My home-built personal video recorder nightmare 2: peace and quiet

After some expensive failed experiments in building a dedicated MythBox out of a MiniITX form factor system, I decided what I really wanted was a quiet machine that would do everything. That is, a machine I could just leave on all the time, downloading, serving, processing, recording... anything. The problem I had in attempting to do this with my regular desktop machine was that my machine was (a) situated only a couple of metres from my bed, and (b) loud. Loud enough to make sleeping anywhere near it uncomfortable.

With the new goal to fix the problem of noise, I bought a new case on my way back from visiting my parents over the Christmas break: an Antec P180. I also bought a new, quiet PSU: an Antec TruePower Trio 550W.

As I work during the day (starting a new year in the lab), all of the following happened over …

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My home-built personal video recorder nightmare

It started with an impulse purchase. I was browsing Harvey Norman for one reason or another (I was probably in there to buy some overpriced printer ink) when I stumbled across the TV tuner card aisle. I had been digital-TV-curious for a while—this at a time when digital-TV was still fairly recent—and I was in a buying mood, so I bought a single-tuner DviCo PCI HDTV card. It took a bit of effort to get the software right, and I had to also get myself a long TV aerial cable, but it wasn't too long until I got working TV on my computer.

It was at this point that strange and wonderful ideas began to form in my head. Words like “MythBox” and “PVR” and “TiVo” coalesced, loitered around menacingly, and formed gangs that beat up other words like “easy”, “sensible” and “cheap”.

I considered for a moment …

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