Whilst trying out the rather excellent DVBlink 4.0 I came across a strange quirk in Windows Media Center when using lots of TV tuners: it eats hard disk space like it’s going out of fashion.
I say this as a user of a mac mini with a 128gb sad installed running Windows Media Center. Now this setup is never going to win any storage awards but as it’s linked with Windows Home Server’s excellent TV archive add-on (which moves recorded programs slowly over to the server some time after the recording is complete) the lack of storage really shouldn’t be an issue.
Apparently until now Media Center agreed, it had been using 50gb of the 105gb Windows partition, seeing as the most it would use would be about 3gb an hour for BBC Freeview HD program that still leaves plenty of space for many hour of recordings before TV archiver kicks in. This all changed when testing DVBlink v4, runs as a service supplying 8 tuners as a network service. Obviously the number of tuners I have (two) hasn’t changed, but with the upcoming Blackgold Quad Freeview HD tuner, I’m sure this will change at some point.
Unfortunately due to the way Media Center works it likes to reserve a chunk of space for live tv recordings, which seems to be different and separate to the system cache of 1gb per tuner it already has. This is where my well laid plan fell apart as the space reserved by Media Center is extraordinarily large, taking about 40gb of space (ie all of it) for 8 tuners, compared to 20gb for 4 tuners and about 10gb for 2 tuners (anecdotal evidence suggests the rate is about 5gb reserved space per tuner, which would match my findings)
The really pain is that if you’re not using all the tuners in the previous version of DVBlink you could easily just not set them up in Media Center. That doesn’t seem to be the case with DVBlink v4.0 Beta, something I hope will change otherwise I’ll have to switch back to a slower conventional hard disk to support Media Centers hunger for space.