Does Win7 NTSC tuner need MPEG2 encoder? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,
I want to add an NTSC (yes, NTSC) PCIe X1 tuner card to a current PC , at the lowest possible/practical price point.

The purpose is to watch the 2nd room feed from a Dish Network DVR. I already have a couple of other tuner cards and I just want add this capability to a PC in a basement room.

I searched Newegg: the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 (don't care about the flavor) seems to meet my requirements and is ~60-70 USD. It has OK reviews, after filtering out comments about don't care features or lack thereof.

However, this card does not have an MPEG encoder: does this matter anymore with Win7 MCE and a current gen multicore processor??

Thanks ahead of time.
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 06:30 PM
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The 1250 will work with W7 x64 just fine (haven't tested x32). 4850e processor runs at about 45% while encoding analog, so it is a bit CPU intensive. I picked mine up at the egg for $48 shipped on sale w/remote. The remote is somewhat limited for WMC use (won't power machine on/off, some buttons don't work) but it is "good enough" for part time use.
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 07:59 AM
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Is the software encoder available for the 1250 built into the driver so that the output of the driver is encoded and therefore can be used for MediaCenter which requies encoded content from the driver?
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response!

I poked around a bit more after I posted the question and found some responses similar to yours. The last tuner card I bought was almost two years ago. CPUs were not as powerful then and CPU utilization was more of a concern, so I bought one with a HW MPEG encoder. I basically used that card for ATSC capture, so the encoder was not used, but I think I figured that spend more money to have the gerater flexibility.

This new card will go into a Phenom II X3 710 (2.6 GHz) based system, so I assume my CPU utilization will be somewhat lower than yours.

Hopefully, I'll find out in the next few days: I ordered it from buy.com: they were running a $10 rebate from HCW for a few days.

Thanks again for your response, it was useful.

PS: I installed the 32-bit version just to stay old school. Have you had any practical issues with the 64-bit version?
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

Is the software encoder available for the 1250 built into the driver so that the output of the driver is encoded and therefore can be used for MediaCenter which requies encoded content from the driver?

That's a good question. This implies the M$ still doesn't provide a SW MPEG encoder, is this correct?
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 10:32 AM
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Thats correct they expect the analog tuner card vendor to supply it on the card in order to reduce CPU utilazation. And of course no encoder is needed for digital content since it is received already encoded
Vista was the first MS release where MS even provided a decoder for MC content..
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

Thats correct they expect the analog tuner card vendor to supply it on the card in order to reduce CPU utilazation. And of course no encoder is needed for digital content since it is received already encoded
Vista was the first MS release where MS even provided a decoder for MC content..

So that implies that HCW supplies the MPEG SW encoder in/with the driver.

One of my Win 7 systems has a few year old tuner whose drivers were not automatically installed when Win & was installed. I probably should investigate/fix that also.
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 11:53 AM
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I stuck it in and let W7 find the drivers. It just worked.
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-04-2010, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

I stuck it in and let W7 find the drivers. It just worked.

That's what I love to hear!

Thanks again.
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-11-2010, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vkristof View Post

That's what I love to hear!

Thanks again.

I got the tuner, but my Win7 couldn't find the drivers. I putzed a bit with Win7, but finally inserted the HCW supplied CD.

HCW CD install screens looked like typical HCW garbage, but driver did install.

NTSC Channel 60 comes in fine.

Thx again.
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post #11 of 21 Old 02-11-2010, 09:55 AM
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To answer the thread title - "no". My E3200 spikes to about 15% usage when watching NTSC with an encoder-less card.
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post #12 of 21 Old 02-11-2010, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

To answer the thread title - "no". My E3200 spikes to about 15% usage when watching NTSC with an encoder-less card.

Thx, I haven't even checked the CPU utilization: just started using it after installing the drivers
I did have to refresh my memory on MCE setup, specifically adding a channel.
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post #13 of 21 Old 02-11-2010, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

To answer the thread title - "no". My E3200 spikes to about 15% usage when watching NTSC with an encoder-less card.

WMC will work w/o an encoder card, but you are right it does use CPU/memory to do the encode. Not really a problem with a dual core or better PC.
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post #14 of 21 Old 02-13-2010, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

WMC will work w/o an encoder card, but you are right it does use CPU/memory to do the encode. Not really a problem with a dual core or better PC.

I got around to measuring the CPU utilization in my HCW setup. The CPU is a Tri-core Phenom II @ 2.7 GHz. It's driving two monitors @ 1280 x 1024 apiece. Win7 MCE is full screen on the secondary monitor, displaying an NTSC version of HGTV. The primary monitor has Firefox ("this" screen) with many tabs open.

The task manager's measurement of CPU utilization varies between 11-21%.

So, all is good, but it would be even better if I knew how to stop MCE from capturing the mouse on the secondary monitor. Is that simple?
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-13-2010, 01:47 PM
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I HIGHLY recommend the ATI TV Wonder Elite PCIe (you can buy them on ebay and such for around ~60-70 USD). It uses the ATI 550 chip, which offers some great performance and features for analog tuning. You won't regret it.

Douglas Thigpen
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post #16 of 21 Old 02-13-2010, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthigpen View Post

I HIGHLY recommend the ATI TV Wonder Elite PCIe (you can buy them on ebay and such for around ~60-70 USD). It uses the ATI 550 chip, which offers some great performance and features for analog tuning. You won't regret it.

Thx.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the picture with the HCW cheapo & Win7 setup. I've gotten used to the much worse picture we get on a current 40" Toshiba in the bedroom. The bedroom TV and the basement PC are fed the same channel 60 NTSC signal, except for the different ports on the splitter and different cable runs. I should investigate why the TV NTSC picture looks so much worse.

In any case my office PC has a tuner card that Win7 did not install the drivers for. I've been to lazy to power down and inspect what the card is. Maybe it's an ATI because I do remember buying ATI in the past.
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post #17 of 21 Old 02-14-2010, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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It turned out that the card in the older Win7 system was an Asus PE9400COMBO.
Which Asus does not provide Win7 drivers for, so I used the Asus Vista drivers instead. This is the kind of stuff I've loathed, since I satrted buying TV tuner cards14+ yeasr ago...

Anyway, the CPU utilization numbers on this slower (2.1 vs. 2.7 GHz) system for this MPEG encoder equipped card are in the same range as that for the HCW.
At least HCW, dinky local company that they are, provides Win7 drivers...
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post #18 of 21 Old 02-14-2010, 11:11 AM
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Since the fundamental I/O and kernal security system on Win7 is the same as that of Vista many hardware vendors, other then graphic card/chip vendors, did not have to modify any technical changes to the content of their Vista drivers at all in order for them to work on Win7.
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post #19 of 21 Old 02-14-2010, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, and this is an illustration where it works.

For whatever reason (product line discontinuation, retest costs, M$ fees?, etc.), Asus chose not to do that, earning Asus a minus in my book.

The Asus is also a dual tuner model with two F-connectors. Neither connector specifically calls out NTSC, just ATSC or CATV. The downloaded manual covers numerous Aus tuner cards and form factors AND does not have an exact match for the PE9400. So I just guessed (wrong first) which was for NTSC, which was the one stamped CATV. For all I know, maybe both work for NTSC...

If I buy another tuner card in the future, Asus will be down low on the list.

Maybe I should connect the one labeled ATSC to the UHF antenna I have leaning against a fence and see if I can receive ATSC...
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post #20 of 21 Old 02-14-2010, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vkristof View Post

Thx.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the picture with the HCW cheapo & Win7 setup. I've gotten used to the much worse picture we get on a current 40" Toshiba in the bedroom. The bedroom TV and the basement PC are fed the same channel 60 NTSC signal, except for the different ports on the splitter and different cable runs. I should investigate why the TV NTSC picture looks so much worse.

In any case my office PC has a tuner card that Win7 did not install the drivers for. I've been to lazy to power down and inspect what the card is. Maybe it's an ATI because I do remember buying ATI in the past.

The CH60 NTSC SAT signal is hosed from the get go. You're taking an analog signal, digitizing it, compressing it, sending it through space then converting it back to analog composite video, then converting to channel 60 then converting back to composite video. If you TV is digital then it gets converted to digital once again before finally being displayed on your TV. It's a wonder it works at all, much less have a 1/2 decent picture...
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post #21 of 21 Old 02-14-2010, 04:35 PM
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It is common for a separate connection for an analog NTSC tuner for use with an analog OTA signal antenna or with cable NTSC analog tuner to be labeled and/cabl. The other connector is often labeled ATSC for OTA digital or QAM cable digital. Many users use a splitter so that they can connect to both tuners from one source.
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