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To run the VDR software, you need a computer with a decent amount of RAM (at least 512 MB) and a large hard disk (1 TB 2.5" drives are a good choice, because they are pretty quiet). It is strongly recommended to provide for the risk of disk failure, because losing hundreds of recordings can be a traumatic experience! So you should at least use two disks in a RAID-1 (mirrored) configuration. If one of them fails, it can be easily replaced without data loss.

To receive digital tv you need at least one device that can handle DVB-S (satellite), DVB-T (terrestrial) or DVB-C (cable). This can be either a PCI card that is plugged into the computer, or a USB device. If you want to receive HDTV, you may want to get a device capable of handling DVB-S2 or DVB-T2, respectively.

Since you will also want to be able to view DVB programmes live, or replay your recordings, you will need some way of displaying them. Originally VDR was designed to work with so-called "full featured" DVB cards. These are devices that have both a DVB receiver and an MPEG decoder for displaying the data. There are two plugins that come with the VDR archive: "dvbsddevice" can be used with the full featured cards that follow the Siemens/TechnoTrend design, while "dvbhddevice" is for the TechnoTrend Premium S2-6400 Twin HD. Unfortunately, neither of these cards are produced any more. This is a great pity, especially for the TT S2-6400, which provides a very easy way of setting up a dual DVB-S2 receiver with hardware decoding. As an alternative you can use, for instance. the softhddevice plugin.

The hardware I have chosen to build the Video Disk Recorder consists of the following components:

  • Motherboard ASUS P5GC
  • Intel® Core™2 CPU E4300 @ 1.80GHz
  • 2 x HDD 2.5" 2TB MQ01ABB200 (configured as RAID-1)
  • 2 GB RAM
  • simple VGA card (no X running on this system)
  • 1 x TT S2-6400 (full featured dual digital satellite receiver card)
  • 3 x TT-budget® S2-3200 (budget digital satellite receiver card)
  • 1 x TechniSat AirStar 2 (budget digital terrestrial receiver card)
  • 3 x CI adapter (connected to the TT-budget® S2-3200)
  • PC casing Silverstone SST-GD01B-MXR
  • External CPU heat sink using heat pipes
  • Remote control via LIRC, using a serial infrared receiver

Here are a few pictures of my VDR hardware

VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware

  VDR Hardware