PC-based computer technology has come a long way in the little
more than two decades since it was first introduced.
What is a Tivo®?
The Tivo® is a revolutionary device that has taken the USA by storm
and revolutionised people's TV viewing habits.
It is, in effect, a digital VCR that records programmes onto a hard disk
instead of a VHS tape -- and like all things digital, it is a whole lot
more powerful and flexible than your existing video recorder.
Unfortunately neither the Tivo® nor its main competitor, the
are available outside the USA and UK.
That's where this project comes in. It's an attempt to provide all the
features and benefits of these new generation recorders through the
use of off-the-shelf PC components and readily available software.
Thanks to faster processors, bigger hard-drives and more graphically-oriented
software, the home PC is now able to act as the hub of a digital home
This project is an attempt to harness all this power to produce a system
that could effectively replace your VCR, DVD and CD player, games console, radio,
and a raft of other home-entertainment electronics.
Of course you might ask why anyone would want to tie up comparitively expensive
computer gear for this task when VCRs, DVD players, stereos and most
other consumer electronics have never been cheaper.
If you'd like your own system, it is recommended
that you purchase the parts, or a ready-configured version
from the project's sponsor.
The answer is simple -- a digital system can do things some incredible things
that these other dedicated appliances can't.
This project will be published on an incremental basis with a new page
added each time there's something to report.
Bookmark this page now.
Part 1: Review: Pinnacle PCTVPro TV tuner/capture card
Part 2: Processor, Motherboard, Hard and optical drives
Part 3: Review: Hauppauge PVR-250 TV tuner/capture card with hardware MPEG encoding
Part 4: Comparison: "Smart" tuner/capture cards versus "Dumb" ones
Part 5: Comparing Video Quality
Part 6: Commercial operating systems (Win98 or XP)
Part 7: Essential software
Part 8: After The Novelty Wears Off
Still to come: Open Source OSes and PVR software options
Note: I'm still evaluating the Open-Source options (it's a MAJOR task) and
some of the commercial PVR software packages so there will be further updates
to this feature!
Got questions? Contact Me