Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

Wiring / DSTV PVR

January 15, 2007

OK, today I decided I “have” to make a plan with all the wiring behind the Scaleo, the satellite STB (DSTV PVR), etc.  Partly because I had to hook up the Scaleo properly to record, but also because the wires just irritated me.

So it took me most of a morning to remove all the unnessary wires and to connect up the Scaleo.  Hooking up the Scaleo proofed to be a bit more difficult than I thought.  I tried to hook up the RCA cables from the DSTV PVR to the front input Video and Audio in RCA connections of the Scaleo, but for some reason the TV image was jerky and stuttered a lot.

So I tried normal coax cables through the attenna connection of the Scaleo.  For some reason MCE didn’t pick up the channels.  I decided to give the RCA cables a go again, because this is my preferred method of connecting the DSTV PVR (even though the connections are in the front of the Scaleo – what were they thinking) .  For some reason it worked perfectly this time and the TV image was good and didn’t stutter.

So finally I could remove all the old cables as well as my old HTPC from my living room. This all sounds so trivial now, but it took a lot of time to organise all the wires etc again.

I will post some pictures later.


Day 1

January 11, 2007

Not much happened today. Took the machine out of the box and hooked it up to the rest of my Home Theater System.

First problems already encountered:

  • The TV card’s RCA connections are in the front of the PC. The back only has a coax cable connection. Not going to be fun to connect this at a later stage. For the moment I’ll connect it to the front.
  • Connected it up to my Plasma using the VGA connection
  • Also tried SCART, but not impressed with the quality on the screen
  • I also need to connect the TV out of the screen card to my existing system. This then distributes it through the rest of my house so I can use the HTPC almost in every room. (more on this one day). The output to the TVs are in Black & White. Can’t figure out why. Also tried using a SCART to RCA converter, but then the gfx card doesn’t even pick up the TV
  • I walked through the MCE setup process. Everything went fine.
  • I was concerned that the MCE transceiver won’t be able to learn the IR commands from my DSTV PVR’s remote (the DSTV PVR is like a TIVO STB satellite receiver). From previous experience using Girder I knew that even though the instructions say that you need to hold the button, that this doesn’t work. So I held the button in and then it asked me to do it again and then I only pressed it like I would normally do to change channels. It learned the IR codes this way and so far it seems like this worked.
  • The DSTV PVR has a standby function to preserve the HDD. When in standby mode it takes a couple of seconds to get out of it before you can change channels. This is going to be a problem with the MCE recordings and changing channels.

Phew, the first day didn’t go to well!


January 11, 2007

I recently bought a Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo EV as an HTPC. The reason for this post is to log my progress with the setup of this machine.

I’ve had an HTPC for a while now that I custom built over a long period. I ran BeyondTV very successfully on this machine for use as a PVR.

My biggest concern lately with this machine was the reliability (it would reboot and crash every so often) and the fact that no matter which front end I tried I couldn’t get a reliable and easy way of playing back music.

The Scaleo comes with Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition so hopefully this would solve the issue around the music playback using a remote.

Some of the biggest reasons I bought the machine:

  • Reliability of my old HTPC was questionable
  • Wanted to try MCE
  • Wanted a quiet HTPC (the old HTPC was basically a normal desktop modded to perform the HTPC functions)
  • The keyboard that came with this machine was awesome (integrated touchpad)
  • The MCE remote and MCE’s reaction to the remote is absolutely fantastic.

Hopefully I won’t regret the purchase, but this blog will tell the story.