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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think this is a Great idea.. one guy I spoke to says he got his for 60 bucks and he loves it. I would like more opinions.


( In case you don't know what these are, lots of folks don't.. they are video cards for your PC with an HDTV tuner built in so you can turn you pc into a HDTV. These work because your PC already has the ability to have a high resolution on the screen.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Phoenix /forum/post/17003412


they are video cards for your PC with an HDTV tuner built in

On the off chance that this is not a troll post... they are not video cards. They are tuner cards. Search the forums because there is probably not a single person on this forum (HTPC area) that does not have one.


Also look at http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/


If it was not a troll post, I apologize in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What is a troll post?


Yeah I read that they are not video cards, and that you need to have a video card besides to make them work.. but at the time that was the easiest way I thought of to explain it to a person who never heard of them. I have been to that website before I came here.. that's why I wanted some opinions by real live people.


HTPC you say? What exactly does that stand for? Is the H really short for HDTV and the T stand for Tuner?


If that's the case, no wonder I didn't see any post about them.. I was expecting people to spell out HDTV Tuner Card.


Er,, well If most people here have them then Great! I expect to get Lots of opinions on these cards. After I choose one I can live with one hooked up to my 19 inch monitor and never have to bother with a 1, 2, or 3 thousand dollar tv.


Please let me hear from all of you. What do you like about them..


Whats the pros and cons?


Do the cheap ones really work as well as the more expensive ones.. etc?


MrBobb Senior Member, No need for sarcasm. I am simply asking because this tuner card is new to me. If I do not ask, how can I learn? You cannot expect anyone to already know about something just because they are in the forum under that category.
 

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Sorry, troll post is when someone posts something just looking to get a reaction from other users (or just waste their time) and not actual looking for information. With your second post, it's obvious that this isn't the case, so we can get down to answering your questions.


In the PC world, HDTV tuners are more often called "Digital tuners" or just "HD tuners". There are several varieties. First, the type of digital tuner you need is dependent upon the country in which you live since different countries have different TV standards. I'm going to assume you live in the US.


The second consideration is the TV service that you use. For OTA ("Over The Air" which simply means you use an antenna), you need an ATSC tuner. For digital cable, you need a QAM tuner (which can also work as an ATSC tuner). Note that most QAM tuners will only work for unencrypted channels which can vary depending on your service provider. For most people, this means only the local stations that their cable company carries. You also have Digital Cable Tuners (DCT) that will use a Cable Card and you can get everything you pay for on cable except OnDemand/PPV. These usually require the purchase of a "special" PC. (I won't get into FTA tuners yet because that's most likely not what you are looking for.)


You can get ATSC/QAM tuners in single or dual tuner models and the price can vary. Yes, you can get them for $60. Some tuners work better than others. Some tuners also work better than others with certain software. Some manufacturers like AverMedia, Hauppauge, AutumnWave and DViCo have longstanding reputations for creating good ATSC/QAM tuners and they have internal cards as well as USB. There is also a company called Silicondust who makes a dual tuner called the HDHomerun that connects to the PC via the network. There are probably a couple of other manufacturers that someone else may remember but I've been up all night.



Since you are just getting into the PC tuner game, I recommend using one of those manufacturers along with Windows 7 Media Center. As you get more familiar with the functionality on the PC, you can experiment more if you like.


Search the forum for the manufacturers that I listed. There are usually threads dedicated to their devices. I would pay more attention to posts from the last 6 months or so because any issues mentioned before that are most likely resolved.


If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. You will find plenty of people on the forum willing to help. As for pros/cons, here are the basics:


Pros:
  • You can record from an almost "unlimited" number of tuners (I have 7 HD and 3 SD currently installed and most sit idle, I don't have the most here either).
  • You can have almost unlimited recording capacity (I have about 5 Terabytes of space as opposed to the 160 Gigabyte drive that the cable company DVR has).
  • Client/server setups. Record in one location (Home Theater room), start watching in a second (Living room), finish watching in a third (bedroom). This can be done using other HTPCs or extenders like the XBox 360.

Cons:
  • Expect to spend lots of time and money once you get bit by this bug. As you get further into the possibilities of an HTPC, you see how much more there is to do.


Here is some advice though:

Once you have it working, don't fiddle with it! No matter how much you want to do so. (You won't follow this advice, no one does. See the cons.
)


Here are a few links to get you started (in no particular order):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1157140
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=731457
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=695589
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=771387
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=847022
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1053558
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1001461
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1140395
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1125830
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the answer Vlad.


I should have told you I am well versed in general DTV, SDTV and HDTV and the antennas.. it would have saved you the first few paragraphs. hehe It's just the PC aspect I hadn't heard of until today. I currently use an sdtv and as an old shortwave radio buff I have been making Antennas for years. I have even tried some antennas for the TV that work better than store bought antennas. That I find amazing.. how a 10 to 20 dollar silly looking antenna can outperform a winegard 100 dollar antenna.


I love my sdtv and thought I could never afford a HDTV set. Well at least not anytime soon. I got very excited when I stumbled across these tuners for PC. I have a 19 inch and that's big enough for me as long as I get the same quality I can see what all the fuss is about. And also in truth i don't watch too must tv anymore so the cost isn't really justified for a HDTV set except perhaps for movies. I can get all the network channels I want to watch that I can't get over the air, free from the internet like CNN, the Sci-Fi Channel and Comedy Central oh and lets not forget ESPN.. Football season is around the corner.. I can get ESPN too for free online. ( Geaux Saints!) I get these network channels in the form of P2P streaming video. There is a slight delay while watching it compared to live but I won't be betting on the games if I watch online.


The one guy I spoke to in a chat room says his 60 dollar PC tuner works as well as his large HDTV. I will check out the threads you gave me thanks.


Hey that reminds me.. I probably won't record the HD shows I watch when I get a tuner.. 9 gigs per hour is a lot for my budget.. but is there a way to send my sdtv signal from either the pc tuner or my sdtv set to the pc in the lower resolution and record it onto the hard drive or dvd? You see a blu-ray is out of my budget also. I suppose they make dvd recorders that can hook up to my sdtv?
 

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If you get a tuner that has both analog and ATSC tuners like the Hauppauge HVR-1250, it will usually have an SVideo or composite input that you can output from the TV or a digital converter box. You would need to connect that way to record SD since all major US broadcasts are now HD and recording direct from the antenna will record the HD version.


Alternatively, you could record in HD then convert the programs you want to keep to SD. There are many programs that will allow you to do this. There is a sticky at the top of this forum called "Killer apps for your HTPC" (or something like that) that should have a lot of them listed.


I think the WinTV software that comes with the Hauppauge tuners may have a conversion setting as well.
 

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My advice is Hauppauge tuner and SageTV.


Hauppauge hardware is good, but the WinTV software is awful and they offer close to zero support. So, in my opinion, you have to figure in the cost of getting good, reliable, supported software.


Even with Sage, you might still need to play around with different decoders, because the ones that come with SageTV aren't necessarily good enough. But at least they make it very easy to switch decoders.


(I don't plug Sage very often because I don't want to sound like a shill. But you really need it or something equivalent to take advantage of the hardware.)
 

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I would suggest the Hauppauge 1600 or 1800 Combo TV tuner/video capture cards since both tuners can be used concurently. In any case any program you record regardesss of the resollution it is received at will be scaled to the resolution that you have your graphics/Video output card set to output over the interface you are using.

So for example all 720p or 1080i HD resolution programs would be downscaled to SD 480i if you are outputing them over S-video.
 

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I'm confused. You have a 19" tv that is not HD capable, but you want a HDtuner so you can watch HD Tv? What's the point? You will still only get a SD picture, so why waste the money?


If your Tv is not HD, then using a HD card will not make your Tv a HD Tv. It will still be what it always was.
 

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I believe that the OP wants to record OTA digital broadcasts with a "HDTV" tuner since the primary subchannels of all of the local network affiliates are broadcast in "HD" resolutions( either 720p or 1080i) and then wants downscale those broadcasts to NTSC 480i for use on his SD TV.
 
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