As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking to replace my livingroom PC with something cheaper, quieter and more compact, which will still let me play back dowloaded video and, ideally, control my PC based PVR software.
The first thing I looked at was the Hauppage MediaMVP. I’ve had my eyes on this device for a while because it was relatively cheap (less than $100) and had an SDK, which created the potential for people to create software to use it as the front end for PC based media applications.
Sure enough, there is now a plug-in that allows people to use the MediaMVP as a front-end to most of the features of SageTV. Very cool. Unfortunately, the device doesn’t support MPEG4 encoded videos natively. Hauppage provides PC side software to transcode on-the fly, but image quality suffers, plus, its a kludge. Furthermore, the SageTV plugin doesn’t support any sort of transcoding.
In the long run, I hope that Hauppage will start using a chip that supports MPEG4 natively, which seems possible, given how MPEG4 support is finding its way into more and more cheap DVD players.
For now though, I’m going to have to keep looking.