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Hi people,

I've spent some time trying to find previous articles on building a pvr that quite suits my needs, so thought i'd best write a post. If anyone could direct me to something that they have already read, then - thanks for your help.


I've recently purchased a samsung 32" lcd tv which (i believe) has an input ready for a computer and is HDTV ready. Now, with the current A/V kit I have, I can watch normal UK terrestrial tv - which looks fairly good quality; freeview (from a set top box) - at a very poor picture quality; watch dvd's - fairly good quality, and in surround sound - using a separate decoder and speaker system. I also have a home computer which has a pci nebula tv card and a 6800gt gfx card.

So.. I have to wonder...

To get the best out of my tv, what am I best doing in the future?

Do I make a pvr - and make use out of the nebula tv card (will this upscale any better than my freeview box)? Can I gain anything from the PVR with regards to surround sound and dvd quality / upscaling? What additional hardware will I need in order to make use of my surround sound decoder that I already own.

Or am I perhaps best buying a sky+ box which can also record digitally and give me a "free view" signal at a better quality than my set top box?

I'm a little lost in this subject, and most of the forums arent really specific to my problems. Any help would be greatly appreciated!




Distinguished Member
I would try connecting the PC (with the Nebula card) to the TV using the HDTV inputs, directly from the VGA output of the PC, using a HDTV resolution such as 1080i. You then have a freeview PVR, for the cost of a cable and some effort in configuration. This should give better picture quality than a set-top freeview box (although results can vary). This is because the PC is acting as a scaler, and upscaling the nebula picture (typically 720x576) to HDTV resolution (1920x1080i).

The tricky thing may be getting the graphics card to output the 1080i resolution. I personally use the (downloadable) powerstrip software to do this. On the other hand, the graphics card may support this anyway.

The sound can go direct to the receiver (using the spdif/coax/digital connection) from the PC, for good sound quality. However freeview does not broadcast in surround sound (not even prologic!), unfortunately (at least the UK, anyway).

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