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Discussion Starter #1
I want to buy a ATSC HD tuner for my theater. Right now Circuit City has a really low price on the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 (part number 1178) after rebate.


Now, I'm a cheapskate, and this price is almost too good to pass up. But is the card any good?


Does anyone have experience with this tuner card? The reviews I've read online so far have been mixed. Most are critical of the bundled software.


I'm concerned that my PC isn't powerful enough for OTA HD playback. I received this computer for free, and I know it's a little old:

- Intel P4 2.6GHz HTT Northwood CPU

- 512 MB PC2700 DDR ram (2x 256MB sticks, dual channel)

- Intel 865G motherboard

- Using Onboard Audio

- ATI 9600XT AGP video card

- Antec NSK2400 case with orig Antec PSU

- Windows XP Pro


I would be feeding 1280x720 from the DVI out into my Optoma HD70 projector. I've downloaded and played several 720p trailers, and they play fine - no frame dropping that I can tell. I haven't tried any 1080 material.


Finally, if the bundled software does indeed suck, what other (preferrably free!) software can I use for OTA HD tuning? I'm stuck with Windows XP (sorry, no MythTV yet) for the few PC games I still play.


Thanks all,

Jay
 

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I bought it a few weeks back and returned it. I thought the S video connector and others were cheap. Plug ins didn't seem to be tight. Then the only image I got from sat box was black & white.


Then I've tried just a Diamond PVR560 from newegg and it worked good until the next morning and it have garbage on the screen.


I'm not going to fight a piece of hardware when I know there are better ones available.


My Aver SD (analog card) and Dvico USB ATSC tuner have both been great for many years, and now I'm trying the Aver USB stick ATSC tuner and it is also nice.


I think your PC can handle ATSC OK.


Most bundled software sucks. Hauppage looks old. Wasn't impressed with the Beyond TV express that came with Diamond. The AverTV is a compact application, looks pretty good for XP Home / Pro, but MCE XP2005 and Vista MCE are the best.
 

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Works real well once everything is set-up. I use one with my Sage box for OTA HD. Signal strength in setup usually never gets over 90%, but the PQ is great. Recorded the final round of the British Open. 6hrs = 44+ gb so get plenty of storage, stop action is crystal clear though. Have not tried the analog tuner yet, but many have said that it is good also.


BT
 

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WinTV2000, is pure trash. WinTV2000 works but the config interface is the worst I have ever seen, the documentation is bad, and it crashes too often. Get the card and use GBPVR as the viewing software ( www.gbpvr.com ).
 

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under XP i liked fusion hdtv better (not that it didn't all sorts of pain in the necks at times too), the bundled software has lots of features, like it better than vista media center (which i am forced to use under vista).


vista notes and warnings in case you upgrade someday:

under vista, the fusion stuff never worked, stuttered, crashed, awful, no matter what i did. the card you list does work fine. but you are stuck with using media center since the hauppauge software is really weak. imo media center also has some weaknesses, i hate that it doesn't let you automatically split what would be giant recordings into smaller pieces, it doesn't let you stretch 4:3 to take advantage of full height of a 1920x1200 monitor is the channels broadcasts the 4:3 part inside of a 1920x1080 window and after hitting on a weak signal for too the card sometimes disappears until reboot also seems to sometimes disappear after using powerdvd to watch something (not sure if it hauppauge fault or something else in my system yet), but it does provide silkly smooth hdtv viewing unlike fusion or other stuff i tried to get to work under vista. also microsoft has messed up many channels in many areas of their programming guide, it was a pain to go hack the files to fix things and evenmoreso to try to find a way to have it not get instantly rewritten by a new program guide. in my area it didnt list any subchannels, but those were easy to add in media center. worse was that is said nbc 17 was on 17 instead of 55! many areas there are no mistakes, but in quite a few regions microsoft has messed up channel assignments. again this can be gotten around though should it happen in your region.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_S /forum/post/0


I want to buy a ATSC HD tuner for my theater. Right now Circuit City has a really low price on the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 (part number 1178) after rebate.


Now, I'm a cheapskate, and this price is almost too good to pass up. But is the card any good?


Does anyone have experience with this tuner card? The reviews I've read online so far have been mixed. Most are critical of the bundled software.


I'm concerned that my PC isn't powerful enough for OTA HD playback. I received this computer for free, and I know it's a little old:

- Intel P4 2.6GHz HTT Northwood CPU

- 512 MB PC2700 DDR ram (2x 256MB sticks, dual channel)

- Intel 865G motherboard

- Using Onboard Audio

- ATI 9600XT AGP video card

- Antec NSK2400 case with orig Antec PSU

- Windows XP Pro


I would be feeding 1280x720 from the DVI out into my Optoma HD70 projector. I've downloaded and played several 720p trailers, and they play fine - no frame dropping that I can tell. I haven't tried any 1080 material.


Finally, if the bundled software does indeed suck, what other (preferrably free!) software can I use for OTA HD tuning? I'm stuck with Windows XP (sorry, no MythTV yet) for the few PC games I still play.


Thanks all,

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Andrew,


I'm going to pick it up tonight. For the price, I don't really think I can go wrong.


I read up on WatchHDTV - that sounds like an amazing little application.


Would you suggest totally ignoring the bundled Hauppauge applications? As in, not even instatlling them and just using WatchHDTV?


Thanks again,

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow - 4 more replies while I was composing that last post. Thanks everyone for the insight - I going to give the Hauppauge a try considering the price.


And SDesforges - yeah, I forgot all about GBPVR. Assuming HD reception, tuning and recording works reliably with this card and my system, GBPVR is in my near future.


Thanks again,

Jay
 

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I'd skip installing the Hauppauge application but you'll still need the drivers and codecs. I wasn't clear just how to install ONLY the driver and ended up installing the entire package. I just never use it.


As stated, WatchHDTV is an ATSC only application. It does not support NTSC or a/v capture. And, it's quite simple -- maybe too simple for some tastes. But... it WORKS!


You may need AC3Filter for SPDIF to work correctly -- I did. And when buying the 1600, there are several release versions of it... read around, not all of them use the QAM-capable chipset. My local CC had the correct version, but that's just gravy because I don't HAVE cable so QAM isn't important to me... but I'd not want to buy one with fewer features unless it was all I could get.
 

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Oops, didn't notice that you were looking for software also. I believe GBPVR and MediaPortal both support the Hauppauge Hybrid cards. You can google them and find out for sure. I use SageTV ($79) and it has been worth every penny. Makes for an easier setup and has a lot of functionality beyond what I use.


BT
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpconard /forum/post/0


I bought it a few weeks back and returned it. I thought the S video connector and others were cheap. Plug ins didn't seem to be tight. Then the only image I got from sat box was black & white.


Then I've tried just a Diamond PVR560 from newegg and it worked good until the next morning and it have garbage on the screen.


I'm not going to fight a piece of hardware when I know there are better ones available.


My Aver SD (analog card) and Dvico USB ATSC tuner have both been great for many years, and now I'm trying the Aver USB stick ATSC tuner and it is also nice.


I think your PC can handle ATSC OK.


Most bundled software sucks. Hauppage looks old. Wasn't impressed with the Beyond TV express that came with Diamond. The AverTV is a compact application, looks pretty good for XP Home / Pro, but MCE XP2005 and Vista MCE are the best.

It sounds like a bad S-Video cable or connection. Some years ago I had a Monster S-Video cable that I kept plugging in and unplugging. After awhile when I went to use it, the picture was in black and white. I unscrewed the connector end and found one of the three terminal connectors had broken. I had to re-solder it. This happened several times, eventually I had to use a small piece of bare wire 1/4" long to solder the 2 terminals together. Beware Monster S-Video cables!!
 

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On my Vista Media Center I run an HVR-1600 and a old FusionHDTV3. The priority order is the HVR-1600 for recording and the Fusion for watching. The HVR-1600 has never missed a beat in two months I've had my HP Pavillion Media Center m8010y.
 

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I suspect your videocard may be iffy on displaying 1080i sourced material with VMR7/9. You ought to be okay with overlay though.


I'd also suggest that you don't install any of Hauppauge's decoders too. I had AC3Filter installed but the version I had wasn't handing the S/PDIF pass through correctly. I'm currently using ffdshow's audio decoder to handle that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I bought it.


I had previously been using this PC for playback of VOB rips using ffdshow to upscale and sharpen. I mistakenly let WatchHDTV use the ffdshow decoders for HDTV playback - the results were very choppy. I then figured out how to change the decoders WatchHDTV uses and now get fairly smooth video/audio.


But it's not perfectly smooth. Only a single channel comes in stutter-free. This is strange because our LCD tv (connected to the same antenna) pulls in all our locals without trouble. Are PC ATSC tuners not as good as the tuners built into TV's?


When it stutters, both the video and the audio stutter at the same time. The picture doesn't scramble or get blocky, it's just like a short skip. It happens on 1080i and 720p channels. Does this sound like a reception issue? Unfortunately, WatchHDTV's signal strength meter is a little screwy - it reports negative 6000%. The signal strength meter issue is apparently a known issue, but maybe it really is that bad and my lcd tv is just better at dealing with poor reception.


Task managers says CPU consumption is around 20%, so I don't think my CPU is holding it back. But could it be the video card? As O2C wrote:
Quote:
I suspect your videocard may be iffy on displaying 1080i sourced material with VMR7/9. You ought to be okay with overlay though.

I can try the tuner in my other PC (A64, GeForce 6800gs) to see if it fares any better. But before I go through all that, how do I switch to overlay? How do I know if I'm using VMR7/9? Sorry - I'm new to this.


Finally - and this may actually be the main reason I return this tuner - I had to remove my WiFi card to fit the tuner in my Antec NSK2400 case! How frustrating! The problem is that either the motherboard or the case is slightly mis-aligned, and the motherboard's PCI slots don't perfectly line up with the slots in the bak of the case. As a result, every card I install ends up being slightly twisted. I installed an Arctic Cooling VGA silencer on my video card, which normally only blocks the adjacent PCI slot. But because of the twisting/bending issue, it blocks the THIRD PCI slot too. And as uATX boards only have 4 total expansion slots, I ca really only use a single expansion card along with my video card. Soooo frustrating. I should have bought the HVR-950 USB version instead - I have plenty of open USB ports.


Thanks again all,

Jay
 

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Have you checked your PCI slot-to-IRQ assignment? You wouldn't want shared IRQs -- especially high usage cards like video and tuner! And, NO, you do NOT want the 950 because it will NOT do silent recording (well) under WatchHDTV -- a known bug but no understanding or solution in sight. If not an IRQ, maybe you should install the Hauppauge video decoders and try those in various combinations with audio to keep low CPU demand. Are you using SPDIF or what is your audio setup? BTW, which model did you actually get? (Ver 2.1, 74021 does QAM with the right s/w.) I'd say these issues will be your solution -- WatchHDTV is such a simple solution, you can move on to MP or others once the basic operation is achieved! One more point -- your folder for recordings... is it on a separate drive, is it defragged? You could have an issue timeshifting, but your low CPU wouldn't indicate that. How about doing a short silent record and play it back -- does it studder there? THIS would sidestep HIGH demand IRQ conflict for that test and show it IS an IRQ conflict if playback is smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Andrew,


Thank you again for taking the time to help out. I'm afraid some of what you are asking is a little over my head.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


Have you checked your PCI slot-to-IRQ assignment? You wouldn't want shared IRQs -- especially high usage cards like video and tuner!

I do not know how to check this - where do I look? I'm using Win XP Pro SP2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


If not an IRQ, maybe you should install the Hauppauge video decoders and try those in various combinations with audio to keep low CPU demand.

This I have tried. The decoders I have available are:

MPEG-2

- ffdshow raw video filter

- ffdshow Video Decoder

- HCW MPEG-2 Video Decofer

- InterVideo NonCSS Video Decoder for Hauppauge

AC-3 Audio

- ffdshow Audio decoder

- HCW AC3 audio decoder

- HCW Layer II audio decoder

- InterVideo NonCSS Audio decoder for Hauppauge (I get no sound at all with this)


And I've tried various combos of all of them. Again, my CPU usage is never over about 30% (usually around 20%), so I don't think this is the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


Are you using SPDIF or what is your audio setup?

I'm only using 2-ch analog out from the motherboard's integrated SoundMAX audio. I don't have surround sound in my room yet. My "theater" is actually my listening room with a projector. This HTPC project is more experiment than anything else, since I got the computer for free. If I feel comfortable that everything is working, I'll upgrade to better hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


BTW, which model did you actually get? (Ver 2.1, 74021 does QAM with the right s/w.)

Model 1178 is printed on the box, although 74021 is also on the box in the picture of the card. I don't have cable and don't need QAM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


One more point -- your folder for recordings... is it on a separate drive, is it defragged?

I didn't change the defaults for recording - I didn't think I'd need to - I'm just trying to watch TV right now. I didn't think WatchHDTV recorded while just watching - there's a "REC" button, and it's "OFF".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hornfeck /forum/post/0


How about doing a short silent record and play it back -- does it studder there? THIS would sidestep HIGH demand IRQ conflict for that test and show it IS an IRQ conflict if playback is smooth.

I will try this in a minute - I'm defragging (again).


Can you think of any way for me to rule out reception? WatchHDTV's signal meter is... well, interesting. My local PBS HD channel reports the best signal strength (-2000% according to WatchHDTV) but skips more than all the others that report -6000% signal strength! My antenna is a roof-mount, but is in our attic. Multipath is a minor issue with analog reception, but doesn't affect ATSC reception on our other tv. It's aligned according to antennaweb's recommendation, and the furthest transmitter is less than 13 miles away. So I don't think reception is the problem, but I don't know how to be sure. I'm searching for a freeware signal strength meter.


Thanks again,

Jay
 

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sorry you bought it. Save the reciept as you may do what I did and take it back..
 

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The assignments will be in the manual for the mobo. If you only have a few PCI slots it should be an easy thing to find -- or, install the 1600 into another slot and see if it's better. ALSO you can look in the Device Manager, by connection, IRQ, PCI and tell.


HCW decoder -- that's a Hauppauge one, right? I'd be tempted to use theirs, but on the Watch thread I gave MY results... I recall the one that had Hauppauge IN it's name was a hog. YMMV. Audio -- since AC3 isn't your issue I have no comment.


You got the best 1178 -- the version 2.1 is listed on the box below the UPC.


I don't recall the defaults for recording but you MUST CREATE THE FOLDERS and assign them under setup. Ideally, you create the folders before you ever open the app. It may be that you don't need them but I can't say the app won't crash if it can't FIND them.


Don't worry the antenna -- if it's pointed and works for other ATSC sets, then assuming a good quality coax and not a long run, the signal strength meter buys you nothing.


Oh, and IF you're going to do the silent record, you'll need a folder for it. The SR runs from WITHIN the scheduler either manually or entering a task into the WatchHDTVScheduler as Silent-Record.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok,


According to device manager, the:

1) tuner card is using IRQ 17

2) the video card is using IRQ 16

... and

3) the integrated SoundMAX is using IRQ 17.


How can this be? I'm going to look in BIOS to see if I can override this.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My motherboard's BIOS does not allow me to define IRQ assignments. Intel made the motherboard, but it's a Gateway OEM thing. Stupid Gateway BIOS. And unfortunately, I cannot move the tuner card into another PCI slot because of the slot alignment issues I wrote about earlier.


I tried silent recording and it still skips.


I'm going to try my other PC. I'll report back in a little while.


Jay
 
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