Friday, August 22, 2008

Honey I need a new Drive - The Olympics Filled Up My DVR

If you're like many television viewers, you've been watching some of the Summer Olympics these past few weeks.  With the Olympic Games coverage on NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal-HD, NBC HD, and USA HD channels there's been lots of options and about 3,600 hours of Olympics to watch over the entire games.  Well for some folks, just watching some of the games isn't enough - many have been recording some of the events and some have even been recording everything.  With DVRs, TIVO's and HTPC's there are lots of options out there and many of them (TIVO, SageTV and BeyondTV for instance) give you the ability to record by a keyword.
If you're wondering how much hard drive space you'd need to record all of that 3,600 hours lets just say it could easily fill up 2 Terrabytes of hard drive space - and thats assuming much of the recording is being done with non-HD.....

One guy I found who is doing this is Jake.  Jake is using BeyondTV, a HTPC software program to record all of the Olympics.  Jake says:
"I love to watch the Olympics. There's just so much of it I hope that we get to see some of the obscure stuff that's out there....I like to see many of the lesser known events, and even then we are missing some. Even with all of my recordings, so often the times are off and when the show ends, I have inevitably missed the last most important minutes of the events."
What kind of setup is Jake using to record and store all of this SD and HD Olympics content?
Jake has 3 Beyond TV Link (Home Theater PC's used as extenders) machines.  He and his wife watch a majority of the programming.  Jake also commented about their move away from the standard cable-box DVR:
We probably "watch 100% more than we should be because it is so easy to record and skip commercials. She (nor I) could live without a DVR any longer."
His setup includes a dual-core 3.0 ghz Processor in a Silverstone case.  There are two HD OTA tuners and three SD cable tuners.  In total there is 1TB of hard drive space to store everything & for the times like the Olympics I'm betting that much hard drive space is needed.

He plans to upgrade his system to handle these heavy-use times.  It will be interesting to see what he does for the next Olympics.  You can read more about Jake's Olympics Keyword Recording at the Snapstream Forums.

Another person doing this is Dale Dietrich (contributor for ZatzNotFunny), who uses his S3 Tivo to record every NBC Olympics broadcast.  Dale says he's recordimg about 14 hrs a day and uses the fast forward button a lot.  To add recording space he uses sidecar and has about 1TB of space total.
I polled some SageTV users as well and many of them are using their Hauppauge HD-PVR's to watch and record their content in HD.  To read about more HTPC owners recording their Olympics using different strategies check out the SageTV forums.