Avertv combo pcie tuner - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 123 Old 01-29-2007, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have any experience with this new tuner? Especially interested in how it works out with Vista MCE.
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post #2 of 123 Old 01-29-2007, 03:01 PM
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Be aware that is a PCIe 1X device that was originally announced in 2005. I tried to buy it in February 2006 and it was not available anywhere. Have you confirmed that you can actually buy it now? If so, where - because I am also interested.

Gary

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post #3 of 123 Old 01-29-2007, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Some people on thegreenbutton.com seem to have the actual card, so it does seem like you can buy it straight from Aver.
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post #4 of 123 Old 01-31-2007, 07:08 PM
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I saw it at PCalchemy.
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post #5 of 123 Old 02-02-2007, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodoox View Post

Some people on thegreenbutton.com seem to have the actual card, so it does seem like you can buy it straight from Aver.

Hopefully they will do a full in-depth review soon. It looks like a best-of-all-worlds card. It is dual-tuner and has hardware MPEG2 encoding for the analog section, plus ATSC and QAM. Hopefully the analog quality via RF will be decent.

AverMedia doesn't appear to have the manual downloadable, but if someone has one, please post whether the QAM will be usable in MCE (which could potentially be done in MCE 2005 via channel number remapping to ATSC, or in Vista MCE by pretending to be an OCUR without a CableCard inserted). Also, it has two RF inputs "for cable and antenna". Is it one for analog cable/OTA and one for ATSC/QAM, or is it one for analog-cable/QAM and the second for analog-OTA/ATSC?
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post #6 of 123 Old 02-02-2007, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Derek_HTPC View Post

....but if someone has one, please post whether the QAM will be usable in MCE (which could potentially be done in MCE 2005 via channel number remapping to ATSC, or in Vista MCE by pretending to be an OCUR without a CableCard inserted). Also, it has two RF inputs "for cable and antenna". Is it one for analog cable/OTA and one for ATSC/QAM, or is it one for analog-cable/QAM and the second for analog-OTA/ATSC?

I can tell you that it won't support QAM for sure in MCE. The only thing I know of is the HDHomerun and thats becuase its an external devices and streams it over the network is how they are able to wrapper the QAM channels in an ATSC wrapper.

- Josh
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post #7 of 123 Old 02-03-2007, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by umdivx View Post

I can tell you that it won't support QAM for sure in MCE. The only thing I know of is the HDHomerun and thats becuase its an external devices and streams it over the network is how they are able to wrapper the QAM channels in an ATSC wrapper.

- Josh

The drivers could be written to alter the stream in any way they want, so MCE 2005 support is possible, but unlikely. What I am really hoping for is Vista MCE support, since that should be possible in a very standard way (pretend to be an OCUR but with no CableCard inserted).
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post #8 of 123 Old 02-04-2007, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I talked with some Microsoft people on the MCE team and they were really baffled by the card. They indicated that a hybrid card of this type really won't fit into the MCE model. It will probably work fine with their own Avermedia software, but who wants to use that stuff?

However, the A180 cards look to be pretty good.
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post #9 of 123 Old 02-04-2007, 08:59 PM
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The A180's are nice, nice and cheap, they work ONLY if you have a good signal, and no multipath issues.

I find that the Vbox tuners are much better at OTA HD than the A180's.

- Josh
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post #10 of 123 Old 02-06-2007, 11:45 PM
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I got the M780 from pcalchemy yesterday. I am out of PCI slots in my mATX HTPC so I desperately needed a 1x PCIe solution. I was initially waiting for Dvico's new PCIe tuner to hit retailers when I stumbled on this Avermedia card. I called up pcalchemy and chatted with one of their guys for a while about it, he said they hadn't been able to do much testing cause they just got them in. I call Aver and to get more detailed info on the card and the level1 rep directs me to the product mgr for the M780. I leave him a v/m and he calls back in about an hour. He was very helpful, it's not often you actually talk to someone outside of engineering that knows what they're talking about, but he was sharp.

Anyways, back to the card. It's a very clean PCB layout with 2 coax ports - 1 for ATSC, the other for NTSC. It's also got a 1.5mm audio jack and an S-video port. It uses the exact same 5th gen LG ATSC demodulator chipset that the Dvico RT 5 Gold uses, but Aver uses a NEC mpeg encoder/decoder chip instead of the Conexants on the Dvico cards. The only (potential) downside of this NEC chip from a features standpoint is it doesn't support DD.

The drivers listed on Avermedia's website seem to support all the big players (including Vista) and the XP drivers are WHQL'd. The card is supported in MCE, so it has the BDA drivers required for MCE or BTV. It's a white box, so contents are sparse, but sufficient. It had the card, half-height bracket, 1.5mm male audio to L/R 2 port RCA female adapter, hard composite to S-video adapter, a wire adapter (not sure what it's for) and the warranty info. The lack of a CD with drivers was kinda odd, although most people know to go to the manufacturer's website to get the latest ones.

I've had several cards in and out of this WinXP Pro box....
Hauppauge 150
Dvico RT 5 Lite
ATi 650
Hauppauge HVR-1600

and now the Avermedia card.

I only pull NTSC and ATSC OTA, so I'm not concerned with QAM support, although it's a nice benefit for cable subscribers. I actually don't even pull NTSC because all my locals broadcast digital 24/7.

For ATSC OTA, the M780's image is a little cleaner than the RT 5 Lite and it's signal lock is outstanding. It gives me 100% strength on all channels, whereas the RT 5, 1600 and 650 all dropped to 98% or 95% on one or more channels.

The images of the 650 and 1600 were both very good, but the 1600 had some slow channel lock times within BTV. I only did head to head comparisons of image quality between the RT5 and the M780. The 650 is overpriced, IMO - it rides the PCI bus, no QAM and it's not a real dual tuner. The 1600 is a pretty good value, especially with the rebate that just ended, but I've never been a big fan of Hauppauge's driver support, not to mention it's another card sharing your PCI bus.

Here's some pics of the card and it's chips. Sorry about the image quality, had to use my video camera, couldn't find the still.....
M780
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post #11 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for the review, cornbuds. This is particularly helpful as I am a BTV user (great that it comes with BDA drives) and have a strong but multipath-prone ATSC reception (VBox DTA-150 does the job, so this should if it uses the DVico 5th-gen demodulator). I was thinking about going for another DTA-150, but am now tempted by the M780.

Could you give any indication about how hot the card and its chips run?

Cheers,

-Karl
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post #12 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornbuds View Post

I called up pcalchemy and chatted with one of their guys for a while about it, he said they hadn't been able to do much testing cause they just got them in. I call Aver and to get more detailed info on the card and the level1 rep directs me to the product mgr for the M780. I leave him a v/m and he calls back in about an hour. He was very helpful, it's not often you actually talk to someone outside of engineering that knows what they're talking about, but he was sharp.

That was nice of AVer to get back to you right away, and with a knowledgeable person/info. Just try that with your cable service provider! (there's an excercise in futility).

Quote:


2 coax ports - 1 for ATSC, the other for NTSC.

looks like the lower is for analog
Quote:


It uses the exact same 5th gen LG ATSC demodulator chipset that the Dvico RT 5 Gold uses

and many other devices too!
Quote:


Aver uses a NEC mpeg encoder/decoder chip instead of the Conexants on the Dvico cards.

As a note, the Conexant IC on the DVICO cards is an A/V decoder (analog to digital conversion) and bride interface. The NEC is a video decoder (analog to digital conversion) and a MPEG2 A/V encoder. It could also act as a bridge interface if the card operated on PCI, but it doesn't given that its a PCIe design instead ... the bridge duty is handled by the Micronas IC instead.
A common mistake people make is to assume that the decoders mentioned above are related to the mpeg2 decoding playback, but that is not the case. In both cases, the mpeg2 decoding is down off the card, downstream, by the host CPU, via the algorithims of a software decoder.
Quote:


The only (potential) downside of this NEC chip from a features standpoint is it doesn't support DD.

This would be for encoding analog audio sources. And alas, DD is not supported, although the chip's "big brother" (uPD61154) does. But no luck here.

Quote:


half-height bracket, 1.5mm male audio to L/R 2 port RCA female adapter, hard composite to S-video adapter, a wire adapter (not sure what it's for) and the warranty info. The lack of a CD with drivers was kinda odd, although most people know to go to the manufacturer's website to get the latest ones.

nice about the half height bracket. strange about the CD. the cable is likely an internal audio cable.

Quote:


For ATSC OTA, the M780's image is a little cleaner than the RT 5 Lite...The images of the 650 and 1600 were both very good ... I only did head to head comparisons of image quality between the RT5 and the M780.

The cards have nothing to do with the image quality of a DTV source. Your comparison is only valid for the software decoders you used with each card.

Quote:


and it's signal lock is outstanding. It gives me 100% strength on all channels, whereas the RT 5, 1600 and 650 all dropped to 98% or 95% on one or more channels.

you can't compare signal strength readings between cards -- there is no universal measure. So what one card's software reports may have absolutely no comparison to what another card's software reports.

Quote:


The 650 is overpriced, IMO - it rides the PCI bus, no QAM and it's not a real dual tuner.

As for QAM, ATI just doesn't support it in software (but the hardware is capable); as for dual tuner, true, its only a hybrid receiver...many people seem to have thought the ATI was a dual receiver (did ATI ever advertise this as such?, cause I don't know where that notion comes from). As for PCI -- I'm not sure why they haven't released a PCIe version (I guess they figure that their bread and butter is still earned by the PCI)
I'd add that the Divco model that you were previously waiting on is completely mis-priced...they've priced themselves right out of the market. I'd expect a big drop there soon.
Quote:


The 1600 is a pretty good value, especially with the rebate that just ended, but I've never been a big fan of Hauppauge's driver support, not to mention it's another card sharing your PCI bus.

absolutely agree about Hauppauge and drivers.

Quote:


Here's some pics of the card and it's chips. Sorry about the image quality, had to use my video camera, couldn't find the still.....

Shots were fine. 4 IC's of interest that you left off were the two small ones under the RF modules. These are likely audio ADC's for the Audio input. The one lager IC beside the lower RF module, which looks like a Philips analog TV demodulator. And the one chip just to the lower right of the Mirconas nGene IC. I believe that is an eeprom for the firmware for the APB 7202A.

Quote:
Originally Posted by korinel View Post

so this ...uses the DVico 5th-gen demodulator)

LG. Dvico is the card vendor, LG is the IC manufacturer.
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post #13 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 04:04 PM
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Good points CityK.

Just to clarify, I captured and played back all video clips in their native, unmolested transport streams with BTV 4.5. I didn't use any other software for capture or playback so I could have an apples to apples comparison.

One would think that since you haven't altered the source in any way, you should get the exact same picture when replaying with the same software, regardless of capture card - that's what I was expecting. The colors the RT 5 Lite card captured were definitely off just a little from the Aver card. For example, I pulled about 5 minutes of "The Piano Guy" from PBS HD and there a a tiny bit of muddiness between the black and white piano keys on the RT 5. I couldn't see that with the Aver card. All 4 of the ATSC enabled cards look very good, I really wouldn't pick one over the other as far as .ts video is concerned, it's the other features that gives each card their respective added value.

I used the signal strength meter in BTV 4.5 for all the cards. For giggles, I used Dvico's homegrown playback software to see what strength it showed for its own card and it was right on with what BTV showed.

I updated the pics with the wire adapter. I figured out what it's for. It's an adapter for front or rear panel outs. The small panel adapter is the Intel-spec type connector.

I'll post pics of the other chips this weekend, I have to crack it open again then.

I want to see someone come out with a PCI-e dual ATSC tuner now. NTSC is history and there's so many SD cards on the market now. A dual ATSC tuner would sell like hotcakes!
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post #14 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 05:58 PM
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Cornbuds,
There is a dual ATSC tuner PCI-e card. It's the V-Box Catseye 164e. Picked one up on PCalchemy 6 weeks ago. If it's compatible with your hardware, it works great, if not you'll end up like me. Check it out on AVS Forum.
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post #15 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornbuds View Post

One would think that since you haven't altered the source in any way, you should get the exact same picture when replaying with the same software, regardless of capture card - that's what I was expecting.

And indeed that is what happens.

Quote:
Just to clarify, I captured and played back all video clips in their native, unmolested transport streams with BTV 4.5. I didn't use any other software for capture or playback so I could have an apples to apples comparison.
...
The colors the RT 5 Lite card captured were definitely off just a little from the Aver card. For example, I pulled about 5 minutes of "The Piano Guy" from PBS HD and there a a tiny bit of muddiness between the black and white piano keys on the RT 5. I couldn't see that with the Aver card. All 4 of the ATSC enabled cards look very good, I really wouldn't pick one over the other as far as .ts video is concerned

I'm not discounting what you observed, but I assure you it is because of some downstream issue in software, as opposed to being a result of the cards themselves.

- Are you sure the decoder being used for the streams from each card is the same
- Are you sure the acceleration support being used for the streams from each card is the same
- Are you sure the rendering method being used for the streams from each card is the same
- Are you sure that showsqueeze feature is not being employed on one or the other card's recordings.
I see that you can set these things in BTV (see: this, this and this ), but are the settings truly sticking? (i.e. if they are not being adhered too, then you'd have ramdom variables explaining the differential playback results).

Quote:
it's the other features that gives each card their respective added value.

yep.

Quote:
I used the signal strength meter in BTV 4.5 for all the cards.

But BTV is just deriving this info from what each card's driver reports -- and there is no way of knowing if each card's output shares a common calibration -- in fact, I can guarantee it is quite, unlikely (it would be rather miraculous in fact )
Quote:
For giggles, I used Dvico's homegrown playback software to see what strength it showed for its own card and it was right on with what BTV showed.

Of course, see above.

Quote:
I updated the pics with the wire adapter. I figured out what it's for. It's an adapter for front or rear panel outs. The small panel adapter is the Intel-spec type connector.

Cool. I was thinking before that it might have been one of those two wire lengths that you'd run from the card to your sound card (or mobo aux sound header) for analog tv...although I didn't see such a header on the card ... other then the large white header (don't know why I didn't make the connection ).

Quote:
'll post pics of the other chips this weekend, I have to crack it open again then.

Cool. I'm sure people appreciate (I do at least )

Quote:
I want to see someone come out with a PCI-e dual ATSC tuner now. NTSC is history and there's so many SD cards on the market now. A dual ATSC tuner would sell like hotcakes!

Besides the VBox card, another option is the network attached HDHomeRun. Obviously not PCIe, but dual tuner nonetheless.
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post #16 of 123 Old 02-07-2007, 09:30 PM
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Yeah, I actually knew about the Vbox 164e, but I have only seen one or two people that said it actually worked half-decent. On the other hand, I've seen 90% of people that bought one say it's tuner is terrible. People who's 164e pulled only a couple channels when their existing ATSC card pulled 4 times that many, MCE locking up (which seems to be related to the NTSC tuner), and other buggy performance. Some people say the terrible performance got a little better with the more recent drivers (reminds me of Hauppauge ), but the overwhelming evidence leads me to believe it's a long shot in the dark getting that card to work well unless you've got no multipath issues or your house is next door to the antennas and your surrounding terrain is a barren desert. I'd be afraid to spend $200 on something that may or may not work. Pcalchemy's service is exceptional, but I hate to buy something knowing that it most likely won't work and have to RMA it.

I considered the HDHomeRun, but I really need something internal.

You've got a point about the signal strength, I wondered if their respective drivers were actually providing the data.
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post #17 of 123 Old 02-08-2007, 11:08 AM
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While I cannot guarantee that the Cat's Eye 164e will work in your situation, people are having good results with the latest drivers.

BTW, Pcalchemy has about a 6% return rate on the 164e a little lower than the 8% on the FusionHDTV5 products, and much higher than the 2% for both the DTA-150 and Aver A180.
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post #18 of 123 Old 02-10-2007, 08:18 PM
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Does anyone know if you can record NTSC and ATSC shows at the same time using the M780?
Right now I have two ATSC tuner cards and one dual NTSC tuner card in my HTPC. I get kind of muddy audio on occasion in my HD recordings and would like to add a sound card. I have no available PCI slots so something like the M780 could free up some space. My dual NTSC tuner is a beta test unit of the NVIDIA dual tuner card and my recordings on that just aren't good at all.
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post #19 of 123 Old 02-10-2007, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcalchemy View Post

BTW, Pcalchemy has about a 6% return rate on the 164e a little lower than the 8% on the FusionHDTV5 products, and much higher than the 2% for both the DTA-150 and Aver A180.

Hmmmm, thanks for the info. My Fusion5 Lite has been taking a dump on me lately, very strange......even rolled back the drivers 2 releases and same problems. I didn't have this many problems with it before the M780 was installed.....

BTW, nice to see you here and over at thegreenbutton! I know the squeaky wheels always make the most noise.....6% is pretty low. I ordered the 164e from you today. I'll give it a shot.

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Originally Posted by S1DIMMER View Post

Does anyone know if you can record NTSC and ATSC shows at the same time using the M780?

Yes, it's a true dual tuner, it can record 1 NTSC and 1 ATSC channel at the same time.
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post #20 of 123 Old 02-13-2007, 12:39 PM
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I want to buy the card, but I am still confused. This is what the card is stated to do:

"Easily watch analog or over-the-air HDTV or Unencrypted "clear" QAM (Digital Cable) in MPEG-2 video your PC"

From what I've heard on this post, this card does not support QAM in MCE? Basically all I'm looking for is having a dual tuner that will work with my MCE that can record my basic network channels in analog and/or HD. My cable broadcasts network stations "unencreypted", so does that mean this tuner will pick it up and allow me to record HD?
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post #21 of 123 Old 02-13-2007, 03:55 PM
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I'm not positive, but I believe QAM tuning is not supported in MCE for any tuner. Someone with MCE can chime in and confirm or refute....

I couldn't check it's QAM functionality in WinXP Pro, I pull everything OTA - I dropped my basic cable line because the quality they were feeding me sucked compared to what I get OTA - and for FREE to boot!
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post #22 of 123 Old 02-13-2007, 04:19 PM
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Right now from what I've read is that the HD homerun tuner is the ONLY tuner that can tune QAM in MCE, what it does it put a ATSC wrapper on the QAM channels so that you can then watch them in MCE.

- Josh
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post #23 of 123 Old 03-13-2007, 12:20 PM
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So, does anyone know if this guy has 2 "combo" tuners, ala the VBOX 164e (each tuner can be either NTSC or ATSC) or is there only 1 ATSC and 1 NTSC on the Aver??

Thanks, RIck
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post #24 of 123 Old 03-13-2007, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rherrmann View Post

So, does anyone know if this guy has 2 "combo" tuners, ala the VBOX 164e (each tuner can be either NTSC or ATSC) or is there only 1 ATSC and 1 NTSC on the Aver??

It's 1 ATSC and 1 NTSC.
See a review here
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post #25 of 123 Old 04-01-2007, 05:46 PM
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I was thinking about buying an M780 from PCAlchemy. Can you or anyone tell me if this would be the best card for me? I have a new Dell with only one low profile PCIe slot left and I need a good NTSC tuner card for Vista Media Center use. I would also like the ability to have an ATSC/QAM tuner on the same card if possible. The better the HD works with Vista, the more useful the card would be.
I do plan on also buying an HDHomerun for HD QAM purposes, but if this or any other solution would work, then I can save some money...

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post #26 of 123 Old 04-08-2007, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by gergg View Post

I was thinking about buying an M780 from PCAlchemy. Can you or anyone tell me if this would be the best card for me? I have a new Dell with only one low profile PCIe slot left and I need a good NTSC tuner card for Vista Media Center use. I would also like the ability to have an ATSC/QAM tuner on the same card if possible.

The M780 has been reviewed well and seems ideal for your situation as it is low profile and provides both NTSC and ATSC (and QAM if they ever add the driver support). Not only that, but the NTSC and ATSC/QAM tuners are independant (unlike hybrid tuner cards) so you can record from both simultaneously.
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post #27 of 123 Old 04-08-2007, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gergg View Post

I do plan on also buying an HDHomerun for HD QAM purposes, but if this or any other solution would work, then I can save some money...

If you want QAM with Media Center, you have two options: HDHomeRun or DCT. HDHomeRun is the cheapest. CableCard gives you access to premium content. There are no other options currently.
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post #28 of 123 Old 04-15-2007, 12:27 PM
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I too have an AverTV M780 PCIe Combo card and it does work - I can tune in a bunch of QAM channels using the Aver MediaCenter software. The MediaCenter software is functional, but limited and prone to crashing on my system. I have tried to use Beyond TV 4, but have been completely unsuccessful in getting it to scan any QAM stations. Has anyone had success using BeyondTV 4 with the M780 and, if so, how did you configure the setup wizard to get it to work?

Also, does anyone have experience using the M780 with Sage or Myth?

Thanks!!!
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post #29 of 123 Old 04-15-2007, 12:38 PM
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I am pretty sure that BeyondTV is still not supporting QAM directly yet. Someone can tell me if I am wrong on that. Sage did report working with QAM. Again, I have not used it.

I was about to buy the M780 and I noticed that they have an external version now. I haven't seen it for sale anywhere but through Avermedia's website so it is more expensive, but still cheap for an external dual tuner. Sounds like the same hardware in an external box.
I am thinking of going that route since it would save my one slot and be easier to setup. On the other side, I have not heard any reviews and it would cost more. Also, I seem to have trouble with external devices just dying on me (USB hard drives, tuners, etc.). So I am still deciding...

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post #30 of 123 Old 04-16-2007, 12:04 AM
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Another problem I am having is when I try to burn MPEG-2 files I recorded in the AverMediaCenter with my Aver PCIe M780 Combo card to DVD. It records HD video from my unencrypted QAM source with no problems. When I play the recorded show in AverMediaCenter or Windows Media Player, it works fine - the video and audio work just right and the playback is smooth. When I try to burn the file to DVD, however, the video is perfect, but there is no audio. I have tried importing the file into Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 and there is no soundtrack. I have also tried burning the file to DVD using Nero 7 VisonExpress and the video worked fine, but there was no audio on the resulting DVD.

Does anyone else out there have the same problem and can you recommend a solution? Thanks!
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