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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This probably sounds like sacrilege on an AV forum, but I have a question, for those that are actually using or have used the S-video out on cards and simple basic 27-32" $600 TVs with only S-vid in [i.e., no component] and not the $2K+ HDTVs, projectors


Frankly, every time I get close to buying a solution, I see another thread that makes me think I'm going to waste my $$. Heck - I haven't even bought a capture card yet, as the answer to this could potentially affect that decision.


Is there really much of a difference between the quality of s-video out on:

- PVR 350

- Matrox 550

- nVidia 5200

- ATI 7500 [my god - this is a supersize card; I only have room for 1 card this size, 1 smaller card in the box]


I'll probably won't get an HDTV in 2+ years, at which point I'll have well amortized the whopping $200 max investment I'll make in the above. However, there's no way spending more than that will achieve WAF.


FWIW - I have a dedicated A/V server which in retrospect was the wrong box but now I own it so well: VAIO, 2.6GHz P4, 512MB RAM, 2x60GB HD [but may be swapped out for bigger].


My plan is to send the output to a distribution panel for whole house distribution to 3 [cheap] TVs. I'll use OSD to make life simpler, although Sage2 will help the cause there.
 

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I don't know about the other cards but I had the ATI AIW7500 and the quality from the s-video output was awful. I'm now sending video to my Toshiba 27" through a 50' s-video cable from a Matrox G400 TV and quality is outstanding (as far as non-HDTV goes).
 

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I do not know if this is more than just a rumor, but I have heard that from all manufacturers Matrox produce a fairly good (maybe the best) S-video image... But as you indicated, PQ you cannot expect much....


Have not tried it myself in my HT, though...


____

Axel
 

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Another alternative is an external converter. I've used the Prolink Pixelview GameShow: External PC to TV Converter with several systems that friends have wanted to connect to regular tv's. I perfer to use these instead of becoming locked into a video card that may or may not have all the features desired. @ $55 from Newegg it isn't exactly cheap but then again neither are video boards.
 

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yarr, i be using... dammit, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is getting to me.


i use the s-video out to my kenwood AVR-410 receiver, which outputs via composite video to a radio shack RF modulator to my 18-year-old 21" sony trinitron. beat that. :p


yes, i plan on upgrading the tv soon. ;)
 

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My 2 htpc are connected via Svideo using an onboard nVIDIA NV17 (GeForce4MX) to a Toshiba 20" TV in my bedroom and a nVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 (replacing a Matrox G400MAX) to a Sony 27" TV in my main sytem.


Good picture quality on both (as good as my old Pioneer DV333 non-progressive DVD player using component 480i).


Why using a htpc over a DVD player if the PQ is the same? With my htpc I can do more: play mp3 and mp4 aac music, play divx/xvid, DVDs and dvdrip, watch still pictures, play games, burn CDs and DVDs...


Bedroom htpc

AMD Duron 650MHz

Chaintech 7NIF2 nForce2IGP

256MB PC2100 DDR

Pioneer DVD-104S 10x

WD 40GB 5400rpm


Main htpc

AMD AthlonXP 2100+

Gigabyte GA-7N400L1 nForce2 Ultra400

256MB PC2700 DDR

nVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 128MB

Creatives SoundBlaster Live! Platinum

Pioneer DVR-105 4x2x16x

WD 60GB 7200rpm

Maxtor 120GB 7200rpm

WD 120GB 7200rpm 8MB
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Richelieu
My 2 htpc are connected via Svideo using an onboard nVIDIA NV17 (GeForce4MX) to a Toshiba 20" TV in my bedroom and a nVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 (replacing a Matrox G400MAX) to a Sony 27" TV in my main sytem.
Is the s-video picture quality of the nVidia GeForceFX 5200 as good as it was with your Matrox G400MAX? My G400 is getting a bit long in the tooth so if there was something with s-video PQ as good or better I'd replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Odd - all the threads I read had folks raving about matrox. Why specifically are youse guys ditching the M400 in favor of the n5200?
 

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Quote:
Is the s-video picture quality of the nVidia GeForceFX 5200 as good as it was with your Matrox G400MAX? My G400 is getting a bit long in the tooth so if there was something with s-video PQ as good or better I'd replace it.
I know what you mean, I loved my G400MAX but it was getting old and I had some problems when playing newer games. I'm not a big PC gamer (I have a XBOX), but I love to play strategy games like Warcraft III on my PC. I hated that the G400 don't let you deactivate the 1st display (VGA) even if you don't have a monitor connected to it. So your left with only 16MB of VRAM for the TV output.


The FX5200 is DX9, has 128MB, has all the output I can ask for (DVI, VGA, Svideo) and let me use only the Svideo output if I want to (without splitting the memory). It's not the hi end for games, but for $69 CAD (~$40 USD) after MIR, it was the best choice for me.


I haven't finish the tweaking on my main htpc. I have an overlay problem (only when I use windvd): washout color that go away after I modify the overlay color setting in the nVIDIA properties. This problem come back each time I open windvd. I will reinstall winXP and windvd this weekend to see if the problem will go away. Picture is good in PowerDVD and ZP using windvd video codec. The PQ is a little less good than my G400MAX was with windvd, but should get back to the same level after I reinstall WinXP and tweak it a little more.


If the NV17 with 32MB (shared memory) in my bedroom can do as good as my Pioneer DVD333, who had a little better PQ than my G400MAX (less noise), the FX5200 should give me a good picture too.


Will report back next week after I reinstall XP and tweak it more.
 

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I strongly reccomend you get an external box for this... There are a ton, I'm currently using a tvator exec, cost me $40 - ebay.


I use this even though I have a radeon 8500 with built in svideo. The reason I do is I can output VGA like normal, through a 8way vga distribution amp ($20 - ebay), and to my monitors, crt fp's, and old tv's all at the same time and never have to switch primary monitors.


So much nicer than switching back and forth, and that way you don't have to pick a video card for it's svideo quality just the best video card for your price range and application.


So, for a total of $60 (and some cables) I can send video to anything I have anywhere in the house simultaneously and display any res up to 1280x1024 without touching a thing.


Troy
 

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G400 Max here, can't beat it, looks as good as a standalone DVD player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the info all - Got sick of my angst, bought a PVR-250 for capture, ordered the matrox 550 for dual-video output. Installed the PVR-250 in a few seconds flat, now just have to research posts and figure out why the reception is so crappy. I think I'm oversplitting/underpowering the signal and will try that. Once I have good quality to record, I'm on to the next step of distribution.


Q for pcCinema: Antec's website[who I believe makes TVator] is impossible to figure out, and their search blows. Do you have any flicker or other display issues converting VGA to [what are you converting to]?


Also, how are you distributing the audio 8 ways? do you have to amp that as well?
 

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I don't split the audio... still working on that, as I use spdif out. For now I turn up the klipsch rf3 floorstanders and even the neighbors have no problem hearing even the smallest details. :)


I convert to svideo with it. It looks just as good (or bad) as any other svideo out I've seen incluiding the radeon's... Have not tried matrox, and never would, it won't support dxva or many directx features last I heard so it would do me no good.


Sure, there's flicker... I have yet to see a svideo out that didn't but with movies and hdtv you don't see that only text and graphics and it's not as bad as most of the vga cards I have seen. It has more flicker reducing options than the vga cards do, and overscan options, and shift and zoom options so things always end up the way I want.


Troy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the quick response. FYI, on your splitting:
http://www.minidisc.org/part_Dayton_..._Splitter.html


Haven't gotten this yet; I may [if I can distract wife long enough to buy a 2nd receiver for the back with optical-in]. It's all part of the master plan, however I have to prove ROI on this before I'm allowed to go down that route. In the meantime, long-ass RCA cable cards under the house for bobo.
 
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