Build your own TiVo!

Wednesday, July 7th, 2004 @ 3:03 am | Tech

I’m planning to upgrade my PC soon, and have been pondering the possibility of using a PC as a personal digital video recorder (ala TiVo). Ostensibly, there is a growing movement of computer geeks who are documenting their own attempts to built a PVR (personal video recorder) from PC parts.

The basic, essential step to convert a PC to a PVR is installing a quality TV capture card. The current standard is the Hauppage PVR-350 ($160-180, with hardware decoder, TV-out and FM tuner) or the PVR-250 ($120, needs a seperate video card/mobo with TV-out). The Hauppage comes with a remote control and some PVR software that emulates the basic functions of a digital video recorder . For advanced, TiVo-like functionality, a number of free and commercial software packages are available to make the PVR conversion complete.

You can use your existing PC, provided the hardware is beefy enough, though many prefer to build a standalone PVR unit. Building a full-blown PVR could be an interesting project to pursue if you have the computing power to spare, but you’ll have to do a bit of research and troubleshooting. Building a sleek, top-of-the-line custom PVR can cost much more (in money and time) than a commercial PVR, but the upside is that you won’t have to shell out $12 or more each month for the programming service.

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