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HTPC build - Help with Tv capture card purchase

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by irishkeet, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. irishkeet

    irishkeet
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    Hi all

    Sourced nearly all the bits for my HTPC but having trouble with the TV aspect.

    I want my HTPC to be my living room DVD & music system. I will be using a freeview TV card an running it all through an AV amp with Canton CD101 speakers and a 26" LCD.

    Now my problem is what card to buy.
    Im considering the BlackGold, Nebula DigiTV or Sweetspot MCE - as far as I know all these cards have a freeview version

    I want to be able to watch TV & record to the hard drive, I would also like to stream TV through my LAN (just 1 other PC in my bedroom) and I know the Nebula does this but can the others

    Also do I need 2 cards to watch one channel & record another - also how do you wire 2 cards up - I only have 1 aerial coming in, no Sky/telewest.

    My other question is do I need either of these 2 cards SweetSpot Video Processor or RealMagic Xcard DVD/ I think the SweetSpot Video is only needed if I had Sky, Xbox etc but not sure about the Xcard.

    I hope someone can help me pleassseeee, I have been reading the forums like mad but Im still stumped

    many thanks

    irishkeet
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    The black gold and the sweetspot MCE are the same card I think.

    You don't need the Xcard , its only necessary if you want to play dvds on the computer through Dscaler and or want a half decent svideo output from the PC.

    The black gold works in a dual tuner setup from what I've read.

    The nebula is great but MCE compatability isn't quite there yet and the additional dual tuner module has yet to materialise but is supposedly imminent .( I've ordered one myself)

    You can stream live over a lan with the nebula . You can also stream using VLC (videolan) but I'm not sure if you could steam live from the black gold using this.

    To wire two cards up . The nebula dual arrangement has a loopthrough . The black golds also do I suspect. If they don't then its easy enough to use a Y splitter on the aerial downlink to give you two feeds but the signal strenght may not be good enough to allow this . Depends on how good your reception and aerial are. Some of the powered splitters are not very good for digital even though they claim to amplify the signal.
    (mine travels through 4 tuner stages without any ill effects)
     
  3. irishkeet

    irishkeet
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    Hi Mr.D

    Thanks for your help, the capture aspect of the HTPC is tricky :rolleyes:

    Do you have Sky/Telewast or are you just using freeview? The mobo Im going to use is the Asus A8N premier board and try the sound/SPDIF out before deciding to buy a sound card.

    I will want to play DVDs on the PC but the PC will be connected to the LCD by DVI, why would I want to use Dscaler (to scale the picture to the LCD format?)

    I know about the nebula MCE compatability but from what I have read it will get there in the end and the nebula software is meant to be pretty good.

    As for streaming with VLC, I have a hunch the quality & ease of use will be better with nebula.

    If I only have 1 tv card can i watch one station & record another? How have you found your nebula card?

    Thanks
    irishkeet
     
  4. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    You might want to watch dvd through Dscaler to take advantage of the deinterlacing on badly mastered dvds ...other than that not a lot really. I'd recommend a software dvd player ( Theatertek is about the best )

    You can record multiple channels on a single nebula if they are all on the same multiplex. I have not needed to do this myself. I have never used the streaming capabilities. Some people have problems others say it works fine.

    I use the nebula for my primary freeview watching and recording. I also use a sweetspot analogue capture card ( not the same as the freeview tuner card) and Dscaler for viewing alternate channels if I'm recording on the nebula ( I also use it for games consoles and watching video originated dvds from a standalone player as the Dscaler deinterlacing is better than any software player I've yet seen).

    I really like the nebula and rarely have any problems with it . It would be nice if you could use a postprocessor like ffdshow with it but the picture quality is pretty good anyway for PC tuner. Deinterlacing could be better for video but for film content you have the option of using a weave ( none) and there is a pulldown generator for less than optimum refresh rates ( like 60Hz panels). The audio can be tweaked to remove any percievable delay as well.

    The onboard audio on the mobo should be fine for TV and dvd playback. You might want to consider an seperate sound card if you wan the PC to function as a jukebox but if you can get the onboard outputting without resampling cd to 48kHz ( bypassing the kmixer using asio in winamp for example) you shouldn't have any problems with it.
     

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