Two Tuners in your Media Center PC

Ed Bott: Two tuners in your Media Center PC Ed blogs about Peter Near’s report on the Hauppauge PVR-500 and about setting up his own MCE unit with dual tuners. At present I only have one tuner on my MCE machine — but then I’m only really using the television functionality to make DVDs for the kids, record music programming so I can strip out audio tracks and make .mp3s and for portable media on my laptop. My real heavy duty DVR functionality is handled by my DirecTV TiVo.

My DirecTV HDTV TiVo box has four tuners in it. Two analog and Two high def. Four tuners in one small box that includes a DVR. Of course, one small expensive box that includes a DVR and is nothing more than a DVR but recording conflicts have pretty much been eliminated in my household.

Ed says that his MCE set up works “extremely well” with two tuners although he does notice some picture degradation in some recordings and needs to investigate this more.

I’ve been thinking about upgrading my video card and mce tuner to a high def version to try out the OTA high def stuff. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good HDTV dual tuner card that has one input for non HDTV satellite and another input for an OTA HDTV antenna? And what’s the best video card to go along with it?

Ed really gets it right in the last sentence of his post, “But the real killer would be a CableCard-equipped HDTV-compatible dual-tuner card, which is, alas, science fiction at this point.” You can say that again Ed!

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  1. Grant says:

    The Fusion card has an RF antenna in for OTA HD and an s-video in for analog video, but not sure if anyone has gotten both inputs to work with MCE since MCE says you need one analog card if you want to use an HD card:
    http://www.digitalconnection.com/products/video/fusion3qt.asp

    I own the ATI HDTV Wonder and it also has inputs for OTA HD and analog cable. People have been able to use both inputs with MCE by using the KRAM drivers:
    http://www.whatsnsb.com/MCE4.10kv.zip

    Here’s a post from the avsforum about how to use them:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread….0&pagenumber;=25

    Doing that will allow you to use the ATI HD card by itself in MCE, so you have an analog in and an HD input in one card.

    I do not use it standalone since I have dual PVR250 cards for SD shows and the ATI card for OTA HD. Now, if only Microsoft will include dual HD tuners and maybe more than 2 analog tuner in the next MCE upgrade.

  2. Grant says:

    Looks like the link to the avsforum post got truncated.

    Here it is