Been thinking about all the different things I’ve tried and hardware & software configurations I have went through.
Decided to go a head and post what I know on this subject as best as I can to help others wanting to cut the cable boxes out. Or for those who just want a media center to stream video or play avi’s and other formats.
This blog will cover both OTA and cable card setups. And anything HTPC/Media Center related.
Considering making my blog solely about media centers and hardware.
Computer hardware: Intel, Amd based pre-built or custom built, Android based boxes small fits in palm of your hand. Names of some of these boxes are Amazon Fire TV, Matricom G-Box Q, MXIII Amlogic S802, DIAOTEC S82 Android Smart TV Box, Onvo 4k and there are other Android based boxes that usually ship from China but are significantly cheaper.
Raspberry-pi , Raspberry Pi 2.
I am using the CMX AML8726- MX Android Box with Jelly Bean (Cost for the Android box on Ebay $32 shipped) in one room. A Intel Atom box in My bedroom Kodibuntu, In the living room have a custom built AMD 6 core HTPC Windows 7 x64 based with Kodi. And have also used and fully setup Raspberry-Pi box.
If I have missed any hardware please comment I will add any hardware I may have missed.
I placed the Galaxy s4 next to Android Media box for size comparison.
Backend Software for Kodi Media Center AKA:Operating System Kodi can be installed on: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 , 10 although for Live TV not a good choice Windows Media Center no longer supported in OS. Mac OS X, Linux, Free Scale ,BSD, Android, IOS, Raspberry-Pi.
There is also the very old and now abandoned Windows xp media center edition 2005 and quite a few other Media Center programs available.
Will try to cover them as I continue to add to the blog.
Tuners are for watching and recording live television.
Can buy hardware tuners that use cable cards or OTA=Over The Air.
What is a cable card?
CableCARD is a special-use PC Card device that allows consumers in the United States to view and record digital cable television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers and television sets without the use of other equipment such as a set top box (STB) provided by a cable television company. The card may be provided by the local cable provider; usually for a nominal monthly fee.
Full detail explanation of cable card can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD
What is OTA=Over the Air?
Hardware to receive and record Live Television:
Cable card reader hardware:
Manufacturer Silicondust: HDHomerun Prime 3-Tuners, Hdhomerun Expand 4-Tuners “Europe Only”. Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 Dual Tuner Digital CableCARD Receiver, Ceton InfiniTV 6 PCIe – 5205-DCT06IN-PCIE – Six-tuner , Ceton InfiniTV 6 ETH network tuner , The older model Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe, Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB This I believe has been discontinued.
What I have listed here is some of the more popular models available. I’m sure there are others out there. Importance is choosing the tuners that are right for you and your setup. Always do your homework before making this very important choice. The Tuners you choose will the be the backbone of your HTPC’s recording and scheduling & live viewing.
OTA Hardware: Aka: Over The Air
These devices are tuners that will connect to your Media Center.
I have only used 1-USB OTA tuner the Kworld KW-UB443 U2.
This list is huge so I am going to just add a link to Newegg page with these type tuners.
In order to get OTA aka: Over the Air signals you will need a digital antenna.
These can be purchased on the nets or at your local Walmart, Home Depot’s and other places.
This can get costly depending on the hardware /Antenna you want.
The better and higher the antenna the better signal and range you will get.
Can check what over the air channels are in your area by going to this web page. Just put your zip code in and click go. US only for this link.
What is a sling box? What does it do?
A Slingbox is a physical device that you attach to your cablebox/DVR and it allows you to control and view your TV/cablebox/DVR content from afar using a broadband Internet connection.
Products and more info can be found on the home page. http://www.slingbox.com/
These devices start at $149 new. But good news is you can watch TV and DVR from afar using Kodi without the cost of buying an expensive Slingbox which I will later explain how to setup within Kodi. That is if you decide Kodi media center is for you.
Regardless of your setup you will need broadband internet. And for streaming and extenders you will want 100mb/1gb Router if you are setup to service more than 1 room 100mb/1gb switches are highly recommended .
Wireless is just not cut out for 1080 resolution video and even 720 resolution will give you issues. So NO wireless don’t bother.
And wireless is not stable a drop during a recording will be a mess. You will want a steady stable internet connection.