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Some HD tuner card questions

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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Anonymous
October 9, 2010 10:40:53 PM

Hello,

I just upgraded my cable to Comcast digital (which sucks, but I don't have a choice,) which made my old Hauppauge tuner card useless.

The comcast STB has these outputs: HDMI, RGB component video and standard video out (the yellow plug.) It doesn't have s-video or coaxial out. It also has firewire and ethernet, but I don't think they do anything.

1. What card do I need to record to PC in full 1080p? (I know many of the broadcasts are not at that level, but I want the ability at least) I would prefer to record digitally without the signal being converted to analog and then back into digital if possible.

2. Is RGB component video signal digital or analog? (3 plugs: 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue)

3. Is standard video out (yellow plug) digital or analog? I assume they are analog, but just checking.

4. Are there any tuner cards with HDMI inputs?

5. Is there any point in me getting a dual tuner? The dual tuner cards I have looked at so far are coaxial in, which I can't do.

6. Are the external USB 2.0 cards really as good as the internal PCI cards?

7. Is there anything I am forgetting? Is there anything else I can do to get the maximum quality out of this new STB?


I appreciate any answers you may have and would greatly welcome explanations to go with them. (i.e. please don't just say "this card is the best," tell me why.)

Thanks very much :) 

More about : tuner card questions

October 9, 2010 11:11:17 PM

You can still use your old card with a svideo-> composite coverter, they are generally very cheap, i have several.

There are not many cards that record in full HD. Some can give you 1080i over component.

2. Component (Red,Blue,Green) is analog
3. Comosite (Yellow) is analog
4. Yes there are starting to be some hdmi capture cards, but you want to watch out for the copy protection that comes with hdmi
5. Not much if you do not intend to record HD, but some dual tuners can use the second tuner for radio.
6. As long as it is a hardware based USB card(some of the small ones use the cpu, this is not always an issue, but generally the quality suffers.), they are generally as good.
7 Get a huge hard drive, HD takes lots of space.

My recommendation if you can deal with analog is wintv HD PVR over component. The simple reason is that there is no form of copy protection on the analog stream, where as on digital they can place a flag that tells the card not to allow recording.

Another option would be a DVR/PVR from your cable provider, those just save the stream and thereby do not do any digital->analog->digital conversion, just digital to analog once(either in the box or in your tv).

hdpvr
http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

one of the few hdmi capture devices on the market. I have no clue if it will work on media center
http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/
Anonymous
October 10, 2010 12:11:41 AM

Thank you for the response

interesting, I didn't know about the copy protection with hdmi

If I get a component/composite HD card, will it record at high resolution (720/1080)? or will it downgrade the picture to 480?

Basically everything I watch on tv is pre-recorded with media center ... I almost never watch things live, so thats why the recording quality is important to me. In other words, if a new tuner card will downgrade the recorded HD signal to analog cable quality, 480 lines, then I really wouldn't even have HD at all and I may as well just bring the thing back to comcast.

Would you please check my math and let me know if what I just said is correct? Am I right in upgrading to an HD tuner card at all? (Especially since I avoid copy protection like the plague)

Thank you
October 10, 2010 1:21:17 AM

To clear it up, my current card. ATI tv wonder 650(only use it cause my PVR 250 does not support 64-bit win7) records at 720 x 480 but it is interlaced meaning that only every second line is refreshed each frame. The computer de-interlaces this to make it look like 720p and does a good job. So with something like the hdpvr you would record 720p or i depending on what the channel gives you and the max is 1080i.

If you are running MCE 2005, you may want to look into the software hack you need to get mce2005 to work well with the HD-PVR
!