recording/playing a tv show
March 9, 2007 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to record a tv show on to a pc and then later replay the recorded show on to my regular tv set, not my computer monitor but my actual tv. I know its possible to record a tv show on to a pc hard drive but I don't know for sure if its possible to replay that same show with out making a dvd.
posted by Noodles to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Google or froogle for "media servers."

One way is to have software on a PC with the content to act as a server, and a device plugged into your TV that is connected either wirelessly or wired to the network. In my experience, it works best with audio, but it also works with video.

And expect to see more and more of this sort of thing. Apple is supposed to be coming out with a simple-to-use product for just this purpose very soon.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:13 PM on March 9, 2007

AppleTV. Yes there are other (arguably better) solutions out there, but with Apple's track record, this will be as wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am as you can get. Not scheduled to ship till a couple weeks though.
posted by afx114 at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2007

If you have a standard non-hd tv, then there are devices to convert VGA to TV (svideo or composite or both). So where you'd usually plug in your monitor, you'd plug this device in there, and then plug your TV into the device. Usually you can also plug your monitor into the device (so the image would go to both your TV and your computer monitor, if you wanted to).

Here's an example of such a device

Some video cards have TV-outputs.

Lots of people use xbox's and the "xbox media center" software to do stuff like this. Some people use regular computers with something like MythTV or I think there are some windows pacakges to do it. I use linux and some custom software I wrote. It doesn't take much, my media computer is a 400mhz celeron, that was thrown out by someone else like 6 years ago.

If you have an HDTV then you can usually use a DVI-to-HDMI cable and connect that way.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2007

I always tell people to just buy a div-x capable DVD player. They are so cheap now ($50 CDN), and make life so much easier if you intend on watching a downloaded video on the tv more than say 5 times in your life. But that's just me.
posted by imaswinger at 3:53 PM on March 9, 2007

Div-x capable dvd player is good. Xbox Media Center would be my first choice, though.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:29 PM on March 9, 2007

Response by poster: So all I need to do is get an X-box and I can record directly from my cable box and replay what I have recorded?
posted by Noodles at 4:50 PM on March 9, 2007

Best answer: Noodles- you don't even have to do that much. What's being said by RustyBrooks is key: you can output from your computer directly to your TV, so long as you use a "PC to TV" adapter device like this one. If you look at the pictures of the product on the product page, you'll see that it has a basic VGA input for your PC, and a couple of outputs (such as composite, which are those little yellow plugs you see on the backs of TVs- there's usually also a red and white one for the sound)

All the other advice in this thread is about potentially investing in a true "media device", of which you can use things like old XBoxes or cheaper PCs to run media capture and playback. These are dedicated PCs you hook up to your TV, from which you can stream video from other PCs, or record directly, etc.

But if you just want to do this from your current PC, then you just need some way of sending the image from your PC to your TV. And a simple and inexpensive VGA- to- TV convertor is the only thing you'd need to buy for basic PC->TV watching; you can find one in any electronics store or probably even Radio Shack. Just do a web search on "PC to TV adapter" and you'll find a ton of products to choose from.

One question that really needs asking to better help you: what's your setup? How are you recording the shows, what kind of TV do you have, what kind of video card do you have in your PC now? If it's a newer PC, it's possible the video card already supports some kind of TV-output that your TV natively supports, such as DVI or HD, and you might not need to buy much of anything.
posted by hincandenza at 5:32 PM on March 9, 2007

AppleTV does NOT record TV. It's only made to play stuff you download from the iTMS or rip/encode yourself.
posted by melorama at 8:02 PM on March 9, 2007

Personally I would not bother recording TV shows myself. They appear to rapidly and completely on the internet to make it worthwhile. I can download most shows in less than an hour, and as long as I don't mind waiting anywhere from a few hours to a day or so, until it makes it onto the web, it's a lot more convenient than trying to build my own tivo.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:20 PM on March 9, 2007

I've got a Dell media center PC so it has a tv tuner card built in with an s-video output. I can use an s-video cable to plug directly from the computer to the TV and watch anything I have on the hard drive. No other fancy hardware required, just the cable.
posted by JJ86 at 5:41 AM on March 10, 2007

I have an xp home pc with a tv tuner card. It has an svideo out, but I use the standard vga connection as my 37" LCD tv also serves as a montor.

All you need is a tv tuner card.
posted by Slenny at 7:09 AM on March 10, 2007

To be clear:

You need a tuner card to get the tv signal onto your computer.

You need a video card that outputs in a signal your TV will accept. Either S-Video, Composite, or DVI. You might also have a tuner card that does both input and output. Your TV most likely has an S-Video input, but it depends on the make and model.
posted by stovenator at 1:29 PM on March 10, 2007

I just read an article about this, but on careful reading, it only covered video capture. It looks like the Hauppauge PVR-350 can do video capture & TV-Out. It has hardware MPEG-2 encoding & decoding, saving the CPU some effort.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:06 PM on March 11, 2007

How does this thread have no
Replies that mention mythtv?
posted by baylink at 11:02 PM on March 11, 2007

Because the poster didn't ask about mythtv, they asked about playing recorded shows from their PC on an actual TV, which amazingly only a few people in the thread actually addressed.
posted by hincandenza at 12:43 PM on March 12, 2007

Also, I did mention mythtv.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:52 PM on March 13, 2007

And also, for the record, I'm against buying a video card with an svideo out, because it's a one-computer solution. An external video-to-TV converter will with with any computer you encounter, any TV you encounter, and many/most of the computers/tvs you encounter in the future. It's relatively upgrade-proof (well, I don't know if most of them support DVI, to be truthful. I've seen some that do, but they aren't cheap. Prices will fall as DVI becomes more common.)
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:54 PM on March 13, 2007

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