Budget eBay DVB-S Cards - any good?

TimmyB

Standard Member
Hi All,

I'm considering setting up a Freesat HTPC mainly for PVR functionality, to replace a Sky Plus subscription which I'm cancelling. I'm currently leaning towards WMC on Win 7 as I like the idea of being able to get a DMA2100 media extender for £50 to give access to the HTPC from another room.

Anyway - there are plenty no-brand of DVB-S PCI cards on eBay from Hong Kong for less than £20. e.g here and here

I've searched through these forums and found many recommendations for branded products, but has anybody got any experience of these cheaper ones?

I appreciate that buying a no-brand device from Hong Kong means no support, probably no documentation etc but for the price I'm willing to give it ago, unless anyone else has tried these before and knows of problems with them?

Any advice appreciated.

Thanks,

Tim
 

Mr Tigers

Active Member
I would expect problems with drivers. For me using 7MC using the outdated drivers on the original disc meant it didn't work. As soon as I installed the latest drivers the card worked great. Personally I wouldn't take the risk of the hassle or wasting the £20.
 

TimmyB

Standard Member
Ah - right, I hadn't realised you could get a proper make that cheap. Also looking at the pictures on eBay and seeing two satellite connectors on the back of the cards, I'd leapt to the conclusion that these were dual tuner cards, apparently they aren't, so aren't quite such a good deal as I'd thought anyway.

I think I'll give one of the Compro cards a try. At the moment I'm just tinkering with all this using an old PC. I want to see how well it all works before committing to spending a load of money on a proper HTPC setup with Blu-Ray and all the rest of it. At that stage I'll probably go for a more sophisticated receive card with DVB-S2 for HD etc.

Thanks for the comments.

Tim
 

djcla

Distinguished Member
im thinking the same my laptop has s/pdif out so i just want a usb tv card to test everything and make sure she likes t first before spending loads of cash
 

kraven

Standard Member
I suppose you get what you pay for. With these, Driver support is everything.

Terratec, Hauppauge, Digital Anywhere & Blackgold seem to be the best ones.

Now if only Blackgold came out with a USB2 DVB-S, I would be in heaven.
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Get the compros and avoid older cards at all costs.

Had two Nova-S cards (the old type, not Nova-S-plus) and although they were recognised in MC, for whatever reason they weren't usable - no signal was found when using MCE, yet they worked fine in DVBViewer.

Some kind of MCE incompatibility at any rate.

Can whole heartedly recommend the compros, running two myself.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
I use the Compromate S350 too on a fairly old PC (AMD XP3200+ with 1 GB RAM).

It works a treat and I can watch BBC HD without any problem at all (although I did have to upgrade my graphics to a 9400 GT and install the HD cyberlink CODEC as my old 6400GT did not cut it).

I use MediaPortal and it rocks!

Good luck

Robbo100
 

MrLobster

Active Member
I too am using an s350, as long as you have good GPU (for hardware decoding), or use CoreAVC (with a fast CPU). It should be enough to run anything.

Although the main concern i have with using satellite (dvb-s) cards over dvb-t (freeview) cards is the fact that you get a lot less channels. Even though the channel is FreeToView (FTV) on freeview, its probably encrypted on satellite.

However if you a dvb-t card as well (I have a leaktek dtv1000), then you can have the best of both worlds.

Also I would love to see compro release a dvb-s2 card, for when (and not if) the channels start using it.
 

tony_yates

Active Member
....

... At that stage I'll probably go for a more sophisticated receive card with DVB-S2 for HD etc.

Tim

You don't need dvb-s2 for HD at the moment.

Although the main concern i have with using satellite (dvb-s) cards over dvb-t (freeview) cards is the fact that you get a lot less channels. Even though the channel is FreeToView (FTV) on freeview, its probably encrypted on satellite.

Also I would love to see compro release a dvb-s2 card, for when (and not if) the channels start using it.

Hmmm, we get a load more channels via dvb-s than we would freeview (dvb-t) maybe it where we live, we've just lost itv4 with the freeview retune yet still get it via satellite - in a way we get too many via satellite.

Oh, and another vote for the Compro S350, cracking kit at the price...

HTH,
Tony
 

MrLobster

Active Member
tbh im not too sure about the s350, I have heard problems with dead cards, and now literally a week after getting a replacement of a dead card, I fear my new card is dead (no signal but green light on the board). It was fully working last night, and this morning, no signal.

I'm also not sure on how many times you can RMA an item. If this is indeed faulty I may just buy a different brand (perhaps with dual dvb-s and dvb-t).

Some people may class the ITV2/3/4 as extra channels, but I would rather have Dave/Virgin1/FiveUS/Fiver.

DVB-S has too many of those damn sex chat channels, and shopping channels, If we got rid of them, all the current freeview channels could come over to sky.
 

TimmyB

Standard Member
Well, after playing around with media centre on Win 7 for a few days I've decided to bite the bullet. I've been running it on an old desktop with an old Nebula Electronics Freeview card, but to watch tv this is using 100% CPU on a 5 year old pc and it's clearly not going to cope with anything HD.

So I've ordered myself -
Compro VideoMate S350 DVB-S Tuner PCI Card
Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H 785G Motherboard
AMD Phenom X2 550 Black Edition 3.1GHz
Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green
Corsair 4gb (2x2gb) Ddr3 1333mhz

I've not decided on a case as yet, so going to recycle my old desktop case, PSU and DVD drive for now, and use my existing Nebula Freeview card. So I hope this will create quite a capable HTPC.
 

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