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Looking for a TV Tuner Card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 23, 2007 11:49:15 PM

I'm currently trying to build a PC that will be a gaming machine, but will also act as an HTPC.

This computer will have a 27" monitor attached to it, and this monitor will be acting as the TV as well. I have digital cable at home with the box, and I want to be able to watch TV on my computer.
Things I need:
1. High quality display of S-Video, I am aware that there currently are no HDTV tuner cards out there, I'd love to be able to get HDTV cable in to this computer but S-Video is the best I can do from what I understand.
I DO NOT need analog HDTV air broadcast input.

2. I'd like to have good quality hardware MPEG-2 or maybe MPEG-4 encoding.

3. I'd really like to have it come with a decent software suite that will allow me to easily switch between computing and TV watching, and perhaps some "Tivo" like abilities.

Bottom line: I need a good TV tuner with S-Video input and decent software.

More about : tuner card

April 25, 2007 4:55:36 AM

I just saw HP is throwin in an HD tv tuner on some of their PCs. There's gotta be someone making these cards for their PCs.
April 25, 2007 7:19:05 AM

The best you'll find is 720x480 for S-Video input, and these are available from dozens of brands.
Related resources
April 25, 2007 7:41:36 AM

The only 2 cents I can spend here are words of warning: In absolutely no case buy a product from pinnacle... If you want I can go into detail, but that would hurt...
April 25, 2007 8:15:30 AM

Quote:
I just saw HP is throwin in an HD tv tuner on some of their PCs. There's gotta be someone making these cards for their PCs.


hauppauge makes a lot of the 'generic' tv tuners for sony and HP... impossible to find drivers for the little buggers though...

for HD input, I believe the ATi TV Wonder 650's and 650 Pro's have HD Built in... there's also a version from hauppauge, but I've installed the slightly older 550's in machines and the quality is great... the 650 has native HD support (according to the box) so I'd invest in one of those :) 

I myself am gonna get a slingbox :p  SLINGBOX FTW!!

Edit: nope, I was wrong... it's Free-To-Air HD (lame)... still, SLINGBOX FTW!!!
April 25, 2007 8:52:27 AM

C'mon now, slingbox looks nice and all, but wheres the hardware? What if i dont want to clog my intranet up with bandwidth heavy streaming video? The price is right though, its pro model is only 300 canuck bucks.

Aside from that, the ati hdtv tuner will be your best option, it doesnt have a dual tuner, so you cant record one show and watch another. The whole ati media center kinda leaches itself into the catalyst drivers, so if you have an ati gfx card, you'll have to uninstall every ati driver to update the media center. This can be a pain, and the media center updates are broken into 4 specific installs that have to be done in one order or else the whole dammed thing goes to hell. Once the installing is overwith the program works pretty well, the rf remote is great because you dont need line of site. I dont have the HD variety of ati's tuners, but i do have the tv wonder pro, and overall i am satisfied (note the driver were pure shat when i first got it, i couldnt even pause tv, pretty rediculous i think, but they support that now).

I dont know if over the air hdtv is any different than what your other hd source might be, but as far as i know, you're still going to have to have the box and connect that to the tuner (might as well just use the VIVO your gfx card has).
April 25, 2007 10:45:46 AM

i'm gonna get a sling box so i can watch my TV from wherever i am in the world... and on my phone... mwuahahahahaha

besides, it's compression rate is good enough to not saturate a standard network... if it's good enough to compress it and stream it to a phone, it's gotta be good enough to compress it moderately to send it to a TV... it's not like standard quality is all that much anyway xD
May 3, 2007 8:01:54 PM

If I buy the TV Wonder Pro Remote control Edition, will I be able to plug in a video game console and play it on my monitor?
May 3, 2007 8:07:12 PM

you should be able to do that with any tv tuner... but depending on the tuner, that will limit your options on how you can connect it... coax, composite, svide, etc...
May 3, 2007 8:41:16 PM

hey true romeo i got a question. totally unrelated but why do you got a evga 680i sli ccoupled with a prescott?

as for tv tuners i would suggest an ati all in wonder. however hauppauge is definitely not a bad choice either. i use one for my htpc and soon for my build for college.
May 3, 2007 8:59:48 PM

Hauppauge PVR-150, to be exact, that's what you'll find in HP desktops tehse days. Mine works very nicely with XP MCE, I didn't need any drivers or third-party software.

That being said, third-party software can apparently make life much nicer. I've read good reviews about Sage TV, BeyondTV, GB-PVR (the last one is freeware).

I have a Theater 650 too and I couldn't get the PoS to work at all. I tried it on XP SP2. Maybe on MCE it will work, I'll try it some day. The software it came with crashes a lot.
May 3, 2007 9:27:31 PM

My advice - stay away from tv tuners and either a) hook up your cable box to your pc or b) get a media extender of some sort so that you can watch tv through the cable box and/or view what's on your pc
May 3, 2007 9:30:50 PM

Do you have a reason for this? Bad experience or just a weird feeling about it?
May 3, 2007 9:39:18 PM

Regular TV simply doesn't look good on any modern high-res LCD monitor, and HD will only work OTA and then only if you're lucky - the ATI HDTV card is the best for this but you still can't watch the things your really want in HD - discovery channel, espn, HBO, etc.
If you must get a tv tuner, go with the hauppage as someone mentioned or the ATI for OTA HD.
May 3, 2007 9:55:18 PM

The new ATI software from Cyberlink is trash, and the old stuff hasn't worked right since ATI started pushing audio through the slot. This applies to newer TV tuner cards as well as All-In-Wonders

The old stuff works great. The cuttoff date is November 2004. Up until November 2004 ATI's TV software and drivers continuously got better, with very few stumbling points.
May 4, 2007 12:53:11 AM

Quote:
hey true romeo i got a question. totally unrelated but why do you got a evga 680i sli ccoupled with a prescott?.



I was expecting a larger tax return to upgrade my PC from an AMD64 3200+ (newcastle, 754 pin)... but it wasn't as large as I was hoping, so I had to use a spare processor and this one was the fastest one I had laying around... glad I waited though... now I can pick up a Q6600 for $530 :] sweeeet
May 4, 2007 12:55:41 AM

Quote:
eVGA 680i SLI
Intel Pentium 530 (Prescott) 3.0GHz w/ Hyper-Threading
2GB Samsung PC4200 RAM
Sapphire Radeon X550
WD 74.4GB Raptor (8MB Cache)
WD 250GB HDD
SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Sony DRU-710A DVDRW


Now THAT is what you call a Frankenstein system =D
May 4, 2007 1:21:59 AM

Quote:
Hauppauge PVR-150, to be exact, that's what you'll find in HP desktops tehse days. Mine works very nicely with XP MCE, I didn't need any drivers or third-party software.

That being said, third-party software can apparently make life much nicer. I've read good reviews about Sage TV, BeyondTV, GB-PVR (the last one is freeware).

I have a Theater 650 too and I couldn't get the PoS to work at all. I tried it on XP SP2. Maybe on MCE it will work, I'll try it some day. The software it came with crashes a lot.


pvr-150 and gb-pvr is my combo and works good
May 4, 2007 2:02:51 AM

Quote:
eVGA 680i SLI
Intel Pentium 530 (Prescott) 3.0GHz w/ Hyper-Threading
2GB Samsung PC4200 RAM
Sapphire Radeon X550
WD 74.4GB Raptor (8MB Cache)
WD 250GB HDD
SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Sony DRU-710A DVDRW


Now THAT is what you call a Frankenstein system =D

.................

um... yea... but, except the graphics card, my system didn't cost me a dime :p 

besides... E6600 2 months ago for $315... or Q6600 now for $530? yea :p  will be worth the wait :p 
May 4, 2007 2:15:23 AM

wasn't saying anything bad :)  just an interesting mix :p 
May 4, 2007 2:25:27 AM

Quote:
wasn't saying anything bad :)  just an interesting mix :p 


:D 

soon to be a Q6600, 8800GTX, and 3840x1024 resolution across 3 monitors xDDD TripleHead FTW!!! :lol: 
May 4, 2007 2:42:44 AM

Quote:
If I buy the TV Wonder Pro Remote control Edition, will I be able to plug in a video game console and play it on my monitor?


NOOOOO dont do it man! You cant do that stock, there is too much lag between your control and your in-game movement, its like a solid 5 second lag. DO NOT shrug this warning off if you intend to play consol on through your moniter. There is programs that can take away the lag, but just so you are aware, you cannot connect a console out of the box. Can someone please find the program you'd need to eliminate this lag?
May 4, 2007 2:48:15 AM

Quote:

soon to be a Q6600, 8800GTX, and 3840x1024 resolution across 3 monitors xDDD TripleHead FTW!!! :lol: 


Hmm triple head... wonder how good that would be in reality.. on paper it sounds awesome :) 
lets see.. stocks and news on one.. game in the middle... media something or other on the left... and all 3 for games for those that actually support it? How many games are supported, anyway? Let me know how you find having the breaks in between the monitors, if it affects your enjoyment.. really curious :) 
May 4, 2007 2:52:31 AM

Quote:
If I buy the TV Wonder Pro Remote control Edition, will I be able to plug in a video game console and play it on my monitor?


NOOOOO dont do it man! You cant do that stock, there is too much lag between your control and your in-game movement, its like a solid 5 second lag. DO NOT shrug this warning off if you intend to play consol on through your moniter. There is programs that can take away the lag, but just so you are aware, you cannot connect a console out of the box. Can someone please find the program you'd need to eliminate this lag?

Thanks for the warning, I will definitely consider it.
May 4, 2007 3:02:42 AM

FSX, but good luck getting it to run without biggest epenis in history (sorry, i've already taken that position :p ), but seriously, it will chug any gfx setup for at least this generation.
May 4, 2007 3:06:58 AM

Hauppauge and ATI are tops. I like my Theater 650 but yeah, the software can be a little fiddly. I'm very fond of the feature that blends the video onto your desktop so you can work through what you're watching.

YMMV...
May 4, 2007 3:09:13 AM

I hear ya man. Anybody tried the ATI hdtv card? Hauppage has an hdtv varient as well. Has anyone tried ATI and haupage? if so which did you prefer?
May 4, 2007 3:10:55 AM

I would say the ATI HDTV variant is better but I have not tried both. All depends also on the availability of OTA HD in your area..
May 4, 2007 3:14:33 AM

There's no lag with ATI hardware if you use equipment/drivers/software released before November 2004.
May 4, 2007 3:18:06 AM

My recommendation would be the ATI Theater 550 or 650 Pro PCI card. I currently use the Theater 550 with solid results. The card does support S-Video input. Picture quality does not compare to my HDTV Plasma monitor, but I had never expected it to.

The ATI 550/650 Pro is priced reasonably, and has better than expected picture quality (of course, processor-ram-psu all play a role in video quality). I utilize the card for video capture with Pinnacle Studio software that I use (never had problems with Pinnacle), as well as with Nero 7 Ultra video capture and Vista Home Premium Edition Media Center.

I don't believe there is a TV/Capture video card for a PC that will provide you with the same picture quality as an HD monitor, but in my opinion the ATI card will offer a very good viewing experience, as well as broad capture functionality if you do any type of video editing. Lastly, HD TV/Capture cards are coming (ATI already has one, but it is only available with certain systems) but this could be quite a wait due to all of the insanity with DRM - Digital Rights Management.
May 4, 2007 3:23:36 AM

Theater 550/650 will always suffer the horrible lag previously described.
May 4, 2007 1:16:03 PM

I have the 650 and it gives me a half-second of lag. That's alot if you're thinking of gaming throught it. Otherwise it's negligible.
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