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Foxtel decoded by Toppy


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I've done the search and read through dozens of posts and could not find a good enough reason that it definetly can't work.

Guy at work says there is a CAM card for the digital Foxtel (he can remove it from the box) so what's stopping the Toppy from using it? (Other than not finding an adapter for it...)

Is it because it's DVB-C vs DVB-T?

Thinking very seriously about getting Foxtel but I know it's going to bug the hell out of me to lose the PVR functionality plus have an additional box and remote...

I know they plan on releasing one for Foxtel next year but...I would just prefer to use the Toppy for both...

Is it too much to ask??? :blink:

Rob

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Is it because it's DVB-C vs DVB-T?

Put Simply Yes!

A/ If you want to decode Foxtel (& only Satellite) with a Toppy you'll need the 5000pvr (without the T) and afaik there are no NDS Compatible CAMS available - under the old IRDETO1 encryption System the toppy 4000 & 5000 worked great with an IRDETO1 compatible cam and a Foxtel Subscrition.

the current "Digital" Foxtel, both Sat & cable, use the NewsCorp Proprietary NDS encrytion system which is not compatible with any know 3rd Party CAMS.

B/ the terestrial tuners & Sat/Cable Tuners are completly different even tho they are all DVB Standards simply because the transmission method's are so different!

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with the current Austar digital package which is identical to the Foxtel lineup you can run the card no problem in a Topfield 4000 with irdeto 2.09 ci cam. The Foxtel red card that does not include the newer channels also works fine.

Its the Foxtel blue card that is NDS has no functioning cam with which to work with.

Is it because it's DVB-C vs DVB-T?

Put Simply Yes!

A/ If you want to decode Foxtel (& only Satellite) with a Toppy you'll need the 5000pvr (without the T) and afaik there are no NDS Compatible CAMS available - under the old IRDETO1 encryption System the toppy 4000 & 5000 worked great with an IRDETO1 compatible cam and a Foxtel Subscrition.

the current "Digital" Foxtel, both Sat & cable, use the NewsCorp Proprietary NDS encrytion system which is not compatible with any know 3rd Party CAMS.

B/ the terestrial tuners & Sat/Cable Tuners are completly different even tho they are all DVB Standards simply because the transmission method's are so different!

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Oh god, I'm so confused about all this!! Can someone please explain some things to a noob like me?

Specifically, I have a foxtel satellite STB (not ditigal) with the red card - if I buy a Topfield PVR can I record from the STB or not? And if so how? And what the heck is a CAM card? And if I need one, why?

Like the person who started this thread, I've read and read these forums and the FAQs but none seem to have any real useful info for a complete newbie to PVR's, especially relating to recording Foxtel. (I think the majoroity of stuff on the terrestrial channels in Oz is utter garbage so for me I *have* to have to PVR that can record from Foxtel, especially since a lot of what I record is long motorsports events like MotoGP.)

I *think* a 5000PVR is what I need but can someone give me some nice basic info on all this stuff?

TIA...

Mike

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Oh god, I'm so confused about all this!!  Can someone please explain some things to a noob like me?

Specifically, I have a foxtel satellite STB (not ditigal) with the red card - if I buy a Topfield PVR can I record from the STB or not?  And if so how?  And what the heck is a CAM card?  And if I need one, why?

Like the person who started this thread, I've read and read these forums and the FAQs but none seem to have any real useful info for a complete newbie to PVR's, especially relating to recording Foxtel.  (I think the majoroity of stuff on the terrestrial channels in Oz is utter garbage so for me I *have* to have to PVR that can record from Foxtel, especially since a lot of what I record is long motorsports events like MotoGP.)

I *think* a 5000PVR is what I need but can someone give me some nice basic info on all this stuff?

TIA...

Mike

Your best bet to record FOxtel is to buy one of the combined DVD-RAM/R recorders which include a HDD. eg the Panasonic E85/E100 etc.. that way its possible to record many hrs of Foxtel. But I am not sure if the movie channels are encrpyted so you can record them. MotoGp & the like are fine as is Morse, Top Gear etc + a few other shows that I record..

I am pretty sure you cant record Foxtel on the 5000PVR-T , this has been designed to record DTV broadcasts & AFAIK cannot be modified to do Foxtel as well.

Cheers Mark

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with the current Austar digital package which is identical to the Foxtel lineup you can run the card no problem in a Topfield 4000 with irdeto 2.09 ci cam. The Foxtel red card that does not include the newer channels also works fine.

Its the Foxtel blue card that is NDS has no functioning cam with which to work with.

Austar link their cards to the box so they wont work in another unit other than the specific stb supplied by them and have been doing it longer that Foxtel.

So BigBob & nzmike you have only 3 options and they all involve adding an external recording device:

1/ Use your VCR (this is what I currently do but im thinking option #3 would be a fun project)

2/ as mentioned by Mark, buy an Aussie DVR. (Digital VCR that uses DVD's instead of VHS Tapes)

3/ Buy a US or UK TiVo (an Analogue PVR) and mod the software using OzTiVo to essentially take over command of the Foxtel/Austar STB. The tivo uses an ir-blaster to take over from the fox/aus remote and gives you full Time Shifting & 7day epg etc etc when setup correctly. a 100gb HDD in these units gives you about 60hrs record time @ max quality.

This project requires basic linux abilities and a bit of time but is not real hard for someone technically inclined. prolly cost around $350 if you get a US unit, 120gb HDD & the network adaptor. (yes you can get a wireless adaptor & the OzTivo setup allows you to stream your recorded programs over your home network.)

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Thanks for that... at least now I know what my options are. I have looked at the TiVO option and may well do that (lots of hassle though) or just go ahead and buy a DVR.

What I would really like to do is use a PC to record TV (but not to watch it) but again, there seem to be so many options, none of which are ideal - most of the TV tuner cards don't support foxtel either. Ideally what I want is something wireless that plugs into my STB so I can record TV to a PC in my study/office. This box would also play the content back to the TV as well as other types of media such as MP3 etc... is there anything out there like that or would iit be impossible to do?

Mike

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...Buy a US or UK TiVo (an Analogue PVR) and mod the software using OzTiVo to essentially take over command of the Foxtel/Austar STB. The tivo uses an ir-blaster to take over from the fox/aus remote and gives you full Time Shifting & 7day epg etc etc when setup correctly. a 100gb HDD in these units gives you about 60hrs record time @ max quality.

This project requires basic linux abilities and a bit of time but is not real hard for someone technically inclined. prolly cost around $350 if you get a US unit, 120gb HDD & the network adaptor. (yes you can get a wireless adaptor & the OzTivo setup allows you to stream your recorded programs over your home network.)

A 100GB Tivo would give you a little under 40 hours on Best Quality...2 x 200GB drives gives me 146 hours.

It would probably cost you more than $350

The EPG is updated twice a week so it is really a 3 or 4 day EPG at the moment.

The forthcoming Foxtel+ PVR will enable you to record one program while watching another ie 2 tuners, it has a superior picture - records digital stream in RGB/YUV (A UK Tivo has Scart/RGB) and with the initial downpayment & monthly charge will cost much more than a Tivo.

Tivos are great value for money for all the reasons you mentioned.

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..... Ideally what I want is something wireless that plugs into my STB so I can record TV to a PC in my study/office.

If you have Foxtel via satellite there is a DVB-S pci card - the Twinhan Visionplus VisionDTV -Sat-CI VP1030A

http://www.lakopacific.com/public/showProd...62_16953&id=915

Would that help? :-)

Thanks for that - what a shame the site has no details about how the card works and what software it runs etc... really think Lako need to put some more info up there.

Anwyay, does that mean I could build an HTPC which, with that card, would take over from the foxtel box? (I assume so as it seems to expect the card to be inserted). I will look into that card but ideally I wanted to avoid having a PC in my lounge room which is why I'm so keen on a wireless solution.

What I don't understand (and this probably stems from my total ignorance of broadcast standards etc) is why the manufacturers of streaming media boxes can't make them work both ways so they play *and* record. If only someone would do that then I could replace my VCR with a single wireless streamer/recorder which would stream/record to and from a media server on my network. Must only be a matter of time surely?

I think for now I will hang on to Foxtel analog since it seems to be easier to record from that than digital... am I right on that one or am I missing some vital DTV concept?!

Mike

EDIT: Had a closer read of the card specs and realised it is for digital satellite so maybe I'll look at getting digital after all and going down the HTPC route after all.

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What I don't understand (and this probably stems from my total ignorance of broadcast standards etc) is why the manufacturers of streaming media boxes can't make them work both ways so they play *and* record.  If only someone would do that then I could replace my VCR with a single wireless streamer/recorder which would stream/record to and from a media server on my network.  Must only be a matter of time surely? 

Microsoft, HP and others have seen the demand for such things, and are soon to release them here. We'll probably see HPTCs on Harvey Norman ads before Christmas.

I think for now I will hang on to Foxtel analog since it seems to be easier to record from that than digital... am I right on that one or am I missing some vital DTV concept?!

Foxtel via sat is always digital. You need a DVB-S card, the right CAM, and the right smartcard to receive it. The first one is easy to get. You can get the second one for all of Austar's services and the basic ("analog" ho ho) package of Foxtel's. But I think you can only legally get the third one for the Foxtel basic package.

Foxtel via cable can be analog or digital. For digital, you need the same things as for digital sat, except you need a DVB-C capable card instead. I don't think appropriate CAMs or smartcards are available.

For Foxtel, Optus, NCable or Austar analog cable, I believe all you need is an analog TV card and some simple software.

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Oh god, I'm so confused about all this!!  Can someone please explain some things to a noob like me?

Specifically, I have a foxtel satellite STB (not ditigal) with the red card - if I buy a Topfield PVR can I record from the STB or not?  And if so how?  And what the heck is a CAM card?  And if I need one, why?

I *think* a 5000PVR is what I need but can someone give me some nice basic info on all this stuff?

TIA...

Mike

The quick answer is yes, the Topfield staellite PVR (with Irdeto CAM) will work fine, but if I were you, I wouldn't buy it. Because once you are forced into upgrading to "Digital" Foxtel within the next 18 months, your Topfield will not work with the new smartcard and you will effectively be left with a boat anchor. You could posssibly sell it to a Austar customer.

Danny.

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Austar link their cards to the box so they wont work in another unit other than the specific stb supplied by them and have been doing it longer that Foxtel.

Austar boxes marry the card and will refuse any other sub card, but you are free to use your sub card in any other I2 capable 3rd party equipment.

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Austar link their cards to the box so they wont work in another unit other than the specific stb supplied by them and have been doing it longer that Foxtel.

Austar boxes marry the card and will refuse any other sub card, but you are free to use your sub card in any other I2 capable 3rd party equipment.

ah yes you're correct i'd forgotten about that. However as already mentioned by DannyR, the I2 system may not be around for to long as foxtel & austar will eventually force everyone onto the "digital" system which uses NDS - then you'll have a $1200 boat anchor.

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ah yes you're correct i'd forgotten about that. However as already mentioned by DannyR, the I2 system may not be around for to long as foxtel & austar will eventually force everyone onto the "digital" system which uses NDS - then you'll have a $1200 boat anchor.

Austar have no plans to move to NDS in the near (and possibly distant) future. They are still putting out new I2 boxes. Foxtel will definitely move all their sucke... subscribers to NDS.

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Ok, so it seems that I either buy a "normal" DVR (Pioneer or Panasonic et al) or I build myself an HTPC.

As this stage I'd rather go down the HTPC route as I have a spare dual 600Mhz PIII machine with a lot of RAM and fast SCSI drives... should be a matter of throwing in a good DTV card like the one mentioned above, upgrading the graphics card to a TV-out one, getting some good quality quiet fans and maybe throwing a 74GB scsi drive in as well (I don't need to record 100's of hours of TV - I think even 20 to 30 will be way more than I ever need). From what I've read you don't necessarily need masses of CPU grunt if you get a DTV card that does most of the processing on-board. Anyone out there built an HTPC that can comment on this?

Cheers for all the help - slowly this noob is getting there!

Mike

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I don't know how many DTV cards do much on board (next to none). It certainly doesn't take much grunt to record, the DTV cards are merely tuners, and your recording software merely copies the bytes from the digital tuner to your HDD, taking next to no processing power.

The grunt bit comes when you want to playback a recording, then you really need MPEG2 acceleration and a CPU speed greater than about 1.5GHz if you want to do this successfully(perhaps with decent MPEG2 hardware assisted playback you can get by with your dual 600MHz cpu... I just don't know what is avail out there to help you with this, there used to be MPEG2 decoder cards for PC DVD playback, but they never seemed to take off and their driver support was shocking).

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I'd rather go down the HTPC route as I have a spare dual 600Mhz PIII machine with a lot of RAM and fast SCSI drives...

Funny, I've got one of those spare too. It contains two DVB cards and six hot plug SCSI-3 drives on three SCSI buses. As a video server, it's fast enough to record every DVB-T channel broadcast in Sydney and serve more clients than I can connect :-)

It's hardly ever turned on these days, although before I got the Toppy it was my main method of recording TV. I now use the Toppy almost exclusivelly.

should be a matter of throwing in a good DTV card like the one mentioned above

If you are refering to the VisionPlus, you better do your homework. Unless things have changed drastically over the last few months, I would not choose that card. I am very happy with a DPandA DVB-T card, which is just an OEM version of the TechnoTrend Budget Card with CI connector. They are probably the best understood cards out there and have a very good track record in the Linux community.

upgrading the graphics card to a TV-out one, getting some good quality quiet fans and maybe throwing a 74GB scsi drive in as well (I don't need to record 100's of hours of TV - I think even 20 to 30 will be way more than I ever need).  From what I've read you don't necessarily need masses of CPU grunt if you get a DTV card that does most of the processing on-board.  Anyone out there built an HTPC that can comment on this?

That kind of approach is likely to result in frustration. You have several conflicting goals here. I would suggest that you separate the playback from the recording. Get a standalone hardware box that can decode and display streaming MPEG-2 and hook that up in your loungeroom. There are a number of solid state (silent) devices appearing on the market that look adequate. Network the playback device with your tuner/recorder PC. The PC can be somewhere else in the house and therefore you don't need to worry about noise, heat or finding a card with decent TV out. You also don't need to care about the amount of CPU grunt on the PC - it's just a file server.

In terms of a decent software platform for the server, I find a Linux box with MythTV superior to Microsoft Media Center, however it does require more skill.

Personally, I don't think a HTPC is worth the effort or frustration. The main question is, do you want to stuff around with a computer or watch TV?

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  • 1 month later...

Well I haven't thought about my HTPC for a while but now I'm starting to do some planning with the intention of converting my spare machine.

Peteru - many thanks for your last post, lots more interesting and useful info to consider! I think I will persist with the HTPC idea rather than a DVR as I really want to been able to stream MP3s and photos etc to my TV. If I can avoid buying a seperate media streamer I will but I'll try to get it all going satisfactorily on the PC first I tihnk.

So.... some questions I'd love to get some input on:

1. Which software to use? As excellent as I know Myth is meant to be, I'm not a Linux guy and to be honest don't want to have to start learnign a new OS as well... I have my hands full enough with my windows machines. I'm also dubious about using MCE 2005 (which I can get via my MSDN subscription) because all the media is encoded using (yet another) propriertry format. I also want something that I can get working with some form of XMLTV program information for Oz TV AND cable. Any one out there built an XP based HTPC - what software did you use and why?

2. What I want to do is get a good DVB-S card with hardware MPEG2 decding and encoding if I can - does anyone know of a good card to get? (Peteru, have you got any more details on the card you recommended? I couldn't really find anything out there about it... do you have a web site or anything I could visit? I'm looking at the Hauppage PVR350 but not sure whether that will work with my Foxtel STB or not... don't tihnk that's a DVB-S card so probably wouldn't work.)

Also someone said I'd need the right "CAM" - can someone tell me what a "CAM" is and what it does?

And also, what's an "IR Blaster" and what's that used for?

Cheers,

Mike

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Conditional Access Module. Together with your subscriber card it decodes keys that are used to decrypt the program material. Since there is no NDS CAM in existence, 'new digital' foxtel simply can't be used in a box that requires a CAM (or any other box at all, 3rd party, your neighbours etc, but thats another story).

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2. What I want to do is get a good DVB-S card with hardware MPEG2 decding and encoding if I can - does anyone know of a good card to get?

As far as I know, there's no such thing. Some older DVB-S cards have hardware MPEG-2 decoding, but no encoding.

(Peteru, have you got any more details on the card you recommended?  I couldn't really find anything out there about it... do you have a web site or anything I could visit?

TechnoTrend are the designers and manufacturers of the cards sold by others, such as DPandA DVB-T PCI and Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T among others.

I'm looking at the Hauppage PVR350 but not sure whether that will work with my Foxtel STB or not...  don't tihnk that's a DVB-S card so probably wouldn't work.)

I have a feeling you may be getting a bit mixed up here. DVB-S is satellite digital TV, DVB-T is terrestrial digital TV, DVB-C is cable digital TV. The difference between these is mainly to do with the tuner and method of input. Obviously you need either a satellite dish, UHF/VHF antenna or a cable connection, whichever is appropriate for each standard. The problem with cable in Australia is that just about everything is encypted and the decryption modules are designed such that they only work with the equipment supplied by the cable operator. Satellite is heading that way too. On the other hand, DVB-T is currently unencrypted and just about any DVB-T tuner will work perfectly with everything available in Australia right now.

So, for cable or satellite, the only viable option is to hook up your STB to the PC. At that point, it stops being digital TV and starts being analogue TV. The STBs can only output analogue signal and your PC becomes nothing more than a digital VCR. Something like the PVR350 seems like a good option, because it will give you both encoding and decoding in hardware, so you don't need a very fast PC to get decent quality.

Also someone said I'd need the right "CAM" - can someone tell me what a "CAM" is and what it does?

Conditional Access Module. This fits into a CI (Common Interface) slot and is used to decode encypted broadcasts. If you are going via an existing STB, you don't need additional CAMs. Your STB will already have one.

And also, what's an "IR Blaster" and what's that used for?

Infra red remote control and receiver. You can use yourt PC and this to simulate you pressing buttons on the remote to change the channels on your STB.

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Thanks again - I think I'm slowly getting there!

I think I'm happy with having "analogue TV" - like I said earlier, I'm not really interested in the terrestrial digital output since I hardly watch those channels but I *do* watch a lot of foxtel and since I have no intention of going "digital" until I have no choice, this is clearly the only option I have left.

So given that, I literally just need to choose a decent DVB-S card... I'll clearly have to go for something with hardware encoding and decoding so I guess that really leaves only the PVR350 since most of the others don't seem to have both.

Apart from a large HDD is that all I'll need? The PVR350 has an IR Remote so I guess I won't need one of those... will I need a CI slot to go between the STB and the TV card? (I'm sorry to keep asking dumb Q's but I'm really struggling to get my head around all the various combinations of standards and technology!)

I guess when I look at it $700+ *is* quite a lot to spend on an analogue PVR but I really want this to be more of a "media center" than simply a TV recorder so I think the HTPC is the way to go for me.

I'm a .Net developer and want to get into some development with Media Portal which is what I think I'll use as the media center software - it's open source and looking pretty good so far.

One last Q - I read somewhere else that all satellite data is actually broadcast in MPEG2 format... is that correct?

Thanks for all the help folks (especially you Peteru!) - I know I sort of hijacked this thread but it's been great to get some really expert advice. I guess half the fun of this project for me is mucking around getting it working... I'll probably miss most of the TV I could be watching but I'll still be having fun hopefully!

Mike

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So given that, I literally just need to choose a decent DVB-S card...

Not really. You need a decent encoder / decoder. There are both PCI and USB solutions. The most popular format is MPEG-2, but MPEG-4 gear is beginning to appear in bigger numbers. The PVR350 has been around for quite a while, so you are likely to have more luck with it than some of the newer offerings. Of course, some of the newer gear may actually be better hardware, but it's the software support that really makes or breaks these things. You really need to do your research here.

Let me just set you straight on DVB, which stands for Digital Video Broadcasting. All flavours of DVB use MPEG-2 as the method of streaming the data and also as the video and audio encoding algorithms. All DVB is MPEG-2 by definition. However, none of that matters to you if you are going to use your STB to decode your Foxtel signal. I would strongly suggest that you use a proper Foxtel STB to decode the signal, because PC based alternatives are either unlikely to work now or will not work in the future as Foxtel tighten the thumb screws on their customers. They are set to replace all their encryption with something that will only ever work with their own hardware.

The PVR350 has an IR Remote so I guess I won't need one of those...

That remote won't help much, because it won't let your PC control the STB. You will need the PC to send remote commands to the STB to do things like change channels when it is time to record a show.

will I need a CI slot to go between the STB and the TV card?

No, it's going to be just an analogue connection, like you would use between the STB and a normal tape based VCR.

For the purpose of this exercise we are assuming that you are using your PC as A) remote control for the STB (to change channels) and B) a video recorder with analogue input and output. The IR blaster takes care of the PC sending the remote key presses to the STB to simulate you changing channels. The PVR350 provides the video encoding and decoding.

What you also need is some software that co-ordinates all this.

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I'm a .Net developer and want to get into some development with Media Portal which is what I think I'll use as the media center software - it's open source and looking pretty good so far.

Mike

Hi Mike, I'm also interested in your project as my circumstances & requirements are similar (Foxtel via cable though) however I'm not technically as competent as you guys!

I'm planning to look at the Media Portal software - why do you prefer this to Microsoft's Media Edition?

JB

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Not really. You need a decent encoder / decoder.

I have to say I'm getting a bit embarrassed here at my failure to really grasp this whole thing - I thought the PVR350 *was* DVB-S but now I think I finally get it: Because I'm only going to record/talk to the STB with a direct ANALOG connection I don't need a DVB-S card which handles a purely DIGITAL stream, right? I think I was getting so confused because the data stream coming in from satellite is digital - but of course, the STB decodes this to analog for the TV... makes sense now. Have I finally got this right?

Let me just set you straight on DVB, which stands for Digital Video Broadcasting. All flavours of DVB use MPEG-2 as the method of streaming the data and also as the video and audio encoding algorithms. All DVB is MPEG-2 by definition.

Thanks - I wasn't sure about the other formats but it makes sense they're all in one format.

I would strongly suggest that you use a proper Foxtel STB to decode the signal, because PC based alternatives are either unlikely to work now or will not work in the future ...

That's what I always hoped I could do - I want to keep it as simple as possible (and you can see why!). At least now I also know I don't need a CAM or a CI...

The IR blaster takes care of the PC sending the remote key presses to the STB to simulate you changing channels.

...but I do need an IR Blaster so, again, any recommendations for that? I've searched for places that sell them but haven't found any in Oz at all - where do I get one of those and what do I need to look for? The ones I saw handle all sorts of different formats - do I need an IRDeto one for Foxtel STB?

What you also need is some software that co-ordinates all this.

Do you mean "media centre" type software? As I said before I'm probably going to go for the opensource Media Portal project... it's only in it's early releases but definately works with the PVR350 and has a good feature set. I can also "plug-in" my own EPG. Then again there seem to be some good commercial packages out there such as ShowShifter and Meedio (myHTPC). I'd use MythTV but like I said, I just don't have the time or inclination to get into Linux right now... if the Windows solutions are useless then I will definately look at Myth though.

Thanks again for the input...

Mike

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