do an excellent upconversion of DVDs to the native resolution of your display. You can also use it to play emulated arcade and console games.
Bless you guys who had the courage to put in the info about the Myth TV etc, that's stuff I want to do too. This will give me a chance to start looking into it, and thanks again for mentioning all the benefits.

This doesn't at all affect my affection for Tivo, it's just that I want to do other things aside from what the tivo does w/my TV, and this will help give me the info (as it will for the original poster in this thread.) :up:
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