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Nebula DigiTV PCI DTTV Card

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by iwatkins, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. iwatkins

    iwatkins
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    Ordered this card on Sunday evening, it arrived this morning (Tuesday).

    I had spent the past two weeks trying to get a Hauppauge Nova-t PCI card working. Apart from it messing up my complex network setup and never really getting it working properly, I decided it wasn't for me and returned it. This was about the same time I heard about the Nebula card.

    So, this morning, I opened the delivered box to find the card, software disc (with latest version), remote control (OneForAll, URC-7541), remote control receiver and single page instruction sheet.

    I opened up my PC, fitted the card, switched it on and followed the instruction sheet to the letter (something that you can't do with the Hauppauge instructions).

    I was going to run a nice length of coax up from the aerial distribution box to my PC, but I thought I would try it first with the cheapo indoors aerial I already had.

    The card tuned in all the channels I know to be available and the picture quality is excellent. So much so, I won't be bothering running the coax cable up. :)

    Current version is 1.09 which I understand there will be a new version over the weekend/next week.

    Even so, I find software easy to use and can have the window as big or as little as I like without it causing any problems with the picture.

    The remote takes 10 seconds to set up and works well. I can easily do everything on the remote that I would expect, including recording.

    The online help is HTML based and is clear and concise and I haven't found any mistakes as yet (again, unlike the Hauppauge stuff).

    Overall, excellent package, great quality and the addition of the quality remote and the quality software I believe makes its additional cost over the Hauppuage card valid. Especially when you add in the ease of installation and the fact it actually works. :laugh:

    So, I would suggest that if you are in the market for a DTTV card for your PC, then the Nebula card has got to be top of your list.

    I've no connection with the company etc.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  2. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    That's great! This is the card I'm looking at.

    Are there any EPG software included? How much was it and Where did you buy from?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  3. cybersoga

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    Hey ian, you have great taste in gadgets :D

    For anyone looking to buy this card, the best place is direct from Nebula Electronics There is a major new software version coming out (very) soon, which will have 7 day EPG, Free Zooming, and Customisable remote control. Card and software are made in the UK, and the software is in constant development with regular updates :D i've had one since v1.04 software and been very pleased with it!
     
  4. Mark Ward

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    Shame you can't buy without the one-4-all though, really don't need it with the Pronto.

    Also, just noticed on their site:-

    COMING SOON! - 4 way Video PC Capture Card:D

    No more info on the site than that and no-one available to elaborate until tomorrow if you call.

    Someone is calling me back tomorrow so I'll post any more info then.

    MArk.
     
  5. Branxx

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    I equally have very positive experience with DigiTV (I was using NOVA-T before with reasonable success).

    The picture quality is excellent even if projected to a reasonably large screen (I am using 300cmx169cm).
     
  6. iwatkins

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    Hey, what can I say ? ;)


    Mark,
    As cybersoga says, get it from their site direct. I understand the new software version comes out next week (free download). £123.80 delivered to the door all in.

    I'm very happy with it. I can keep an eye on what is happening in the world at the moment or when I get bored with that, quick flick on the remote to listen to the cricket on 5 Live :smoke:

    When I go with a HCPC downstairs, this card will be in it.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  7. Underscore

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    Just though I would my 2p to this thread. I don't have a DigiTV but am interested in one. Anyway, I sent a list of questions to them on my way out of work around 7pm last night. Get in this morning to find a reply with all the questions answered by someone who seems to really know what they are talking about. Very impressed.

    _
     
  8. Mark Ward

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    I got a phone call from a knowledgeable chap which answered all my questions today too :)

    Basically this is exactly what I've been looking for. I'll be buying one today.

    As for as the capture card goes... Unfortunately abandoned due to lack of interest :( Not sure it ever would have had component in anyway though.

    I'm still looking for a component captur card then:rolleyes:

    Mark.
     
  9. cybersoga

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    The nebula digitv also has an anologue (composite video) input which works with most capture software - the quality isn't that great but it's useful to have.
     
  10. Mark Ward

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    Ordered mine today :)
     
  11. Steve D Green

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    I'm sure you'll be happy with it - I used to have a Nova-t, and it's now been replaced with the Nebula.

    I've got it running in a shuttle hooked up to a Panasonic AE-100, and it looks pretty excellent, film sourced material especially so.

    Video material is a little odd, since it is no longer interlaced, but that's not really what I bought it for.

    It also works with dscaler through the composite in, and laserdiscs don't look too bad (considering its going into composite) - although NTSC ones seem better than PAL ones.

    It would have been nice if they'd had an s-video in as well though...

    Nebula are very keen on listening to suggestions. I asked if they could add a tweak for altering the delay between audio and video and they are adding it to the ver 2 software.

    - Steve
     
  12. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Mine arrived today, but I'm still awaiting the arrival of some of the other components before I can build my machine.

    I bought basically to store programs like Sopranos, 24, BoB type series so I can watch a few at a time in my HT without worrying about VCR quality. If Video based material looks "odd" then I'll not be very impressed.

    I'd also like to TV store comedy series onto DVD/RW to play back in the kid's room. Can the file format the TV programs are stored in be converted and saved to a DVD that will play in a standard DVD player?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  13. Steve D Green

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    You should be able to burn the files to DVD, but I think they need a bit of preparation first as the MPEG2 format that is broadcast is slightly different to that required when written to a DVD. I believe that Nebula are planning to automate this process though so you can burn them straight away.

    As for the video comment, I may be overstating the oddness.

    What I mean is that stuff shot on video, say soaps, or comedy shows will look more film-like, since it will be deinterlaced so that it can be shown on a monitor.

    It's a similar effect to what some production companies have been tinkering with at the production end, by 'filmising' video material - League of Gentlemen for example is shot on video and then treated this way.

    Any fast scrolling credits tend to judder as well. I don't think there's any way around this. I've asked them about it and they are trying to improve the algorithms which handle this.

    Anything shot on film originally, BoB, Buffy, X-files, the Sopranos, ER, and properly converted to PAL looks pretty fantastic and filmic.

    I'm not sure what would happen if you were then taking that back out to an interlaced device on a video out from the PC though...
    :confused:
    - Steve
     
  14. JohnS

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    I'm not sure this is right, the card must grab the picture and de-interlace it but it is then resampled by the videocard to be displayed progressivly on a monitor or PJ. Please dont take this as a critisim as I dont have one (yet) but I'm just rtying to get a grasp on this.

    Does anyone that has one know if the dscaler compatibility extends to the digital tuner so that you can using the deinterlacing capability of Dscaler or is the picture so good that its a mute point?
     
  15. Steve D Green

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    Hi,

    it won't actually do anything to the file - so if it was burned to DVD it would still be interlaced, it's purely how it is displayed on the monitor (AFAIK)

    I'm pretty sure dScaler doesn't see the digital tuner, it only recognises that there is a composite input - it would be nice if it did, since dScaler has a lot more options for deinterlacing.

    For film material it looks as good as a DVD (bitrates permitting) to my eyes, interlaced material looks good, just different...

    - Steve
     
  16. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    They do seem a very good company, I'd like to see the ability to had whole TV series etc. to the record list, sure you'd need to check that the broadcast time hadn't changed but better than need to re-program each week. Perhaps an Email notify of your record setting as user specified intervals would also be nice.

    Any idea how many recorder pre-sets there will be in V2?

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  17. Steve D Green

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    Hi,

    I don't really know what the capabilities of the EPG will be - I guess we'll find out on Tuesday...

    - Steve
     
  18. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Also.. I've been thinking about this.... How well would the HTPC perform if being asked to record DTT from the Nebula at the same time as D-Scaler/TheatreTek is playing a movie?

    Mark.
     
  19. Rob.Screene

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    I would have thought it would be easy. I assume it's capturing the MPEG2 packets and merely storing them to a file on disk.

    I know MPEG2 DVD-Video spec has a total data rate of 9.8Mbps (0.98MB/sec) and DVB digital transmissions apparently use a low rate compared to that, but I can't remember what.

    I'd bet were only talking 500KB/sec, using DMA hard disk transfer won't need much cpu at all (1%).

    That's the theory, I'm not sure in practice!

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  20. Steve D Green

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    The Nebula has a silent mode, where it just records the stream - this works well if you need to do other things on the PC. I've played WMA files through media player without it affecting a recording.

    I'm not sure if it's possible to use Nebula's composite input with Dscaler at the same time as recording using the DTT decoder though.


    - Steve
     
  21. Mark Ward

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    This wouldn't be an issue for me. I just didn't want probs with my recording whilst I played a movie via D-Scaler (or vice-versa).

    I'm quite happy that I won't. If it had have been an issue I'd simply have put the Nebula card in a different PC on my network, however that would have caused other problems with Aerial availability.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  22. datanet

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    I've got a Nebula outputting to a 42" Hitachi and the quality is good, but doesn't come close to the output of a freeview box straight into the monitor (via S-video).
    It is good though...I tend to use it most of the time now as it lets me multitask. DigiTV does crash but I suspect this may be due to the Athglon XP/ Via KT266 chipset I've got in the PC.
    The most noticeable deficiency I've got is on scrolling test, i.e. Sjy News ticker. Despite a Radeon 9500 Pro, loads of memory and more than adequate processing this is very 'blurred'. I don't think this is due to any limitation of the PC....
    Anyone seen this?

    I think now that I'll look at a decent freeview box straight into the amp for viewing with the digitv for recording...

    For series recording, look on Nebula's site or at http://www.spidersweb.freeserve.co.uk/dab/dabdig.htm ....there is a small utility called dabdig by Paul Webster which hooks into DigiGuide to do series recording. This does generally work, I'm really waiting to build a new Intel machine to see if stability is better....

    Chris
     
  23. cybersoga

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    I find that the picture from the Nebula via DVI is extreamly sharp and very high quality - similar to a software DVD player. The image processing is done by the digitv software, not your video card, Nebula assure me that a lot of research is going into using more advanced algorithms so horizontal scrolling will be smoother, and v2.0 software out in a couple of days will have a "smooth frames" option that should cure the odd bit of judder which is caused by inconsistant frame playback. The great thing is that the software is being developed in the UK so they are open to suggestions.
     
  24. Steve D Green

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    I've noticed the ticker problem (a side effect of de-interlacing I guess).

    I mainly use the Nebula for films and film-sourced TV programmes, so it's not a problem for me.

    Would you say that your Nebula looks worse than your DTT box even on film-based programmes, like the X-files, ER as well?

    I've got the Nebula plugged into a Panasonic AE100, with windows tweaked to run at the same resolution as the LCD panel, and it looks far, far better than an s-video feed from my digibox, (The AE-100 is known to be a lot better when fed a signal through the VGA connector)

    If you are finding the picture quality inferior on all types of broadcasts, it might be worth finding out what the native resolution of your plasma is, then seeing if you can use powerstrip to run the PC at that res. That could improve the picture you are seeing from the Nebula.

    - Steve
     
  25. Rob.Screene

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    I used to have an ONdigital dvb set-top box which stuttered and glitched the picture quite regularly.

    Q: What's your reception like with the Nebula?

    Q: Can it do premium channels like Sky One?
    Q: Can if record from Channel 4 or Channel 5?

    thanks and regards,
    Rob.
     
  26. Steve D Green

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    Well originally I had it running off a splitter into my general purpose PC and I did get the occasional glitch on C4, C5 (it wasn't really a stutter, more a coloured block) - but ever since I put it in a dedicated shuttle PC it has been fine. That said, my DTT box (a Grundig) is pretty glitch free (I get the occasional squawk on News 24)

    Sky One isn't broadcast on Freeview, it used to be on ITVdigital but not any longer.

    Nebula are supposed to be doing a DSat card (apparently with a viewing card slot) which would let you pick up Sky One amongst others, but obviously you'd need a dish as well.

    Recording C4 and C5 (and all TV channels) seems to work fine.

    - Steve
     
  27. Rob.Screene

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    Thanks Steve.

    Q: Does it detect Widescreen 16:9 programs?
    i.e.
    Switch display aspect ratio when say going in and out of some adverts/widescreen/4:3 material swaps.

    Q: Do you know if it properly has the 16:9 flag in the MPEG2 captured file?

    thanks and regards,
    Rob.
     
  28. Steve D Green

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    Hi,

    it seems to depend on the broadcaster - when I ran it on my 4:3 monitor it usually showed 4:3 material fullscreen and letterboxed 16:9 material. I wasn't really looking for how well it switched between 4:3 and 16:9 on the same channel. I have noticed it occasionally broadcast 4:3 pillarboxed in a 16:9 frame, but I think it was a one off.

    I'd have to have a look tonight to say for certain though.

    Now I have it running at 856x480 it seems to show 16:9 fullscreen and 4:3 pillarboxed. I don't think there are any stretch options.

    I wouldn't know if it retains the 16:9 flag for DVD recording - the software I've seen asks you to specify, I don't know if mixed aspect ratio is generally supported.

    - Steve
     
  29. Underscore

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    The Nebula s/w can be set up to zoom into widescreen features on 4:3 displays or not - it's up to you. Unfortunately, some broadcasters transmit 4:3 programs as 16:9 with black bars down the side. If you zoom, this works fine. It you don't you end up with a small picture in the middle of the screen.

    _
     
  30. datanet

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    DigiTV version 2 is out today- available at www.nebula-electronics.com.
    Noticed that one of the changes mentioned is "Support for anamorphic displays has been added by allowing the user to deselect automatic stretching of widescreen presentations".

    Hopefully manage to download it later, but should be better for the plasma...

    Steve, thanks for your suggestions...I'm replacing my reciever just now to eliminate issues I have over selecting input type, once I've done this I'll do more comparisons...

    Cheers,

    Chris`
     

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