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Sky On Screen Display

chuckalicious

Novice Member
If you run Sky Digital through your TV tuner to MCE 2005 using say s-video, does the on screen display from Sky (ie telling you what's on, what's next etc) show up as well as the MCE epg?

If so is there any way of turning it off?
 

MarkHudds

Novice Member
Hi again.

Yes it will show up. In your Sky box menu there's an option to set the banner timeout period (0,5 secs, 10 secs etc), so you can set it to 0. It's still displayed for a fraction of a second though when changing channel. Also I've found that having the banner set to 0 seconds results in you not being able to press record while watching live TV!

I've got to say that I tried exactly what you wish to accomplish with your Sky box and MCE, however I gave up in the end simply because the picture quality takes a huge hit when going through the MCE. You can't get anywhere near the quality of the sky box into a TV via RGB scart for example and I wasn't prepared to put up with that. I use my MCE for everything except TV and use my Sky+ direct into the TV. It's still pretty seamless as I can swap activities via a Harmony remote. (I use a RGB sweetspot for recording from Sky when required).

Until MCE supports DVB-S with a CAM module (for the sky card), the only quaility digital TV option for MCE is freeview via a DVB-T card (which you have).
 

chuckalicious

Novice Member
Please don't say that :(

I've just this second gone and bought an analogue tuner card to run Sky into.....

Is it really that bad? I knew it would take a hit, but I still thought it would look okay. I say that because I have found that many of the freeview channels have a lot of artefacting on them, which isn't particularly nice to watch, but never noticed it on Sky.

So what it is that's worse? Is it not as sharp?
 

MarkHudds

Novice Member
Sorry!

Yeah, sharpness was the main thing. Depending on make/model, there are a few utilities which you can use to tweak your analogue card but I couldn't get much improvement. I think once you've seen Sky into PC via RGB sweetspot and displayed via dscaler, you just can't accept the hardware MPEG2 solutions. Remember with live TV in MCE your not actually watching live TV but rather a continuous playback of what's been recorded to your hard drive.

Obviously this is all my experience... try the analgue card anyway and make your own mind up. After all, you could probably return it no probs?
 

chuckalicious

Novice Member
I was just thinking, maybe it won't be so bad. Here's why....

My setup, before I got Sky was as follows:

Sky Digital Panasonic 31 (it's the Panasonic something 31 anyway)
Yamaha AV receiver
Sony 28" widescreen CRT

Now the digibox was connected from scart to a simple composite in on the amp, then from the amp to the TV scart socket, so I guess when I was using it, it was a composite signal anyway... and that was fine for me :) Maybe I won't get anything worse. I'm outputting the MCE machine via a VGA-RGB Scart cable, so that might improve it a little I hope....

Do you think I'll notice much of a difference then?
 

evolution400

Novice Member
chuckalicious said:
Please don't say that :(

I've just this second gone and bought an analogue tuner card to run Sky into.....

Is it really that bad? I knew it would take a hit, but I still thought it would look okay. I say that because I have found that many of the freeview channels have a lot of artefacting on them, which isn't particularly nice to watch, but never noticed it on Sky.

So what it is that's worse? Is it not as sharp?
No its not bad at all do you have a RGB > SVIDEO converter from maplins ?
composite and RF are not very good to be honest you get the best quality from getting one of these adapors from maplins much clearer and fine for recording granted it is not as good as a direct feed would be from a DVB-S or DVB-T but still a good picture I have mine setup on a 50" DLP and belive me if the picture was that bad I would show up everything on a screen of this size.
I alos have my xbox extender hooked up on a WIFI and I watch all big rugby and football games on my 2 meter + projector screen and the picture is very good.
Most people who have tried the PVR cards have not gone the full distance and installed an RGB> SVIDEO adaptor and hav only testedt RF or Composite and called it quites there are quite a few users on here who will back me up who are running the converter and will tell you that the quality is decent.
 

MarkHudds

Novice Member
'decent' is the key word ... my view is that it wasn't decent enough to live with just so I could view via MCE.

Just not an acceptable alternative to Sky+ for me. Believe me, I'd love to stop giving Sky money, however I've got no alternative as I haven't got freeview coverage in my area.
 

evolution400

Novice Member
What PVR card did you have and did you try SVIDEO ?
I say decent because I would never say anything more about sky or freeview picture quality .....words like excllent and outstanding best be reserved for HD IMO :)
the picture I get in my other room on my xbox extender via VGA on my LCD is more or less the same as my freeview picture on the same TV.
 

David PluggedIn

Novice Member
I'm with Mark on this one, you are losing a *lot* of picture detail going SVideo->MPEG capture card route in to MCE.

Re sky picture quality, watching the champions league last night looked absolutely amazing, clearly the investment in HD infrastructure is paying off.
 

MarkHudds

Novice Member
Hi,

In my quest for a 'decent' ;) live TV picture in MCE, I went through all three of the main players - Hauppage (MCE150), Nvidia (NVTV) and ATi (550). I connected my Sky+ box direct via svideo (no convertors required).

Have you seen Sky on PC via dscaler software? It makes Sky nearly look as good as a DVD on a projector.
 

evolution400

Novice Member
I didnt notuice that you had Sky + I use the PVR-350 which has a much better chipset than the 150 but is supposed to be more or less the same as the NVTV.
No I have yet to see sky via dscaler but if I am honest I watch more USA TV than uk tv so I only tend to use MCE for recording UK tv shows then deleteing them after I watched them so I et a great picture on DVD and DIVX via DVI which is all I am after it would be nice if a DVDB-S card worked with MCE but I cant see that happening in near future and with the launch of SKY HD and we dont even have a HD capable PC card back to drawing board.
 

chuckalicious

Novice Member
Well hopefully the quality will be good enough. As I say, when I ran the composite (not component, composite, as in the single yellow connection) connection from Sky to my aging AV receiver and into my TV (which can accept RGB signals) I thought it was fine. When I ran the same Sky feed using a direct RGB scart to RGB scart on the back of the TV, I didn't notice much at all. Maybe I'm a freak, maybe I need my eyes tested :)

I suppose I also need to bear in mind for a few months my wife and I used bog standard analogue, on a bad signal, so we had grainy, interfered tv signals, and only 5 channels.

We used to have Sky, then got rid of it because all the stuff we wanted to watch was on at times we couldn't watch it. Wasn't prepared to spend the money on Sky+, so cancelled. However, if the quality is good enough, I'm willing to pay the standard Sky subs to use it with my MCE machine.

So there you go, it's not good enough for some, but good enough for others. I guess until I see it, I won't be able to comment.
 

sprout

Well-known Member
MarkHudds said:
I use my MCE for everything except TV and use my Sky+ direct into the TV. It's still pretty seamless as I can swap activities via a Harmony remote. (I use a RGB sweetspot for recording from Sky when required).
I am in the early stages of knowledge for all this, but could you answer this for me please.

I have two WinTV PVR-250's and the quality through s-video is not good for me, I ahve judder anyway which is another issue I am trying to sort BUT :) I have a sweetspot card and the Vandamme Scart to RGB etc.

I have not bothered putting this in yet (one learning curve at a time) as I thought it was not supported by MCE :eek:

So I would like to ditch the 250 pVR's and use the sweetspot :smashin: How do I use this to record to my hardrive when the Op system is MCE?

Try and be gentle :lease: , I might possibly have most of the gear, but lack the experience :(

Thanks

sprout
 

nigelbb

Well-known Member
evolution400 said:
it would be nice if a DVDB-S card worked with MCE but I cant see that happening in near future
Hauppauge have just brought out 2 new DVB-S cards that support Free To Air channels in MCE (NOVA-SE2 & NOVA-S-PLUS). Unfortunately I see that the beta drivers at present support Astra 19.2E & Germany as the location. Not surprising I suppose given all the FTA German channels there. Hopefully they will add support for Astra 28.2E as there will be a reasonable crop of FTA channels when ITV go FTA in a few weeks.
 

nigelbb

Well-known Member
sprout said:
I have two WinTV PVR-250's and the quality through s-video is not good for me
I don't mean to appear rude but are you _really_ inputting s-video from two digiboxes into your Hauppauge cards? You either need one of the rareish digiboxes that has an s-video out or you need RGB->s-video converter boxes. If nether of these cases is true for you then you only have composite & the picture quality is markedly inferior.
 

David PluggedIn

Novice Member
Hi sprout

You can use the SweetSpot RGB in an MCE PC, the issue is that the MCE user interface (in other words the MCE application that you have to start up to get the whole MCE experience) doesnt support anything other than a small set of MPEG encoding cards, such as the 2 that you have.
So, the easiest thing to compare the quality is to install the driver and Dscaler that came on the SweetSpot CD, and then connect it up to the RGB output from your Sky box. Fire up DScaler, make sure that it is on the RGB input, and that it is set to PAL, and you should be up and running.

good luck
 

MarkHudds

Novice Member
sprout - as David said, you can't use sweetspot within the MCE application, however it works fine with dscaler on the MCE OS. It also has a WDM driver so it can be used as a RGB capture device with many 'virtual vcr' apps or capture parts of camcorder type apps. As sweetspot is software based with no onboard hardware accelleration for MPEG2 capture, the capturing takes most cpu and definately isn't a background task as per the cards approved for MCE. My take on it all was to forget live TV in MCE and therefore I use my Harmony remote to hot swap between MCE and Sky (via dscaler) on my TV(s) / Projector. TV recording duties remain with Sky+ and copy to PC via sweetspot as required for either archiving or burning to DVD.

nigelbb - Yep, I think it was only some of the Grundigs that had an svideo socket before all the Sky+ boxes and the only thing you'll get out of the scart other than RGB is composite :thumbsdow
 

sprout

Well-known Member
nigelbb said:
I don't mean to appear rude but are you _really_ inputting s-video from two digiboxes into your Hauppauge cards? You either need one of the rareish digiboxes that has an s-video out or you need RGB->s-video converter boxes. If nether of these cases is true for you then you only have composite & the picture quality is markedly inferior.
No need to worry about appearing rude, you haven't :)

OK first, I have two 250PVr's, but only taking one s-video signal to one at the moment.
I am feeding it from a Sky+ Ver II box's S-Video.
Unless because I have the box set at RGB out (for scart) this leaves me with composite at the S-Video, all should be OK?

LMK

Thanks
sprout
 

sprout

Well-known Member
MarkHudds said:
My take on it all was to forget live TV in MCE and therefore I use my Harmony remote to hot swap between MCE and Sky (via dscaler) on my TV(s) / Projector. TV recording duties remain with Sky+ and copy to PC via sweetspot as required for either archiving or burning to DVD.
Thanks

Well unless I can see a huge improvement over what I got I think I may be continuing to let the Sky+ box do its job, and archive as you have suggested.

Thanks also to David Pluggedin.

PS This does not mean I now understand everything fully, I shall return. Soon I am very sure of that
 

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