TV Tuners: Recommendations for Dual DVB-T card for Vista 64bit

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by brucerobinson, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Hello,
    I'm building my first HTPC: Silverstone GD01-MXR (ATX) case using included Remote (iMON), GByte MA78G-DS3H (ATX) MoBo, AMD AM2 5050E CPU, 4Gb GeiL PC-6400 RAM, Vista Home Premium/VMC.
    Have scoured AVForums and others, & feel comfortable giving 64bit Vista a try as being most appropriate platform for 64bit CPU and 4Gb RAM, on the basis that the only other hardware for now will be DVB-T TV Tuner (no graphics or sound card anticipated), aim to use VMC by default whenever possible to 'keep it simple/wife-freindly', and other software I'll need is readily available 64bit or if not 32bit runs on 64bit Vista without issues (e.g. browser, antivirus etc). I don't envisage Photoshop, video editing etc on HTPC.
    So, if/when I want to do more (most likely next step DVB-S2 for free satellite for free HD channels, and I have spare Mobo slots to add another card for this, but...I've read about problems in VMC with 2 cards installed....) the hardware/software required will have 'caught up' in 64bit.
    So, my question is advice on DVB-T Dual Tuner for use with Vista 64bit that will work using Media Center and can be controlled (including wake from sleep timer record) using the Remote supplied with the Silverstone GD01-MXR? Seems like a simple question that I've found very difficult to answer! I've looked at (findings/conclusions in brackets):
    - Pinnacle 7070i (read long thread on here - not comforting and card seems obsolete/discontinued now anyhow)
    - Compro E700
    - Peak Dual DVB-T (Peak website says card can handle HD, posts say Peak software (I guess HyperMedia Center?, that's what's on their download page) is poor; don't know if Peak s/w is/will run in 64bit Vista (even if is 32bit) or if don't use Peak s/w whether card will work well using VMC? There is a drivers exe but doesn't say if includes 64bit drivers. So: will Peak card work with 64bit Vista, and, preferably, with VMC?)
    - KWorld PC160-2T (KWorld website 'boxshot' says Media Center Record A/Watch B - does that mean the card works OK with Vista MC software? Anyone any experience? And, same as above - with 64bit Vista? Website says compatible with Vista but not whether 64bit Vista? Software says HyperMedia Center -so is this the same as Peak? Doesn't say if runs on 64bit Vista? Doesn't say Digital Radio but I guess TV cards that say 'Digital FM radio stations' mean those available on free-to-air digital terrestrial, which I guess means these are transmitted on UHF/VHF frequencies so guess this card will have the range required to pick those up? I think I saw a packshot that said H.264 on it but can't find it now!)
    - Hauppauge WinTV Nova 500 T (not sure if need TD 'D' for Diversity, something to do with Linux?)
    - Blackgold 6in1 (long post about various problems (albeit many of them Sat problems, not DVB-T, and poor tech support response)
    Wish-list:
    Watch A/Record B using VMC
    Card must be able to wake PC from sleep for timer recording when PC put into sleep mode using Silverstone GD01-MXR Remote/iMON
    Free-to-view digital terrestrial HD as channels become available and believe will need additional software for this (i.e. VMC doesn't cater for HD; need 'TV Pack' or other software/H.264 codec), in which case what works 64bit?
    Add BD player in due course (which would also therefore have to work in 64bit OS - either 64bit drivers or 32bit driver that works in 64bit Vista) and similarly need player software 64bit or 32bit that runs OK - PowerDVD?.

    My summary conclusions from research are:
    - most new hardware (for my needs TV Tuner card now, Sat card and BD player envisaged) comes with 64bit drivers or the 32bit drivers work in 64bit Vista - but I can't see much specifically about the DVB-T cards listed above)
    - VMC doesn't support UK HD, so have to have TV Pack or 3rd party software, and same with BD - I know that's a different thread, but does the same player do both? in which case what to use for 64bit Vista?
    - I don't want to overcomplicate with DVB-S(2?) on same card at this point, one step at a time, but at the same time if there are likely to be issues as a result of having 2 cards (i.e. adding a sat card later) might I be better off getting a card that does both DVB-T and -S(2) now, even though I would 'ignore' the sat part for the time being?

    Confused! What a mess - or seems so to me, a simple soul.

    Thanks
     
  2. Vertigo1

    Vertigo1
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    Can confirm this card works flawlessly with Vista x64, with or without the TV Pack installed. Not sure about resume from standby/sleep though as I never use this feature
    You're right that most new hardware has 64-bit drivers but I'm afraid 32-bit ones won't work in 64-bit Vista - drivers have to be 64-bit. Also, sometimes the 64-bit drivers have issues which the 32-bit ones do not.
    To clarify, standard VMC doesn't support DVB-S at all and, whilst supporting multiple tuners, they all have to be of the same type and use a single program guide. The TV Pack add-on for VMC adds support for DVB-S and multiple sources so you can receive Freesat with a suitable card and can also merge different sources, such as Freeview and Freesat via DVB-T and DVB-S respectively, so channels which are available on both appear only once in the guide and Vista knows it can get the channel from either tuner. Unfortunately, even with the TV Pack, VMC doesn't support H.264 (pulled from the beta at the last second) and thus doesn't support the HD channels. There is a hacked DLL around which adds this support (basically the DLL from the beta) but only for 32-bit. Windows 7 has none of these problems as it comes with the missing H.264 decoder in both 32 and 64-bit incarnations.
    I'd just get a dual DVB-T tuner for now and worry about DVB-S later. Cards which do both are either expensive (Black Gold BGT3540) or all but impossible to find (Pinnacle 7010ix). By the time you're seriously interested in DVB-S both the hardware and software (i.e. Windows 7) will have matured and you'll also be able to make a more informed choice about whether DVB-S2 is required.

    HTH :)
     
  3. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    V. reassuring

    Tks. Do you think it is a given cards I listed will have 64 bit drivers? Or somewhere I can find out? Looked at manftrs sites & most don't say (Hauppauge do, Peak says only "compatible with Windows XP, Vista and MCE", not if 64, and driver download.exe unhelpfully just says 'drivers'. I can't believe how 'loose' this issue is, given won't work if not - thus £xx lucky dip).

    That is sooooo helpful - in a few sentences brings clarity to my pea-soup fog.

    That sounds like very sage advice. I may even just go for single DVB-T at half the price (£26 at MicroDirect) for now. All these issues with 64bit, remote controls (a remote comes with the HTPC case but isn't MCE compatible and don't know if that will control the DVB-T card, plus, if I have to use other software for terrestrial HD H.264 playback, if it will control that etc etc seems I could end up with 3 remotes or at least having to dump the one that comes with the case and buy an MCE compatible one. I got the case mainly because of inbuilt IR sensor so not to have one on top of box, but guess I have to have one for the DVB-T card! Then if -S card another IR sensor and remote! VFD on case seems like it will be good for nothing. So many issues it is doing my head in. Thank heavens for forums and my enormous appreciation to you for wading through my post and giving such great help. If you think of anything else, greatfully received.
     
  4. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Nova - T 500, Terratec 2400idt

    Both of these cards work in Vista 64bit, I have used both... Insanely fast channel switching on the Hauppage!,Terratec is a solid and reliable card.. the choice depends on if you want PCI-E or PCI, whatever slot you have free...
     
  5. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Thanks and great to hear re: Nova T re: channel switching, as that is something I wasn't even aware of the need to give consideration to, but if slow would have eaten my brain increasingly day-by-day. It's often the 'little' usability things that can make a big difference to overall satisfaction in the longer term. Fortuitously Hauppauge is what I have purchased. Decided to go for single instead of dual now, then add a DVB-S card as soon as I've got the hang of HTPC and had chance to research Sat. further. I'm sure we'll live without watch a/record b functionality meantime!

    Thanks to all for help on this Post
     
  6. tsutton

    tsutton
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    brucerobinson - wondered how you're getting on with the Nova 500 tuners?

    I am considering buying one but lots of reports saying that it doesn't work well under Vista x64 and 4GB of memory!

    Would be interested to hear your comments.

    Thanks
     
  7. Vertigo1

    Vertigo1
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    FWIW, I've been using a Nova-T 500 on Vista x64 SP1 with 4GB of memory with no problems at all, both with and without the TV Pack update.
     

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