Open-source video recorder adds full HD support

No TiVo? No problem - if you're OK with building your own.

If you're an enthusiastic home PC builder and a fan of Star Trek - and, to be fair, if you're the first, you're probably the second as well - it's an exciting day, as developer Klaus Schmidinger has released a new version of his open-source video disk recorder software.

The VDR software, essentially, is a Linux-based replacement for the code running on the cable box your local service provider installed when you moved in. It's free and open-source, and can be downloaded from Schmidinger's website.

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Version 2.0 of the VDR adds support for HD resolutions and a slick interface that you may remember from everyone's favorite sci-fi show.

The catch, of course, is that you'll have to build your own TV box to run the software on, though this can be done for well under $400, or even less. Schmidlinger advises the use of multiple tuner cards, so that live TV can be watched while another program is recording.

Schmidlinger is a former Siemens employee who later ran CadSoft Computer for 20 years, before selling the company in 2009 to UK-based electronics firm Premier Farnell. He told Network World via email that VDR is aimed at allowing users to exercise greater control over how they watch TV.

"One thing that really bothers me is the so-called [Common Interface Plus, a copy protection system used by some German broadcasters]. This is like 'CI on steroids,' aiming at completely dictating what viewers are allowed to do with broadcasts. Whether they can record them at all, whether they can skip commercials, and even how long a recording can be stored on disk," he said.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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