I've got several 'newbie" questions. I'm not concerned with my ability to put one of these together. I just want to know if it's worth doing versus going through Directv and paying for a service. I'm really interested in doing this myself so please feel free to talk me into it. In the end though, I have to be able to justify it with my wife. Here are some more details of what I'm after:
1. My wife needs to be able to use it.
I don't want 7 different remotes and I don't want to have to use a switchbox or anything like that. A single remote to perform all functions (except initial configuration) is prefered.
2. Needs to work with my existing Directv box (Svideo only).
The alternative to building my own is to buy one from Directv. I like the expandability (via "wikis") of GBPVR but if it doesn't do what I need, it doesn't make sense to build one.
3. No HDTV requirements
I don't currently have an HDTV or tuner so I don't have any need for HDTV support. I'm assuming that this can be build without using HDTV televisions? (I know, this is 2006...).
4. No monthly service fee
If possible, I'd like to avoid a monthly service fee. Will I lose features without this kind of service?
5. I need to be able to watch one show while recording another.
This is a big one because I know that I can do this if I go through Directv. My current satellite receiver probably will not allow this (if it did I wouldn't know where to start). Is it possible to get a second "TV tuner" card that will accept digital over-the-air broadcasts? If so, are these only available in HD format (and will that be a problem playing back on an analog TV)?
6. Where does the TV (S-video in my case) signal come from? Does the TV tuner card provide that or do I need to buy a video card with TV-out capabilities?
7. Do you recommend any specific hardware? Why?
Thanks and sorry for all the questions!