The Kiwi Personal Digital Video Recorder
A PC-Based Personal Digital Entertainment Centre
A project diary describing the process of building a PC-based home entertainment center based on regular off-the-shelf computer components and software.

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 Replay TV 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 entertainment center.

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.

Visit the sponsor
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.

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.

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

Published and © 2002 by Bruce Simpson and Aardvark Net Publishing. All rights reserved