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Help choosing TV Card....im about to go crazy

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by CyBeRkId2002, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. CyBeRkId2002

    CyBeRkId2002
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    Hi all, need a little help selecting a tv tuner card and am slightly baffled by the different options available... If I give my requirements hopefully someone will be able to help...

    What the card MUST do:

    display some kind of tv (either dvb or tv normal tv)(best picture possible)
    be compatible with MCE2005
    record tv
    accept s-video input to connect a sky box as and when i get one

    Optional extras:

    Radio
    DVB ideally
    change channels on sky boxes (dont know if this is even possible)

    Anyone have any ideas or am i being too fussy?

    Cheers,
    Michael
     
  2. hebawom

    hebawom
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    I think you are looking for this!!
    http://www.pluggedin.tv/item--SweetSpot-MCE--SWEETSPOT-MCE
    Very nice picture - digitalTV, MCE compatable, S-Video input for capturing (haven't tried this yet), record TV (through MCE), pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV.
    Best of all type AVForums in the discount box and you get 12.5% discount!!

    The MCE2005 remote has an IR Blaster - which you can set up to change channels on your sky box.

    There is no radio free-view radio through MCE in this release (I heard this would change in the 2006 version?), but for picture quality you can't go wrong with this card.
     
  3. groovyclam

    groovyclam
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    Be very clear you understand the following current limitations of WinMCE2005

    1) You can't record DVB-T FreeView radio stations

    2) You can't have two different platforms co-existing at once from which you can use WinMCE's EPG and set timed recordings i.e. you can't have a FreeView source and a Sky source ( but you could have two FreeView sources )

    3) It doesn't do digital teletext

    Having said that to answer some points about cards:

    1) I am pretty sure ( someone correct me if wrong ) that the SweetSpot mentioned in the post above would not be able to encode the signal you are putting in via it's s-video port *in hardware* ( i.e. you would need to do it via a software encoding codec ). This means that you would need a *damn fast* processor to get decent encoding ( and also I'm not sure WinMCE2005 can "talk to" cards that can't do hardware encoding ). In all probability you would only be able to capture a small res version of the s-video fed signal without frame drops.
    The SweetSpot would be fine for FreeView recordings though ( but at the mercy of WinMCE's issues I mentioned above ). The best you may be able to set up under WinMCE with this card is watching/recording FreeView and only *watching* the live Skybox signal you feed in via the s-video port.

    2) You may choose instead to opt for a MCE-compatible card that captures *in hardware* to MPEG2 files anything you feed in via it's svideo input port. You could then attach either a FreeView set-top box via the s-video or a Sky box via the s-video. You would need to set up some sort of channel change doodad to handle channel changes for when you are not there for timed recordings. ( If you are getting WinMCE you should also buy the WinMCE remote control and IR channel change doodad as well in order to do this. ) Choosing this route still means you can only have FreeView *or* Sky. There are various MPEG2 encoding in hardware cards that are MCE compatible but I don't know the best one.

    An alternative would be to use MediaPortal instead of WinMCE which is free and ( without checking ) *may* offer dual platform recording as long as you can find regular/reliable xmltv uk listing sources for the channels you are interested in. For best results you would still need a dedicated MPEG2 in hardware card for the Sky box and a separate FreeView PCI ( or USB2 ) card with BDA drivers ( MediaPortal uses the BDA driver method to talk to TV cards ). More info about MediaPortal at http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net/
     
  4. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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    The sweetsport MCE doesn't have a hardware MPEG2 encoder so the s-video capture won't be supported under MCE - this is true for all DVB-T cards (AFAIK)

    If you need to caputure sky through s-video under MCE then you need an analogue card which has an MPEG2 encoder (this encodes the analgue TV signal and the analogue s-video input) such as the hauppauge PVR150
     
  5. kolabere

    kolabere
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    Thanks grovyclam ;) .

    I wish that I'd read that 2 months ago before buying my Artisan, the lack of radio is a serious omition :mad: .
     
  6. groovyclam

    groovyclam
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    I don't know what an Artisan is at all, but I can say for sure that the lack of radio recording is via FreeView i.e. Digital Terrestrial broadcasting

    You *may* be able to record via a DAB receiver with MCE - I'm not sure. Although the mixing platforms I mentioned above may be a problem.

    Someone else would have to clarify the DAB situation with WinMCE for you.

    If you got a MPEG2 hardware encoder card you could feed *any* separate box ( FreeView, cable or Sky ) into WinMCE and it could record any channel ( radio or otherwise ) - it would just think it is recording a TV channel. This is different to recording the MPEG2 broadcast stream from a PCI FreeView card ( SweetSpot or BlackGols ) and it is only here that it can't record the DVB-T radio streams.
     
  7. groovyclam

    groovyclam
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    Do you know about the Nebula DigiTV card ?

    It can record all DVB-T channels - TV *and* Radio.

    It doesn't work with WinMCE but has it's own full-screen app to do so. Not as pretty as WinMCE but it also does digital teletext which WinMCE can't do.

    It has it's own set of foibles, faults, glitches and quirks but balanced info from users can be found here: http://www.digitv-forum.co.uk/
     
  8. Kopite4Ever

    Kopite4Ever
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    im interested in this card for my new build. one question is the s-video input, can i just plug in my xbox and play on PC. none of this recording malarky or MCE compatibility i just want a quality freeview card that allows me to play xbox.
     
  9. CyBeRkId2002

    CyBeRkId2002
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    havent been around for a while but thanks alot for your help guys...
    decided to go for the pvr-150 as that seems to do EVERYTHING i want except for show digital tv. Just out of interest what are peoples opinions on the quality of picture from these card and the hardware encoding?

    Michael Jones
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    It seems to be mixed . I was considering getting one but the varying reports on picture quality have put me off somewhat.

    have a look here for some test clips that look ok ( at the higher bit rate anyway)

    http://www.cask-of-amontillado.com/htpc.html
     
  11. wyerd

    wyerd
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