posted 9/27/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Ever since my original article on building a PVR, I’ve been using a few different pieces of software for my viewing and recording needs. I originally started with Showshifter and moved on to ATi’s Multimedia Center (MMC) since I swapped out my old WinTV card with an All-in-Wonder 8500. MMC is a nice product but I’m always searching for better. After reading HTPC News’s review and recommendation of Snapstream, I decided to give it a try. I initially passed on version 2.0 of the software, but seeing the screenshots of version 3.2 made me very interested..

Snapstream Personal Video Station is one hell of a piece of PVR software. Offering Tivo-like functionality along with server capabilities and remote recording, Snapstream gives you a plethora of multimedia features to make watching and recording TV easy and fun. Here’s my test setup of the software. The case is still the same but many components have changed.

AMD Athlon XP 1700+
ECS K7S5A motherboard
384MB PC133 Ram
ATi All-in-Wonder 8500 Pro
Hercules Game Theater XP 6.1
Toshiba 4X DVD-Rom
Maxtor 80 GIG 7200 RPM hard drive
Windows XP Professional service pack 1

Rather than install the software in conjunction with the ATi software, I decided to wipe out my system and start off with a clean slate. Installation of the Snapstream software was simple and easy. Easy to read screens with simple instructions directs you through the setup of the TV and listings in your area. You then setup an account with, which holds your settings and allows you to remotely schedule your PVR. After all the setup steps are done you are greeted with a screen to either run the product in Windowed Mode, Full Screen mode, Web Admin, or Log.

Going into the Web Admin, you have a lot of options here to choose from. One thing you should probably do is set the record quality to near DVD to best for the best quality picture when watching Live TV. Also, it’s advisable to use another software MPEG decoder such as Nvidia’s NVDvd or ATi’s own decoder as they are a much better and more efficient decoder than the one provided by Snapstream. Snapstream’s decoder seems to use the most CPU power while there’s some good performance reported with Nvidia’s.
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