Expanding Our Media Center

About a year ago I pieced together a $30 internet TV box that we have been using in lieu of paid cable TV. My wife and I have been very happy with the setup and its paid for itself many times over.

I have been interested in upgrading some of the HW on our low cost media center to extend its usefulness. Our biggest limitations were the lack of storage space for recorded tv and the ability to only watch or record 1 channel at a time.

With the recent addition of our low cost media extender to our bedroom, the time was right to expand the capabilities of our media center.

I made 2 purchases to expand our capabilities:
-a 320GB external 2.5" Hard Drive for $40 via Slickdeals. I was looking for an external hard drive as our system already runs hot without the extra storage and opted for a 2.5" drive to avoid any external power requirements (the drive can run off USB power alone). While a bit more expensive than a 3.5" drive it should run cooler and consume less power.
-a Hauppauge HVR-950Q TV USB Tuner for $59.99- I had tried other lower cost no-name tuners, but had never been able to get them to work successfully. I found better documentation for Hauppauge tuners to setup QAM channels and thought there would be better compatibility with the existing Hauppauge tuner in our system.

For roughly $100 we were able to expand our media center capabilities and watch and/or record two shows simultaneously. While a bit more than our basic needs, I think these are reasonable add ons that let us squeeze a little more convenience and enjoyment out of our media center. The best part is they cost about the same as just 2 months of cable service.

Related in internet tv:

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How We Built An Internet TV Box for $30 (Jul 15, 2009) I have constructed an Internet TV device that allows us free access to a wide range of TV shows and movies using an old computer and $30 worth of additional hardware. It was very easy to setup and a big...

Comments (1)


Smart, very smart. I've been trying to discuss this idea with my wife, but old habits are proving difficult to break in this case.

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