Originally Posted by kbs55
I'm very new to all of this and am in the process of building a HTPC. I had been considering the ATI HDTV Wonder card but came across this thread for the OnAir tuners. From what I understand, I don't think I am too excited about using MCE on my system.
Until recently, Windows Media Center 2005 would not install a digital HD tuner unless there was present in the system an analog tuner that did "hardware" MPEG encoding. Microsoft thought that an analog tuner that did "software" encoding would take up too much CPU power, and reduce overall system performance. A tuner with a hardware encoder did its own video processing, and left the CPU alone. Of course, when a digital HD tuner is running, the CPU doesn't have to do much work.
I've read recently that the latest Windows Updates for Windows Media Center 2005 will allow the installation of a combo analog/digital tuner card even where the analog tuner part is a software encoder. I have't done this myself, so I don't know if it's true or, if it does install, whether the resultant analog video is very good. In the case where WMCE does now install sofware encoders, I would suspect that the analog video from a combo tuner card like the OnAir GT would be just fine if the CPU is pretty powerful or is a dual core processor.
From the sounds of it, any of the OnAir tuner products do not require MCE and perhaps work better without it (analog and Digital recording), is this correct?
I'm using the MSI K8NGM2-FID motherboard. Will this work with the OnAir tuners (Nvidia 6150 integrated video)?
Windows Media Center is great at running different brands and models of TV tuners. In plain Windows XP systems with differenct model TV tuners, you would have to run the software that came with each model of tuner, unless you used something like SageTV.
So, no, OnAir does not require WMCE. OnAir's software works just fine in WinXP. Yet, there are situations when WMCE would work great with multiple different tuners.
I don't see any particular reason why the K8NGM2 motherboard would not work with either OnAir model. It would be preferable if you used a separate PCI express graphics card instead of the builtin graphics. For instance, an ATI Radeon 1600 XT would do just fine.
Also, as video file processing is heavy lifting for a CPU, you should go with a later version of the AMD Athlon 64. A dual core chip would ensure great performance as well.
I would like to output the video to a 42" LCD via HDMI or composite inputs, does the video come directly from the OnAir box or from the computer video card?
As was said, the TV program from the tuner gets to the LCD via the graphics engine. Between the HDMI and composite inputs, you should definitely go with the HDMI. HDMI is digital as is your computer.
I think your K8NGM2 comes with an adapter card with a DVI out port. If you use the builtin graphics, you certainly would use this DVI adapter in one of the slots.
Of course, if you buy a separate graphics card for the PCI Express slot, you will have one or two DVI out ports on the card itself.
In either case, to complete the connection to the LCD, you will need a DVI to HDMI converter/adapter, and use an HDMI cable. Or, get a cable with DVI on one end and HDMI on the other end.