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i want to use my HTPC as a scaler and PVR

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by mince bigalow, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. mince bigalow

    mince bigalow
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    hi all, ive got my HTPC set up at last for DVD playback through my AE100 projector and am very happy with it but now I'm bored and want to fiddle with it again :D

    I would like to be able to put my xbox and sky box through dscaler to get the best possible picture from them and if possible use it to record certain programs for me.

    first of all is it worth doing? I noticed I can use a simple capture card costing £30-£40. second what is the best way to do it?

    thanks for you help :)
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Dscaler has excellent deinterlacing and a wealth of other features.
    Its a no-brainer. Get yourself a decent capture card ( I prefer the Xcapture but others rate the PB TV-100). Download the latest version of Dscaler , it does have some capture capabilities but I haven't used it for ths myself.

    Best bet is to feed s-video into your capture card (although most will handle composite as well). If you have RGB sources an RGB to svideo convertor is a good bet ( £50-80) the JStech ones are recommended). You'll need a decent svideo lead also .

    This is how I feed consoles and occasionally digital terrestrial to my htpc ( when I'm timeshifting on the digiTV card I have).

    The Nebula digiTV card is what I use for timeshifting and whilst it has a few niggles ( deinterlacing of video based sources isn't as godd as Dscaler) it is nice and sharp by virtue of the all digital pipeline. The EPG works quite well and support from Nebual is pretty good.
     
  3. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    Hi m.b. ,

    The RGB to SVideo conversion in to a TV Tuner/Capture card combi is a tried and tested solution. As Mr D pointed out it will probably cost you £100-£150 depending on card, cables etc etc.

    We will soon have a card that allows you to do *direct RGB capture*, without first down converting to SVideo.

    It also uses the Philips SAA7118 analogue to digital converter, which is far superior to that used on the TV tuner solutions, which in conjunction with the RGB feed gives DScaler a much better starting point.

    Downsides? well, you dont get an analogue tuner, but then once you have seen the excellent Nebula DigiTV you wont want one as that gives you digital TV directly with much better quality than the analogue TV cards!

    The price of our card will be around £199 - see SweetSpot for further details.

    Oh, and just for editorial balance ;-) , then there is the http://www.immersiveinc.com/products_holo3d.html card available as well, which runs the same Philips a/d convertor as our card, but adds Faroudja DCDi so you can choose between that and DSCaler.
     
  4. gyre

    gyre
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    A couple of real dumb questions mainly to David...

    Firstly, what type of cable/connectors would I need in order to connect a sky digibox to the RGB inputs of your card? I only have SCART sockets on the back of my digibox.

    Secondly, if I read your card's spec correctly, it has PDI inputs too. I notice that one website has published a patch that lets you output SDI from an old Sky+ digibox. How would I link those SDI outputs to your PDI inputs?

    Thanks... and apologies for being a n00b.

    -- gyre --
     
  5. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    David ..couple of questions too.

    What sort of colourspace does your card capture in?
    What I mean to say is does the RGB get downsampled into something more like an svideo colourspace or is it a 4:4:4 , 4:2:2 or even a 4:2:0 type.

    ie do you actually get the benefit of the RGB?
     
  6. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
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    Hi all
    David's on site in Holland until Thursday so might not get chance to check in.
    In the meantime, allow me answer the cable question at least:D
    If you were to have a cable made up for your sky box to SweetSpot it would be a SCART to RGBs with the sync through a S-Video plug.
    If you wish to connect a RGsB (sync on green) source then you would just need a standard SCART to 3-phono RGB lead.

    This is assuming that you can get the audio out of seperate stereo phonos (this is true of most Sky digiboxes)

    However as these aren't common, we're looking to keep stock of several cable options including a solution for console owners. We'll keep everyone who has registered on http://www.pluggedin.tv/sweetspot up to date on this and also post on here when our launch stock and promotions are finalised.

    Thanks for the questions
    Alex
     
  7. gyre

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    Thanks Alex! :)

    -- gyre --
     
  8. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    Hi Mr D

    We are down sampling to the following formats - YCrCb signals (4:2:2, 4:1:1,4:2:0 or 4:1:0), again using the standard functionality of the SAA7118 device. This is we understand the same as that being done by the Holograph family of cards.

    One thing that is worth noting though (and this is your specialist area so be gentle with me if I have this wrong!) but my understanding is 4:2:2 is a common format used in the broadcast/production industry, therefore the picture information lost in the down sample process has already been lost before the picture arrives at the SweetSpot or Holo cards, and could therefore never be regained, even if we were working at 4:4:4

    Another point is that in the UK certainly, the large number of Sky subscribers with Composite or RGB (and no SVideo) means that the only decent plug and play solution that they can get from their main television viewing source is RGB, so it is worthwhile for those that feature alone!

    cheers
     
  9. Clint C

    Clint C
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    mince bigalow

    I have an RGB to Svideo converter advertised in the classifieds here on the forum. It's a small outlay IMO for the quality difference to be had/seen. I was previously feeding my PCTV Rave card from the coax output of the Sky box and the picture quality was awful.

    I've also set up my pc to record from Sky (using Showshifter) if I wish and this converter makes all the difference to the final output.

    Clint
     
  10. gyre

    gyre
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    I'll second the quality of the JS Tech RGB->svideo converter. The resulting rgb->svideo output from my DVD player is as good as the native svideo output.

    -- gyre --
     
  11. mince bigalow

    mince bigalow
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    thanks for all the help guys, I think I'll go with one of those PB-TV cards or maybe an X-Capture if i can find a cheap one.

    david how much are these cards of your gonna cost? If theyre gonna be around £100 i may be tempted to go for one of those.

    EDIT: ignore my question, just re-read your post!
     
  12. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Nope you are right you're only looking at 4:2:0 from uk digital TV (pretty sure). I was just interested in knowing if you maintained a signal path that benefited from being fed an RGB/component signal which you've answered.

    ta
     

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