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Capture card purchase for HTPC, HELP.

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by neonmod, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. neonmod

    neonmod
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    Hi,

    I have been reading many threads as i am looking to get the best possible setup for my HTPC.

    I am currently using a TV2000XP Expert with Sky+ via S-Video and usins D-scaler for PQ processing.

    PQ is good but has a lot of distortions especially around the edges in the form of small transparent circles or snowflakes!

    I have been looking mainly into the PVR 250, Sweetspot (for RGB/component connections) and the new sahhire theatrix and i have seen some info on the black gold and Xcard.

    I want to get a card that will give me crystal clear high quality upscaled video.

    I have upgraded to MCE2005 and would like to know if it is also compatible but this is not an issue but i would like d-scaler support if poss.

    I have a P4 3.2, 1gb ram and a radeon 9800XT and i am feeding a 42" Plasma via dvi-component dongle attached to the radeon.

    Any help will be much appreciated!

    cheers! :smashin:
     
  2. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Ignore the X-card, it's a dvd player card, not an input card.

    Highest quality first, descending order after that.

    1. Get Sky box modded with SDI digital video output, but someone like pj hi-fi. Plus get a pms sdi card, or I think the Sweetspot itself includes SDI input as well as RGB/component which would still be useful for games consoles.
    ~£400

    2. Freeview pci card like the Black Gold. Need aerial socket and can't do the premium channels.
    +Works with MCE 2005 apparently.
    ~£90

    3. Sweetspot or Immersive holo3d +RGB daughterboard.
    holo3d has nicer on-screen graphics and can be fully remote controlled out of the box. On-board Faroudja would mean cpu power not needed.
    Probably looking at a late model secondhand. Be wary of the holo3dII as I think it still has chroma offset issues that Jeff reported which may not have been addressed properly.

    BTW, Dscaler works with the holo3d, just not with the holo3d's PDI digital video port yet as far as I can tell.
    ~£200

    Sweetspot works with Dscaler software, and I think has better support these days. It'll allow you to use more of your cpu power to add noise reduction filters if desired.
    ~£200

    I can't think of any more options that'll improve what you have.

    How much to you favour ease-of-use?

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  3. neonmod

    neonmod
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    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Not bothered about ease of use.

    I will look into the holo card you mentioned!

    Cheers! :smashin:
     
  4. philipb

    philipb
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    The analogue Sweetspot card does not include an SDI input. It is purely analogue, but is the best analogue capture card you can buy and ideal for hooking up to a Sky box.

    Agree the SDI route ups the quality but costs a lot more.

    I used a holograph II card for a long time, but went over to the pms SDI capture card with dscaler. The H3DII has it all - composite/s-video/component/SDI inputs. I now have two SDI feeds - DVD and Sky+ and the H3DII has just one SDI input so I decided to move on. True it has the chroma problem on PAL with the latest drivers, but there is a neat work around posted on the H3DII forums involving using an earlier driver release coupled with the latest GUI so you get most of the latest functionality without the PAL issues.
    I must get round to selling it sometime.

    You may know this already, but the Nebula card will not work with MCE2005. If you want MCE then go for the Black gold.
     
  5. neonmod

    neonmod
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    Hi,

    Thanks very much!

    Hmm how much will you be wanting for your H3DII?

    Cheers! :smashin:
     
  6. philipb

    philipb
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    I'm not sure we're allowed to discuss that on this forum.

    I'll have a think and PM you, if that's not breaking any forum rules?
     
  7. neonmod

    neonmod
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    Hi,

    You would be better sending a PM to me please, thats what everyone else does!

    Cheers! :smashin:
     
  8. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I haven't experience of the Sweetspot or holo3dII cards, so can't compare their RGB performance.

    I can say the component and s-video input quality of the holo3d(1) is superb, which I use mainly for x-box and playstation2 gaming occasionally.

    I'd read-up at www.immersiveinc.com and browse the issues on the holo3d1&2 forum: http://www.immersiveforum.com

    My gut feel is the 43% premium for the holo3dII might be well worth it, because as technically competent as Dscaler is, the holo3d on-screen graphics and remote control are very nice to use. With the holo3d1 it really feels like a high-end scaler, as opposed to pc software.

    Potential Risks:
    1. Is the chroma offset still an issue, assuming using the radeon's output and not the DVI or component OUTPUT options.

    2. Does the secondhand one come with the software CD to allow you to install the nice holo3d on-screen gui?

    3. Does it take RGBs (the SCART form of RGB) natively or does it need an add-on RGB input board?

    4. Where can you get an appropriate euro SCART to RGBs (4 phonos, Red, Gren, Blue and Sync) lead? This might be the same lead you'd need with a Sweetspot RGB input? So it might be worth researching the sweetspot site.

    One final drawback of a faroudja based holo3d:
    I assume the holo3d2 is the same as the holod when processing NTSC (region1) sources in that it only works internally at 60Hz. This means you can't watch NTSC films at 71.928Hz, which many CRT users and some plasma users use to get the most fluid of pans.

    If your Plasma display can take a native pixel-perfect resolution at 47.952Hz or 71.928Hz then, for NTSC films, that's something I think the Sweetspot and Dscaler with it's JudderTerminator feature can do for you.

    Watching NTSC films at 60Hz isn't too bad, and is what ALL progressive scan players do and what most scalers output at, apparently with the exception of the new Lumagen scalers. Also if your plasma works better with 60Hz than 47.952/71.928 then it's irrelevant.

    For UK off-air and PAL DVD's it's irrelevant as that's 50Hz for film or video material BTW.

    regards,
    Rob.
     

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