Cox HD DVR vs ATI Cable Card - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-20-2009, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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After using these for informational purposes for the last six months this is my first actual post. I really am in a quandary and forgive me if I don't know all the guidelines to this process. I have built and entire home automation system using Lutron, HAI, and various other things and finally discovered that I can centrally control everything utilizing windows media center. So in the spirit, I used a PC that I had at the office: 500 GB, 4GB, Vista 64, AMD Quad Core in conjunction with three media center extenders that I got on Newegg cheap (Thanks to whoevers thread that was). I am also using a VisionTec ALL IN Wonder TV card that I picked up from best buy. The good news is that it does work, except for two things:

1. The quality of the TV Tuner is horrible compared to the COX HD DVR I use. So after doing research I came across the ATI Cable Card solution. Is the quality of the ATI better, the same, or worse than a standard DVR?
2. Based on other threads, it look that if I buy the ATI online, it won't matter because my system would have to come from an OEM. Can I get a confirmation on this.

Anyway, the bottom line is that if I can get the video quality equal to my DVR then I might bite the bullet and just get an OEM System.

Also, I have a speed question because my extenders (Wired) are quite a bit slower than the DVR (The optimization said all good). Everything is running wired 10/100 on a new netgear 8 port switch. Can someone direct me where I would post this .

Thanks for the help on this
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-20-2009, 10:44 AM
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1) You can't just buy cablecard tuners for your PC, you need to buy a prebuilt machine that has been certified and licensed from cablelabs. Thank the DRM gods for this one. I'm guessing you're just watching SD on the current card, it's not capable of picking up anything HD other then unencrypted QAM channels (which are normally just locals) and you also need to have the proper tv pack installed on Media Center to take advantage of them. Check the HTPC section and thegreenbutton for more info on this.

2) See 1.

"Also, I have a speed question because my extenders (Wired) are quite a bit slower than the DVR (The optimization said all good). Everything is running wired 10/100 on a new netgear 8 port switch. Can someone direct me where I would post this ."

Has nothing to do with your network, that's just the performance of the extenders themselves.

A friend of mine does this with FIOS, he's using an Xbox 360 on his 58" plasma and the Linksys extenders at two other TV's and it works quite well. He has a Dell built XPS machine with two ATI tuners.

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post #3 of 5 Old 04-20-2009, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help on this. Do you know if the Cable Card HD Tuners have as good an image as a HD Cable DVR?
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-20-2009, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BClifton305 View Post

Thanks for the help on this. Do you know if the Cable Card HD Tuners have as good an image as a HD Cable DVR?

Well, they don't have "image quality" per se. They don't deal with analog video or any conversions thereof, all they do is pull a QAM bundle off the wire, decrypt it with the card, demux the streams you want, and feed them into the system. Matters of image quality are strictly up to the rest of the video path - the video card, MPEG-2 decoder(s), and/or any additional processing done.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-20-2009, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

Well, they don't have "image quality" per se. They don't deal with analog video or any conversions thereof, all they do is pull a QAM bundle off the wire, decrypt it with the card, demux the streams you want, and feed them into the system. Matters of image quality are strictly up to the rest of the video path - the video card, MPEG-2 decoder(s), and/or any additional processing done.

What he said though if you are using extenders, the video card in the MCE machine doesn't matter because it's not being used. Basically the MCE machine will capture the MPEG2 stream as is, pass it on to the extender and it's the video quality of the extender that would have any impact on PQ.

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