Build Your Own Silent HTPC – Blu-ray, HD DVD and HDTV Combined

HDTV Tuner Card and Common Interface – KNC One

Silent HTPC Blu-ray HD-DVD DVB-S2Silent HTPC Blu-ray HD-DVD DVB-S2

In Europe, HDTV signals are broadcast primarily via satellite and cable, with the former offering a much wider range of programs. Our configuration uses a solution for satellite reception and supports the DVB-S2 standard.

For our purposes, we sought an HDTV-capable PCI tuner card that is DVB-S2 compliant, is downward compatible with standard TV via DVB-S and comes with a connector for a Common Interface (CI) to decrypt Pay TV stations. A remote control is not a must, since our Silverstone case already includes one. An important point in selecting the CI-module was that it should offer the flexibility for front or rear mounting. Many companies still haven’t got the message. A CI-module that can be installed exclusively on the back of a system is only an option for users that rarely switch between Pay-TV smartcards. After all, once the HTPC is set up in the living room, you won’t be able to just swap out the smartcard on the back without some acrobatic feats worthy of a Chinese gymnast. A front-mounting option is much more comfortable and user friendly. The CI module should also ship with a fitting front-panel allowing installation in either a 3.5” or 5.25” drive bay.

Finally, the TV tuner card should also use a BDA driver (Broadcast Driver Architecture) to simplify its integration with DVB software. We found the KNC One TV-Station DVB-S2 and the companion CI module KNC One CineView to be the most suited to out purposes, as it fulfils all of our requirements. If you’d like to enjoy the luxury of watching a programme while recording a movie broadcast on another transponder, you can always buy two TV tuner cards. Another option is using one DVB-S2 (satellite) and one DVB-C (cable) card, giving you all-round flexibility.