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3 Video Cards Do Hi and Std-Def + Capture

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 9, 2007 11:55:08 AM

We put three dual tuner TV capture cards through their paces, including the AverMedia M780, Hauppauge HVR-1800 and Saber VistaView DA-1N1-E.

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/2007/11/09/3_video_cards/index.html
November 9, 2007 1:59:24 PM

Thanks for the great review! How about adding the ATI 650 (PCIE version)
card to the review?
November 9, 2007 3:06:06 PM

Good article. Thanks.

I'm also curious to how the Dvico card fare against these. Supposedly, with the "latest 5th gen LG chipset", its supposed to have great reception abilities.

Also, can you comment about the maturity of the drivers for these cards? While performance is similar between the three of them, driver support and MCE/Vista compliance is a major factor in my purchase.
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November 10, 2007 3:06:09 AM

From my own experience (I develop VOD systems for hospitality), the DVICO is the only one that satisfied the QAM requirement we had (QAM256)! I tested hauppage and AverMedia. AverMedia was a great deception back in March/April'07. It would be very nice to see a survey that includes DVICO cards.
November 10, 2007 12:52:09 PM

We tried to obtain the ATI card for the review and didn't receive one in time to include it. DVICO is based overseas, and didn't respond to our requests for a review unit. I'm sure we can eventually obtain an ATI unit, thanks to our good connections at AMD, but if anybody can help us make contact with DVICO we'd like to see it covered as well. We also want to take a look at the HDHomeRun product, which supposedly has the best QAM tuning capabilities of anything on the market.

About drivers and coverage for XP and Vista for the cards we did review: outside of neither OS's direct support for QAM tuining (promised for some future upgrade to Vista, BTW), all did well with MCE in both environments for standard TV OTA and cable stations, and for OTA HD stations. We'd say the technology is more mature and reliable than it was for previous generation cards introduced around the same time as MCE 2005, but we'd also observe that in making it easy to capture, playback and record all kinds of TV signals, the vendors still have some ways to go.

--Ed--
November 10, 2007 9:15:12 PM

I recently bought the Hauppauge HVR-1800 to work with BeyondTV 4.71 along with Hauppauge HVR-350 and 1600 models. The card works well but with one setback. It lacks closed caption support. The 350 and 1600 supports it so don't know why Hauppauge decided not to include it in their newest cards? Cost savings? What about the other two cards you reviewed, do they support closed captions?

BeyondTV 4.71 does not support closed caption natively so had to use hacks to make it work.

I wrote a letter to Hauppauge's tech support and they said the card does not support closed caption and will forward it on to their engineers to include it in future release. Hauppauge HVR-1850? Come on Hauppauge don't lose your reputation of being the best capture card in the market by skimping on features.
November 12, 2007 2:02:02 PM

I just got some information from the VP of Sales & Marketing at Vista View regarding the DA-1N1-E and DA-1N1-I cards. The $15 rebate applies at all vendors, not just PC Alchemy (that said, it was the only instance I found, so I went with what I knew for sure at the time). I also learned that the DA-1N1-I (narrow profile card) also includes a QAM tuner. Since I didn't have one and the product page made no mention of same, I could only report what I could ascertain with my own two eyes. Please take this new information into account as you ponder your options, and I'll talk to the site manager about getting the story changed accordingly.

Thanks,
--Ed--
November 12, 2007 2:02:27 PM

I just got some information from the VP of Sales & Marketing at Vista View regarding the DA-1N1-E and DA-1N1-I cards. The $15 rebate applies at all vendors, not just PC Alchemy (that said, it was the only instance I found, so I went with what I knew for sure at the time). I also learned that the DA-1N1-I (narrow profile card) also includes a QAM tuner. Since I didn't have one and the product page made no mention of same, I could only report what I could ascertain with my own two eyes. Please take this new information into account as you ponder your options, and I'll talk to the site manager about getting the story changed accordingly.

Thanks,
--Ed--
November 17, 2007 11:14:26 AM

zozzlhandler said:
Thanks for the great review! How about adding the ATI 650 (PCIE version)
card to the review?
I have been a loyal ATI customer for (5) standard graphic's cards.
Another (5) - 9600XT, 9800Pro, X800XT, X800XL, X800GT (pal) All-In-Wonder Cards, and (3) PCI TV Tuner cards including (1) which is the original HDTV tuner w/antenna.
ATI or AMD I should say, has abandoned those of us who run the All-In-Wonder Cards. They put out (4) of the buggiest drivers (ATI) & Media center programs that I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with (MMC/WDM 9.13, 9.14, 9.15, 9.16). And they have simply washed their hands of US. Leaving users with few choices each of which has it's own downfall.

First choice you can run the original drivers that shipped with the card or a very limited window of analog drivers. But this locks you into never being able to upgrade to the newest Catalyst display drivers; you have whatever bugs existed back then and are penalized by the old display drivers but at least the TV tuner / capture functionality works and is under your control. The display drivers have and continue to work excellently.
Choose to have your card run with the best available display drivers (Catalyst 7.10) (which in my case with the x800XT A-I-W increased my 3dmark06 scores by almost 400 points) and you are forced to use on of the above listed digital WDM/MMC drivers. The digital drivers (WDM) run a unified T200 driver...unlike the analog drivers which were separated and oddly enough made the cards preform better and faster. Impossible to mix and match new Catalyst drivers with old WDM or MMC/WDM drivers. If you do, TV tuner functions don't work/start ever! Upgrade to the one of the newer WDM or MMC/WDM drivers listed above and the TV runs :lol:  with what ATI terms as a "Feature" TV recording constantly to the hard drive (remember that these are all software Mpeg so this constantly taxes your CPU and fills up your HD space forcing you to have to delete files a lot other wise your HD's fill up with useless video....this used to be a user controlled function called TV-on-Demand (to offer PVR/DVR functions like a Tivo) that the user could turn on and off. ((In fact ATI now posts the reg edit on its own board to stifle complaints))

Some awesome ATI A-I-W users found some registry hacks (2) - that work to some degree to disable this so called "feature". It was a feature when we could choose to turn it on & off at our discretion. Problem is it has a way of re-enabling itself.
The tv guide features which were like programmable timer recording/viewing setup don't work correctly and often crash. I can't set up any kind of future timing record (the function exists but if you try and set it, causes several errors until you fight your way back there and delete it. The functionality of the software in the rest of the MMC suite is unreliable. Crashes, crashes, and more crashes. Its not unheard of to have a partially functioning system at the start of the day only to have it become completely unstable and need uninstalling and a re-installation before the day is through.

ATI's responses have been to blame it's most devoted users. Stating WE must have made installation errors despite following their recommendations to the letter. I myself have, to satisfy the ATI techs done more system formats and clean installations than I can remember. The errors appear no matter whether this is a clean installation of the drivers on a clean installation of Windows XP home or XP professional, or done removing & reinstalling the drivers.
ATI's last quoted response to me was to install "...My recommendation for your AIW card is to install the Catalyst 6.2 and the ATI Multimedia Center 9.06.1"
This is an improvement from the previous replies which told me I was to blame. This message concludes with a list of third party software packages that I could purchase and try.

I type this out because I will never waste another dollar on ATI. There is nothing to prevent them from deciding tomorrow that the new line of TV tuner cards that produced will no longer be supported by drivers and be relegated as discontinued.

The TV tuner cards (PCI or PCI-E tend to be much easier to work with as they do not require the same drivers to function.
AMD / ATI have dropped the ball on this one and despite the 650 chip probably being better than the competitors for actual quality....I will NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER ATI product again. (Unless they resolve the MMC/WDM problems).
November 25, 2007 7:41:14 PM

My tuner card purchase is being delayed by a lack of direct comparison of Hauppauge 1800 to ATI based
650 pcie. the ATI chip is reportedly good. I've seen one poster say that the Hauppauge doesnt support
closed caption, which is deal breaker for me if not fixable in driver update. Maybe CC support could be checked in an
amendment to this review? So I too hope the ATI 650 PCIe
will be added to this review soon. thanks for all the great reviews!
December 3, 2007 2:44:48 PM

Don't wait! Buy the Hauppauge 1800.
I have the HVR 950 usb stick, and the TVWonder 650 PCIe Combo card. Hauppauge uses the same application suite for both XP and Vista (+MCE if you must).
I have Vista Buiusness and ATI does NOT supply any applications for Vista use. You must have Premium or Ultimate to use the 650 card.
I'm on my second 650 card as the first lasted only 18 hours before it melted down and terminated my only 1X slot.
The Catalyst Media Center Wizard would be simpler for most folks if it identified what type of TV card you had, but rather it asks if it is Analog or Digital. Well its both! I chose Analog first and it offers up 2 antennas for each input. I picked antenna 1 for ATSC and antenna 2 for Analog. The digital worked well but the analog would scan and find channels but just deliver static when it was done on all channels.

Seems that it really be a Digital card. Then the wizard offers up Antenna 1 for ATSC and Antenna 1 for Analog. That worked fine. Yes there is only ONE antenna for each tuner, hardwired so both are Antenna 1's. The FM function is only available if you are not already watching/recording an analog tv signal as they are the same tuner.

On the Hauppauge 1800 a seperate FM tuner/input is supplied.

As a note for Warning! On all the reviewed PCIe cards as well as the 650 the manufactures have placed an audio connector below the belt-line of the card. On my Asus MB, A8N, I had to unsolder and lay over a pair of interfeering capacitors before the card would seat. On all my HP's at work the problem is the same so pick carefully.

TSB... If you also happen to have ATI video, the WDM drivers might fail to load. Techsupport is reviewing the problem.

Cheers
David
!