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Home Brew PVR update.

Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know that I've gotten this little project under way, and so far I'm really impressed with what you can do with the ATI All In Wonder card.

TV quality is excellent thru S-Video.

The TV Tuner is better than the one that came with my TV (you can flip stations faster)

TV On Demand (pause/rewinde live TV) works great!!

Free TV listings on screen thru Gemstar GuidePlus+. with scheduled recording ability thru Remote or Windows GUI.

Recording/Playback quality is excellent.

Included remote control is outstanding, programmable, etc.

My setup is:

Athlon XP 2000+
MSI K7N2 Delta Mobo
512MB DDR400 RAM
ATI AIW Radeon 9600 Pro
Windows XP Pro

The Gemstar program could use some work, and there is one feature on the remote (Flashback to previous channel) that I can't find.  Also, the driver/software install was not flawless, but after a few hours I figured it out.

Now all that's left is to try out myHTPC or maybe make this a media "server"...woohoo!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I recently purchased SnapStream Beyond TV which is a great replacement for Gemstar's crappy TV listing and scheduling software.

You might want to look into it.

Almost Anonymous
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It is possible to use Linux with the All in Wonder?  I've been think about using the TV for display of my MP3 player.  Sort of like a XBox MP3 player.

christopher baus (
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

"Linux with the All in Wonder?"

Last I checked, the answer was yes.

Almost Anonymous
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I'm in the process of building a MythTV PVR. According to the link below All-in-Wonder does *not* work. Check carefully before you buy.

NOTE: The ATI All-in-Wonder cards (which are not the same as the ATI TV Wonder, TV Wonder VE or TV Wonder Pro) will not work as a MythTV capture device because the GATOS drivers that are available provide only a limited subset of the V4L API. The TV Wonder series of cards are supported by the Bt8x8 Video4Linux driver.

I picked up a PVR350 from Happauge. Still have to get the TV-out to work. But that's where the fun is! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Wayne -
Can you tell us how much time and how much money you've spent on this project?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I had an older All-in-wonder card (Rage series) and it's also supported (same chipset as the TV wonder).  Oh well, I guess I won't be building a MythTV box with my new Radeon card.

Almost Anonymous
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The AIW card are great, for me the biggest limitation include:

* Sometimes the TV functionality won't work, the window won't pop up because it believes someone else has hold of the DirectX draw box or something. So you can't run TV on systems with Terminal Services, but even without Terminal Services it sometimes just refuse to work.

* You can see caption, and on Pause I think you can still have caption, but for regular capture caption is just plain gone, the PVR won't burn it into the final mpeg.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

PVR? Is that some kind of recreational pharmaceutical?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

PVR - Personal Video Recorder.  And yes it is a recreational pharmaceutical. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Though entirely insoluble...

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So far I think I've spent around 20 - 30 hours of my time building this machine (including research of all hardware and software).

As for dollar amount, I personally spent only $250 because I got the hard drive and video card for christmas.

However, even if I didn't get certain parts as gifts, I would have spent the money because this is more of a hobby.

I like building this thing more than I like actually using it!  (My girlfriend uses it more now :)

For people that just want something that works out of the box, I recommend buying a Tivo or ReplayTV with a lifetime subscription (around $500).

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

OOoh, I have been really wanting to make my on PVR. I've been looking at MythTV. Its soo pretty. What I really want is a parts list so I can shop around for the best deal. And of course I'd want dual ( if not triple ) tuners.

Who wants to do the research / experimentation for me?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

All this to record TV? Granted there is some good tv to watch, but really - why do you need this as opposed to a VCR?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Never used a Tivo before, eh M?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I currently have my computer set to record every eposide of Farscape.  Every few days, I burn 2 episodes to DVD and watch them on my TV.

A VCR just couldn't do that.  I also have it set to record a few shows that I occasionally miss (or forget to watch) in case I need to.

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Good guess. Never had the ROI for me considering subscription costs and my lack of TV time. I am just curious how one who needs to records things when they are not there has the time to watch it, since they are not there very often (hence the reason to record). Or, are people into archiving their favorite shows?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Ok I'm going to jump on the band wagon.  I'm going to take one of my lesser used boxes and convert it to mythTV box. 

christopher baus (
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

"Never had the ROI for me considering subscription costs and my lack of TV time."

No subscription costs for me.  It's all included in the cost of the software.

"I am just curious how one who needs to records things when they are not there has the time to watch it, since they are not there very often (hence the reason to record)."

Well, in my case, Farscape is shown daily at 10:00am.  And there are a few evenings when there is nothing on TV -- so there ya go.  Plus, this way I don't have to watch the commercials!

"Or, are people into archiving their favorite shows?"

Nahh...  I burn to DVD-RW...

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

m, here are a couple of the advantages a PVR has over a VCR:

1) The ability to record and play back at the same time.  This is a HUGE one.  It allows: pause/rewind of live TV, watching one show (previously recorded) while recording another, starting a show a few minutes late and skipping commercials to catch up

2) Ease of use.  PVRs require very little programming.  You just tell it to "record all episodes of Farscape" or something similar.

3) The PVR is always recording.  With a TiVo, for example, it keeps a half hour buffer of the current channel.  This allows you to pause and rewind live TV.

I think those are the big differences.  Combined they completely change the product.  When was the last time you heard of someone who used a VCR to record every episode of several TV shows to allow time-shifting?  I'd say it is pretty rare, but that is the common use case with PVRs.  It just totally changes how you watch TV

The main advantages of these devices, as I see them:
1) Whenever I sit down there is something good to watch.  I am not restricted by TV's schedule.  It's not that I have no time to watch TV, it is that my time does not fall neatly into the schedule that network executives have decided on
2) Save time by skipping commercials
3) The ability to pause at will to go to the bathroom, get a snack, answer the phone, etc.
4) Not having to think about missing shows I like because of arbitrary TV schedules.  Not having to worry about time changes, extra long episodes, etc.
5) Sports are a joy to watch using the TiVo.  I can rewind to catch a replay, pause to go get a snack, and then zip through commercials or commentary

Mike McNertney
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

You would think the linux geeks could get the damn all in wonder radeon cards to work with mythtv, wouldnt you...  I mean if they ever want linux to take off, they have to be able to support new technologies.

A windows geek who wishes linux was the answer...
Thursday, January 22, 2004

"Ok I'm going to jump on the band wagon.  I'm going to take one of my lesser used boxes and convert it to mythTV box."

Hope you buy new boxes every coule weeks. I tried mythtv on an old pii/350 and it couldn't do a thing. I mean, it'd launch and look pretty, but fullscreen playback of an .mpg was slow, choppy, out-of-sync sound, and pixelated. the same file played back full-screen in win98/windows media player on the same box is fine. don't even *think* about recording/timeshifting without a 1.5 GHz+ box.

then again, you can go to and get a 2.4 celeron and 17" CRT for $399. sell the CTR & buy some RAM. (comes with 128 mb.)

null fame
Friday, January 23, 2004

I've been researching the best PVR packages available and am now leaning towards mythTV. However, I've yet to see a solution out there that supports multiple program guides in addition to multiple tuners. Those I've come across support two tuners connected to the same source, i.e. the same program guide. I've got both ExpressVu (Canada) and DirecTV (US) and would like to have both connected to the PVR with both program guides available for viewing and recording. Anyone out there know if this is possible? Thanks

Friday, January 23, 2004

A how to guide

Friday, February 13, 2004

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