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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would the laptop require in terms of processing power? What would need to be added to receive and transfer the signal to a front projector? Roughly how much would it cost?
 

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An ATSC tuner card, at the very least. But I don't know of any that's laptop friendly. So far all the HD tuner cards on the market are PCI based.


Even if a PC card exists and the laptop's CPU/video bus can handle MPEG2 decompression at HD resolution, you'd still need transcoder to convert the RGB to componate video.


An easier solution bet would be to get a low profile FlexATX PC (like the shoebox-sized Shuttle SV-24) and put a PCI tuner card into that.


Be aware that HDTV's modulation (8VSB) isn't made for mobil reception, so HD on the train is a no go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
roman,


Thanks for the help. What is the minimum you will pay to build a HTPC that can do Hi Def?


You mention a low profile computer. I assume that is because of space which for me isn't really an issue. I was just looking to save some cash and use the laptop I have. Right now I'm trying to decide whether to start a HTPC (start with HD and upgrade other aspects later), adapt my laptop, or buy a STB like the RCA DTC-100 (sorry if I messed up the name). My cable doesn't carry Hi Def channels and I rent so I'm not going to go through the hassle of getting a sat. I have a panasonic 711xu projector and love it but would like some higher resolution sources. I'm trying to figure out what options I have for getting OTA Hi Def. Thanks,


Brandon
 

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A few weeks ago, I set out to make as portable a DTV tuner box as I could, to use on rooftops to assist in optimizing antenna placements. I checked with about half a dozen technically knowledgeable people, and the unanimous conses among them was that the buss in a laptop slot cannot be adapted to run a full sized PCI card.


Someone on this forum suggested using the Shuttle SV-24. I contacted both its manufacturer and Hauppauge to confirm that it would support a WinTV-D board, but neither responded to my query. I wound up buying a Compaq EVO, which measures 14.5" x 12.5" x 4.5", and had the board installed in that. I also bought one of those nifty automobile jump starter batteries with a nice handle and will be buying a 500W inverter and a 10" flat screen LCD television as well. That will be my portable DTV signal decoder. I expect to get about 10-15 minutes of continuous running time from that battery. If I need to have computer monitoring capability to boot up and initialize this system, I'll bring along a TViator to interface the SVGA output into the S-Video or composite video inputs on the flat screen TV.


According to an article on CNN's website dated October 20, 1999, the WinTV-D board requires a sound card, a VGA card, and any graphics card that supports a Microsoft Direct Draw driver. It is my understanding that the SV-24 has just one slot. Does its mother board contain the audio, video and graphics capability to support the WinTV-D without requiring dedicated boards to provide those functions?


Also, when I was blindly searching around the web and reading product descriptions that I barely understood, I saw a primitive mother board of some kind that could be powered by just 19 volts DC, which can be developed a lot more conveniently in the field than can 110 VAC. Does anyone know of such a product that I could use to support the WinTV-D board?
 

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Building a HTPC from scratch will cost more than a good STB. The HDTV tuner card runs you $400 itself and you can buy an OTA STB for $500. You'll probably have at least $800 into a HTPC, but it will serve several functions - a progressive scan DVD player, an OTA HDTV tuner, and a DTV/HDTV recorder.
 

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AntAltMike,


I read your post with interest.


I faced the same issue on my roof. After trying to get someone to read out the performance specs for me, I ended up hauling the STB, small monitor, and a power cable up onto the roof. This worked fine.


I wonder if this would not be easier than what you are doing in building an HTPC for this purpose.



Bob
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rlsmith
AntAltMike,


I ended up hauling the STB, small monitor, and a power cable up onto the roof. This worked fine.


I wonder if this would not be easier than what you are doing in building an HTPC for this purpose.
It would be easier, but it would not give me what I need. I picked the Hauggaupe WinTV-D because it displays a bit error rate counter, which is a testing function that haven't found in any meter selling for less than than $8,000, nor am I aware of any set-top boxes that have it, though I once read a thread in which someone alluded to a deeply hidden menu in someone's early-model tuner box that might have had a bit error rate counter. I carry a Blonder-Tongue BTSA-5 spectrum analyzer and a Drake TSM-1000 FSM, but neither of those meters can tell me how "clean" a signal is.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AntAltMike


Also, when I was blindly searching around the web and reading product descriptions that I barely understood, I saw a primitive mother board of some kind that could be powered by just 19 volts DC, which can be developed a lot more conveniently in the field than can 110 VAC. Does anyone know of such a product that I could use to support the WinTV-D board?
All motherboards run on a 12V and a 5V DC feeds from the power supply. You can buy DC to DC power supplies from various places, I'm not sure if you could find one that will fit in that Compaq however. If you can get the LCD TV to run of 12V you could lose the inverter completely. The link is to a few DC to DC power supplies, I've never used one myself but I have seen them installed in a few cars to run a desktop computer off of the car's 12V DC.

http://citadeltechnology.com/citadel/dcps.html


Steve
 

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The Shuttle SV25 has built in audio (2 channel only), Video (ProSavage AGP 2x), 4 USB (2 onboard, connector for 2 more), 2x FireWire, 10/100 Ethernet, Space for 1 PCI, 1 HD, 1 DVD/CD drive, & 1 floppy.


I don't know if a HD tuner card will fit; it depends on the size of the HD card. (It's a very small box so I doubt it will take a full size PCI card.)


They sell an updated version (Shuttle SS50) that takes a P4; that might be better for video work -- importing DV video and compressing/storing it MPEG2 to view on demand.


Anyway, the big point is it's size: approx 8"w x 7"h x 11"d.
 

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I cannot rember where I saw it on the web, maybe slashdot.org, but if a laptop has a miniPCI connector, one can buy a mini-PCI to PCI adapter.
 
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