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HTPC Satellite Cards

Oarsman

Standard Member
My HTPC is great for playing music, DVDs and games but I now want to add satellite TV to it.
At present, I’m using a Humax PVR 9200TB to record TV and I want the same functionality, i.e. watch one channel whilst being able to record two other channels at the same time. I also want this to be Freesat HD.

I don’t want SKY!

I’ve been looking at the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-4000 and 4400 cards but am a bit confused as to the differences and their capabilities. It’s not clear (to me) whether I’d be able to watch one channel and record two others at the same time using either of these cards.
I presume there are other cards available which will do the job and so would someone suggest which cards I should be looking at please?

John
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Yep - there are dual tuner and single tuner cards - you need dual tuners for watch live + record another, or record two others whilst not watching live, functionality.

AFAIK Hauppauge don't make a card with two satellite tuners - though other manufacturers do. The alternative is two single tuner cards.

Also - beware DVB-S vs DVB-S2. DVB-S2 is the newer modulation system which allows more data to be broadcast in a given space. Currently Freesat HD channels only uses DVB-S (so BBC HD and ITV HD are available with a DVB-S tuner) - but this is not guaranteed (Freesat HD IDTVs and Set top boxes are all DVB-S2 compatible allowing the BBC, ITV etc. to switch to the new scheme when they feel it is right to).

Some people have bought cheap dual DVB-S tuner cards (Pinnacle 7010ix, Pinnacle 4000) - others have bought pairs of Hauppauge HD S2 cards (DVB-S2) A few dual DVB-S2 tuner cards are also appearing - but they aren't cheap.

Also - driver support can be an issue with some less well-known brands.
 

Bossworld

Established Member
Just been looking in to this for myself, and it seems the Pinnacle 7010ix is good price. It is both Dual Freeview and Dual Freesat!

Pinnacle TV Tuner 7010ix Dual freeview + Freesat tuners on eBay (end time 24-Jun-10 20:07:48 BST)

And if you search worldwide, you can get one for half the price!

You may find driver issues with that card, particularly resuming from S3 sleep.

I'm running a pair of Compro VideoMate S350 cards, they're only about £25 each nowadays so that's less than one Hauppauge card. Obviously if/when DVB-S2 becomes the norm I'll run into problems, but I've had my moneys worth out of these :smashin: No issues whatsoever with sleep/resume.

If you've got money to burn then the BlackGold card would be the one to buy, if/when it's released.
 

roswellgrey

Established Member
Bossworld - if I may .... You are obviously very happy with your S350(s), and I notice from your sig. that you are using Win7. Can I ask which driver version you are using ?

Reason : I am trying , and failing , to get reliable resume working on my S350 ( either S3 or Hibernate), and was wondering if you were using a driver version that I haven't tried yet ....

Apologies to the OP for the thread hijack :)
 

Bossworld

Established Member
Bossworld - if I may .... You are obviously very happy with your S350(s), and I notice from your sig. that you are using Win7. Can I ask which driver version you are using ?

Reason : I am trying , and failing , to get reliable resume working on my S350 ( either S3 or Hibernate), and was wondering if you were using a driver version that I haven't tried yet ....

Apologies to the OP for the thread hijack :)

I think it was just the latest off their website (a few months back now). To be honest I never had any issues with the ones that Windows Update finds for you as a default when first installed/after first reboot, I just chose to update them.

I'll have a look at the specific version number later.
 

Oarsman

Standard Member
Excuse my ignorance but if you use two TV cards surely you also need two inputs?
Assuming there is only one co-ax from the satellite how do you manage this or are there two LNBs and two cables?

Edit
I've just been looking at the Compro S350 User Guide and it looks as if there is a "passthrough" connection on this card so that a short co-ax would connect to the second card. Am I correct?
 
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Bossworld

Established Member
Excuse my ignorance but if you use two TV cards surely you also need two inputs?
Assuming there is only one co-ax from the satellite how do you manage this or are there two LNBs and two cables?

Edit
I've just been looking at the Compro S350 User Guide and it looks as if there is a "passthrough" connection on this card so that a short co-ax would connect to the second card. Am I correct?
No I've got a quad LNB with two cables running from it into my lounge, same way as Sky+.

Don't know what that pass through does, but I would imagine it's as useless as a standalone splitter is. An LNB has 4 different positions, so that's why each card needs its own feed. Otherwise the second card would be limited to whatever channels are on the same position as the first card is tuned into (if that makes sense).
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
Excuse my ignorance but if you use two TV cards surely you also need two inputs?
Assuming there is only one co-ax from the satellite how do you manage this or are there two LNBs and two cables?

Edit
I've just been looking at the Compro S350 User Guide and it looks as if there is a "passthrough" connection on this card so that a short co-ax would connect to the second card. Am I correct?

Each satellite tuner needs a separate LNB feed - you can't loop-through LNB feeds for UK satellite (in other countries you can in some cases)

This is because the LNB feed carries only one of four bands (HiH, HiV, LoH, LoV) and the tuner selects which is fed down the cable. In the UK the range of channels is spread across all 4 bands.

(In some countries they arrange for all of a particular channel group to be in one of the 4 bands AIUI)

Sky + installations have Quad LNBs - where each output is independent of the other. For more than 4 tuners you can chose an Octo LNB (with 8 independent outputs) or you can go for a Quattro (which has 4 outputs - each dedicated to a band) and a multiswitch (which selects between the 4 outputs of the Quattro and appears to be an LNB). The Quattro and Multiswitch can feed lots and lots of tuners - and is used in distribution systems - the Octo is more used for large single dwelling installs I think.
 
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