What's needed for PC based "do all" media centre?

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Hi guys,

After spiralling bills I am looking to build a PC based system that will do everything my UK based Virgin or Sky box does )and being a PC then perhaps a little more).

Environment:
It needs to recieve TV chanels from a 200mbps internet connection which will also serve up to 4 more pcs, one of which might be used for gaming, but not very often (when my son gets home from university). The rest of the internet usage would be very small.

Hardware:
The machine will have a blue ray player for our old stuff, but everything else hardware wise is fluid at the moment. It will need to be able to record up to 4 different channels at once and have a remote control to control it. Surround sound would be nice, but can be added later. Other than that I think any more bells and whistles are nice, but not that necessary.

Software:
Ideally it will have one program that can be used for everything, but that isnt the main concern. It can be Windows or Linux based. I will undoubtedly need to subscribe to one or more channel providor (like Netflix, Now TV or Amazon Prime). I have the TV licence and do understand that I will need to continue with this. Tha ability to watch programs from overseas would be nice.

Over to you guys - what do you suggest?

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Thank you
We do not offer size or recommendations for complete systems. We don't deal with hardware on the front end. When you place requirements of "200mbps internet connection which will also serve up to 4 more pcs", you need a professional to assist you, like a salesperson!

I do love this requirement though:
"able to record up to 4 different channels at once and have a remote control to control it"

YOu are funnny! I can tell you already you need 4 TV tuners! NO CONSUMER MotherBoard will suffice! Good luck with that! YOu are looking at a $14,000 PC! NO kidding!


BTW, Netflix doesn't run on Linux, it requires SILVERLIGHT! You have a lot of homework!!!!!


ac3mark
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OH, VPN service will assist with TV programs from over seas, but that is a monthly cost!
ac3mark
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Sorry for the "spines", Brian, I didn't see it was you, but the answer is the same!
BrianGreen
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Hi ac3mark,

Yes - I fully appreciate the not recommending hardware - its a slippery slope - I just needed a broad idea of what I need - like your 4 TV tuners. The "list" I wanted was something like a. optical drive, a video card, a tv tuner (perhaps redundant in this case) ...

In response to your 4 TV Tuners, if I was trying to record something that came over the airwaves (like FreeView) then I would expect 4 cards, but as my TV will be via the internet I was wondering if there is software out there that can do this - even at a (one off) cost.

Dont worry about upsetting me - I have a very tough skin that repels spines :o)

At the cost of $14000 for my rig, then I think I cant afford to get you another beer!
ac3mark
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Well, as far as receinvg and recording 4 channels, I am not certain if there is a player that will allow 4 streams to connect, without running 4 instances. You are attempting to step on the cable and sat providers with your rig, so you will have to become very creative in how you use the software off the shelf. I will look around today and try to offer software solutions.
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