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Nebula vs Hauppage - Fight!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Bursar, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Bursar

    Bursar
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    I see a lot of people here recommend the Nebula card. I'm just wondering what it has over the Hauppage PVR250/350 cards.

    I can see that the Nebula card gets digital channels, and that the Hauppage cards do hardware encoding/decoding. I can't tell from the Nebula site if their card is also hardware based.

    But I've read about panning issues with the Nebula cards, and although the PVR cards don't seem to be talked about as much, I can't recall seeing a common problem mentioned.

    I guess what I'm really looking for is a comparative review of the cards so I can see which is better for me.

    There isn't much of a price difference between the cards (about £20 or so), so price isn't an issue in deciding which is better.
     
  2. WebLoader

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    hi bursar
    i have just received my nebula card and installed it.
    the installation when without a hitch, even though i have just done a test install on an ancient p2-300 w2k server.

    the main reason i went for a DTT card over an analogue card is that it just makes more sense, you get many more channels out of the box, digital radio, and the recording is a much cleaner process as it is writing the MPEG stream to disc. Also most people rate the nebula software and support to be in a different league than haupauge.

    at the moment i cannot make any reasonable judgement about quality as the machine that i am using is way below the min specs for the card, but the intermittant frames i can see look very good on a monitor (and the digital radio sound fine)

    its a no brainer!
     
  3. Bursar

    Bursar
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    Score 1 to Nebula :)

    Easy installation is always a bonus. I had a small fight with my current WinTV PCI card when I was first installing it. The drivers were a bit of a pain, but I think they're better now (haven't actually updated them in a while).

    According to the bits of paper you have with the Nebula, does it do hardware encoding and/or decoding? This is one of the main points I'm not sure on.
     
  4. Bursar

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    Nobody else got any comments on the differences between these two cards?

    Can anyone confirm if the Nebula does hardware decoding/encoding.

    Ta.
     
  5. MikeTV

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    I don't believe it does encoding (it just captures the encoded stream), and the decoding is done in software (or rather, by the PC and not the card, to be more precise). Perhaps someone else can confirm.

    I've tried both cards - and stuck with the Nebula. It's a good question which is best, and with respect to the software Nebula wins. You also get a great universal remote control (which integrates well), and a BT878 capture card thrown in for free (it's built in - and freed up a slot for me). The Nebula copes with my non-standard HDTV resolutions without problems. Support seems to be great, although I've not used it myself (not needed to). Perhaps for Nebula, it is a major product at the moment, but for Hauppage, it is a bit of a specialist/niche item in their catalogue.

    The most important factor is perhaps picture quality - and I admit that I didn't do any a/b comparisons, and in fact, I don't really remember how I felt about the nova-t's picture. I'd be interested in other's findings.
     
  6. MikeTV

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    I may have misinterpreted your question - are you asking about Digital TV cards specifically, or just PVR cards generally? The best video captures are to be had with the digital cards, because they capture/replay the entire data stream - which means no conversion or loss of video quality. The analog cards are not like this.

    However, if it's mainly PVR functionality that's important to you (analog or otherwise), then it could be more a question about which is the best software to use. Nebula may provide the best picture quality - because it will beat analog solutions, but programs like showshifter may provide a better PVR - if you are looking for a Tivo-like experience (ie. a nice user friendly interface). Equally dscaler with a flyvideo card may provide a better live viewing experience. It is made more complicated because for analog PVR functionality, onboard mpeg encoding really helps. And inevitably the choice of hardware may end up determining you choice of software. From what I have been able to discover, there isn't really a "one solution is best for all" unfortunately - it depends on what you are trying to do, and the factors that are most important to you.
     
  7. Bursar

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    D'oh! It seems to be a bit more complicated than I first thought then.

    Ah, what the hell, I'll get the Nebula card and see what happens. It's only money after all ;)

    One more quicky question though. At the moment, I'm only getting the 4 main terristriaal channels (can't seem to tune in C5), so what are the odds of being able to pick up the digi channels without either realigning or changing the existing aerial?

    This problem is probably slightly complicated by the fact that I can't have an outside aerial. The main aerial has to be in the loft and not on the outside of the house (part of the covenant in the house deeds).
     
  8. MikeTV

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    If I were you, I'd get a freeview box and try it first - but get it from a friendly outlet that will let you return it with a full refund. I think the BBC will allow you to check whether your postcode is covered, but in your case this may not be a guarantee of reception. Not sure whether loft antennas work or not.
     
  9. Bursar

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    I've checked the website, and it says everything is fine for the area. I guess the proof will be in the pudding so to speak.
     
  10. GaryRees

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    I've only tried the Nova-t PCI from Hauppauge and I've had loads of problems ranging from incorrect aspect ratios to no reception of some channels (despite being able to recieve them on digi-box). I've spoken to Hauppauge and they have yet to resolve the issues:(

    Wish I'd bought the Nebula.
     
  11. Bursar

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    Score another point for the Nebula. Looks like it's coming out favourite :)
     
  12. Pootle

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    I've had a Nova-T card since just after they were released, and recently replaced it with a Nebula.

    The picture quality is as far as I can see, pretty much the same, although the nebula does seem to pan better. Recorded programs are exectly the same (I play recordings with PowerDVD, I've never used the built in player functions).

    The support for interactive and text on the nebula is already far superior to that in the Nova-t, although not yet as good as on an STB. Hopefully the version 3 software will close the gap.

    Overall software quality of the Nebula is streets ahead of the Nova-T, and has beens since day1. The Nova-T software (up to version 2.15) looks to have been written by some kid in his spare time and is frankly crap, and the rate of improvement suggests the kid doesn't have much spare time :D

    Signal sensitivity seems to be about the same for both cards; and is very close to the Pace STB I have, the Pace is porbably just slightly better. I live over 30 miles from the transmitter (Winter Hill), but I have line of sight. I am using an indoor aerial, with a mast head pre-amp. Without the masthead amp it was total no go on digital TV, even with the Pace box. As an indication, without the pre-amp, on analogue TV, I had good BBC1, & 2, but ITV was a bit snowy, and C5 was non-existent. With the pre-amp analogue C5 was good, (but not as good as BBC1 / 2

    My only criticism of the Nebula is its use of composite video for analogue capture, this is not very good, certainly significantly poorer than the capture I had on my old Radeon All-In-Wonder using s-video. If you want capture, get a separate card, unless quality is not an issue.
     
  13. Bursar

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    I take you mean capture from an external source.

    My video camera has firewire on it, so I use that to transfer video to and from the camera and PC.

    I don't have anything else that I'm going to want hook up for capture, so that shouldn't really be a problem for me.

    Edit -> Maybe I'll get an STB to start with and see what happens with that. If by some chance it works OK, then I'll invest in the Nebula as well.
     

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