Wednesday, 5 March 2008

My VDR Setup - A walk-through and Tutorial (Part 1) The Hardware

Since people kept asking me via email questions regarding the fabulous VDR, I thought lets share my (little and limited) knowledge and experience in a Tutorial/Walk-through I start with this first part. :)

As I already mentioned in a couple of my previous postings, VDR is a digital video recorder with Live-TV capabilities for Linux and flavours. The functionality can be extended by various Plugins, making it a media center playing all kinds of media.

In this very first chapter I explain to you what kind of hardware I use to run my setup. For your interest, I started playing around with VDR in 2004 (oh yes, I'm old).

Well, first of all, it's a plain PC I use. Here's the setup:
- Asrock Mainboard with a Socket-A for CPUs
- CPU is an AMD Althon XP-M 1500+ (Mobile version of an Athlon XP, comparable in terms of speed with an Athlon XP with less power consumption, approx. 35 Watts TDP)). Great for overclocking as I heard, but I use it the regular way (ie. not overclocked)
- 1 GB of DDR RAM
- 80 GB IDE harddrive, Samsung SP0812N. One of those harddrives considered to be silent
- Asus 6200 AGP Graphics Card with DVI-D output (NVidia chipset)
- LCD is a 37" Toshiba 37x3030D. A great TV set.
After searching for a desktop case for ages, that would fit into my living room, I decided to spent some money and bought a Origenae X11. I might discuss this beauty in another blog posting some day.

Then, you somehow need to input Live TV into your PC. This can be either achieved with some sort of DVB device (like a PCI card, USB stick), or through live streaming from another PC in your home LAN (which, in turn, needs an input device). The latter case (Live streamin) is again provided by one of the various plugins.
I have two PCI-cards for this issue. One is a DVB-C for cable, the other one is a DVB-T for terrestrial reception.
- DVB-C: Fujitsu-Siemens DVB-C PCI
- DVB-T: Hama DVB-T PCI
The DVB-T card is a so called budged card, whilst the Fujitsu-Siemens card is a so called full-featured card. A full-featured card has a MPEG1/2 decoder on-board, which takes off load from the CPU for decoding the MPEG-stream.
Those kind of cards usually have a RGB/S-Video/Composite cable hooked up. I don't use this card for output, instead, I have the AGP graphics card for that.
The Hama DVB-T PCI card had a remote control with a USB-receiver included. I use this to control my VDR system.

In the next chapter I will explain what software I use. Bear with me.

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