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Spring Computer Maintenance

Spring Computer Maintenance

For whatever reason, Spring is the season for upgrading and backing up my computer systems.  Maybe it’s because the weather isn’t quite good enough for outdoor barbecues but I still feel like really digging into a project.

I’ve just upgraded my HTPC’s PVR software from the excellent GBPVR to nPVR (same software – just a 2.0 upgrade) which is a fair improvement, especially since the software is free to use.  It’s very stable and mature software that works with a wide variety of video capture cards only requiring a hardware encoder.  Almost all Hauppauge cards will work. I use an older HVR1600 as well as the excellent HDPVR by Hauppauge which allows for recording HD programs off of the Comcast Digital Box.  I also use Silicondust’s HDHomerun to record QAM channels (which are just local HD channels coming straight through the cable line without a box.)

I got tired of the limitations of the Comcast DVR which does have enough storage space for my desires and will not allow the user to watch a recorded program anywhere but where it’s recorded.  Using my home network, I’m able to record a program on one computer and watch it on any other computer in the house.  My main HTPC is hooked up to a 40″ HP MediaSmart LCD screen (using the HDMI input).  I have another computer hooked up to an older Mitsubishi rear-projection TV using the DVI connection on the TV.

But one of the cool things about the software is that you can install it in “client mode” which allows you to run it from a computer (like a laptop) that doesn’t have a capture card.  In client mode, I can use my laptop to watch recordings or live TV, change channels, schedule recordings or whatever else I want to do from wherever I am in the house.  There’s also a web based interface that offers the ability to schedule remotely if you have remote access to your computers via a static IP or a dynamicDNS service.

So once the HTPC upgrades were done, I started doing some general backups and adding more procedures to the automatically occurring backups already set up.  Now I just need to look into offline backup options . .   Ahh, Spring!


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