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Is a HTPC w/ Dish Network possible?

Discussion in 'DISH™ High Definition Discussion' started by techvisioneer, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. techvisioneer

    techvisioneer New Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    First post...here goes

    What's the best way, if any, to build a HTPC which will interface with my Dish Network HD signal (currently a VIP722 dvr)? The ideal scenario would be a machine which I can use to watch live tv, record tv, watch recorded tv/movies, etc.

    I'm flexible on the UI but will probably go with Win7 Media Center since I'm going on about 10yrs since I touched linux. Is this currently possible? It's been a couple years since I've researched this sort of thing but the only consistent thing I'm finding is an engadget post about "TV with Dish Network" menu in Win7 Media Center. And apparently this being my first post I can't include the url.

    www. engadgethd .com

    Any and all suggestions would be fantastic!
  2. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    At this time, there are almost no viable solutions for HD from satellite working with any Media Center computer.

    There is a company that will sell you a modified Dish ViP211 that can be controlled via Media Center, though I don't know if there is Win7 (or even Vista) support for it. The pre-modified 211 is $650, while modding your existing owned 211 is $400. http://nextcomwireless.com

    SD will work, but won't work with your 722 for several reasons (it's HD, it's a DVR, and controlling TV2 via IR requires a separate adapter and isn't particularly reliable). If you want to do this, get a 301 or 311 and use that for the Media Center PC.

    Both DirecTV and Dish were developing solutions for Media Center, but it appears that Microsoft has changed their direction on Media Center and that has led to both companies dropping these projects. It's very sad, as a fully sat-enabled Media Center would destroy all other competing solutions...
  3. techvisioneer

    techvisioneer New Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    I was hopeful that wasn't going to be the response but was kind of expecting it. To me it isn't worth a grand to buy and mod the ViP211.

    I still plan on building a machine to house all of my media so I can pack up all the cd's, dvd's, etc. I'm thinking about a raid 5 with about 3tb storage so there's room to grow but I'm on the fence as to whether I should build one or two machines. If I go with one it will need to be pretty quiet to sit in the living room but there will be a direct connection from the box to the tv, etc. If I go with two then I have to worry about getting a good connection between the two. In my condo I don't have wiring between my office and living room. Wiring it will be very difficult so I was thinking about using powerline ethernet but I'm not sure that will be quick enough. What would you suggest?
  4. dorfd1

    dorfd1 Icon

    Jul 15, 2008
    the hauppauge hd pvr works with windows 7 mediacenter. you connect your receiver to it via component
  5. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    What you meant is that there is a 3rd party driver set that can be hacked to work with Win7 some/most of the time. It's far from a plug-and-play solution and it isn't all that reliable (not to mention that the hardware itself is prone to lock-ups).

    As a huge fan of Media Center, I'd be the first one to recommend a solution that actually worked well, but sadly, the HD-PVR isn't there, at least not yet.
  6. scoobyxj

    scoobyxj Godfather

    Apr 15, 2008
    If you could use a 301/311, Why couldn't you use a 211/k?
  7. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    You could, of course, but you'd be paying $7/month instead of $5, and you'd still have the issue of not having a (reasonable, reliable) way to get HD into the PC, so you'd still be doing analog capture in SD. Thus, the 211 gives you no advantage and costs more. I suppose if you're an Eastern Arc install, the 311 isn't an option, so the 211 is your only choice.
  8. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

    Jul 8, 2002
    New Hampshire
    While this can't help you with your desire for the Dish "Draco" machine (I want one but who lknows if it will ever see the light of day), i can make one recommendation..

    Investigate Windows Home Server. HP sells nicely bundled versions. I can't tell you how perfect WHS is. One thing is automatic nightly backups. Restores can be done from bare metal (yes, I've done it). But for storing video files, WHS gives you Drive Pooling - meaning that lots of drives can be 'pooled' to look like one humongous drive AND you can have file duplication set so that if ANY of those drives goes bad, there's a backup copy of the file on another drive.

    It's also getting friendlier with Media Center.

    I cannot recommend WHS strongly enough.
  9. Taylorcraft078

    Taylorcraft078 New Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    I run MythTV on Ubuntu with a VIP222k. I used it on an older receiver too. My feed to the computer is via the S-Video output to an ATI HD card. Because of the S-Video I am limited to a standard def picture that is burning roughly 1GB/hour. It actually looks pretty good. For reference my OTA HD recodings are about 5GB/hour.

    I don't have a good solution for tuning on the sat receiver at this point. I usually just set a timer to match my recording schedule.

  10. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 7, 2004
    My Hauppauge works flawlessly with Vista Business, no reason for it not to work with Windows 7 (supposedly more compatible?).

    I have nearly a complete set of Hogans Heroes copied via Hauppauge to my PC.
  11. brant

    brant Icon

    Jul 6, 2008
    another option is the Hava HD; website says its "DVD quality"; i believe it only goes to 480p. Its $150 and works as a virtual tuner in WMC.
  12. tjachem

    tjachem New Member

    Oct 20, 2009
    I have a linux box using mythbuntu with the included mythtv. My 211k is connected via component to an hdpvr. The recordings are high definition, automatically commercial flagged, and can be burnt to dvd. I also have an extra ota card connected so that 2 programs can be recorded at the same time. (While watching a 3rd) It is a great setup but not for the technically challenged.
  13. archer75

    archer75 Godfather

    Oct 13, 2006
    I'd just stick with the dish DVR. It's better than anything you'll find on a HTPC.

    I have an HTPC as well. I have for many years but using it as a DVR just drives me nuts. I prefer using Dish DVR or a Tivo.
  14. jgoggan

    jgoggan Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Apr 2, 2002
    My co-worker uses the Hauppauge HD (Component Input) with his DirecTV stuff and has it running just fine under Windows 7. He uses an IR-Blaster to change the channels on the DirecTV box -- which outputs via HDMI straight to his TV and via Component to his Hauppauge box. He says that he uses it with Media Center (and that 3rd party driver you mentioned) and it runs pretty much flawlessly. That being said, he isn't actually a Media Center fan, so he also does it with Sage.

    He also said that, doing it with Sage (and therefore not having to use the 3rd party driver), it was fairly trivial under Windows 7 and really was a "plug and play solution".

    He said that he USED to have some Hauppauge lockups a while back, but hasn't had a single one since he put the box on it's side (most complaints about lock-ups with it seem to be the fact that it overheats and the encoder is mounted to the bottom of the case -- quite a few people have actually reported no more lockups after turning it on its side, apparently).

    Just wanted to note his setup and that it works very well for anyone that is interested.

  15. CoolGui

    CoolGui Icon

    Feb 8, 2006
    I think you ask a good question, but all the answers here are right. There is no easy, hassle free way to use a htpc with dish network. It's not truly a technical limitation, I would think 3rd parties could make a tuner/receiver card that works with a smart card, but Dish does not allow it. It's all about them wanting you to pay the monthly fee to use their DVR. The way I've been thinking about going is back to cable and use a cablecard dual tuner card. They are supposed to be available now or every soon without buying an OEM machine. However it still seems comcast will charge me more for nearly the same HD channels as I pay to dish with the DVR fees (which I'm not even paying on the Everything Pack)

    I'm still considering the cable anyway as I get annoyed at the rain drop outs (my dish probably needs to be aligned) and I can't get a dedicated Fox Sports Houston and a few other local channels like comcast provides. I know dish shows most of the games in the Alt channels, but it annoys me that I can't catch anything outside of the games.
  16. frankv

    frankv Cool Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Will the new 922 receiver allow us to "sling" HD content to other TVs? From what I've read, that requires some kind of sling receiver, but the only hardware device they show on Sling's site states this:

    "All Slingbox generations are supported by SlingCatcher, including the new Slingbox ProHD. Note: full HD video streaming from a Slingbox ProHD to SlingCatcher is not supported at this time."

    I'm assuming this to be a limitation of the SlingCatcher, and not the ProHD box.
  17. robo45h

    robo45h Cool Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    I've been investigating Home Theater PC systems and various media center solutions lately, from software (XBMC, MythTV, LinuxMCE, the Windows Media Center you get with Vista / 7, Boxee, Roku) to hardware (Popcorn Hour, Western Digital HD TV, Boxee Box, PS3, etc.).

    Each has strengths and weaknesses. Boxee is really, nicely pre-integrated with Internet video feeds (YouTube, Netflix, etc.). Myth has DVR functionality. All of them can play music and videos from a regularly formatted USB drive or from a network share drive or NAS. And all of them can at least play playlists if not edit them. Some can do "smart playlists" (by genre, using tags provided manually or from metadata in the media or from the Internet). As an example of drawbacks, Boxee doesn't have any DVR functionality.

    And then it hit me. Why the heck should I buy another box for this. Just about all the functionality is in a Dish DVR. What's missing from a Dish DVR? I think only a handful of things:
    1. Ability to play Internet feeds. Netflix, YouTube, Wired, etc.
    2. Ability to play music and videos from standard formatted USB (not dish formatted) drive or network share. And NO I'm not saying I want the ability to store DVR recordings on a regularly formatted drive. I mean, yes, I want this, but you DO NOT have to implement this just to allow me to play other files from a regular USB drive. Such as maybe a video I made with my own camera -- same as the pictures the DVR can already play from a regular USB drive.
    3. Better playback user interface. Must include suffle, playlist playing (if not playlist editing), and hopefully genre based "smart playlist". Should download video / music info from the Internet, including album covers, etc. With the exception of the latter, see Boxee or XBMC for nice interfaces that blow Dish, DirectTV, FiOS and Cable boxes away.
    Guess what? I'm now watching a Verizon FiOS commercial announcing Facebook and Twitter on their set-top boxes. It's happening. Dish will have to deliver this, or lose the game. So I'm just posting this to give them a heads-up. Sadly, based on what they released at CES this week, it'll be a year or two before they deliver. I'm more and more tempted to drop Dish (and not get cable or FiOS) and just go with a HTPC/media center setup if I can get both Netflix and USB drive / network drive, since my OTA reception is great. The montly cost of HD TV (Dish, cable, FiOS, any of them) will pay for the HDPC / media center several times over every year. But at present, with all the content available on pay TV (sat, cable, FiOS, etc.), it still makes sense to stick with a pay TV provider for most people. But not if they don't add media center / HTPC capabilities ASAP.
  18. GrumpyBear

    GrumpyBear Hall Of Fame

    Feb 1, 2006
    I agree, that is something thats needed. Problem is Verizon Fios, isn't the best example to use as a competior. Verizon FIOS has the most limitations to reach the mass's. Here in North San Diego, and like 100's of city's around the nation, FIOS will never be possible, as Verzion wont be allowed in, as this is a SBC market space. FIOS is a great option for those that can get it. Problem is, its Limited to Verzion markets, and until we force Teleco's and Cables to allow cross competition amongst themselves, you will have to move, if your really want it.

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