VDR uses digital Television
As a starting point for using the VDR one should have the possibility to receive digital TV. This is possible via satellite (DVB-S), cable TV (DVB-C) or - in and around some cities - terrestrial TV (DVB-T).
Digital Satellite TV
For Satellite TV a "digital prepared" satellite antenna with so called universal LNB is needed and the antenna cabling has to be done with high-quality cable, which has to be at least twice shielded.
A high quality antenna cable increases dramatically the stability of viewing and recording TV with VDR. Low loss cable with very good shielding (should be > 90dB shielding) and short cables with distance to DECT telephones should be used, especially to avoid any disturbances from DECT telephones which uses the same frequency range.
For european users probably orbital position 19.2 deg East will be interesting. This is the position of Astra.
Digital Cable TV
Users of digital cable TV should ask their cable providers which channels are digital available. Often the kind and number of available TV channels is limited, so users should inform before buying a cable tv card. In general the problem of high quality cable and good signal is valid for cable TV too.
Digital TV via terrestrial antenna
In many countries like Germany old analogue TV is replaced by digital TV, so called DVB-T. Each region has its own frequencies and availabble channels. Please inform which channels are available for you. www.ueberallfernsehen.de lists the available channels and launch dates of DVB-T in Germany.
For users who cannot get digital TV or want to add missing channels it is possible to add the functionality of viewing analogue TV with the analogTV plugin. In combination with DVB-C/T this may give you a greater amount of programs. But be careful: it works only with several hardware and increases significantly the hardware needs. Beside this deeper knowledge of linux and software is useful. Please carefully read the section before buying any kind of related hardware. In principle with VDR analogue TV is possible, analog and digital cable and analogue TV via antenna.
People planning to use analogue TV with VDR, should have a look at the (expensive but really good!) Hauppauge PVR350. Please have a look at the differencies between the analogue TV cards in the section analogue TV.
Criterias For Choosing Hardware
Before buying any hardware you should think about what your special VDR should do. Buying hardware is only the second step. There is no "ideal hardware", it really depends on your needs!
- functionality (What should your VDR can do?)
- costs (Buying wrong hardware may be expensive. ;) )
- design (how should it look? PC, hifi component)
- noise (a home entertainment center pc should be quiet, for a server it's not important..)
Depending on your needs you will have more weight on some of this factors, so you should buy your hardware depending on this.
- Standard (as "Set-Top Box")
- Server for cable-TV
- other Clients (i.e. MVP)
- VDR with Software-Decoding (output on monitor)