pvr on PC ?


Active Member
Thanks for the PVR software info guys. I have been waiting for info like this.

Now comes the questions.

I experimented with two packages - CT-PVR and the GOT-ALL package using the zap2it listings software. These were just picked at random.

They both worked and bring up the Canadian Expressvu satellite listings no problem and the packages allow me snoop and browse and do all that good stuff.

Since I don't own a TV PCI card I can't go much further without some help here.

1. Who makes a good card - see a lot of Hauppage ads ?

2. Signal problems - do these cards affect picture quality or improve it or whatever.

3. Features to look for eg. hard drive size requirements etc

I know the software was very easy to set up but I am wondering is it really that easy to do ?

Just add a card and away I go ?

Thanks in advance,
I would strongly recommend the Hauppauge PVR series, since they seem to offer the best quality, are very affordable (a PVR-150 is as good as the 250), and they are supported by almost any PVR package. No PVR card will improve the TV signal.

As for storage, it all depends on the # of tuners you have, and how much you want to keep. I have a MCE box with 1 PVR card, which has a 80gig drive, and works fine, but I have 2 tuners on my main MCE box, and tend to use it more, and 200 gig still doesn't seem to be enough :blink:
Thanks Dan,

I'll look for a pvr150 card (they seem to be on sale a lot) and I have a spare 80G drive that will help out.

This should get me started.

Was there any particular software that you liked over the others (free is good for me) ?

Can I coax into the card from the sat receiver and then coax back out to my tv (tv's) or do I have to watch TV on the PC screen ?

I don't have a fancy Home Theatre set up or anything so I am just looking for PVR functionality for now.

Thanks for the info......

I personally prefer MCE, but it isn't free. If you haven't already, check out the sticky in this forum which lists all the PVR software out there. I think I prefer MythTV the best, when it comes to free solutions, but it requires Linux and can be a pain to set up.

If you want to record satellite, you need to make sure that you have the hardware to control the receiver (I think some satellite receivers have a serial port). You will also be forced to watch the channel the PVR is recording, so not sure if it would be worth it in this case (unless you are only interested in being able to record when not home). You would have to split the video signal which goes from the receiver to the TV, which can become another problem if you have a HDTV.
Hey there,

I second the PVR150 recommendation...

You'll want to get the PVR 150 retail edition which comes with a remote and IR Blaster which is what you'll need to be able to control your satellite receiver/STB (assuming you have a receiver that's IR controllable that is -- some are RF or wacky)

Besides the slaving the satellite receiver to the PC PVR using an IR blaster it is pretty straightforward, but the devil is in the details/refinement...

GBPVR is a free windows option that also uses the zap2it listings.

BeyondTV comes with Canadian listings but is a commercial product...

SageTV is going to have Canadian listings starting with SageTV 3.x (or you could roll your own with XMLTV/zap2it)

re: quality of the signal... it depends on a lot of factors. It's relatively close to what you put into the card is what you get out, (and remember garbage in garbage out)... but things such as how you connect the receiver to the PVR card, what DVD/mpeg2 decoder you use, what rendering method you use, what video card, what type of connection to your tv, cables, etc... all have some impact on quality. Oh also picture quality will relate to file size. The higher MPEG2 quality setting you use the more space a 1 hour recording will take. Most people settle on a medium quality setting for about 1.5 gigs/hour (give or take... it's really personal preference vs disk space... also you can obviously compress/archive your files to .wmv/divx/etc to save space or just burn them to DVD)

I tell you this though it beats the pants of VHS quality!...

You'd absolutely pipe the video back out to your TV. some of the particulars there depend on your TV of course (I assume standard definition tv with svideo input?)

Let me know if you have any other questions or stop by byopvr -- we even have a forum section set aside for canadian DIY PVR folks!


My TV ('s) are all standard and the main one (32" JVC) has s-video input as well as the RCA stuff. It has 2 rear sets of inputs and one on the front (RCA only-never used anyway).

The 2 Expressvu sat receivers (model 3100 and 4100) are plain but they do have s-video out and the 4100 has optical out and does Dolby 5.1 according to the label(but the TV doesn't) !

I might consider a small sound system at a later date but just TV speakers for now.

There are no other ports of any kind on the sat recvr's.

I presume that the IR blaster must do the channel switching for me when accessed either by the tv guide or by inputting a new channel to go to.

I can locate both sat receivers at the PC if needed which might allow me to watch one program while recording a second one ?

The IR blaster distance from the pc to tv at present is about 20 feet, By putting the recvr at the PC that would likely make things easier ?

The remotes are 5-in-1 IR Remotes if that helps.

Thanks for all the help ..... I will check out the other programs as well.

Which PVR150 card do I need for Bell Expressvu. I found a site with not too bad pricing but they list 2 PVR150 models.

Model numbers

model 01045: WinTV-PVR-150 with Hauppauge remote control, IR Blaster and NTSC tuner

model 01046: WinTV-PVR-150 with Hauppauge remote control, IR Blaster and PAL/SECAM tuner

Help ?

You want the NTSC one (assuming you are in north america...)

Western Europe and Australia use PAL
Eastern Europe and France use SECAM