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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are there any good TV tuner / video capture devices that are external, as opposed to PCI cards? USB or Firewire interface perhaps? Or, failing that, does anyone know of any such devices in PC Card form?


Just curious, as this would make my life easier given that I already have a really nice laptop and spare port replicator that would make for a nice HTPC setup at home.
 

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As far as I know, the answer is no. There are USB tuners but they are built for USB 1 performance not USB 2, so they "capture" at one quarter resolution (320X240). This resolution has visible degradation on the smallest screen, let alone a bigscreen home theater display. Even USB 2 will not support HDTV bitrates.


As a HTPC, a laptop is limited to DVD playback and PC video games. They do not accept analog tuners for DScaler support, nor are they compatible with HDTV. They frequently also impose surround sound compromises.


You don't need a fullsized PC for a HTPC, but it still is true you are generally better off with a unit that accepts AGP video and has at least 3 PCI slots for sound cards and capture cards. A removable hard drive (IDE or USB) is also nice.


Gary
 

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What about the Canopus ADVC-100 ? It has a good rating on DVDr Help .


Newgg has it for $275.00 though. Just a fyi, I don't have this, but thought it might be something you would want to look at.

Edit

I just re-read your post and noticed you wanted a TV-Tuner as well. This doesn't have that. It just has video in. Sorry about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info guys. RichardW, that ADVC-100 is worth looking into, but probably not worth the cost.


For $300 I could build a whole new PC including a PCI tuner/capture card. I already have many of the PC components I need. In fact I can build a P3-500MHz machine right now but I have doubts it will be powerful enough for everything I'm needing the HTPC to do.
 

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How about the Pinnacle PCTV Deluxe. It's USB2, mpeg2, supposedly captures at 720x480. Til 4/30 its got a $50 rebate making it about $130.

It's on my list of possibilities but I cant verify the capture quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Patnalli - yes I looked at that one unfortunately my laptop is usb 1.1. :(


In any case probably just as well; like Gary pointed out you can't use DScaler with any of these external devices.
 

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I have used the Pinnacle PCTV Deluxe and the video capture is great. I am also able to continue to use my computer for other tasks while it is capturing. I have not used it for television tuning, as I have a RePlayTV that I am happy using for that function.


I also have a USB 2 PCMCIA card for my laptop at work. I have not tried it with the Pinncale PCTV Deluxe but that is an option.


Jeremiah
 
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