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PVR Help

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by hamant, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. hamant

    hamant
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    Hey there. i have decided to build a new PC totally dedicated to being a PVR/HCPC. I'm still decided on the spec and would like some comments suggestions please.

    I've decided to go AMD but am wondering whether i need an Athlon64 or would something like a XP2800 be enough?

    I've also been debating about the Tuner/Capture card. My initial decision was to go for a Hauppauge PVR-350 because of the on board MPEG encoding. But after reading the comments on this forum, I'm leaning more towards the Nebula card. I have a few questions about the Nebula card.

    1) Is it possible to watch 1 channel and record another one?

    2) What software would work best with it? I was thinking of using MediaPortal (http://mediaportal.sourceforge.net), simply because its free :D and being Open Source would probably have better compatibility issues. Anyone have any experience with it?

    I would also like to know if onboard graphics would be sufficient or do i need a sperate graphics card (most likely). One of my main concerns is getting the picture and sound into my TV. Is S-Video the best way of doing this? How would a WinXP desktop look on a 28" Widescreen TV? Also the sound....for the time being, i'm planning on using my TV speakers (i know its not ideal, but this will change), is there a way to combine the video and sound signal into the spare scart socket in the back of my TV?

    Thats all for now. I hope u guys can help. Sorry for all the basic questions....but i'm really not sure where to go from here. :confused:

    Thanks,

    -H
     
  2. lisag

    lisag
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    Hello,

    I can answer a few of your questions...

    Firstly when choosing components be mindful of noise... cooling fans can be very noisy and you don't really want your HTPC whirring away like a hairdryer in your lounge whilst you are watching a film!

    Onboard graphics will work but a dedicated graphics card will probably be better, you can use a scart adaptor and use s-video and audio out of your pc and into your scart socket, but it is not the best way to go by far... You can get a VGA to scart cable made up (I think) or make it yourself which should give better picture quality.

    If you want to watch one channel and record another you need two tuners (either on separate cards/usb tuners or a twin tuner card).

    Windows Media Center is very good, in my opinion, the GUI is very pretty and its nice to operate, and its an expanding technology so lots of new hardware is becoming available all the time, like extenders, and other add-ons. If you are going for a purist best possible picture quality you want to look at sweetspot stuff and theater tek and ffdshow, but not sure if you will get the benefit on a CRT TV.

    hope this helps!
    lisa
     
  3. hamant

    hamant
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    Hi Lisa, thanks for the help.

    I agree with your comments about having a dedicated graphics card. I tried hooking up my friends Connect3D Radeon 6600 to my TV. The windows desktop wasn't great and the text was all blurry, but movies and TV looked excellent. Do you have any suggestions on which card would give the best possible TV Out quality? I dont need really good 3D performance so I'm willing to sacrifice a bit.

    Cheers,

    Ham.
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi again,

    Its been a while since I messed about with s-video out to a CRT tv, so technology may have moved on a bit. Matrox cards had a good reputation for tv-out, but they are not compatible with MCE... so depends on what your priorities are.

    I used to use some software called tv-tool which enabled lots of tweaking to get windows and text to look better, and improved the functionality of using tv-out.

    There are lots of tweaking options that you can do in windows, such as large fonts and bigger icons that make things a bit more readable...

    lisa
     

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