Monday, July 04, 2005

DIYPVR: The Hardware

I had built a TiVo-like box a while back using MythTV as a test just to see what the whole "Build Your Own TiVo" was all about. I used a leftover Pentium 2 mother board and a craptastic ATI TV Wonder VE. It all worked well enough, but it wasn't as good as my TiVo-like box from Time Warner, so I scrapped the idea.

But when I upgraded my home system last Christmas, I was left with a fairly decent Athlon 2100+ system with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive just sitting around. (At the time of this post a similar system could be bought new on eBay for under $300.) So, I decided to give it a go--return my TiVo, cancel digital cable, and take a step backwards to "rabbit ear" TV.

I only wanted to spend about $200 getting there, so I could re-coup those expenses in a few months of a cable-free lifestyle. So, here's my final configuration and costs:
  • Athlon 2100+ system (old computer, $0)
  • 512MB of RAM (old computer, $0)
  • 80GB hard drive for recordings (old computer, $0)
  • TDK DVD-R (old computer, $0)
  • 2U black rackmount case (salvaged from work, $0)
  • Hauppauge PVR150 TV Tuner (Amazon, $89 free ship)
  • Vantec Stealth 120mm case fan (, $12 + $2 ship)
  • TERK TV-55 HD Antenna (eBay, $50 + 15 ship)
  • GB-PVR software (Free, but I donated $5 to the project)

As you can see, I came in under my budget by about $27 and ended up with a pretty nice system. To build one from scratch though, you'd need about $500 which makes it kinda pricey for a hobby.

  • Next time, the software.
  • Last time, the overview
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