In my previous post, I presented a case for building my own Portable Video Recorder (PVR). The PVR has to meet the following requirements:
- A single unit to replace what I already have so that I can declutter and recover some space in my hi-fi cabinet;
- The feel of a bought appliance rather than a PC;
- Has an optical device that will not only play Blu-ray, DVD and CD disks, but will also write to said media;
- The unit needs to be region-free to be able to play optical media from anywhere in the world;
- The ability to record free-to-air TV; and
- The ability to share the unit’s internal HDD within the home network so that recordings can be moved to or viewed from other devices.
In this post I describe the hardware elements I’ve brought together to meet these requirements.
TV Tuner Card
The TV tuner card is the heart of the system. I chose the Hauppauge WinTV-QuadHD for the job. It can record up to four channels simultaneously and is capable of delivering MPEG2 output. It is a low profile card to suit small form factor cases. Minimum system requirements include a PCIe slot, Intel Core2 Duo 2.93 GHz or faster and 1GB of RAM.
It was important to me that the PVR looks like a HiFi appliance and not a PC. To achieve this, I chose an InWin BL641 Black mATX Desktop Chassis with 300W 80PLUS Gold PSU. It is a small form factor case with optimal thermal and acoustic performance without an additional system fan. It also has sufficient front panel ports and drive bays to meet the needs of the PVR.
The MSI B250M PRO-VDH LGA1151 DDR4 mATX Desktop Motherboard fits the case and accommodates all the PVR hardware. It includes a HDMI port to allow the PVR to be connected directly to an AV receiver. It has DirectX support for Windows.
Given the spec of the tuner card, an i3 processor was deemen\d more than adequate for video capture and playback. I chose an Intel Core i3 7100 Kabylake 3.9 GHz 3MB cache to do the job.
The TV tuner requires a minimum of 1GB RAM to operate. Windows 10 64-bit requires 2GB minimum to operate. An 8GB RAM stick was deemed sufficient. I chose the Geil 8GB Single DDR4 Pristine C16 2400 MHz.
As the motherboard selected had an M.2 slot, to avoid taking up a drive bay, a WD Green 120GB M.2 SSD was selected for the OS.
The LG BH16NS55 16x Black SATA Blu-Ray Writer was selected to meet the requirement of being able to read and write Blu-Ray, DVD and CD media.
This item is not that critical. The main point is that it has sufficient space to accommodate recordings. I had a 1TB WD Green drive lying around which I installed as an internal data drive.