Q's about WinTV-HD and accessDTV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I've searched through the forum and haven't seen complete (or any) answers to these questions. Please excuse the repeat if I missed them somewhere. In any case, I want to add a HDTV tuner to my PC. I have some questions which I am hoping y'all can answer:

(1) Which card has a better tuner? I currently have a RCA DTC-100 w/rooftop UHF antenna -- but I live ~25 miles from the tranmission towers in very hilly country. The RCA can tune in pretty much all the stations, but I get frequent dropouts and/or momemtary loss of signal.

(2) Do both cards do digital overlays onto the primary video card? It's unclear from the accessDTV site if I have to do a video passthrough using the vga connector.

(3) Can I set up record times manually so I don't have to be home? Can I do this with the accessDTV card even if I don't choose to have the ~$10 EPG service?

(4) Can I route sound out via the soundcard's SPDIF? (I have no analog speakers directly connected to the PC).

(5) I run Win2K exclusively. Which card works better on Win2K?

(6) Where can I buy these cards? I understand the accessDTV card is only sold via the website? How about the WinTV-HD -- can I buy that locally at a store?

That's it for now. Thanks for any and all help.

-Rick

P.S. Here's my config in case it is helpful:

Intel PIII 733Mhz
Intel CC820 motherboard
128MB ram
Visiontek Geforce 3 (64MB DDR)
SBLive sound card
WinDVD
Asus DVD drive
Runco DTV-991 8" CRT Projector on 8' 16x9 screen
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 12:44 PM
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Someone may beat me to the answers to your questions. However, here they are:

Quote:
Originally posted by RickTu:
I've searched through the forum and haven't seen complete (or any) answers to these questions. Please excuse the repeat if I missed them somewhere. In any case, I want to add a HDTV tuner to my PC. I have some questions which I am hoping y'all can answer:

(1) Which card has a better tuner? I currently have a RCA DTC-100 w/rooftop UHF antenna -- but I live ~25 miles from the tranmission towers in very hilly country. The RCA can tune in pretty much all the stations, but I get frequent dropouts and/or momemtary loss of signal.
Ive used and physicaly seen both and they appear to use the same identical tuner.

Quote:

(2) Do both cards do digital overlays onto the primary video card? It's unclear from the accessDTV site if I have to do a video passthrough using the vga connector.
Both cards use overlay when watching tv in a window on your desktop via your VGA card. For full screen mode, you have the option to use a VGA loopback cable to bypass the PCI BUS/Video card and send the HDTV full screen signal directly to your VGA monitor or your HDTV set.

Quote:

(3) Can I set up record times manually so I don't have to be home? Can I do this with the accessDTV card even if I don't choose to have the ~$10 EPG service?
You can do as you mentioned in your question for accessDTV without the $10/month service. If you want to set up scheduled recordings for WinTV-HD, you have to wait for a software update or thing of something creative like taking advantage of your OS's builtin scheduler in combination to the Girder application which you can set up a macro. That is if you WinTV-HD is stable enough to achieve this.

Quote:

(5) I run Win2K exclusively. Which card works better on Win2K?
I LOVE Win2k and would never consider downgrading anything less. Accessdtv works PERFECTLY and 100% stable under Win2K..as well as Win98. However, WinTV-HD has JUST released their recording capabilities under both OS's so, you need to give it a little time for Hauppauge to make their software rock solid under both OS's.


Quote:

(6) Where can I buy these cards? I understand the accessDTV card is only sold via the website? How about the WinTV-HD -- can I buy that locally at a store?
You can order your WinTV-HD from Hauppauge's web site: http://www.hauppauge.com
I would call their sales via telephone and find out if they are still in stock. There has been a great demand for them lately.
You can order accessDTV via: http://www.digitalconnection.com

No, you cant bey these products at local stores.

Rick, you REALLY need to read the below threads CAREFULLY. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/011101.html#23
http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/011001.html#1

This will help you make a confident decision on which card to get.

Good luck!


[This message has been edited by mkanet (edited 06-09-2001).]

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post #3 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 12:50 PM
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Oops I missed question #4. You can use both cards to output via your sound card's s/pdif (however, downmixed to PCM stereo). Thats how I have it on mine. However, both cards dont have the capabilty yet to passthrough ac3/DD via your sound card...you can only send a direct s/spdif signal via the HDTV card to your amp. Ultimately it would be most desireable to have ALL digital/PCM sounds go come out through ONLY one s/pdif connector out of your sound card. This is something that accessDTV has on their to do list. Im not sure about Hauppauge.


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post #4 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 04:38 PM
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Don't waste your money on a WinTV-HD right now. The software is very unstable.

Wait for the HiPix, or get an AccessDTV.

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post #5 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by voodoody:
Sure, get an AccessDTV card if you like copy protection / encryption limitations. I've ordered the Hauppage card and will patiently wait for software upgrades.
I guess to some people the "Copy protection/Encryption-limitations" are a big deal. As for me It means nothing. I have a dedicated 40 gig drive for recording a bit over 4 hours. I can't see any reason why most people would what to save 10 to 30 gig worth( 1 to 3 hours) of files and what would they save them to.You CAN save them to a very large drive for later use but they MUST use a card with the same serial number for playback.
I love the accessDTV it is very cool and worth every penny( even with the small bugs it may have on some machines).




[This message has been edited by jaam (edited 06-09-2001).]
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 05:58 PM
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Hello,

Although I just signed up today on this very informative forum, I have been browsing topics specific to HDTV capabilities on the PC platform for a while now. Since buying an HDTV card is not cheap for me, I need to make the right choice. I dont mind waiting for Hipix to be available soon or Wintv to get their software better.

I happened to notice a few posts saying that Accessdtv users will not be able to play their HDTV files that they have saved on future HDTV "software" based machines.
I am concerned about the future of the recordings I would make on my HDTV card. It looks like all cards except for Accessdtv have have the potential to save files which are "future compatible". I dont expect my HDTV card to last forever. I do expect to keep my saved files as long as I live.

I think I have to wait for the Hipix cards or perhaps by that time Hauppauge WinTV card recording to me more stable.

-Mark M.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 06:23 PM
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A lot of people have been slamming the accessDTV lately for the encryption, but I really think this is getting blown out of proportion. While I would prefer that they drop the encryption, truthfully it's not affecting my use of the card. These devices are mean for timeshifting, not archiving. Let's be clear about something: for PVR/timeshifting, the accessDTV is currently in a league of its own. No other card has the features and stability of the accessDTV. Even though the HiPix has greatly improved with the latest software release, it still can't match all the features of the accessDTV, and will never be able to (neither will the WinTV-HD).

I really think buying a WinTV-HD right now is a big mistake if you're interested in recording. From what I've heard, this new beta release of the WinTV-HD recording software offers even less functionality and less stability/reliability than what the HiPix had 6 or 7 months ago. If you're expecting to use this thing like a VCR, you've got a long wait before it's going to happen, if it ever does. Meanwhile, I'm happily recording shows on my accessDTV.

Now, if you're looking to buy the WinTV-HD as a experiment/toy/novelty, maybe it's OK to put up with the current issues and the risk that it might never match the other cards in features and performance. But if you're planning to make the WinTV-HD your sole means of watching and recording OTA HDTV, I think you're going to be very disappointed. And like Michael, I'm speaking as someone who used to own a WinTV-HD and ended up selling it at a considerable loss to get an accessDTV.

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post #8 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 07:09 PM
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voodoody,

Don't rule out accessDTV for network support just yet.

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Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

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post #9 of 19 Old 06-09-2001, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Don't waste your money on a WinTV-HD right now. The software is very unstable.
Wait for the HiPix, or get an AccessDTV.
It must somewhat depend upon the particular system. My WinTV-HD has been stable for months on my Intel 833 P-III under Win/Me. The new beta with recording capability 2 weeks ago was somewhat shaky but the version currently posted on the Hauppage site seems fine. Currently my only problem is that I can't view the weather map on Detroit ABC subchannel 41-3. That sort of thing is typically something kinky in the PSIP info the broadcaster sends. I'll probably ask about that on the HDTV forum but I frankly could care less if I ever see it.

But you do have to be sure to have DMA checked for you hard drives. Otherwise I don't have any particular caveats.

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post #10 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 05:04 AM
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I use the AccessDTV for timeshifting. It works supremely well compared to the alternatives for that purpose.
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
I use the AccessDTV for timeshifting. It works supremely well compared to the alternatives for that purpose.
Actually I think that pretty much sums it up. If you want an HD-Tivo PVR then the ADTV is pretty much the only thing going. If instead you want to collect permanent recordings then you should consider the HiPix or WinTV-HD.

BTW, the WinTV-HD currently has no controls to rewind, pause, skip, or FF on playback. I can't remember if the HiPix now has these but it would be a definite plus if it did. I hadn't previously been considering the Tivo-like aspects.

- Tom

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post #12 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by trbarry:
Actually I think that pretty much sums it up. If you want an HD-Tivo PVR then the ADTV is pretty much the only thing going. If instead you want to collect permanent recordings then you should consider the HiPix or WinTV-HD.
Ya got it Tom. Either get accessDTV with rock solid PVR/recording or any of the other cards which you could keep your precious "once-in-a-life-time" events such as (live concerts, specials events, classic moments, etc.)

However, it sounds rather silly to me to try and keep an archive of HBO-HD, SHo-HD movies since next gen DVD-HD will be much more appropriate for hidef motion picture viewing. Standard DVD works for me right now.

Jeff is right, people have to make a choice, I sold my WinTV-HD to get my accessDTV. Of coarse, like most, I would like to see accessDTV drop the encryption or at least offer some reasonable flexibility which can still keep copy protections (Cliff mentioned this will happen; to what extent, I don't know). However, since lifting copy protection entirely from accessDTV is impossible, I STILL would rather keep accessDTV.

I am just guessing that itech MAY have a solution for some people who want to migrate a few of their irreplaceable recordings to next gen software players...and I don't mean archived motion pictures.

I can't wait to see what new features accessDTV will offer us in their next software release!

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post #13 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Does the WinTV-HD use a loopback connector, or is all video displayed as a (digital) overlay onto the primary video card?

-Rick
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 01:13 PM
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All of the current HDTV cards have a separate full-screen output and use a loopback cable. The accessDTV and WinTV-HD use the video overlay for windowed output, which is limited in resolution to 480i or 480p (not sure which). I believe the HiPix requires a VIP connection for windowed display.

None of these cards support full-resolution video overaly because the bandwidth requirements are too high.

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post #15 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 05:37 PM
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The Janus design has the most product out in the market and it makes sense for the software HDTV playback software to support the current technology. As such, I would hope that the WinTV-HD and the HiPix are compatible with the software HDTV solutions. There is no grantee of this however. Also, I don't think that it's unreasonable to assume that at some point products like SnapStream www.snapstream.com will support digital boards in the same way it supports a wide variety of analog boards today. That is if Teralogic ever releases enough public information about the Janus chipset to be useful for application developers. This is a big IF and much of my thinking is based on having third party development occur that supports the Janus solution.


It should be clear that most of my comments concerning the shift toward software solutions are based on the trend seen with DVD. When DVD first came out, the only solution that was practical for use with an average PC was the hardware based solutions. As processors became more capable and video cards added support for MPEG-2 it became not only possible, but PREFERABLE to playback DVDs using a software solution. Would any current HTPC user with an DTV or HDTV be willing to go back to hardware DVD playback with 480i output?

So, knowing that someday I'll be using a software solution for HDTV playback I would carefully look at the features being supported by each card today and see if those features are compatible with future software playback. It should not come as a news flash that encryption of the data stream is not compatible with software playback. That difference alone implies that the AccessDTV card has less of a shelf life.

Of course, if the predictions of some companies can be believed, sometime in the next couple of years the cost of a HDTV tuner card will drop like a rock to about $50 so the economics of the current HDTV market will shift dramatically downward. At this point it will be cheaper to junk our old cards for brand new ones with better tuners, better software, and better support. Shelf life may not be a concern if this prediction turns out to be true.

In the end, it's the current feature set that sells a product. The AccessDTV solution is superior to the WinTV-HD and HiPix in almost every way except that it's a proprietary closed system that will not be supported by other vendors. To some that will never be an important difference, but to others it will be.

Just as quick reality check, if you use Dsclaer instead of the application that shipped with you bt848 based analog TV card, then I think that you are benefactor of third party development. It's clear to me that third party contributions that are being made to the HTPC platform by open source non commercial and closed source commercial interests bring so much added value to the HTPC system as a whole that I would not chose a product that I know is intentionally incompatible.
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post #16 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 06:51 PM
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Hi JoeFloyd,

It seems that recent posts have shown that there have been several success stories of people playing back transport stream files in software only transport stream players ...well, as good as current PC's raw horsepower will allow them. Software support for playing transport stream files in the future can only get better, not worse. Heck, I've heard that even accessdtv can playback transport stream files. Transport stream files are just too standard for future software/hardware manufacturers to ignore.

I just saw a post that said Ravisent planned on backwards compatiblity to play saved transport stream files. Let's say they renig on their promise made on AVSForum, there will be plenty of other software players able to playback transport stream files recorded on Hipix, WinTV-HD, WinTV-D...but not Accessdtv.

"mkanet" has a good point. I also think it is unproductive to archive full length motion pictures that you can rent on a DVD. It's seems like not a whole lot to ask Accessdtv to provide a solution for people who want "future support" for live concerts, live specials, or some of scenes/clips you wont ever see again on TV.

I would buy AccessDTV in a heartbeat if I knew they have a good solution for people who want to keep some clips which will most definitely outlive the accessdtv card and it's warrantee.

Do you guys think what I'm asking is unreasonable from accessdtv? Maybe, it's just not technically possible to keep copy protection and still provide future support.

-Mark

[This message has been edited by scribbles2000 (edited 06-10-2001).]
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post #17 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 07:14 PM
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I think the issue of software-only playback is something that's quite a ways down the road. From what I've heard people with 1.3GHz+ Athlons can barely get 20-30 fps second, and it's not at all what you can consider 'rock solid'. I'm guessing it won't be until the second generation Itaniums (first batch will top out at 800Mhz), along with whatever AMD has 12-18 months from now, before software-only playback will really become attractive. By then, I'll have had my accessDTV for 1 to 2 years, and if I have to buy an additional piece of hardware at that time I'm not going to feel ripped off.

I don't think the comparison to software DVD is necessarily a valid one. It's not so much that software-only DVD is preferable to a hardware solution, so much as the fact that the software-only solution yields better picture quality. If Realmagic came out with a new hardware-DVD card that blew WinDVD away in terms of picture and sound quality, I think a lot of us would probably buy it. In fact, the pendulum is already starting to swing back towards hardware, with the Radeon's HWMC/iDCT being preferred over pure software playback by many.

For me, what it boiled down to is that I wanted full-featured HDTV now (or rather, 2 months ago). Based on my needs, the accessDTV was the only card that fit the bill and was available. That was more important to me than whether or not I'll be able to play unencrypted transport streams in software a year from now. When that time comes, I'll just buy a new tuner card, and keep my accessDTV for backup or when I want to record two shows at once.

I know it's easy to keep waiting for that next new thing that's always just around the corner... but there's always something newer and better just around the corner. How long are you willing to wait?

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[This message has been edited by JKohn (edited 06-10-2001).]
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 07:53 PM
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I really don't understand how current machines could do 1080i software only playback. Even if mpeg2 decode was free it doesn't seem the memory bus speed is fast enough to get the fields to the display buffer if you had to display all of them.

It's basically the same reason that all these cards we are already talking about can't display at full resolution in an overlay, even though the hardware is already making the picture just fine.

Now if it is only film sourced stuff at 24p after pulldown then maybe a fast machine could push it through but I don't expect HD bball in software for awhile yet.

Where is Moores law when you need it anyway?

When I first typed this, my fingers typed Murphy, not Moore. Maybe they were right. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

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post #19 of 19 Old 06-10-2001, 09:54 PM
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HiPix does finally have FF/RW/Pause controls. It was lacking for a long time but just introduced them with the lastest 2.3beta software.

The 2.3beta software is very nice but we have found a few minor bugs like sluggish channel changing from wireless remote and some issues with playback on filenames with high .ts.#### ranges.
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