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PC for consoles, what is the best TV-Tuner card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 29, 2005 10:52:40 PM

I wish to be able to use my monitor for consoles as well. As I see it, a TV-tuner card is a must? Which affordable yet reliable (i.e. will really work) PCI card will do the trick (for X-Box and PS2)?

More about : consoles tuner card

June 30, 2005 7:56:58 AM

Most newer cards won't work for that because they impart delay. Buy something that's been around for a couple years and you shouldn't have that problem.

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July 1, 2005 1:01:37 AM

Unfortunately, the solutions to this are not very elegant. Almost all plain pc monitors have one video input, which means that you have to do something to get the video from the console into the computer (video capture card) to allow it to appear on the pc monitor. As was said in the other post, it's not always satisfactory.

When you consider buying your next monitor, include a model with multiple video input connectors like composite, s-video, and component as well as VGA or DVI.
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July 1, 2005 10:57:26 AM

I'll have a 1xDVI/2xVGA monitor, so there is space to connect stuff. With this in mind, is there any optimal solution? I know, this question is not much discussed, but I'd really love to have my consoles by me (with no sacrifices of course) than having them on a separate TV set.
July 1, 2005 8:03:40 PM

Could anyone recommend a decent inexpensive TV tuner, be that a PCI or an external device? I have seen a few, but I don't know how to judge, I don't want to get a card that will then give a lagging image or a bad looking one. I just want to play console games on my monitor, nothing else, of course, only if the image quality is the same as on TV.
July 2, 2005 2:37:20 AM

I really want to play consoles on my new l90d+ without sacrificing any quality. New consoles are going to look sweet on such a high def monitor, but nobody is really posting any good answers :/  . Would it be a box that converts the yellow rca thing into a dvi female end?

any info is great
July 4, 2005 9:39:25 AM

The reason nobody is posting good answers is mainly because there really isn't a good answer.

That "yellow rca thing" carries analogue composite video - chrominance and luminance mulitplexed into a single analogue signal carrying the interlaced TV picture. DVI video is digital component video. That means the composite signal from your console first has to be decoded back into its colour components (and you loose signal quality in the process), then digitised into a raw digital component stream,then assembled into a DVI signal and then transmitted to the monitor. All in 1/50th or 1/60th of a second so that you don't notice any display latency or lag while you are fragging some bad guys ass in Halo. It is neither trivial or cheap to do it properly.

Then there is the problem of interlacing. Displaying interlaced video on a progressive scan display can produce nasty flickering and picture instability - fundementally because standard broadcast TV only draws half the TV during each refresh cycle. Standard TV tubes have slow enough phosphours that you don't notice the flickering. On a fast progressive scan display it can look terrible. The way around the problem is to do temporal de-interlacing, ie. take a number of raw TV half frames and combine them to make clean full frames. This is what 100Hz progressive scan CRT TVs do to improve the picture, they "steal" picture information from previously recieved frames to fill in the gaps. That sort of deinterlacing works OK most of the time, although it doesn't look so good for signals with lots of motion (ie. sports and computer games). There are more sophisticated temporal deinterlacing algorithms around, and they are used in a number of TV capture chipsets and can work rather nicely. But it introduces lag which can exceed the the natural game console framerate and get in the way of gameplay. Hence the point that Crashman made earlier in the thread.

The bottom line is that true digital HDTV sets and hi-res computer monitors are fundamentally incompatible with traditional analogue broadcast TV signals. Contrary to what you might think, the best display results you can get with a current generation console is to use a pure analogue component signal path to a high quality analogue standard definition TV. Anything else is wishful thinking.

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July 4, 2005 4:53:40 PM

All I've gotta say is damnnnniiiiitttttt. I am thankful for your help. I was really looking forward to playing some Xbox360 on my l90d+ but eww. Oh well.... I just can't stand the thought of playing on some terrible resolution 13" TV -lol. It sucks that they don't just put a dvi output actually on these upcoming consoles. It wouldn't be difficult, but they would have to innovate this feature which might be too much to ask and too late.


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July 5, 2005 5:07:51 AM

Actually the Playstation 3 is supposed to have 2 HDMI ports, which are video signal compatible with DVI, just using a smaller plug and including additional lines for digital audio transfer. The likelyhood of HDMI to DVI splitter boxes coming to market is pretty good, I would have thought. For the XBox 360, you will be stuck with component video.

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July 6, 2005 6:30:08 AM

Crash said......"Most newer cards won't work for that because they impart delay. Buy something that's been around for a couple years and you shouldn't have that problem."

Wahts with that? btw... ive noticed it with my HDTV WONDER



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July 6, 2005 6:43:13 AM

Channel buffering. It makes TV Replay work better, but ruins nearly everything else. I mean, completely ruins it.

ATI says "oh, but we can also put sound through the PCI bus". Great, so fix a problem that only exist for people too stupid to connect an audio cable, and make the product perform like crap.

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July 6, 2005 4:58:48 PM

Quote:
ATI says "oh, but we can also put sound through the PCI bus". Great, so fix a problem that only exist for people too stupid to connect an audio cable, and make the product perform like crap.

The main reason why the newest chipsets have frame buffering in them has nothing to do with audio. They go to the trouble of buffering input frames for temporal noise filtering and proper temporal delinterlacing in hardware - signal processing algorithms which need a number of older and newer full or half frames in order to work. That is the price you pay for a nice clean, deinterlaced picture.

And in fairness, there are a lot of scenarios where being able to record audio directly off the TV card is a superior solution to routing through the sound card. For example, it would be pretty dumb to force NICAM digital audio to be decoded and converted into analog then send to the sound card where is it converted back into digital. Similarly, given most PC audio processors only have a single input A/D with a signal multiplexor for all the analog input lines, it means you can record from multiple TV cards with only one sound card. It also means you can record having to listen to what you are recording.

Count me in as one of those "stupid" people who run sound over PCI. In a proper HTPC it makes perfect sense.

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July 6, 2005 7:18:35 PM

You're saying you cannot figure out the connections when you want me to count you among the stupid...

Anyway, I can appreciate some of what you said, but...when I tested the AIW X800 XT, I didn't see any quality improvement whatsoever, all I saw was delay. And the analog tuner picks up stereo audio only, which means....you don't get a noticeable difference in sound either. Obviously the hardware is far more limitted on this card than say, a TV Wonder Elite, but the delay remains. But since the delay isn't necessary for such limitted hardware in order to improve quality, I suggested ATI allow the selection of either method for such simple cards, through setup options.

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July 7, 2005 8:58:34 PM

Well, it is a great idea. You probably know how much a 19" 8ms LCD tv would cost (LOTS). That sucks because frankly, I think PS3 is gonna suck. I'm not a playstation fan and I have high hopes for the 360. Damn, it's not even too late to throw in an addition like that...but lol, yeah right..
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