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Convert your ordinary PC to a Media Center PC

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Choto Cheeta

Rebooting
Source => Choto Cheeta Online

As you walk in to any computer store or IT shop, you see they are displaying PCs with capability to watch and Record TV running Windows Media Center. You may wonder, do you need to pay for the full PC to obtain the Media Center functionality of the PC.

Infact no, all these Media Center PCs have in extra is a Tv Tuner Kit (PCI based TV Tuner Card and a Remote control) along with the Media Center Edition of Windows XP or Windows Vista.

How much would a TV tuner Kit cost ?

box_lg_pctvanalogpropci.jpg


Any good Windows Vista compatible TV Tuner Kit from brands like WinFast / LeadTek or Pinnacle may cost you around Rs. 2000 (USD 50 / EURO 35).

Where to get the Media Center Software ?

mediacenter_01-300x176.jpg


What is that software you see with Media Center PCs ?? Usually its the Windows Media Center, which may come with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 or as an integrated part of any installation of Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions.

Where as similar softwares, which allows you to view / record / pause live TV would come with your TV tuner kit from the hardware vendor it self, an example would be Pinnacle TV Center Edition. So any one or both of them can be used for your TV viewing needs.

So let us view few tricks on how exactly you can transform your regular PC to a Media Center Edition without burning a hole in your pocket ?

Let us understand how it would actually work, bellow is a diagram which we plan to achieve.

mce_slit.jpg


As you may see, we are in need to have a cable connection signal (in case of DTH, the STB signal) coming to the PC. Here in the diagram, we are putting a splitter in between the Cable connection and TV. So now you have multiple out put from single Cable connection. So now you may run TV and PC simultaneously without paying extra connection fee to the cable guy.

Hardware prerequisite

* One Cable Connection Splitter
* Some extra cables (from line out to TV and line out to PC)
* Connection Jacks.
* TV Tuner Kit for the PC.

mce_splitter_1-297x300.jpg


Before I left my home, I took the measurement as how much cable I would need, keeping in mind that my TV is in living room where as PC is at bedroom, I found the best place for the splitter to reside is at the place where TV is.

splitter_with_cable.jpg


So I calculated that I needed to have 35 meters of cable from my TV (where I would keep the splitter) at living room to my PC at bedroom, where as I would need a short 2 meter cable to join the splitter (out) to the TV also.

mce_splitter_jack-300x275.jpg


I also had to purchase 2 type of jacks, first type, which would connect the main cable (which comes from cable guy) to the splitter and also the cable end which would come out from the splitter and second type of TV RF in socket, which would be at the end of the cables coming out from the splitter to TV or PC.

After completing the weiring part I had to ensure a TV tuner Card for my PC.

mce_pinnacle_tv_tuner-300x231.jpg


I already have written a good internal PCI based TV tuner kit would cost around Rs. 2000/- from brands like WinFast / LeadTek or Pinnacle.

vistadevicepremium.png


Do keep in mind an important factor of Vista WHQL logo certification while buying a new TV tuner KIT.

In my case I am using Pinnacle PC TV Pro 110i (Thanks to Bobby for lending me one), a pretty old card originally developed for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2003. The TV Tuner would plug in to your motherboards PCI slot.

Once plugged in, all you need to do is use the given CD for driver installation and start your Windows Vista Media center edition or if in case you are in Windows XP, use the given TV tuner software with the card.

mce_winxp_device_manager.jpg


Where as when the card is a WHQL certified device, you may find the device driver already available in Windows Update.

Once the hardware drive for the device is installed, now you may plugging the Cable using the second type jack which is comming out from the splitter and after which you may either use the Windows Media Center edition or the given application with the TV Tuner device for TV viewing.

pinnacle_tv_running-300x201.jpg


Now have a fully working version of your own Media Center Edition PC. The setup is not only beneficial for home entertainment, but also equally important for business professional who may need to keep an close eye on market news on the business hours which now can be done directly from the PC itself.
 

clmlbx

Technomancer
thanx for good tutorial

any idea how to get it from set top boxes................becoz cable quality is **** but when it gets connected to set top box it gives great quality

best tv tuner card available in market ?
 
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Choto Cheeta

Choto Cheeta

Rebooting
thanx for good tutorial

any idea how to get it from set top boxes................becoz cable quality is **** but when it gets connected to set top box it gives great quality

The card which I have used (Pinnacle PCTV PCI 110i) is an annalog card, so, in case of STB, you are in need to use RF cable connectors :(

rf-cable.jpg


Where as all new TV Tuner cards comes under Digital interface which will support digital signals :D
 

acewin

Point Blanc
I wanna setup this thing with monitors for CPU.
I have Windows XP Pro, not Media Center or Vista Home Aero.

What I need to do.

And thanks for the thread.
 
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Choto Cheeta

Choto Cheeta

Rebooting
I wanna setup this thing with monitors for CPU.
I have Windows XP Pro, not Media Center or Vista Home Aero.

You must have a Graphics card which comes with either TV out or S-Video in which case your TV should have S-Video in :) or in case of higher end, you may want to shift to HDMI interface :)
 

tgpraveen

Simpsons rox
dude first of all superb thread
secondly i want to ask say i have tata sky then what tv tuner should i buy in order to use the same stb given by tata in my pc and tv simulataneously.
in digit fasttrack it was written that for tata sky the recording facility wont be gr8 as i cant schedule it and also not change channel and all frm pc. how far is this true

pls enlighten me.
 
OP
Choto Cheeta

Choto Cheeta

Rebooting
secondly i want to ask say i have tata sky then what tv tuner should i buy in order to use the same stb given by tata in my pc and tv simulataneously.

There is a problem with STBs, as you already have a STB so you may see you are changing channels from STB rather than from TV it self... Meaning STB is sending only single channel signal...

So, yes possible you may use Both TV / PC together with splitter but both will show same channel as which is coming from STB it self...

and regarding the purchase of TV tuner card, i have already wrote some details here, on the 3rd comment :)

For STBs either opt for a Digital TV tuner card (the one is used is a analog version) or if you have analog card, then use RF out option for your STB to connect the TV tuner card :D
 

iorhld

Right off the assembly line
@ original thread starter

i have a media center PC-Hp pavilion media center a1516 in.it came with a hauppague winTV PVR PCI 2 TV tuner card+ remote.my computer came with a preinstalled version of windows media center edition 2005 OS.The PVR is the pre installed media center software with which i can WATCH LIVE,RECORD,PAUSE and REWIND LIVE TV.

few months back i decided to convert my old P3 computer with to a media center computer.so i went ahead and bought a TV tuner card-INTEX TV capture with a intervideo PVR + remote.when i tried to run the TV card with with the media center PVR it would not detect.after doing some research i found out that the media center PVR can only detect MEDIA CENTER CERTIFIED TV TUNER CARDS not ANY CARDS.so it's important that the buyer only buys a MEDIA CENTER CERTIFIED TV TUNER CARD AND NOT ANY CARD available in the market.

i would like of you to post a list of media center certified tuner cards which the buyers can buy.i could have helped out but other than hauppauge i don't know any other brand and hauppauge cards come very very costly.
 

dr_jimit

Journeyman
Are there any card available for CAS tv system [ DBV ] ?
or for satellite tv?[ not via STB remote]
I mean for Digitally broadcasted tv.?
 
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