I have been using Snapstream’s Beyond TV 3 for almost a year now. I have spoken before of how great a product it is. They just announced Beyond TV 4.0. Having no need for over the air HDTV tuning I bought the upgrade anyway. Truth be told I wanted to check out the Divix encoding option on the new version.
For a few months I have been pondering turning my custom built celeron pc into a media center box. I have been using Beyond TV as a PVR on my good HP box. I had been too lazy to reconfigure the setup. The announcement of the new version of Beyond TV got me thinking, upgrade. I did some research on decent PCI video cards that are compatible with my TV Tuner USB device. The computer I was going to use as the DVR has a built in video card that is not compatible, and since it is such a small PC it didn’t have an AGP slot. I found a good PNY card at Compusa for the unit. I also upgraded the 160gig drive in the computer to a bigger 250gig. I performed the hardware upgrade and checked that the gear worked. then I installed windows from scratch. All I put on the machine the latest windows updates, the USB IR drivers, the video capture card drivers, remote, and Beyond TV. I did some heavy rearranging of my living room and moved the computer to my entertainment center. I rigged it up to my computer using the computers built in VGA port (nice).
There were a few minor issues, but all in all the upgrade went well. I am running some test recordings now to verify the system works correctly, but so far it looks good. This setup actually fixed an issue I had with my old computer not working with the resolution of the HDTV I have. The new video card plugged into the VGA slot (vs the RCA slot on the old setup) fits the screen perfectly. What is weird is the resolution the computer is at is not the native resolution of the TV but it works, so I won’t complain.
Once I am happy with my new setup I can blow away the HP computer and rebuild it to use as a general workstation. I use my Powerbook as my main computer but I always need a Windows box around for something.
Now I am off to clean up all the dust and dirt I created and unearthed with all my moving of stuff around my living room.