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Timeshifting Sky?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by SunnyUK, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    I want to use my (future) HTPC as a PVR as well as all the other fun stuff I can do on it.

    I'm not too keen on having to take the TV signal from the sky box and feed it through a TV-in on the graphics card - I reckon the loss of quality will be noticeable.

    Is there a way of feeding the digital signal directly from Sky to an HTPC? (I know... Sky makes a box with the built in PVR, but that seems like a waste of money if I'm building my own anyway).

    Thank you in advance for any help.
     
  2. rct

    rct
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    In a word no; it won't work for the same reason that you can't use any other satellite STB with Sky, there is no CAM available for the encryption system that Sky uses.

    ;)
     
  3. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    So it means that the only solution is to accept the modulation into an RF signal and then back again from RF before it's stored on the HD. Shame!

    Well, thanks for the reply, rct. This way I won't waste my time trying to figure it out :)
     
  4. rct

    rct
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    You could use composite out from the SCART or S-Video if you box is a Grundig with S-Video out.
     
  5. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    The box is a Panasonic, but it has a SCART connector. Is using the composite lead from a SCART better than the RF modulation/demodulation?
     
  6. rct

    rct
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    Composite will be far better than RF ;)
     
  7. buns

    buns
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    depending on your solution you could get your box sdi modified and then buy a card which will do sdi into the pc....... should be as far beyond composite as composite is RF

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  8. gab2001uk

    gab2001uk
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    The Sky SCART can be altered in the setup menu to output s-video instead of RGB. A correctly wired SCART to S-video cable can then be fed into a capture card s-video input.
    I am waiting for delivery of a Vidac MPEG2 hardware encoder card to directly convert Sky to MPEG2 via this route, for recording Sky onto HDD with the possibility of archiving the MPEG2 files to DVD+RW if required.
    For reference, Video quality league table:
    Joint 1) RGB (from SCART) or YUV (component, usually from DVD)
    2) s-video
    3) composite video
    4) RF
     
  9. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    I'm sorry for being so slow here, but I am a newbie, so please bear with me.

    buns: "get your box sdi modified and buy a card which will do sdi into the pc". What does "sdi" mean, and what kind of card is an "sdi into the pc" card?

    gab2001uk: I have a small conversion plug that takes SCART in one end and outputs via a yellow, red and white phono plug. I use that to wire the sky box to my amp. The idea is that I want to plug the "in" part of the PC into the amp's VCR-out to be able to record. Would that be the componnent YUV solution that ranges number 1 on your list?
     
  10. rct

    rct
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    SDI would be expensive... to find out how much look here and look here for a little more info

    SDI into PC... again expensive

    The SCART to yellow, red and white is not component. It is Composite video and L&R sound. To get component output from a Sky box requires an expensive convertor. You'll also need a convertor to get S-Video as you don't have a Grundig.

    To be honest, if you're spending this kind of money (putting on flame proof suit as I'm writing in the HTPC forum :p ) you should just get Sky+.... it's brilliant :D
     
  11. Messiah

    Messiah
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    I'm assuming you mean COMPONENT not composite :confused:
     
  12. rct

    rct
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    Messiah, no I meant composite. The OP has an unmodified Sky digibox with no S-video output... so without using any convertors etc the best option for connection to a PC would be composite. For some reason the OP had the idea of using the RF output and demodulating to connect to the HTPC. I was merely pointing out that composite is far better than using RF in this situation.

    :)
     
  13. Messiah

    Messiah
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    OK sorry :blush:
     
  14. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thank you for all the replies. This is really helpful to me :)

    I know I'm slow, but I'm beginning to understand the (lack of) options.

    Seems that it'll have to be composite taken from the SCART connector (even if I'm writing in the HTPC forum, I don't have much money to spend apart from the basic computer stuff which is already laying around from ex PCs).

    Out of curiosity and a desire to understand: What is the difference between composite and component?
     
  15. rct

    rct
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    Check here for a good explanation. It omits RGB as it's aimed at the US market, but I'm sure you understand that :)

    Greater detail of component and RGBs differences are here ;)
     
  16. buns

    buns
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    how much are you actually willing to spend? For doing what you ask with the pc, im almost sure that the best solution is the sdi mod (serial digiatal interface) with a H3D card. As said, sdi will be expensive so you probably dont want that. Next down will be something like svideo into a good capture card...... im not sure about the cheapest generation of capture cards, but i still would be inclined to guess the H3D will be the best as far as getting a good clean input. Unfortunately it isnt a 50 pound card..... there is a new version of the card just our so i suspect you might be able to get the H3D card for 300 odds, but at this point you'd have to be very serious about wanting a top notch picture!

    To be honest, i have the H3D and i have just ordered sky +...... the whole pc timeshifting just sounds a pain when only 200 will get me sky+!

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  17. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks a lot, rct :)

    The first explanation told me everything I needed to know, and I even understood it. You're right that the 2nd quote gave "greater detail"... I'll stick to the first one :)
     
  18. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    buns,

    I'm expecting to spend up to a couple of hundred quids for the TV in/out part of the HTPC.

    When I start to add 200 for a fancy case, 100 for a mobo, 100 for a cpu, 100 for a HD, 100 for an RF keyboard, ...., it begins to be a very expensive box which, as you say, could be done easier and cheaper by sky+

    But it's not just about the money, is it? It's also about putting something together which does everything you want the way you want it. Not just timeshifting sky, but also functioning as a digital jukebox and (admittedly not the best visual quality but still useful) internet gateway.

    300 quid for a capture card plus money for modding the sky box itself. That's over my budget.

    But it sounds like the s-video might be a solution. I've got a colleague who bought a low cost Radeon card a month ago for around 50 which did include s-video in.

    Is your H3D card now for sale cheaply after you receive the sky+? ;)
     
  19. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    hi sunny,

    you could try buying a grundig digibox from ebay, these have svideo out on them and can be got for around £60-80, the quality will be loads better than composite input, about the best reasonably priced input you could get for a pc (excluding RGB and SDI as I don't consider these to be reasonably priced).

    Owain
     
  20. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Good idea, Owain. Thanks.

    Just one more question and then I promise I will shut up ;) - will "any" Grundig digibox do, or does it have to be a specific model number?

    And can I just move the card from my Panasonic box or will I have to get a new card from Sky?
     
  21. buns

    buns
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    Sorry...... my H3D is in use for dvd duties...... so much better way to do it that internal dvd machines :p the only reason i'll be passing on my H3D is when i can get enouh time from Tom at Immersive to sort it for me! :D But im sure the latest breed of cheaper capture cards will be respectable eonough for somewhat less money, and from what i know they will be better that the radeon all in one jobs.

    there have been some good posts from rob and likes on capture cards, you should go and have a look.

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  22. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks, buns, I will :)
     
  23. gab2001uk

    gab2001uk
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    I did not realise only the Grundig had the S-Video option, which is a pain, as mine is past its sell-by date, and the Sony lacks this option. Looks like a trip to www.rgbtosvideo.com is required now!

    The Vidac card arrived today. I am still playing with it, but it does what it says on the tin. Encodes in real-time to MPEG1 (VCD), MPEG2 (S-VCD) and MPEG2 DVD with a choice of .mpg or separate .mpv / .wav video/audio streams. Quality of VCD is not quite as good as can be achieved with TMPGenc and a 4GB/20 mins .AVI file, but this is more than compensated by the time factor involved. Just record the .mpg file in real-time, and use vcdeasy to create the VCD in a few minutes.

    DVD quality is good, but have only tried VHS tape as source ATM, until I can get the Sky box and PC close enough to test it out. Time shifting works well.

    Will not bother to test DVD+RW creation until I can get a decent video source in.
     
  24. owain_thomas

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    The grundig is probably cheaper than a good quality rgb-svid convertor and I've been told would give better results.

    To make sure you get the right one have a look at the pictures on ebay, most seem to show the back panel, if there's an svid output then you've got the right one. I think the model numbers of the right ones end in /2/3, but I'd check that out first.

    To use your existing viewing card you'd need to ring sky up when the new box arrives and give the serial number, etc. Each card can only be tied to one digibox at a time to stop you having several boxes and just moving the card around. There shouldn't be any problem with re-registering though, sky are happy enough for people to buy new or second hand replacement digiboxes.

    HTH
    owain
     
  25. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Thanks a lot, Owain. It certainly does help a lot. :)
     
  26. Loafer316

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    Hey i have a Grundig which has a s-video. The model number on my one is GDS200/2 its the black one...and i have had it for nearly two years.

    These boxes are ok...just remember if you plan to do a RGB loopthrough then you might have to change the pins on the scart lead/plug that go into the Aux in scart as by manufacturers fault the Red signal pin and Blue signal pin are the wrong way round and need to be swapped round.

    The problem might have been rectified in the/03 models which i think were a silver color. It wasn't a real problem though.
     
  27. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Me again. Sorry! ;)

    It seems there are two good options:

    1) Buy a Grundig sky box (am looking at a GDS310/2 which has s-video out)

    2) Buy an RGB-to-S-video converter from www.rgbtosvideo.com as mentioned by Gab2001UK.

    Are there any benefits to either option, or is it just a matter of preference for/contra an extra conversion box? Will the quality be the same?
     
  28. owain_thomas

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    You can buy the grundig boxes on ebay for less than £75 so I'd go for one of them if I were you. Quality may be better without an extra convertor too.

    Owain
     
  29. Loafer316

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    Plus you end up with another skybox!!.......which is nice!
     
  30. SunnyUK

    SunnyUK
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    Yes, Owain, I understand the quality argument :)

    Loafer316, uhummm... and I can use that extra skybox for... uhmmm... maybe to hold the door out to the garden open *lol*

    But at least I can get a nice silver colour instead of the black Panasonic box.

    Thank you so much everybody for all the input. It has been very helpful! :)
     

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