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Topics - WeeGraeme

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Users / Confused by all the alternatives
« on: August 17, 2008, 09:13:20 am »

The more I tried to read and learn about media options, the more confused I'm becoming.  I'd like to ask for some help restoring some clarity of thought in that regard.

I've recently bought my first large screen, HD lcd tv.  It's a 46" Samsung 650.  I previously had a 32 inch crt and a LG hdd / dvd recorder.  When I bought the HD tv, I realised that the component video connection doesn't really cut the mustard.  The DVD recorder only has analogue TV tuners as well, so it's time for an upgrade.

I started off looking at a direct upgrade of my current style of recorder, but they record to DVD's in SD unless you get a blu-ray recorder, but I've only seen these advertised at around $2500.  You still have limited editing capabilities, which means copying it to disc and then to a PC before burning it again.

Then I discovered some of the HDD based PVR's.  Some of these are network capable, which means I wouldn't have to copy stuff twice.  Many of them have dual HD DVB-T tuners which would be nice.  The drawback there is that I'd need a separate DVD or DVD / Blu-ray player.

Yesterday morning, I learned of XP / Vista MCE and then last night, I learned of LinuxMCE.  As a result, I'm reaching information overload.  The worst part is that I don't actually know anyone who uses any one of these systems, so I can't even start to ask for first hand experience.

I think I'd like to go down the LinuxMCE path.  I tried converting my Windows laptop to Linux a year or so ago.  I liked it, but couldn't get the wireless network card to work reliably, so regrettably, I had to change back.  I saw a YouTube video showing Linux MCE controlling a surround sound and lighting.  I doubt that my hardware is capable of that.  It's very cheap.  I only bought it because I didn't know why people made such a fuss about them, so I bought a real cheapie.  It gave me a bit of an idea, and I'll likely spend a bit more one one one day.

I do want to connect my satellite pay tv tuner to it.  It only has composite output and S-VHS, although knowing my pay tv provider, the S-VHS has probably been disabled.

Does it sound like LinuxMCE is a overkill for what I want to do?  I've read some posts where people say it takes a bit of tweaking.  That's fine to a point, but after tweaking, I want non-computer literate people people to be able to operate it easily.

Many of the TV cards I've seen recommended for XP/Vista MCE say that they're designed to run with XP/Vista MCE.  Does that mean that they won't run at all, or as well in LinuxMCE?  I'm just talking generally here.  I don't have any specific hardware in mind as I haven't chosen the path I want to take yet.

Many people talk about the need for HDMI connections.  Can you get those with HTPC setups as well?  My current, el-cheapo surround sound doesn't have it anyway, but my TV does.  The surround sound has optical and coax as composite connections.  I'm not too worried about that side of it at the moment, although if replacing it meant not having to buy something which is dead technology and therefore of limited value, I'd consider doing that now.

Sorry for raving on.  I'm just finding this all quite confusing.  It's like learning a new language without hearing it spoken, and you don't even know what language it is.  :-)  Whatever I do, I just want to do it once.


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