Got and old PC lying around why not turn it into a DRV (digital video recorder), you don’t need to go out and buy a TIVO or an expensive DVR all you need is an old computer with some decent hard drive space, a digital TV tuner and most importantly an operating system.
So you don’t have the money for Windows 7 or Vista so you cant use Windows Media Centre so what now well don’t panic there is a Linux solution there is many Media Centre based OS’s including GeeXbox and my personal favourite XBMC (Xbox Media Centre).
In the past few years XBMC has pushed away from developing the popular Xbox Homebrew application to working on its own Linux media centre and it’s great I tested it by booting it from a 1GB USB drive and it ran great.
So to the basics what is a Digital Video Recorder it’s exactly what it’s called it records digital video instead of recording to a DVD or VCR it records to a hard drive it can also work like a TIVO so say you want to record your favourite show for me that would probably be The Big Bang Theory so I would type in the shows name and set it to record every episode of The Big Bang Theory to the hard drive, another benefit it you can pause and rewind live TV.
It is so easy to set up get your self an old computer with reasonable specs, at least 1GB Ram (you may get away with 512MB), then you want a decent hard drive to store all your movies and TV shows you can get a 1TB SATA for about $100 dollars, then you need a tuner card you can pick one up on eBay for as little as $10 but don’t be too money tight on that as you want to record in great quality so go for more the $40 and up depending on how much you want to spend, now graphics card you can use the inbuilt GPU but I recommend purchasing a higher quality card, now if you don’t have an internet connection near your TV I would also recommend a wifi card also cheap on eBay so you can stream your media from the media centre to your other computer or you may want to watch some YouTube, there’s not much else I’m not going to recommend a Motherboard or Power Supply because if your going to do a project like this your going to know the basics anyway.
So for a few hundred dollars or even less you can have a great DVR.
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Thanks for reading,