We have entered the DVD age truly with DVD burners priced under 100 bucks and disks for $.60 cents a piece. I received my copy of DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink and I have been backing up my DVD collection. I did have an extensive mini tape collection but that is virtually useless since my mini recorder died.
I thought that eventually I would have to transfer these tapes over and what a chore this is going to be. I wanted to get away from the nightmare cable wiring and I wanted to have a system that could act like a DVR. What I came up with solves all my needs and works surprisingly well. Oddly I have found many possible uses for this new machine that I didn't originally consider.
AMD 2.4 Gig CPU, 512 Mb ram, twin Maxtor 120 Gig hard drives, Hi Res USB video capture unit, 4 channel video switcher, 3 bank video patch bay, 3 bank stereo patch bay, Internal Sat receiver, Internal digital cable receiver, 128 meg ATI 9200 SE AGP video card, ATI 7000 series PCI video card, 16 X Dual Layer DVD +/- R burner, 7" LCD Video Monitor.
Ya ...I know...7" video screen. I wanted to be able to control the process video without effecting the actual output to the TV so I decided that the easiest way to accomplish this was to install a small editing screen within the machine. I actually went with a car deck. These mount easier than a standard screen and allow you to put it away if necessary. This monitor happens to have dual inputs so I used the output from one Video card as the main input on the screen. This sets up as Monitor 3 in Windows. The other monitor input is internally tied to the output on the switcher for AV device monitoring. The card programmer was an after thought and not needed but installed just in case. The video capture device is an external device mounted internally but wired to the card reader USB input and tied to the output of the video switcher. Seen as a USB AV device in windows ( Video Wave, Adobe Premier) permits me to use the computer as a DVR for any input device as well the sat receiver and cable card provide their own direct record facility through windows. Two monitors plug into the standard ATI card connectors providing multi monitor support for editing purposes as well as the internal monitor set as monitor 3 as mentioned earlier. In most applications in Windows I can set the small display as the vid sample screen with another as the edit screen and another as the tool source. Games are fabulous as well as I can multi monitor parts of the game. Flight simulator is perfect for this. The Main screen is the instrument view with second monitor as the side view / GPS and second guages screen and the internal monitor as the spot plane.
Video and Audio patch bays greatly reduce the cable mess. I made a bunch of short RCA patch cables but then found an abundance of multi colored short cables (6") at Princess Auto for 50 cents ea.
As for the cosmetics of the case, I used a standard cream case, painted it in stages, grey to black. I used body fiberglass to smooth edges for the monitor and lots of sanding. I didn't get really fancy cutting the case. I found the center, measured twice and went hack saw crazy. Make sure that you don't end up glueing the whole mess together. Its important that you can disassemble any part of the unit easily as you will end up doing this a dozen times until everything is right. I used the 9200 series and the 7000 series cards as they seem to not mind coexisting together and their outputs are identical... You may have to play around with different combinations until you find something that works. Don't use a great card and a lousy card as windows may have memory issues running the applications or you won't be able to utilize the accelerator on the fast card.