We're cutting the cable and putting up an antenna. I have a not-too-old laptop I plan on using as a DVR (or PVR - not sure what the difference is), and have an inexpensive USB TV tuner on order. Any suggestions for software?

Currently the PC has Windows 7 with Media Center. I was looking at MythTV - it seems pretty full-featured (installing Linux on the laptop shouldn't be an issue). But I have no experience with either of these.

Desired features:

  • Auto record shows
  • Pause/Rewind Live TV
  • Act as a server - other PCs on network can access recordings
  • HD

Optional features:

  • iPad app to access recordings
  • Media server for my videos/pictures/music
  • DVD/Blu-ray grabber - store copies of my DVDs on disk
  • Work with multiple USB tuners - watch and record at same time
  • Netflix/Amazon Prime Integration

1 Answer 1


Follow up (since nobody answered).

I ended up going with NextPVR. I didn't go with MediaCenter since Microsoft has abandoned it. I did not use MythTV because the tuner card I purchased did not have a Linux driver (I ended up returning it but was already using NPVR on Windows 7). NPVR has most of the features I needed.

With all the PVR software I've looked at there are 2 parts: a front end and a back end. The back end manages recordings and stuff, and the front end is the user interface. I have been playing with NPVR as the back end and Kodi as the front end. As of yet, I have not decided on NPVR's front end or Kodi. NPVR is nice and simple, but I have a Raspberry PI 2 set up as a 2nd PVR in the bedroom and NPVR isn't available for Linux but Kodi is both Windows and Linux. So Kodi has the advantage of consistency - both PVRs have same UI.

Lastly, I originally purchased a $35 USB tuner. It picked up only half the stations my TV did. I ended up going with HDHomerun. It's more expensive but it has 2 tuners and gets all the channels as my TV so I feel it's worth it. I live 50 miles from the nearest city. YMMV.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.