I got the cable box

23 01 2008

I did it, I decided to pay the extra and picked up a Motorola cable HD DVR (Digital Video Recorder) from TimeWarner. Now I can watch and record channels that are not offered OTA (Over The Air) like SciFi, Speed, G4, etc. I’m enjoying my new found freedom of being able to schedule recordings for these channels and watching them as I want.

I haven’t given up the HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), I still need it to access the web and I have found that the Media Center interface in XP MCE is much better and easier to use than the cable box. If a show is on a broadcast channel I tend to schedule the recording on the HTPC rather than the cable box.

Advantages of the HTPC over the cable box include skip ahead/skip back buttons, automatic commercial skip, and easier search / record functionality. I haven’t attempted to connect the cable box to my computer yet, if I could do this then I could record all of my channels on the computer using the cable box to unscramble cable channels.

I intend to, some time in the not too distant future, upgrade my HTPC to a QAM (unencrypted HD over cable) tuner to see what HD channels TimeWarner is carrying in the clear. It’s possible that QAM will give me most if not all of the channels I want so that I can give up the cable box.

I’ll update you as I try new stuff.

My setup as it stands today:

HTPC:

AMD Athlon X2 3800 Processor

2 GigaBytes of RAM

3 hard drives totaling 936 GigaBytes

DVD +- Burner

ION Media Center Case

2 HD ATSC OTA Tuner cards

Microsoft MCE Keyboard

Microsoft MCE Remote

Monitor:

Westinghouse 47″ 47w1 LCD Monitor (not a TV, it doesn’t have any tuners built in)

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