Please help me setup an HTPC that records DirecTV (and more)

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Please help me setup an HTPC that records DirecTV (and more)


So I've been a poor student for a very long time, and hence never really bothered to get on board about all this DirecTV, DISH, DVR stuff.

But now I am about to move into my own place and here's what I want:
A good cable/Satellite/whatever connection that connects to a 42" plasma and to my PC (will buy a new card). I also want to connect my PC to the plasma (what is the best video connector for this? DVI?)
I want HBO, Showtime and Cinemax. Most importantly I want to be able to record any and every TV show/movie (esp HBO) on my PC. I have no interest in burning to DVD since I will probably just transfer the stuff to external hard drives.
I would also like to be able to program the software on my PC to record at a certain time every week etc.
I might or might not get Windows Media Center.

I am confused right now as to how I would hook this up. Is this possible??
DirecTV(set-top?)->PC capture card (what connector?)
PC ---hdmi---> TV

I have a 2 yr old Dell PC I intend to use for this (after upgrades). It has a P4 2.7 Ghz CPU with 512 MB RAM and NVidia 5200 (128 MB) card. I intend to upgrade the RAM to 1/1.5 GB and install a new ATI video card (which one? HDMI output?). I'm guessing I also need a video capture card. Which one should I get?

I have kind of looked at the DVR option but it seems to expensive and wasteful. Plus getting it off the DVR and to my PC seems complicated. So I would like to eliminate the DVR option altogether.

So please please please help. Any and all advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!
Also, any advice on which brand/equipment/company is also welcome. Especially regarding the plasma (42" is ideal).

Thanks so much in advance!


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