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I want to record TV program on my PC, the set-top box has CVBS and audio (RCA), HDMI, YPbPr, RS232, USB(a female one) and Ethernet port, and my PC has VGA, USB, 1394 port and PCI Express slot. The set-top box Wikipedia article said it could act as a tuner, how can I connect them? Thanks.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know what set-top box you have, but I've not heard of one that works without a computer that can connect directly to a computer without additional hardware that most computers do not have.

I also don't know what service you use to get television signal (Satellite, Cable, FiOS, or is it "over-the-air").

And I don't know where you are as digital rights technologies mean many places won't work with certain technologies.

I'm in the USA and use a Ceton CableCard Tuner card. My Cable Television wire connects directly to the Ceton card installed in the computer and a CableCard from my Cable Television provider allows the Ceton card to receive all my channels in HD. This allows Windows Media Center to record up to four different programs at once like any DVR might. However, as I understand it, CableCard (and the Ceton card) only works with Cable Television providers (and FiOS) in the United States. It does NOT work with Satellite and it does not work outside the United States, including Canada.

There are other Tuner products and they are (in my opinion) generally inexpensive. Hauppauge makes several different ones as does ATI. The devices tend to cost between $50 and $200 depending on the number of tuners and technologies supported.

If you can be more specific as to what you have and where you are, better advice may follow.

Bottom line - I don't know of any way to do what you're asking without at least one more piece of hardware and where you and what you have will determine what that hardware can/needs to be.

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We could assume that the set-top box has whatever tuner he needs that is suitable for the received TV signal. So somekind of video capture device is needed to convert analog video (either the CVBS or YPbPr outputs from the STB) to digitized video for the PC to record to HDD. Plus a soundcard. I would prefer to not use the STB and instead use a PC tuner, but (as you pointed out) there is not enough info to determine if that is even feasible. – sawdust Sep 6 '12 at 20:27
I am in China and I receive TV signal through cable, if I do not use the STB I can only receive 9 channels with poor quality. Will I still need other hardware if my PC has HDMI port? – yanglifu90 Sep 7 '12 at 0:31
"my PC has HDMI port" - The PC is a video source, so its HDMI port is for output to a display. The PC's HDMI cannot accept an HDMI input. The STB is also an HDMI output. You cannot connect two outputs to each other. – sawdust Sep 7 '12 at 4:29

The 1394 port probably supports video out. (IIRC, It's required to by law.)

However, the premium channels are likely encrypted.

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Reread the question. The 1394 port is on the PC. There is no 1394 port on the STB. – sawdust Sep 6 '12 at 20:33
Oops. In that case he would likely need a video capture device as noted above. – Chris Nava Sep 6 '12 at 20:36

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