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Sweetspot - nearly happy...

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by 911uk, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. 911uk

    911uk
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    Well I've now setup my new Sweetspot card being fed from Sky via RGB. I've previously been using JS video box to do the conversion for my Plasma. Took serveral hours of head scratching to realise that the SVideo cable for the sync had been wired up the wrong way!

    Initial impressions using Descaler were quite impressive, though a little fuzzy compared with the JS box, just not as sharp - I was expecting something better...

    On to Showshifter, my aim was to use this program for all recording from SKy etc.. BUT, the quality just isn't there and I cant understand why. Under Channel Selection, there is no RGB input showing, though by selecting SVideo (4 I think), I get a picture of sorts but it isn't good enough. I've tried playing with all the various settings and can't seem to improve on it. I even tried setting up the Descaler plugin and copying over the dll etc, but all I got was either showshifter crashing or just a blank screen!

    I can see the potential for this, but the software just isn't up to it - or am I missing something here? I think I must be because so many people are praising this kind of setup.

    Any help appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  2. LTJ

    LTJ
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    Hello Phil. I too like you are using the sweetspot card. I previously used a skybox > rgb> letropals rgb>svideo converter then to the Iscan pro finally to the panny 100. Like you too I was intially a bit disappointed by the sweet spot. Eventually I found the settings that now make the old set up look as if I had a pair off net curtains over the screen! .
    What I found intially was that the picture seemed too alive and the logo's on sky indicating the channel seemed vfar too blurry but once I'd played with the dscaler settings and a tad on the panny those same logo's now are so deep and clean, almost 3d.
    My basic settings are on the panny Picture normal, brightness 0 contrast 3ish sharpness 0 and the final picture mode warm. The important part I feel though is getting the dscaler settings right. In filters for example some recommend ticking chroma gamma and sharpness. For me however I've gone into chroma and gamma and set the levels slightly lower and then tick these filters. I'll post tomorrow as to my current settings as the PJ is off now.

    Yor other question about show shifter I have no answers for in fact I'm in the same boat as you. I want to record the Hopkins de la hoya fight tonight but so far with showshifter the image quality does no match up to the image via dscaler and as you say you only get a half decent image in colour on s-video 4 as you pointed out.
    I've actually recorded and that all works but as you say the picture is poor and doesn't fit my screen or match up to dscaler.
    So it would seem I can record and I grasp there is only one channel coming from the RGB out put on sky but can I record in showshifter whilst watching in dscaler?

    Anyone out there know?
     
  3. 911uk

    911uk
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    Interesting comments there LTJ - I shall try changing my Plamsa picture settings. I've had problems with Dscaler showing a vertical green bar on the right hand side.

    After much uninstalling and reinstalling, I've now mananged to get the Dscaler filters to work in showshifter, however, still not up to Dscaler quality - I can't really get my head around this - I guess Dscaler must be doing a lot behind the scenes that Showshifter isn't...

    Would really appreciate some input from the pluggedin.tv guys here please :)

    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  4. 911uk

    911uk
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    :lease:

    Calling pluggedin.tv guys!!!
     
  5. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    sorry for the delay...Mondays and all that.

    Currently DScaler offers the best real time display, but the recording capabilities arent fully there yet. When DScaler 5 arrives then it will offer the best PQ and also huge flexibility due to the new modular architecture, but it isnt there yet.

    ShowShifter offers the easiest front end for operating from your sofa, but the PQ isnt as good as DScaler. We have discussed this with the guys at ShowShifter, particularly a mechanism to pre-install the plugins for DScaler to save all the manual configuration, but it doesnt seem a priority to them.

    If you are prepared to have a standard Windows application witout the media front end of ShowShifter, then there are a whole raft of WDM applications that you can use. iuVCR is a nice package, but there are plenty others , including Windows Movie Maker that work fine.

    all the best
     
  6. LTJ

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    Dave whilst your'e here maybe you can help me. I put together a PC last week fot home cinema. Every thing has been working fine using a 512mb PC2700 piece of ram. As I was told the MB could work with corsair PC3200 512mb. Trouble was that when watching sky sports 1 the settings kept defaulting to NSTC after several minutes. No matter how many times I choose the pal option eventually it would revert to nstc. I tried the 512mb pc2700 ram but it still did it. I've tried reinstalling dscaler hoping it would respond to the new ram and then the original ram but to no avail. Odd thing though switching channels eg The Patriot channel 5 (crap film but absolutely gorgous image quality with the sweetspot) no problems at all, in otherwords it stayed on Pal switching to News at ten everything okay until it showed segments of tonights football then it reverted to NTSC again!
    Any ideas?

    Frustrated Lawrence
     
  7. LTJ

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    That didn't look right. I meant to say that I swapped in Corair 3200 512mb for the pc2700. I hope my previous post now makes more sense.


    Lawrence
     
  8. philipb

    philipb
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    Showshifter was a real let down as far as PQ is concerned. Don't use it now.

    Not the same front end capability as SShifter, but much better PQ is PVR1.1 from Mainconcept. A fully functional PVR and maintains very high PQ with Sweetspot -not quite as good as Dscaler. Mainconcept is well known for its high quality MPEG encoder which is used in this package. Produces very good recordings to hard disc which can then be authored for DVDs.
     
  9. 911uk

    911uk
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    David - many thanks for the reply.

    It's a real shame the ShowShifter guys don't try and access the card directly - it would make an amazing package.

    I've tried lots of PVR software. iuVCR is OKish, though I can't get the deinterlacing to work at all! My current thought is to stick with the very latest version of Dscaler which looks great and controlling using Girder/ATI Remote Wonder - so far this seems the ideal set up for me...
     
  10. 911uk

    911uk
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    Philip - I've tried Mainconcept's PVR, yes the quality is good, but I just can't get the image to fill the screen, I have a panasonic widescreen plasma - have tried all the different resolutions. Any ideas?
     
  11. philipb

    philipb
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    911

    Hi. You have spotted the annoying thing about PVR, although it does actually make sense bearing in mind it is a real time MPEG video recorder .

    The various resolutions you can select under "record" relate to the capture format you are using. So the max resolution is 720x576 when you capture to DVD or Custom DVD settings. The reason of course is that 720x576 is the resolution for PAL DVDs and that is the aspect ratio you see when you're watching the recording happening. When you author a video captured at that resolution to DVD and then play the DVD back on a player you get a normal picture. But if you watch while recording, the picture will not fill the screen - on my Pioneer 43" plasma I get black bars left and right. At the moment I usually author the file to a DVD on the hard disc then play back with Theatertek which allows me to adjust the aspect ratio. If I burn to a disc and then play it on my Denon 2900 it appears just like any widescreen 720 AR DVD.

    I suppose depending on your kit you could stretch the picture to fill the screen, but I don't bother because I usually record "off line".
     
  12. Ugly

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    Hello all :hiya:

    I'm thinking about getting a Sweetsopt card myself for recording RGB video from my cable STB. So i'm interested to read what you guys are saying about the recording quality. I take it then that it isn't quite as straight forward as it seems?]

    I was hoping that I could create a lower cost and more versatile alternative to a DVD recorder.

    :)
     
  13. philipb

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    The Sweetspot per se doesn't record - you have to hook up some software to go with it. Software which will work with it include iuvcr, GBPVR, PVR 1.1, Nero Vision Express. even Mainconcept MPEG Encoder which has a capture facility will work - costs about £100 though. You should try them out to see which is best for your set up. The ones which are not free usually have demo downloads to try out before buying.

    So the quality of the recordings is a combo of the input quality via the Sweetspot, which is first class, and what the recording software does to the signal, eg compression, which can drop the quality. That's why you need to suck and see.

    But the Sweetspot is excellent, so go for that without hesitation.
     
  14. Magsy

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    Mainconcept seems to have by far and away the best encoding quality. I've used the Encoder itself to cap a few things and it seems to produce a great image at a fairly low bitrate. I normally find the software encoders require a very high (7-8mbps) bitrate to look good but not so with Mainconcept.

    I've compared it to a pro hardware mpeg2 card and its very close, the card does better at 4mbps but once you are up to 5-6mbps the difference is tiny!
     
  15. MikeKay1976

    MikeKay1976
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    My basic settings are on the panny Picture normal, brightness 0 contrast 3ish sharpness 0 and the final picture mode warm. The important part I feel though is getting the dscaler settings right. In filters for example some recommend ticking chroma gamma and sharpness. For me however I've gone into chroma and gamma and set the levels slightly lower and then tick these filters. I'll post tomorrow as to my current settings as the PJ is off now.



    Hi

    can anyone elabourate on this please?

    i assume there must be an overall reccomended bunch of settings to plug into descaler? i know every plasma panel will be a little different but i would love to hear how to get the best pic out of sky i possibly can. did a search & this hit is the closest i could find.


    look forward to hearing your settings

    M.
     

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