need fedora compatible pvr hardware
#1
I would like to use my pc as a vcr to both watch tv, and save movies to my hard disk. I use a cable box to control my tv channels, and I also want to convert my old vcr tapes to hard disk files. Therefore, I simply need to purchase pvr hardware that can receive either an hdmi signal from the cable box or an s-video signal from my vcr.

I am planning on using something like tvheadend for the back end software and kodi for the front end software. Although I am a programmer, I am a newbie at linux pvr hardware and software. I'm looking to spend $80 - $200 for internal hardware and I haven't found any pvr hardware manufacturer that will certify the hardware as linux compatible, with installation instructions.

I request recommendations for specific hardware as well as front end and back end software.

my rig

os : 64 bit fedora 22 : eventually I'll upgrade to latest stable fedora
cpu : Intel I5-4440 Processor BX80646I54440
mobo : (64 bit) Gigabyte H97 SATA Express M.2 SSD UEFI DualBIOS DDR3 1600 LGA
memory : 32 gb
psu : corsair cx series 600 watt
hdisk: 3tb internal seagate baracuda, with sata connection.
video card: none - I'm happy with the mobo's onboard video, which I use at 1920x1080.
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#2
What you are looking for is actually 2 different pieces of hardware. The first is a TV tuner; the second is a video capture card.

For the tuner, which device you get depends upon your location and type of signal. Your best source is probably linuxtv.org, which covers most of the information needed for kernel support of TV tuners. Another option that they don't cover is network tuners, such as SiliconDust HDHomeRun or Ceton InfiniTV ETH (although I'm not sure Ceton devices are still being made/supported).

For the capture card, the linuxtv.org site is still your best bet for support information, as most capture devices would register as V4L2 (video4linux 2) devices, which linuxtv deals with.

For the backend, Tvheadend and MythTV are probably your best options. Both have their quirks and odd points in configuration, and both are equally well supported in Kodi. MythTV also has its own frontend you can use for viewing, although its use is mandatory for configuration (unless the web frontend is finally complete in 29, although I doubt it). Tvheadend on the other hand only has a web UI for backend configuration and no native frontend to speak of.

Another option is VDR, which I consider the granddaddy of all Linux PVRs. Or, being a programmer, you may decide that the quirks of each system are too much and decide you want to code your own.
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#3
Thanks for the interesting reply.

I'm confused; I thought that a tv tuner was only required if I was going to control the cable channel via the pc. Currently, the cable box controls the cable channel (e.g. hbo, showtime, ...) and sends the signal to my television, which is set to channel 4. I presumed that the video capture card (or what I am referring to as a pvr) could receive and display the signal sent from the cable box in the same manner that the television does when the television is set to channel 4.

Is my understanding wrong? Since the cable box will be controlling the cable channel, why do I also need a tv tuner card?

I just skimmed linuxtv.org. As a hardware newbie, it is to difficult for me to decipher, and it is hard to tell which information is out of date. I need a fedora user to point to a specific piece of hardware and a specific software combination (e.g. tvheadend + kodi) and declare that the specific hardware/software combination is working on their fedora pc.
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#4
The tuner card is to take the place of the cable box. You hook your antenna or cable directly to the tuner card, and the computer "becomes" the cable box. Then you use software on the computer to tune/switch channels, or to start a recording and record to a file.

The capture card usually has inputs similar to a TV, and essentially acts as one, allowing you to take the input from a device plugged into the capture (such as a VCR), and then save the output of the VCR into a digital file. While you can technically use a cable box in this manner, it's really quite burdensome, and does not ensure the best quality.

If you have cable in the US, your options are limited. Most, if not all, cable STBs (set-top boxes) employ some degree of copy protection. If you are going to do as you propose, you would need to use a component or lesser quality connection, as HDMI connections would need HDCP, and you won't get that in Linux.

For US cable, you basically need a CableCARD tuner. SiliconDust, Hauppage and (if they're still around) Ceton make such a tuner. However, for DRM protected channels, such as HBO and Showtime, to use a computer you need Windows 7 and Windows Media Center. Linux cannot playback or record any DRMed content from cable.
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#5
Very informative response, thank you.
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