Satellite is a completely different story. The problem is that Sky has no way of knowing who is pointing a dish at their satellite so it has to use encryption to protect the signal. The signal feed from the dish to the Sky box and Sky card is supposed to be out of your grasp, especially as Sky charges increasing fees for Sky, Sky+ and Sky HD servies.
Hauppauge's WinTV Nova S Plus satellite tuner card
It's easy enough to buy a DVB-S card - Hauppage, for instance, has its WinTV Nova S Plus for standard definition programmes, and its WinTV Nova HD S2 for hi-def broadcasts - that will accept a feed from a satellite dish, and if you're a real buff you'll have a motorised dish that you can steer to known points to receive the satellite signal of your choice. Rumours abound of football fans who watch the unencrypted uplink signal of foreign matches before it reaches the studio and is then encrypted for broadcast.
That sounds like awfully hard work to us, and a trawl of the many AV forums throws up all sorts of issues. Take this snippet from club.cdfreaks.com:
"To use a DVB-S card with an official subscription, you will need a DVB-S card with CAM support. I had a quick look at the Hauppauge UK website, but there is no mention of CAM support with their latest cards, which means that they only pick up free-to-air channels (and data services such as broadband-via-satellite) with its included software.
"ProgDVB does support the use of so-called software CAMs, such as Yankse. However, as a software CAM is an emulation of a hardware CAM, these also require decryption keys to work since there is no physical slot insert a card to. As getting the keys out for a card is much like getting a patch for a game to work without the CD, I will not discuss this any further here."
The CAM referred to is a Conditional Access Module - tech-talk for the add-in card that authorises your set-top box to decrypt the selected channel. Without it, you'll be left only viewing the free-to-air channels, most of which you get on Freeview anyway.
Once you've installed a DVB-T tuner, or perhaps a triple mode tuner with both DVB-T and DVB-C you'll find it's simple to watch and record TV. Indeed, any student or teenager who is considering taking both a laptop and TV away to college or university should seriously consider ditching the TV altogether.
How to watch TV on your PC
RE: Why all the mucking about?
Mmm..there are people who can't get SKY+ as they are on a communal feed, ie no personal dish
RE: Vista Media Center 64 Woes pt. 2
Well one thing to check when searching for Vista hardware is that it has the MS Vista Compatible Logo not the MS Vista Capable logo. What's the difference? Well only Vista Compatible hardware is guaranteed to work in 32 bit and 64 bit versions! Even with the logo present there is not guarantee that it works with Vista MCE. (thanks a bunch MS)
Last time I checked Hauppauge's Nova T-500 Dual Tuner card did not support Vista 64 bit and they had no plans to support Vista 64 bit either.
So to all the eye-sayers please tell me of a TV card that has dual tuners and with Vista 64 MCE supports DVB-T subtitles, MHEG-5 digital teletext and Freeview playback?
Why all the mucking around someone asked when you can just get Sky+ or a Humax PVR-9200TS? Well I'd like a one box does it all solution for CD, DVD, blu-ray, Photos, TV (Freeview), web surfing and the odd occasional letter to the rellies. Whether or not that's achievable at all is another matter entirely!
I suspect by Christmas I'll be buying a PVR-9200TS and consigning the Media PC to the back room.
Vista still has really stupid problems
I just spent the weekend trying to get Vista media center to play video files.
For some unfathomable reason, Microsoft have arranged it so the media player component of Media Center does not use the same codecs as the stand-alone Windows Media Player 11...
After many hours of searching & trying various 'solutions', Media Center still does not recognise any files beyond the built-in types.
Media player handles them all.
Vista Media Center 64 Woes
I'm not sure if this applies to the 32-bit version of Vista MC, but I tried it with the "Vista Compatible" Compro E700 PCI-E Dual DVB-T tuner and MC found the card, found all the channels, but would not display any of them when you tried to watch them! Apparently more than this card is affected by the problem.
Also be prepared for a lack of Freeview now/next, 7-Day and Freeview playback EPG support in both MC and the cards own software. Most TV cards collect the EPG fro mthe internet and not from the broadcast EPG. Without Freeview Playback EPG support the likelihood of "Sky+" style series link and PDC recording is but a pipe dream.
Also, despite having album art defined for my music collection (i.e. folder.jpg) album art is often missing! It usually appears in the album views and for the first track on album playback, but all subsequent tracks have the artwork missing! Media Player does not have this problem at all though?!?!?
My opinion is that creating a Vista Media Centre PC is not for the faint hearted and it is not ready for mass market.
RE: Virgin Media Transmission
That is indeed true.
Apparently, You can get "hacked" cards that will allow you to receive all channels. But my question is, Would VM know?
VM make contact with the card as well. If you change your TV Service package from the S package to a L package, you don't get a new card (AFAIK)...