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TV Capture card for widescreen Sky viewing

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by spanky2k, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. spanky2k

    spanky2k
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    Hi,

    I'm trying to find a high quality video capture card (PCI) to go into my main computer. I've got a 30" Medion LCD TV and although it does offer a PIP mode, firstly its not widescreen and my Sky's set to widescreen output and secondly, I've just invested in a pair of second hand 15" flat screens to go either side and I'd like to have the option of shoving Sky onto one of the smaller screens while I work on the large one.

    Now I really want to have a capture card that can natively support the widescreen output from my Sky box. I don't want to use a Digital Satellite card because as far as I know, those have to be connected directly to the Satellite and so I'd lose the use of my Sky+ box. I'm not too fussed about it being Freeview capable or not as of course I'll be using my Sky box for everything. PVR doesn't matter either as its Sky+, obviously.

    Any suggestions?

    In a nutshell, I want a widescreen capable PCI capture card, that's pretty much it!!


    Phil
     
  2. DaveP

    DaveP
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    Sweetspot

    Or if you are on a tight budget, you could buy my TV capture card. It has one of the best rated s-video captures, suitable for HTPC.

    Dave
     
  3. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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    I'm looking for capture cards that are MCE compatible also.
    I've yet to find one. I've spoken to sweetspot (which looks a great option), but they don't do MCE drivers :(
    Analogue TV cards with s-Video capture appear to be the only option at the moment (freeview cards with s-video in have software MP2 encoding and as such aren't MCE2005 worthy...)
     
  4. DaveP

    DaveP
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    I'm running my Sweetspot on XPMCE. Granted, it's not part of the Media Centre Interface but that's no hardship. Dscaler runs full screen so where's the problem?

    Dave
     
  5. Skunkpipe

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    That's fine for a home build machine where you know what you're doing; but a support nightmare for someone nightmare for someone selling off the shelf media centre PCs, one of the main selling points being it's easy remote controllable front end.

    Does your setup work with the IR blasters, and is it possible to say schedule a timed recording off a sky box, turning the sky box off and setting the channel prior to recording?
     
  6. optimo

    optimo
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    PVR-350 Can capture sky in widescreen via Scart, S-video or composite. I assume you are UK with SKY.

    checkout ebay No reserve PVR 350
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5186217396&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MESE:IT&rd=1

    then go download these drivers.

    MCE drivers
    ftp://ftp.shspvr.com/download/wintv-pvr_250-350/inf/pvr_1.18.21.22254_inf.zip



    The good thing about this card (I have the same one) is you can connect the sky output scart straight in to this card with the supplied scart interface cables the PCI card comes with. It will then pick up all channels and guide information. This is a problem with some capture cards as they only get one channel. It gives the best picture quality. Better than S video. I then output using a VGA cable from my Radeon to the scart connection on my Panasonic Widescreen TV (TX-28PM1)via a cable I made. I Then use powerstrip to get 848x480 widescreen on the TV. That wont be a problem for you as you will connect a monitor.



    I have all sky channels and it picks them all up in MCE 2005 with guide data.

    I have heard of problems with detecting the channels if you get a card that connects via an RF. only shows one channel. Be careful which interface crd you choose. The PVR 350 is the best by far for connecting sky into MCE 2005 and it has radio as well which is accessed in MCE.

    I have a SKY+ V2 pace Box and theIR blaster that the MCE remote ships with works fine. changes channels fine.
     
  7. DaveP

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    No, but the OP didn't ask for any of that!

    Dave
     
  8. KITT

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    Looking at the specs the PVR-150MCE seems to offer all the same functions including s-video input, but is cheaper than the 350 :)

    optimo - Can your PVR-350 control your Sky box? i.e. if you set Windows to record a certain program, will it change the channel on the Sky box to record the correct program?

    cheers

    Matt
     
  9. Skunkpipe

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    Shame, if it did I'd get one for my personal use.
    Still the lack of integration would not be good of rmy customers :(
     
  10. optimo

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    Yes when you set up media center with the PVR 350 on the first run it will guide you through the set up procedure for a SET TOP box. In my case i choose satelite it downloads the available digital services from the web i Choose sky digital services London. I then get asked to press and hold 0 on my sky+ remote. I am also asked if the channels on my set top box are two three of four digits, and if I also have to press an enter button afterwards. My SKY goes up to 999 so I select Three and I don't have to press enter afterwards on the sky remote I just type three numbers on the sky remote and it changes. so I say No. From this point on MCE can control the sky box channels. It then downloads the guide with all channel listings.

    Media center changes the channels by keying in the number of that channel when you select from the guide or change up and down through channels. eg select BBC One and I can see on the screen 101 flash up quickly on the SKY OSD then it changes channel. This is how MCE 2005 does it.

    If you choose to set-up manually it will ask for remote codes etc and I could not get my V2 SKY+ Pace box to work.

    The last thing is to make shure the IR blaster is in the right place. On my box it is under the online led next to the last silver button on the right. Some people have fitted their blaster to the Led that flashes on the sky box not the sensor that recieves. Of course it won't work if you put it there.

    So yes
     
  11. Skunkpipe

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    it's also worth noting that not all sky boxes output s-video (My Sky+ V1 does, but the sky box in the bedroom doesn't), in which case you'll have to capture composite
     
  12. optimo

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    The good thing about MCE 2005 is the EPG Electronic Program Guide. It's much better than the SKY EPG software. I find it so easy to find things in MCE than on the crap sky one. Plus I like the way the live tv shrinks into the guide and remains on. I hate that sky music in their guide it was driving me nuts.

    The other great thing with the MCE 2005 EPG is you can untick channels that are listed in the guide. In MCE TV Guide settings So I have removed all the shopping channels etc. And now have a nice list of about 30 decent channels. Can't do that in the sky EPG.
     
  13. riccol1966

    riccol1966
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    Hi, further to the last thread, does anyone know:

    a) will the MCE EPG work over a dial-up internet connection?
    b) I am based in southern ireland (eire). Where does the MCE actually get the sky epg info from? Is it only a UK option? I am concerned that it may only be configured for UK access (over here we are usually last to get everything).
    c) if dial-up does work would it automatically dial-up at set intervals and then disconnect again? and how long would the epg take to download?
    d) I have a plasma tv with a separate input for VGA/SVGA. In terms of getting best picture should I use this method to display the TV signals (i.e. use the plasma as a monitor display) or should I route the TV signal from the video card on the MCE box? Which is better

    Thanks in advance.
     
  14. Kramer

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    Hi riccol & welcome.

    Lot of questions there but I'll make a start anyway.

    Best way from PC to a plasma is via VGA or DVI (if available). You'd want to send the plasma its native resolution for best PQ. Try a search here, lots of threads on this subject.

    I'm not sure on the EPG download without DSL issue but you'd ideally need a permanent connection for all the functionality of MCE.

    No Irish EPG yet but MS have said we'll be included later this year :clap:

    I've a freeview UK card in a Sky box controlled by MCE. Setup the EPG for it & it's working brilliantly. Very nifty system in terms of user-friendliness (for Mrs. K, I like things complicated :D ).

    It's a start for you anyway.

    :smoke:
     
  15. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Yes but they all output RGB over scart and you can buy a convertor (the JStech Mk2 with passthrough is my recommendation) that will give you decent s-video.

    Not quite as good as being able to capture in RGB but significantly better than composite.
     
  16. derv

    derv
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    Hi All

    I have recently bought a PVR 350 and would like to capture and record sky on it. I intend to play the audio through the Spdif out from my motherboard to my AV rec.

    I notice that the input to the TV card is a jack plug. Is there a better connection for the sound input from my Sky box?

    Cheers
     

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