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Recommend a capture device for use with dish network SD receiver

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,288
229
106
I know next to nothing about media center pcs or capture devices or encoding. It hasn't been something I've been interested in recently.

I have a super cheap dish network package and a single standard definition receiver. I'm not interested in paying more for HD service or DVR service. But I add HBO sometimes to watch Game of Thrones. Plus free movie channels come on sometimes. So I'd like to setup a PVR deal to record shows to watch later. When the free movie channels come on it'd be great if I could schedule recordings.

So I have two questions:
What kind of capture device should I get? I'm pretty sure I have to use the dish receiver regardless. I might buy a dual tuner SD dish receiver later on but it seems that if you want to control channel changes you use a separate IR blaster device anyway.
I've been doing some research and it seems like there are a only few types really.
Dumb frame grabbers without without an actual TV tuner or ones with hardware encoding, usually mpeg-2 for semi expensive units and h264 on really expensive ones.

I feel like from my research the mpeg-2 hardware ones aren't really useful anymore. That standard doesn't require much from a modern CPU to do in software real time. The h264 ones seem useful since they aren't really possible to do in real time except on higher end CPUs. But they cost way more than I'm interested in spending on a freshman effort. Also, I'm going to be dealing mostly with SD streams anyway.

So I think I just need a dumb frame grabber unit, maybe with a tuner. I'd prefer a decent quality one and I guess working with linux would be good since I'm still experimenting. Is there any reason not to use a USB2.0 one? There don't seem to be a ton of PCI-E options and I'd rather not buy any more PCI cards since that bus is starting to be phased out.

What software do I need to make this easy to do? I don't have XP MCE and it seems it isn't for sale anymore. I gather Windows 7 home premium has this functionality, but I'd rather not buy an additional license to that just for this. I got a good deal on my previous two copies. I have XP though but I don't think that does me any good. What about myth TV? Do these things have a way of getting a program guide from dish so its easy to schedule recordings or am I just going to have to look recording up and then program it like an old school VCR?


Right now I'm just looking to a get a piece of hardware that is compatible with any software I might use so I can try out some of the free options first and see what the quirks are.
 

country2

Senior member
May 1, 2001
598
4
81
I don't have dish but do have direct tv and I built a htpc few years back to watch/record from it and I use a old Ati wonder hd650 pcie.

I think at the time when went from Vista to W7 32 bit was no driver for it that worked on w7 and ended up using I think 750 drivers. Still going strong now.

 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,288
229
106
What do you use to change channels on the direct TV receiver? I'm having trouble picking out a IR blaster. I only seem to see serial devices and I no longer have serial ports. I guess I'll have to dig one of the USB to serial adapters out. What do you use as PVR software? WMC?

I bought a USB device HVR-850 and I'm going to see how that goes. I'll probably try out mythtv. It seems like WMC has a lot of problems with analog recording devices and doesn't get along to well with some dish network setups. The only thing it really has going for it from my reading is built in guide info (not sure how well that works with dish) and its probably easy to setup.
 

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