Specs for HDTV, Cable Splitters - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about buying an Avermedia m780 to be able to watch tv on my computer. I've just got a couple of questions before I order.

1) Can my computer handle HDTV?

I built my system for budget gaming about 15 months ago.

Windows MCE 2005
Athlon 3500+ (single-core, 2.2ghz)
7600gt
2gigs RAM

My question is, if I want to watch and record qam through the m780, will I need to upgrade now? Or will it be enough to scrape by. I have been planning to upgrade this at some point, but I'd rather put that off for another 6-9 months if possible. My gaming requirements are pretty light.

I'm not looking for a stunning htpc system here, just something to get started. Then I can add to it when I upgrade later down the road. But I don't want to bother getting the tuner card now if my system won't be able to handle it.

2) My cable modem is showing a downstream power level of +7-8 dB. I'm assuming this is enough that I could lose another 3-7dB through splitters and still have enough strength? (No reason to get the card if I'm not going to have enough signal.)

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 07:10 AM
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1.) for mpeg2 hdtv from OTA ATSC recordings, sure. but when you get into 1080p mkv, x264/h264 probably not. But for simple DVRing yes its more than enough. Also as a side note avermeida did release beta drivers for MCE but they are still buggy and not that great for use with MCE. If you plan on using MCE for your pvr software and want to do QAM I'd say get the silicon dust HD Homerun.

2.) If you get better splitters, and don't have any up stream from that splitter, meaning don't have like 5 splitters upstream from where the cable modem is you should be just fine. If not look at getting a bi-directional amp that works with cable modems. I run a motorola amp and it works flawlessly.

- Josh
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Josh

I've done a lot of reading about the problems of the m780's beta drivers. But unfortunately the HDHR has issues of its own (costs a lot more, no analog, can't work in XP without extra tuner, which adds to the cost...). I'll have to do some more thinking.

As for the cables, I have one Comcast-supplied splitter handling our tv and modem. Putting the tuner card on the modem line keeps the number of cables I have to run across my apartment to a minimum.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PresterMatt View Post

Thanks Josh

I've done a lot of reading about the problems of the m780's beta drivers. But unfortunately the HDHR has issues of its own (costs a lot more, no analog, can't work in XP without extra tuner, which adds to the cost...). I'll have to do some more thinking.

With MCE 2005 yes, but XP that doesn't matter if you don't plan on using MCE as XP is just XP and then you still need a PVR software.

- Josh
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I already have MCE -- when I built my system, it came with a Vista Home Premium upgrade, rather than the Vista Home Basic upgrade that came with XP Home. I can, therefore, upgrade to Vista when I choose, but I haven't wanted to do that yet. Maybe this will give me impetus to make the switch.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-26-2008, 10:54 PM
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Well what I was getting at is with MCE 2005 you did HAVE to have an ntsc tuner to setup any digital tuners, but with vista MCE that requirement is null and void.

- Josh
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-28-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I've done a bit more reading, and it does seem like the m780 is a bit iffy right now. The HDHR is looking more attractive.

One thing, though. The HDHR doesn't come with a remote, so I would have to buy one. I just need something basic, and was thinking I would just get the Microsoft MCE remote. A lot of inexpensive ntsc tuners, however, come with remotes bundled in. If I could get a cheap ntsc tuner with a remote for about the same as the Microsoft one, that would break even cost-wise, allow me to delay Vista if I wanted, and would give us access to the few analog channels we get that wouldn't come in through qam.

However, my searches in the forums here don't say much about the cheap (<$50) cards I've seen on Newegg, and the bits I've seen about bundled remotes suggests that they aren't the best quality.

Given that I'm looking for low-budget solutions here, would this work? Or would those cards/remotes simply be a waste of money?
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-28-2008, 05:56 PM
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well whatever remote you go with, you NEED to make sure it works with the software you choose. MCE will ONLY work with the Microsoft USB ir receiver/remote combo and nothing else.

head to www.pcalchemy.com it is the single best place to buy htpc tuner cards, remotes, ect.... and their customer server is bar none the best.

- Josh
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-28-2008, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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That's good to know. Thanks!
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-12-2008, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:

I ended up getting the m780. Newegg had a good deal that included a MCE remote, and I couldn't pass it up.

In case anyone else is considering that card, I'm happy to report that -- after a fair amount of work -- I got ClearQAM working in MCE2005. It's not necessarily easy or elegant, but it works.

This site has been a real help in my first foray into the world of htpcs... thanks!
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