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WANTED: Vista Capable OTA HD tuner with analog cable ability

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 26, 2006 11:10:46 PM

I have basic cable here, I want a card thats gonna work with vista ultimate (i'm getting it as soon as it comes out) and I want the card to be able to pick up OTA HD programming too.

Any ideas?

Tv wonder sounded good, till all this crap about getting special drivers from some guy to work with vista came about
September 2, 2006 3:06:53 PM

well on ati's site they say for a few of their cards that vista drivers will be available a few months after release.

but basically i think a good brand and a card that will do hdtv with media center edition now would work for me....any help there?
September 3, 2006 1:19:57 AM

Yep, your best strategy is to use TV tuner brands that currently work with Windows Media Center Edition 2005.

Otherwise, get a Beta Vista and see what happens.

Keep in mind, Vista may come in a 32-bit version and a 64bit version. Windows Media Center is still 32bit only.

There are a few TV tuners that work in Windows XP 64. Dvico's Fusion 5 Gold GT is one such tuner that comes with 64bit drivers for Windows XP 64. The Fusion 5 Gold GT is a combo analog/digital HD tuner.

Any analog TV tuner brand that uses ATI's Theater Pro 550 or 650 will work in Windows XP 64 because ATI has 64bit drivers. So, in addition to ATI's own Theater Pro model, you can use ATI's 64bit drivers with other brands, for example from Powercolor and Sapphire Theater Pro 550 tuner models.
September 3, 2006 2:10:28 AM

the theater pro isn't going to do HD though is it? BTW I'm not very fond of those links...although I do appreciate it, I should have mentioned I am interested only in a card that will use hardware decoding.
September 3, 2006 8:49:16 PM

Right. The Theatre Pro 550 is an analog Tuner.

However, the Theatre Pro 650 includes an HD and SD tuner. And, it is "Vista Ready". Moreover, ATI has Windows 64bit drivers for it.

ATI markets its model as the ATI TV Wonder 650. I'm fairly certain that the analog tuner uses hardware MPEG encoding.

It is rare tthat a combo SD/HD tuner that does hardware encoding. Most are software encoding of analog TV video.

Another combo SD/HD tuner that use an hardware MPEG encoder is the OnAir HDTV Creator. It is a USB form factor.
September 7, 2006 5:47:18 AM

Wow it seems the 650 is the one for me, is it hardware encoding just for the analog signal?? or does this go for the HD signal as well?

Also, if the day comes where I decide to rid myself of analog cable and go with digital cable...since my cable company gives us a digital cable box, is there any hope for using this card? Would I just plug the digital cable out into this card's s-video in and my sound cards line in--using a rca to 3.5mm?

How would the card be able to tune the channels? Is there some sort of IR Blaster for media center like they have for TIVO systems?

thanks a lot
September 8, 2006 2:41:15 AM

Hardware encoding isn't necessary for digital video. The digital data in the digital video is the same kind of digital data that computers love. Digital video is recorded on the hard drive without any encoding or processing.

There are a couple of issues to be addressed by your question about eventually geting digital cable. Without knowing which cable carrier you use, I would not plug it into the svideo in on the tuner card. Svideo is an analog connection, and your tuner card would probably have to convert the digital video signal to analog, and then reconvert it to digital as it gets to you digital panel. Naturally, picture quality will suffer because of the conversion process.

Secondly, much of your cable TV progams will be encrypted, so that you probably will get a black screen from shows on HBO, for instance. I don't think there is any software or hardware that can decrypt premiums cable channels.

What most people do is directly connect the digital HD cable to the LCD or plasma, by passing the computer.

As of right now, the only way that you can legally record satellite and cable HD channels is with the HD recording stuff you get from the carrier. DirecTV and Tivo have stand alone recorders to record HD. I don't know much about recording equipment for HD cable.

However, you can record HD TV from local TV broadcasts with your computer. All over-the-air HD TV is free and unencrypted in the US, for the present. So, that is where your PC's HD tuner will deliver for you.
September 9, 2006 12:54:53 AM

i see what you mean, but if anything i planned to just get digital cable for the regular channels not for HD. Are there not any tv tuners that can accept this digital signal from a digital cable box without converting it? I think i'm gonna be happy with the 650 but i just wanted to see what was out there.

thanks much
September 9, 2006 1:41:38 AM

Dvico Fusion HD capture works fine on Vista, although driver install fails and you have to do it manually through the device manager.

Viewing live HD with Fusion is not working quite right through DxVA and you might need to select full software decoding. WMP11 viewing using Nvidia Purevideo might work with newer versions.

So think about what software interface you need. All the mainstream products will only be supporting a TV display user interface. Dvico will hopefully continue to offer menus appropriate for a computer monitor.

Plus, get USB tuners whenever possible. They can be moved between PCs easier and don't tak up an IO slot for the slow datarate (<400Mbs).
September 9, 2006 2:18:39 AM

I was under the impression that usb tuners are all software decoding?

Are you trying to say there is a performance advantage of a usb tuner vs a pci tuner?? you have got to be kidding me
September 9, 2006 2:46:01 AM

Iv'e been thinking about getting a TV Tuner Card for my PC have a nice Video card.

But I read above something about not being able to get tv channels because there encrypted and just getting black boxs...

So if I buy a TV Tuner Card for my pc, take the cable from the wall put it to the card It wont pick up the channels? I probably didn't get something so if someone could correct me Id appreciate it.

Iv'e never watched tv on a computer before and started to wonder how it is, and thought about getting a card to try it out.

Thanks Storm
September 9, 2006 1:21:16 PM

If you dont have a cable box that you have to use in your home, you have nothing to worry about. So long as you are doing it as you say, taking a wire directly from your wall outlet and plugging it into your computer, it will work just fine for you. If you arn't very computer savvy and you have a fast computer, you could get a USB tuner. If you are familiar with the interworkings and can install a PCI tuner, that's surely the way to go...and depending on how much money you have to spend and the speed of your computer (the slower your computer, the more important it is to get a hardware based tuner) you may want to go with a hardware based tuner.
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