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Recommend a barebones box for TV/Audio

DTMark

ULTIMATE Member
We have a Humax PVR TV box that is dying.

I have a Meridian MQA DAC for audio. One of those weird people who can't listen to "standard" digital audio but I can listen to this new MQA format.

To use that I have to cart the laptop downstairs (from home office to living room where the audio kit is) and plug in the DAC then connect that to the amplifier. It's not really practical. Something more permanent is desired.

I see the opportunity to sort both: a full PC to do audio and video. Sound card not relevant as output is to USB and the external DAC does the rest.

Will need a TV capture card. I suppose that's best as a PCI install. Because the overhead of occasionally playing audio while recording video may overload a USB hub.

Need to be able to record off-air TV; that could be to our network NAS RAID drive, which also stores various video and music files for playback.

So while a tiny form-factor PC seems the obvious choice I probably won't be able to install a PCI TV card in one of those.

A desktop box is fine though some "mini" variant seems appropriate. It need not be very special, but has to have enough processor power to handle, as an example, Tidal on-screen via HDMI playing to USB DAC while simultaneously recording from the PCI card.

Any hardware suggestions or pointers? I'm a "bit out of touch".. ;)
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
I would have thought that just about any mid range cpu would do it; but have you considered noise from the PC??

There are some very good silent PC possibilities these days; until I went overclock crazy last year, the loudest noise from my PC was the HDD seeker motor.
 

NickC4555

Regular Member
I have been using a NUC for this purpose for a couple of years. It works well sitting in the TV cabinet together with my QNAP NAS. I've got a couple of Hauppauge USB tuners for live TV with NextPVR, but if I was starting again I'd buy a HDHomeRun tuner because it's the only one that works with Plex DVR. I use Plex for everything else, so I'd like to retire NextPVR.
 

DTMark

ULTIMATE Member
(Coming back to this after time on other things!)

Good point about noise. My office PC has a fan noise all the time which would be noticeable in the living room.

Actually, the old power plug network adapter used to make a noise which I thought was a phone ringing in the distance. Drove me mad at times. It was actually the noise made by the LED light on it flashing on and off. I think I might have quite sensitive hearing. It's better than my eyesight is, anyway ;)

Looking at the NUC units. I need to "do the research". It appears that about £350 should provide something quite decent.
 
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