OTA HD tuner recommendations? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi gang, I need a way to bring OTA HD into my HTPC. Don't need cable card capability or anything like that, just 2 or more OTA HD tuners. What are my options? I need to:

1. watch/record OTA HD on my main tv (where the HTPC is)
2. watch/record OTA HD on my bedroom tv (where the xbox will be, most likely via a wired network connection.)
3. watch DVR'd OTA HD shows

I have windows 8 and media center on my HTPC. It can handle all the DVR programing etc for me, correct?
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post #2 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 10:44 AM
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Here are probably your best choices for ATSC dual tuners for your Media Center PC:

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250
AverMedia A188 Duet
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post #3 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the suggestions! Are there pros/cons of using an internal card over a networked model like the silicondust one?
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post #4 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 11:24 AM
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Networked tuners are just easier and more flexible IMO. Hook it up to your network and you're done.
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post #5 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Networked tuners are just easier and more flexible IMO. Hook it up to your network and you're done.

I Agree with this. Network tuners are so flexible that you can actually assign one tuner to one PC and the other to a differenct PC so you can have live TV in two seperate locations.
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 11:42 AM
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I got the Silicondust dual and it has a weaker tuner than my other hauppauge internal tuners. Probably b/c it splits internally. It won't pick up a few of my distant channels very well. If all of your channels have a strong signal it may not matter though. I wish it had 2 antenna inputs instead of just 1 which gets split.
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post #7 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by squeakybirnbaum View Post

I got the Silicondust dual and it has a weaker tuner than my other hauppauge internal tuners. Probably b/c it splits internally. It won't pick up a few of my distant channels very well. If all of your channels have a strong signal it may not matter though. I wish it had 2 antenna inputs instead of just 1 which gets split.

I have the original hdhomerun and it does have dual antenna inputs. I have to use my own splitter to split the signal coming from the antenna. Unless you plan on using two antennae, you will have to split the signal at some point to feed each tuner.
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post #8 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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probably a dumb question, but is there a simple way to boost the signal from an antenna to compensate for this problem?
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jekbrown View Post

probably a dumb question, but is there a simple way to boost the signal from an antenna to compensate for this problem?

You can try a drop amp or other type of tv signal amp. Just make sure to get one that supports the ATSC, not one of the old NTSC amps. Might not be good to use one in conjunction with a two antenna input. You typically want the amp as close to the antenna as possible.
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post #10 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jekbrown View Post

probably a dumb question, but is there a simple way to boost the signal from an antenna to compensate for this problem?

I use this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EKCGT8/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 it works great.
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post #11 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 01:18 PM
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Does anyone make an OTA HD tuner with HDMI out? A friend of mine broke the HDMI port on his Samsung tuner and is looking to replace the tuner under the assumption it will be either not possible or too costly to repair.
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post #12 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Networked tuners are just easier and more flexible IMO. Hook it up to your network and you're done.
Not quite. You have to install the SiliconDust HDHomeRun software on each computer you want to have access to the tuners. Then, if you're using Windows Media Center, you have to run the TV signal setup so it will configure the tuners for use.

FWIW, the Hauppauge 2250 tuners have internal splitters. In fact, any internal dual tuner model with a single coax input will have an internal splitter. On the subject of signal strength, I concur the the HDHomeRun tuners tend to have a slightly lower signal strength than either the Hauppauge 2250 or the AverMedia Duet. I use all three in case you're wondering. I'm in an area that's close to the broadcast towers so the difference in signal strength is irrelevant for my setup. If you're in a fringe area it may make a difference.
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post #13 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Not quite. You have to install the SiliconDust HDHomeRun software on each computer you want to have access to the tuners. Then, if you're using Windows Media Center, you have to run the TV signal setup so it will configure the tuners for use.

I was mostly referring to the hardware aspect. You don't have to open up the computer case. Don't have to worry about half height vs. full height pci slots. You can use it with a laptop (which is what I do). You can place it anywhere on your network, doesn't have to tied to a specific computer, etc.

The HDHomerun essentially turns your LAN into a cable distribution system. To use it on a computer you will still need software/drivers installed, although with the new DLNA function on the Prime, you hardly need that (you just need a computer for the initial setup).
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post #14 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on what I'm reading, the SiliconDust unit seems to be the one for me. The only question left is, does anyone know of a way to get a better price than what B&H is offering? ($85.xx shipped)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/764007-REG/SiliconDust_HDHR3_US_HDHR3_US_HDHomeRun_Dual_TV.html
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post #15 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jekbrown View Post

Based on what I'm reading, the SiliconDust unit seems to be the one for me. The only question left is, does anyone know of a way to get a better price than what B&H is offering? ($85.xx shipped)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/764007-REG/SiliconDust_HDHR3_US_HDHR3_US_HDHomeRun_Dual_TV.html

It goes on sale frequently. I think I saw it for $65 the other day.
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post #16 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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on sale generally or at a specific site or two? It's worth it to me to wait...my Dish Network bill is paid for another month anyway! smile.gif
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post #17 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 05:08 PM
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post #18 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akadoublej View Post

Does anyone make an OTA HD tuner with HDMI out? A friend of mine broke the HDMI port on his Samsung tuner and is looking to replace the tuner under the assumption it will be either not possible or too costly to repair.
You could probably pick up a DirecTV HR10-250 HDTivo for next to nothing. It works as an OTA ATSC tuner without a subscription and it has HDMI out. Just make sure it has a working HDMI port as the earlier models had issues with them failing. The only caveat is that you need a DirecTV dish to download the guide data. It has an ethernet connector and you can get it to connect to Tivo Inc. manually or automatically, but I don't think it will acquire guide data via the internet.

Aside from that, there are other OTA HD tuners that were marketed once upon a time from various vendors like LG, Sony, and a few others. Check out ebay or Craigs List. I spotted a few listings for the LG LST-4600A tuner selling for $50 with free shipping. No HDMI out but it does have DVI and digital audio out.
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post #19 of 44 Old 01-25-2013, 07:23 PM
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This may be a matter of person preference.

I did not use a HDHomeRun because I would have needed somewhere to put the unit & also another power outlet to plug it in. Then I would have needed an Ethernet switch in order to provide another network connection for the HDHomeRun. And of course a place to put the switch & yet another power outlet for it.

I went with an AverMedia Duet card because it's inside the HTPC & adds no additional black boxes to my setup.
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post #20 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

This may be a matter of person preference.

I did not use a HDHomeRun because I would have needed somewhere to put the unit & also another power outlet to plug it in. Then I would have needed an Ethernet switch in order to provide another network connection for the HDHomeRun. And of course a place to put the switch & yet another power outlet for it.

I went with an AverMedia Duet card because it's inside the HTPC & adds no additional black boxes to my setup.
The HDHomeRun is better suited for a situation where you need to share tuners with more than one PC or you have a limited number of PCI-e slots in your PC and don't want a USB tuner. If you have a slot available and you only need the tuner on one PC then an internal tuner makes more sense.
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post #21 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jekbrown View Post

on sale generally or at a specific site or two? It's worth it to me to wait...my Dish Network bill is paid for another month anyway! smile.gif

Newegg, Amazon and TigerDirect are you best bets for sale watching. I've seen good HDHR prime sales on WOOT, but can't recall seeing the Dual there.

BTW, another possible advantage of a network tuner like HDHR is that it may allow you to locate it closer to an antenna, thereby reducing signal loss in the cable (if that is an issue).
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post #22 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

The HDHomeRun is better suited for a situation where you need to share tuners with more than one PC or you have a limited number of PCI-e slots in your PC and don't want a USB tuner. If you have a slot available and you only need the tuner on one PC then an internal tuner makes more sense.

I would still go with the external network device, because of what your next HTPC might look like. My next HTPC very well may be a very small footprint PC or even a notebook. Also, which do you think is more likely to be around in five years? Ethernet cabling or PCI-e slots in new computers? An external network device should have a longer useful life for that reason.
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post #23 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 08:11 AM
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I would still go with the external network device, because of what your next HTPC might look like. My next HTPC very well may be a very small footprint PC or even a notebook. Also, which do you think is more likely to be around in five years? Ethernet cabling or PCI-e slots in new computers? An external network device should have a longer useful life for that reason.

Yup, Intel's Next Unit of Computing devices will probably wipe out the need to build our own HTPC's.
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post #24 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

The HDHomeRun is better suited for a situation where you need to share tuners with more than one PC or you have a limited number of PCI-e slots in your PC and don't want a USB tuner. If you have a slot available and you only need the tuner on one PC then an internal tuner makes more sense.

The only problem with this is that 1080p doesn't seem to work great over wifi, so you kind of need all your devices to be on a wired network.
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post #25 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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wired is fine. I won't be able to watch on my laptop I suppose, but I've never really wanted to anyway. So long as it works on my main TV (where the HTPC is with a wired connection) and my bedroom TV (where an Xbox 360 slim with a wired connection), I'm a happy camper. smile.gif
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post #26 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 12:29 PM
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The only problem with this is that 1080p doesn't seem to work great over wifi, so you kind of need all your devices to be on a wired network.
I agree that 1080p and WiFi don't play well, but what's that got to do with OTA tuners? You'll only get 720p or 1080i with an ATSC tuner so wireless may be adequate (although I'm also a proponent of wired networks for any kind of media).
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post #27 of 44 Old 01-26-2013, 12:35 PM
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I won't be able to watch on my laptop I suppose, but I've never really wanted to anyway.

 

For the fun of it I tested streaming via my HDHomeRuns to my wife's laptop (via a very low-end wireless network) and it worked like a champ. OTA streams typically don't exceed 16Mbps (at least around here).

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post #28 of 44 Old 01-27-2013, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Zagor View Post

I have the original hdhomerun and it does have dual antenna inputs. I have to use my own splitter to split the signal coming from the antenna. Unless you plan on using two antennae, you will have to split the signal at some point to feed each tuner.
I use 1 antenna with a distribution amp (1 in / 8 out) instead of using splitters. I have 4 single tuner Hauppauge 1800 tuners in my HTPC that all get great signal. With the HDHomerun Dual the signal is much worse.
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post #29 of 44 Old 01-27-2013, 12:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DanPackMan View Post

You can try a drop amp or other type of tv signal amp. Just make sure to get one that supports the ATSC, not one of the old NTSC amps. Might not be good to use one in conjunction with a two antenna input. You typically want the amp as close to the antenna as possible.
Amps/boosters are a frequency range. any and all from average 50-1000MHz, type deal and are completely blind to ATSC/NTSC. wink.gif
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post #30 of 44 Old 01-27-2013, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DanPackMan View Post

You can try a drop amp or other type of tv signal amp. Just make sure to get one that supports the ATSC, not one of the old NTSC amps.
There is no such thing. Amplification deals with the underlying RF carrier wave and for TV, the modulation, digital or analog, won't make any difference. Since ATSC tends to be mostly in the UHF spectrum, this is where the OP should focus. i.e. What is the UHF amplification.
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