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  Building My MythTV Box, Part 1: Hardware
Subject:   Price point
Date:   2005-10-17 12:51:05
From:   kmpatel
Very informative article. I hope may people consider trying this project. The hardware configuration is reasonable, but the price is a bit hard to swallow. Similarly capabable non-HDTV :( DVR is available at significantly lower price. If you are spending $170 for a video card, consider the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 350 card, which contains hardware-based MPEG enconder and decoder. There some subtle difference in operation with hardware-based MPEG encoder versus CPU-based software encoding, but the CPU is hardly taxed. A significantly slower CPU PC can be used, greatly reducing the cost and generated heat (allowing passive cooling). Many people, including myself, have built a complete system with PIII as slow as 500MHz, and it works very well. My cost was roughly $230 (for the PVR350 and larger HDD), not including $50-80 (market value) of the old PC I already had laying around. On the otherhand, I have not done a side-by-side comparison between my $230 implementation and a $1000 version.
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  • Matthew Gast photo Price point
    2005-10-22 21:43:45  Matthew Gast | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    For many people, the Hauppage card makes a great deal of sense. If your analog TV reception is good (or you are a cable subscriber), then the Hauppage card is the card to get. In my case, I am only recording over-the-air broadcasts and my analog reception is bad, so the Hauppage card would not be helpful to me.

    I wish I could use a slower CPU. I need the full CPU for playback only because the nVidia acceleration is not all that reliable on AMD64. If I had gone the Intel route, I could probably use a slower CPU just because my nVidia card would offload some of the video playback processing. (Why, oh, why, did I let my friends talk me out of a Dothan core?)

    I'm willing to bet that the differences between my relatively expensive system and your inexpensive system is (a) I can record and play back HD, and (b) the hardware looks better. For many people, or for somebody who wants to dip a toe into the water, there is no need to build a system totally from scratch like I did.
    • PVR-350 Warning
      2006-10-08 05:23:01  MythPvr.com [View]

      It's worth pointing out that the PVR-350's hardware decoder is no longer supported (as of 0.20.) Unless some steps up to support it, it will remain that way.