Windows Media Center as DVR for Direct TV

Scooter B

Estimable
Apr 18, 2014
7
0
4,510
0
My dad just switched to Direct TV yesterday from cable but got a package that did not include a DVR (I was ready for the whole home DVR they advertise).

I want to used my Media Center PC running Windows7 Pro as a DVR if I can schedule recordings ahead of time. Rest assured this would only be for recording the kind of shows you can record on a cable DVR (no HBO etc). Although I spent two hours this morning looking at stand alone personal DVR's the upfront costs and/or monthly fees are our out of my budget.

Western Digital makes a “WD TV” external hardware product for $99 that I thought would include a HD since I just picked up a 2 TB SATA HD today for around $79. After reading the manual it turns out it requires a USB connection to a storage device of your choice and it didn’t look like you could schedule recordings in advance……so what’s the point of that? It’s merely a piece of hardware with all of the most common video codecs already installed to properly record what comes in onto a USB dirve.

Next I spent six hours or more today trying to get Windows Media Center to recognize either the Ethernet connection (preferably) or the S Video connection without luck. Found one tutorial online with instructions from ehow.com on how to get a Media Center PC to recognize an Ethernet connection from a Direct TV DVR that I hoped would work for just the tuner. http://www.ehow.com/how_7213946_connect-directv-dvr-pc.html

The hang up I ran into is step 6 says "Click the Ethernet connection on the Computere's Control Panel to open the link to the DVR." There is nothing labeled as or refers to "Ethernet connection" on my control panel anywhere. The only Control Panel category I found that offers any Ethernet Settings is under Network or Home Network and strictly applies to router connections only. I have verified in the Hardware Manager that my Ethernet connection is working properly and has the latest drivers.

System Specs:
HP Media Center M7664x http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00771737&tmp_task=prodinfoCategory&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&product=3292439
Windows 7 Pro
HIS Radeon 4850 HD GPU upgrade
Upgraded Hard Drives, Max RAM memory, “overkill” upgraded PSU from Stealth Oz

Direct TV tuner model H23-600

PC Video input/output options;
- Ethernet input (not video specific and bidirectional but best data transfer speeds and it would keep everything digital)
- S Video input (not ideal with DA and AD conversion with a lower quality signal but I am desperate for anything at this point that would work at all)
- Coax Cable input and output (better than S video option but no Coax Cable out from Direct Tv tuner)
- Component Video input
- HDMI output from PC GPU that I use for Netflix and network shows available to watch after first network showing etc.


Direct TV Tuner outputs:
- Ethernet
- S Video with RCA stereo audio in
- Component Video out

I have used the Media Center previously to record cable and could schedule recordings in advance but it seems Direct TV goes out of their way to prevent anyone with only a tuner to record anything off of it with a Media Center PC.


Is there any hope of;
1. Establishing a connection between the Direct TV tuner and my PC that Windows Media Center would recognize?
2. Being able to schedule/program recordings in advance via either Windows Media Center or other third party software?

Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
Unfortunately, that's just not going to work. As I mentioned before satellite signals and TV Tuner cards just do not work together. There are four typical types of signals in the US these today:

1) Over-The-Air Analog (NTSC) which is now defunct.
2) Over-The-Air Digital (ATSC) which the government made local broadcast channels switch to.
3) QAM which is what cable companies use. QAM can either be encrypted (as most cable channels are now) and require either a set top box or a cablecard solution or unencrypted (ClearQAM) which does not require a set top box.
4) Satellite which will always require a set top box from your satellite company.

The AverMedia card you linked will only accept NTSC, ATSC, and ClearQAM signals. The problem with the satellite signal and TV Tuner cards is that the set top box has to do all the tuning of channels and it will only output one channel at a time. This kind of makes the dual-tuner part of the TV Tuner card pointless.

What would work for you (sort of), would be an HD Capture card. However, since it does not have tuning capabilities, I don't think you can use Windows Media Center to set up a recording schedule and you would have to use the capture card's programs to set that up. Additionally, you'd also have to pre-program the satellite set top box to automatically change channels to the program you want to record. Since it does not have it's own DVR service, I'm not sure you can even do that.

Unfortunately, when working with a satellite TV service, your best option really is to get a set top box with DVR services. You *might* get it to work with a capture card, but if it does work, it's likely going to be clunky and probably won't work with all the functionality you listed in your reply.

-Wolf sends
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
Regular PC TV Tuners and Satellite simply do not work together. Satellite companies make you use their DVRs if you want to watch/record at the same time. There is a AVerMedia AVerTV capture card that you could use as a DVR, but understand that all of the TV Tuning capabilities would be handled by the Satellite Set Top Box and you could either watch or record a program. Since you're using the output of the STB, you can't do both, simultaneously.

-Wolf sends
 

Scooter B

Estimable
Apr 18, 2014
7
0
4,510
0


Thanks Wolfshadow for such a quick response!

I had just found a AverMedia card on New Egg after posting and was returning with a follow up question when I found your expedient response. Not being able to watch one show and record another is really not an issue to me but the AverMedia card I found sounds like an updated version that does allow for either watching one channel and recording another OR recording two programs simultaneously. I don’t think the Direct TV tuner would support that ability however…(I haven’t seen a picture in picture option so far with the tuner).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100046&cm_re=%22Direct_TV%22_record_to_PC_Media_Center-_-15-100-046-_-Product

The recommended minimum processor specs are slightly different than mine for the newer version P4 3.0 Ghz recommended versus AMD Athlon dual core 64 bit currently at 2.2 GHz but I bought two upgraded dual core AMD Athlon’s that are either 2.8 or 3.0 GHz that I haven’t swapped out yet. Both sets of AMD processers do have the required Hyper Threading Protocol for the P4 3.0 GHz processor that did not stipulate dual core processors. I would have to check with AverMedia support to see on an outside chance if the newer model might be compatible or if there were reports of it working with dual core AMD Athlons with a slightly slower processing speed.

Right now I am remodeling a HUD home that needs a lot of work that I stay at every other week with no cable or internet until I can move in completely. The alternating weeks are my custody weeks for my 14 year old daughter with learning disabilities so even when I am at my parents I rarely have free time in the evenings to watch the few series I am somewhat addicted to when they air LOL.

My DVR needs are “simply” to be able to schedule 3-5 automated recordings per week (especially when not here) but different shows are on different channels and most are not on OTA networks so the digital antenna OTA input is not an option. Unfortunately I have some major memory and focus impairments due to a severe sleep disorder called Idiopathic Hypersomnia so even if at my parents the odds of me remembering to schedule recordings for each appropriate day are far less than 50%.

My main follow up questions I think are;

1. With using one of the AversonMedia cards would I be able to schedule multiple (non overlapping) recordings on different channels for at least a week at a time?

It is very unclear to me whether Windows Media Center could actually direct the Direct TV tuner to record from different channels for different shows if scheduled to do so in advance.

2. Along with one of the AversonMedia cards would Windows Media Center be able to access future Direct TV programming schedules either through connecting with the Tuner directly for that purpose or from a pull down window off Direct TV’s website at the time I programmed scheduled recordings?

Having only a manual record option at the time programs aired would offer very little if any benefit at all for me.



 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
Unfortunately, that's just not going to work. As I mentioned before satellite signals and TV Tuner cards just do not work together. There are four typical types of signals in the US these today:

1) Over-The-Air Analog (NTSC) which is now defunct.
2) Over-The-Air Digital (ATSC) which the government made local broadcast channels switch to.
3) QAM which is what cable companies use. QAM can either be encrypted (as most cable channels are now) and require either a set top box or a cablecard solution or unencrypted (ClearQAM) which does not require a set top box.
4) Satellite which will always require a set top box from your satellite company.

The AverMedia card you linked will only accept NTSC, ATSC, and ClearQAM signals. The problem with the satellite signal and TV Tuner cards is that the set top box has to do all the tuning of channels and it will only output one channel at a time. This kind of makes the dual-tuner part of the TV Tuner card pointless.

What would work for you (sort of), would be an HD Capture card. However, since it does not have tuning capabilities, I don't think you can use Windows Media Center to set up a recording schedule and you would have to use the capture card's programs to set that up. Additionally, you'd also have to pre-program the satellite set top box to automatically change channels to the program you want to record. Since it does not have it's own DVR service, I'm not sure you can even do that.

Unfortunately, when working with a satellite TV service, your best option really is to get a set top box with DVR services. You *might* get it to work with a capture card, but if it does work, it's likely going to be clunky and probably won't work with all the functionality you listed in your reply.

-Wolf sends
 

Scooter B

Estimable
Apr 18, 2014
7
0
4,510
0


I even offered to pay the extra ten dollars a month and found out they have a self install options with no service charge where you ship your receiver back prepaid in DVR shipping box. My dad still won't give me a response which consistent with his passive aggressive personality means "I don't want to say no but my answer is still no".

Believe me my first choice is getting the Direct TV DVR but apparently that is not going to be an option.

I did find several Direct TV DVR's for sale on ebay but so far no one can confirm they would work for me if I moved my access card to the new/used DVR if I bought it although all the ones I look at claim they are in good working order.

One other stand alone converter box I found uses an IR blaster that is supposed to be able to change the Direct TV tuner channels but still requires an additional storage device. Still not sure if it can interface with Windows Media Center.

I know their is some large capital investment establishing an infrastructure initially plus maintenance and upgrade costs along with payroll but the prices Direct TV and Cable charge are just ridiculous. Sure they are expected to charge what the market will bear but why are people in mass willing to pay such ridiculous overcharges prices indefinitely. I guess market condition and start up costs severely limit credible effective competition to bring prices down....

 

Scooter B

Estimable
Apr 18, 2014
7
0
4,510
0
Wolfshadw said:
Unfortunately, that's just not going to work. As I mentioned before satellite signals and TV Tuner cards just do not work together. There are four typical types of signals in the US these today:

1) Over-The-Air Analog (NTSC) which is now defunct.
2) Over-The-Air Digital (ATSC) which the government made local broadcast channels switch to.
3) QAM which is what cable companies use. QAM can either be encrypted (as most cable channels are now) and require either a set top box or a cablecard solution or unencrypted (ClearQAM) which does not require a set top box.
4) Satellite which will always require a set top box from your satellite company.

The AverMedia card you linked will only accept NTSC, ATSC, and ClearQAM signals. The problem with the satellite signal and TV Tuner cards is that the set top box has to do all the tuning of channels and it will only output one channel at a time. This kind of makes the dual-tuner part of the TV Tuner card pointless.

What would work for you (sort of), would be an HD Capture card. However, since it does not have tuning capabilities, I don't think you can use Windows Media Center to set up a recording schedule and you would have to use the capture card's programs to set that up. Additionally, you'd also have to pre-program the satellite set top box to automatically change channels to the program you want to record. Since it does not have it's own DVR service, I'm not sure you can even do that.

Unfortunately, when working with a satellite TV service, your best option really is to get a set top box with DVR services. You *might* get it to work with a capture card, but if it does work, it's likely going to be clunky and probably won't work with all the functionality you listed in your reply.

-Wolf sends


I even offered to pay the extra ten dollars a month and found out they have a self install options with no service charge where you ship your receiver back prepaid in DVR shipping box. My dad still won't give me a response which consistent with his passive aggressive personality means "I don't want to say no but my answer is still no".

Believe me my first choice is getting the Direct TV DVR but apparently that is not going to be an option.

I did find several Direct TV DVR's for sale on ebay but so far no one can confirm they would work for me if I moved my access card to the new/used DVR if I bought it although all the ones I look at claim they are in good working order.

One other stand alone converter box I found uses an IR blaster that is supposed to be able to change the Direct TV tuner channels but still requires an additional storage device. Still not sure if it can interface with Windows Media Center.

I know their is some large capital investment establishing an infrastructure initially plus maintenance and upgrade costs along with payroll but the prices Direct TV and Cable charge are just ridiculous. Sure they are expected to charge what the market will bear but why are people in mass willing to pay such ridiculous overcharges prices indefinitely. I guess market condition and start up costs severely limit credible effective competition to bring prices down....
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
Not sure how DirecTV views set top boxes on sale on EBay, but if their policy is anything like Comcast's, then it would be a bad idea. Comcast does not sell or give you their set top boxes. They are on lease to you. What happens in someone rents an apartment and has a cable subscription. When that person vacates the apartment, they are supposed to return the cable box to Comcast. More often than not, the set top box is left behind. The next person to rent that apartment finds the cable box and tries to sell it to make a quick buck. Of course, anyone who purchases one of these boxes will often find that they do not own the box and it needs to be activated in order to be used. So not only did they spend money to "purchase" the box, only to have Comcast reclaim it, they still have to pay the monthly lease fee.

-Wolf sends
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
T Streaming Video & TVs 4
M Streaming Video & TVs 1
techwow Streaming Video & TVs 1
S Streaming Video & TVs 1
GrowTFM Streaming Video & TVs 1
P Streaming Video & TVs 7
I Streaming Video & TVs 5
E Streaming Video & TVs 5
D Streaming Video & TVs 4
Y Streaming Video & TVs 10
D Streaming Video & TVs 4
A Streaming Video & TVs 6
S Streaming Video & TVs 2
T Streaming Video & TVs 5
T Streaming Video & TVs 2
E Streaming Video & TVs 1
J Streaming Video & TVs 2
B Streaming Video & TVs 3
M Streaming Video & TVs 3
G Streaming Video & TVs 1

ASK THE COMMUNITY