Which TV card - Haupauge or Sweetspot/Black Gold

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by richjthorpe, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Hi all,

    In the market for a TV card but which one ? I'm using MCE so I don't need the bundled software and I'll be getting a Harmony remote to control it. Is there a difference in the Haupauge tuner and the Sweetspot/Black Gold tuner ?!

    Thanks,

    Richie.
     
  2. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    For Hauppauge, you'd need to buy two cards to do twin-tuner.
    For Blackgold, you'd only need to buy one card I think.
     
  3. DaveP

    DaveP
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    What makes you think that?
     
  4. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    The Blackgold tuners aren't dual tuners, only single tuners.

    I just wondered if the Sweetspot/Blackgold cards are worth the extra pounds.
     
  5. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Oh sorry I was always under the impression that the Blackgold is a dual tuner card.
     
  6. Pudgerboy

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    I have dual sweetspotMCE cards running nicely. I've had to buy an RF amplifier because i get the occassional frame drop on the more minor channels which i am hoping will cure it. If i dont split the aerial signal and plug into each card singly, it is fine.

    That said, i didnt realise that MCE does a kind of temp recording of live tv even if you're not recording. you can still skip back on things you miss from the current watching session. Does anyone know how long this would record temporarilly? nice.
     
  7. nigelbb

    nigelbb
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    By default it is 30 minutes although it gets reset every time you change channel. There is a registry setting to change the time period or I think the TweakMCE Power Toy will do it for you.
     
  8. db298

    db298
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    Another vote for BG's - I have two and they just work, and the picture quality is excellent.
     
  9. rgmaniac

    rgmaniac
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    I'd go for Black Gold have three running with no probs
     
  10. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    I have two Hauppauge cards, one Black Gold and one LifeView. They all give identical picture quality and functionality.

    All a freeview card does is pulls out the channel's digital bitstream. It either works or it doesn't. The picture quality is governed by the MPEG decoder, graphics card and monitor. All my 3 PCs have the PureVideo decoder, a decent NVidia card and an LCD panel via DVI.

    Saying that a freeview card affects picture quality is like saying that the brand of your network card affects how sharp this website looks on screen.

    My vote would be for the LifeView, as it costs half of what the Black Gold costs. I only bought the Black Gold as it comes with an optional low-profile bracket, which I needed for one of my PCs.

    I have also found them to be equal in terms of RF sensitivity and channel changing time.

    I also took delivery of a TechnoTrend card yesterday, as I'm trying to get TopUp TV to work. This seems to be less sensitive than the others, as I'm having problems scanning for channels. There again, it was raining heavily and I'm on the edge of the freeview area, so I'll give it another chance when the weather's better.
     
  11. db298

    db298
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    Not all in the same machine ? I thought MCE had a two tuner limit ?
     
  12. rhinoman

    rhinoman
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    If you hack the registry, you can fit more than 2 tuners, there's a guide on The Green Button.
     
  13. rgmaniac

    rgmaniac
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    My HTPC already came configured with three didn't know about the two tuner limit
     
  14. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    So let me understand this correctly, in the same post you say that it doesn't make a difference and then at the end you admit that the TechnoTrend card is less sensitive......

    Sure I agree in theory under perfect conditions there should not be a difference. But as you are experiencing, conditions aren't perfect, one becomes reliant on tuner sensitivity, error correction of the incomming signal, signal paths get distorted, etc...I would say, and that is my experience that there is a huge difference between TV Tuner cards.....

    You can't compare broadcast transmission with web browsing so your analagy really doesn't work. You could make an analagy with CD players for example....I mean they are all digital, so they all should sound the same!? Or how about the cable inbetween digital devices, that doesn't make any difference in quality at all...Or does it.....

    Sorry I really do not agree with the statement you made. I think there is quite a noticeable realword difference for which you don't need any other equipment that your own eyes.....My experiences are with the TwinHan (don't even go there), Hauppauge good but not a good as the Terratec 1400i which was visibly much sharper....Terratec 2400i, good but again not as as sharp and detailed as the 1400i and very picky on the hardware configuration.....

    I'm about to try out the Black Golds and Nebula and hold judgement on the best card in my opinion....But differences there are indeed....
     
  15. db298

    db298
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    JohnS - any chance you have a link to that ? I can't find it and the searching on TGB is always a bit fraught...
     
  16. rhinoman

    rhinoman
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  17. rgmaniac

    rgmaniac
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    Hi

    :thumbsup: This write up explains how to force Windows XP Media Center Edition to see more than the default 2 tuners.:thumbsup:

    NOTE: The following keys are used in the HOWTO. They are variables used by MCE and will be different for every machine, and are only shown here as an example.
    {A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    {04CBCD6F-0EFE-4E52-9209-43B6AC9D4217}
    {54B4E960-C8E5-42A2-AC64-98A586B7BEA2}
    {BAF147BF-2181-466D-96FE-48020D0861DD}
    See the screen shot below for a better look.
    Close MCE
    Start regedit
    Open [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center]
    Export the Media Center Key and all Subkeys, save it as Backup.reg (This will help you with restoring the settings you started with if something doesnt work.
    Open [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners]
    Within that key is another key named DVR and another named something like {A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    It will look like this
    -Tuners
    -{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    -{04CBCD6F-0EFE-4E52-9209-43B6AC9D4217}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    -{54B4E960-C8E5-42A2-AC64-98A586B7BEA2}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    +DVR
    Export {04CBCD6F-0EFE-4E52-9209-43B6AC9D4217} it wont be named that but its the top one, save it to the desktop named top.reg
    Export {54B4E960-C8E5-42A2-AC64-98A586B7BEA2} it wont be named that but its the bottom one, save it to the desktop named bottom.reg
    Delete both of those keys and it will look like this.
    -Tuners
    -{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    +DVR
    Close Regedit and Open the device manager
    Open sound, video and game controllers, Disable Your TV cards
    Shut down, and install your new capture card, then restart. If your card is already installed Reboot anyway.
    Start MCE, and go to settings > TV > Setup TV Signal
    Run through the setup process for your tuner, and guide.
    Make sure it works and is not stuttering.
    Close MCE
    Open Regedit, and you should see this.
    -Tuners
    -{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    -{BAF147BF-2181-466D-96FE-48020D0861DD}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    +DVR
    Expand the keys make sure the keys are filled out.
    -Tuners
    -{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    -{BAF147BF-2181-466D-96FE-48020D0861DD}
    +TuneRequest
    Components
    Tuning Space
    +UserSettings
    Components
    Tuning Space
    +DVR
    Export the key {BAF147BF-2181-466D-96FE-48020D0861DD} save it as new card.
    Restart Your computer now.
    Open Device Manager
    Open sound, video and game controllers, Enable Your TV cards
    Import the Registry Entries you exported
    Double click on both top.reg and bottom.reg and say yes to import them.
    Reboot
    Open Regedit, make sure your on these keys
    -Tuners
    -{A799A800-A46D-11D0-A18C-00A02401DCD4}
    -{04CBCD6F-0EFE-4E52-9209-43B6AC9D4217}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    -{54B4E960-C8E5-42A2-AC64-98A586B7BEA2}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    -{BAF147BF-2181-466D-96FE-48020D0861DD}
    +TuneRequest
    +UserSettings
    +DVR
    All off the keys should look alike. The settings within will be slightly different.
    Close Regedit
    RESTART one last time.
    Start MCE
    Start recording
    Change the channel
    Start recording
    Change the channel
    If that worked you now have 3 working tuners
    Do it again to add more.
     
  18. rgmaniac

    rgmaniac
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    Didn't see youd already found it until posted
     
  19. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
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    deyongj,

    Provided the card isn't having to error-correct then they will be identical. What I don't know is whether my existing cards are error-correcting. I doubt they are, as they all look brilliant. Crucially, a recording from any other PC looks equally good as one recorded on that PC, regardless of the tuner card used.

    And the Twinhan is great too :D

    As I said, the only exception is the new TechnoTrend. This is currently in place of the Twinhan, in the same PC, on the same aerial. It will only find 15 or so channels, different every time. All the others will find all 65 channels. I suspect it's much less sensitive, or possibly faulty. The other three seem to be equally sensitive.

    An analogy with a network card is pretty near. It just throws data through it, it doesn't actually do anything with the data.

    CD players with digital outputs should sound the same, except for the fact that a motor may cause jitter. I suspect that the buffering will usually take care of this though. Obviously a CD player with analogue outputs will contain DACs, so you then have issues with quality.

    Digital interconnects always sound identical. Just like the brand of network cable doesn't affect the sound quality of the audio file you're streaming over the network.

    It sounds like you may have been taken in by the marketing (bull) that's spouted by the hi-fi industry. All the snobbery about cables etc is pretty irrelevant in the digital age. Have you not noticed that the hi-fi magazines no longer do actual lab measurements of signal-noise etc any more? If they did then they'd be shooting themselves and the entire industry in the foot. They just talk a load of flowery waffle about presence, placement, etc.
     
  20. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    No marketing bull...Just trusting my own eyes and ears....Sure if everything is in reference specification it should be the same, but it just doesn't work like that....Broadcasts aren't perfect, your neighbours tree maybe waving in its path (as a figure of speak), some cards keep the picture others don't....Some are able to tune to the exact frequency, others have an offset...So yes they just have to pass it through like a network card...But if they tune into rubbish, or add noise (remember everything in a path adds noise, nothing can actually physically remove it by our laws of physics) then the software, which you rightfully say is the same will/may have to work harder....

    So in theory I fully agree, but in practice it just doesn't work like that....
     

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