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I am about to start building a HTPC and am trying to decide on a video card that will give me the highest quality output. I currently am using a Pinnacle Showcenter 1000G, but would like to switch to something more configurable and will allow me to work from home on my TV (Sony 60XS955). Previously I used my Matrox G400 for TV-Out and at the time it was by far it had the superior output quality. This was 2 years ago and I assume that Nvidia and ATI have closed the gap or even surpassed Matrox in output quality (I could be wrong). I am looking for recommendations on a card that will work with MCE2005 and doesnt need to be powerful enough for gaming, I have a dual Xeon with a X850 that I used for that. On another note, I would like to setup a PVR if at all possible that can record HD from Time Warner Digital Cable. I currently have a 8300HD for that, but would love to incorporate that feature into the HTPC as well. I know that I have to wait for CableCard support in Vista, but was reading about QAM decoders and wonder if that is something I can use to decode the digital cable feed.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


FYI: The TV is currently using both its HDMI inputs and I would probably need to use the Component input unless HDMI will offer that much of a quality increase.


Thanks,


Brendon
 

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Although I own and like a Matrox G400 32MB Dualhead board, it's just not a good choice for your TV. The Matrox boards are possibly the best choice for an analog standard TV, but your Grand Wega is an HD-ready TV with an analog NTSC tuner. It has 3 HD-capable inputs including component video and HDMI, and one of the three should be used for the PC.


Basicly if you are serious about ever wanting HD-PVR from cable then you need to free up an HDMI input after waiting for release of the PC Cablecard setup. Only HDMI inputs support the 5C copy protection scheme, analog HD-capable "high-band" component video does not.


A PVR solution accessable to you today is the MyHD MDP-130 which will work only with your unencrypted HD local cable channels. There are three possible configurations for you to use, pick whatever works best for you:

http://www.digitalconnection.com/Support/cn_myhd8.asp


Digital Connection is a good place to get the transcoder to change VGA to component video. You are correct in that any current ATI or Nvidia board with 720p/1080i output capability could be used. Some ATI boards ship with a "dongle" to convert VGA to component video, which would save the cost of the transcoder. Another option is to use a video board with DVI output via a simple DVI to HDMI cable, but since you have an open component input, I suggest using that. The best output resolution setting would be the native resolution of your Wega TV, assuming it is one that the MyHD board supports:

http://www.digitalconnection.com/Pro...deo/mdp130.asp


Gary
 
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