Windows Media Center 2005 Compatible Tuner

I am about to build a new rig based around Windows Media Center Edition 2005. I managed to find an OEM copy of the OS on Overclockers.co.uk along with the official remote control. One of the cool features of MC 2005 is that it has is the ability for dual tuners enabling me to record one channel while watching another like a "proper" VCR, DVD Recorder or PVR like Sky+.

However my rig is using an ASUS K8N-SLI Deluxe Motherboard which has both PCI-X sockets used for two Geforce 6600 GT Cards. This leaves me with only two PCI slots as the one next to the PCI X cannot be used because of the protruding heatsink. I intend to use one of these PCI slots for my Audigy 2 soundcard - despite the onboard audio on offer being 8 channel, it doesn't have support for 6.1 sound, Dolby Digital EX, EAX HD 3 and 4, ASIO, 24/96 5.1 audio, 24/192 stereo audio (DVD Audio). This leaves me with only one slot for a TV Tuner card.

Which TV tuner card or external USB TV Tuner should I get to ensure full support with Windows MC 2005 Edition, which has two PAL tuners (preferably digital DVB signals support as well as support for a Telewest Digital Set top box), a radio Tuner, A/V input (Yellow Video socket, Red Right channel audio socket and white left channel audio socket) for consoles, S-Video input for High quality camcorders or input of Scart devices, an aerial output on one of the tuners so that the aerial feed can be "daisy chained" to the other Tuner rather than having to split the aerial feed wire to go into each tuner's RF input, and if possible Component Video input? I found one from hauppage which has the above bar the Component Video input and digital tuner but it is very expensive and fills up two PCI sockets which is not what I want.

If I cannot find a single device with support for dual tuners, is it possible to purchase two external USB TV tuners with the features listed above and then configure them for dual tuner recording?

Last of all will the Windows media center remote control work with any TV Tuner(s)?

Thank you for your time!

PC Spec: AMD Athlon XP 2000+, ECS K7S5A Motherboard, 768MB SDRAM PC133, Sparkle nVidia Riva TNT2 M64 32MB AGP Graphics Card, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, Windows XP
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  1. NO one found a solution yet? Am I posting in the wrong forum?

    PC Spec: AMD Athlon XP 2000+, ECS K7S5A Motherboard, 768MB SDRAM PC133, Sparkle nVidia Riva TNT2 M64 32MB AGP Graphics Card, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, Windows XP
  2. PCI-X is a 64-bit PCI slot usually on servers and workstations and never used for graphic cards. PCI-e is for for graphic cards.
    Haughpauge makes a dual tuner card, but do not think it is MCE certified.

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    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  3. I'm not familiar with which tuners are compatible with MCE.

    If you are having trouble finding info on the dual tuner card that Rich mentioned, try this spelling: Hauppauge

    I think the dual tuner model is a PVR-550.

    Another idea for you is a <A HREF="http://linitx.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_26&products_id=574" target="_new">PCI extender</A> to make the 3rd slot useful.


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    If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  4. Is that Dual Tuner model a single card or does it require two PCI slots?

    PC Spec: AMD Athlon XP 2000+, ECS K7S5A Motherboard, 768MB SDRAM PC133, Sparkle nVidia Riva TNT2 M64 32MB AGP Graphics Card, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, Windows XP
  5. It's a single card. Should be on the Hauppauge site, though I haven't looked. I bought a Hauppauge PVR-350 over a year ago, and love it. The PVR-550 was not available at that time, so I haven't really looked into it. Just heard it was available thru the grapevine.

    One thing that troubled me with the PVR-350, was that the recorded audio levels were too low. I was compensating for it by turning up my TV volume. But I would have to turn it down again when switching to another video source (like DVD player). I recently learned to fix it with a registry edit. But now I have a bunch of old shows that are too quiet, while recently recorded stuff is normal volume. If you get a Hauppauge, check the volume levels, and PM me if there is a problem.


    ---
    If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  6. As you use PAL, it makes you outside of US. But, my reply should apply to your situation as well.

    I've scoured the world, and there are no TV tuners on PCIe cards. All are on PCI cards or USB cards.

    There are some motherboards that employ PCIe graphics cards and have three PCI slots, which will more than fit your needs. However, as you have decided on THAT particular motherboard and insist on using the Audigy 2 card, then you are determined for fit your needs into that narrow configuration, and so we are obliged to accomodate you. So, here goes.

    In the one PCI slot, chose one of the WMCE 2005 certified TV tuners. An ATI, Avermedia, or Hauppauge tuner would do nicely.

    As for dual tuner cards, the Hauppauge WinTV PVR 500MCE has two analogue TV tuners and an FM tuner. In addition, there are some vendors who sell Nvidia's dual tuner cards for WMCE. These two products also have an alternate video input you seek.

    Naturally, you should check to see if the tuner supports PAL, which I'm sure most do. I understand that in the PAL countries, you don't have local HiDef TV broadcasts as we do in the US, but have digital TV, which is different. I'm not familiar with the appropriate digital tuners to make a recommendation.

    But, for US users, I have a different recommendation.

    For the circumstance where you only have one available PCI slot, I suggest that you get a HD TV tuner like the ATI HDTV Wonder or the Avermedia AverTVHD MCE A180. There is nothing quite like HD television, provided you can pick up good over-the-air signals.

    WMCE 2005 absolutely requires an analogue TV tuner that does hardware MPEG encoding in order for HD TV tuners to work. Thus, your only alternative, without another second PCI slot, is to use an USB analogue TV tuner for these purposes. ATI, Hauppauge, and Avermedia have USB tuners that can fit the bill.

    Incidentally, after installing both the analogue and HD tuners, and after setting up the standard and digital channels in WMCE, you no longer need the analogue tuner, if the digital channels are all you want.
  7. We english will get HDTV by next year although it will only be availible to those who have Sky or a satellite. The only digital TV we have is freeview which is just more channels and a cleaner picture than analogue broadcasts - these require different tuners altogether. Unfrotunately we dont get the benefit of 780 lines progrssive scan on the picture or Dolby Digital sound which is strange considering that many set top boxes including Sky have an optical output which remains unused :S oh well!

    However since it will be a while before we get HDTV I'll plump for the PVR 500MCE which should ensure that I get the features I need - whats the best price I can get for this TV card in the UK?

    PC Spec: AMD Athlon XP 2000+, ECS K7S5A Motherboard, 768MB SDRAM PC133, Sparkle nVidia Riva TNT2 M64 32MB AGP Graphics Card, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, Windows XP
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