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MCE, Laptop, and TV Tuner - Need Help/Suggestions

199 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  walford
I'm new to this particular AVS forum and hope someone can help. I just bought a Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop. The specs include 1 GB Ram, 128 MB ATI X300 Mobility Radeon graphics card, Pentium M 740, 80 GB HD, and the 17" WUXGA TrueLife display. I am running Windows XP, and XP Media Center Edition 2005. I also bought an external TV Tuner, which is the Emuzed Angel USB Tuner. Everything installed fine, however I'm not real happy with the video quality of TV pictures on the laptop. Using the entire screen, the video quality is horrible - very grainy picture, some jaggies, etc. I've resized the MCE window to use up about half the screen (since I'm usually browsing while I watch TV on the laptop), and I got some improvement, but still doesn't look very good. DVD's look fantastic on the laptop. Everything seems to be working fine, I ran MCE diagnostics, I ran TweakMCE, all tests passed. I've downloaded and installed all the latest Windows XP and MCE 2005 updates. I've downloaded the latest Emuzed Angel drivers and bios, as well as the latest ATI drivers. I've set the resolution of the display to its highest resolution at 1920 x 1200. I've tested the cable connection (ran a regular CRT TV on this connection, and picture looks fine), and it checks out.

So, now I'm left with some questions:

1. Is it possible my problem is the graphics card - would upgrading to an nVidia or other give me a much better TV picture. I'm not a gamer, so I wouldn't really utilize the card, however I would value better video quality on the laptop display when watching TV.

2. Is it possible my problem is the TV Tuner - perhaps the MPEG-2 codecs used are not that robust?? If I upgraded to a Hauppage or other would this give me some significant improvement in quality?

3. Can I somehow get a software MPEG-2 codec that is more robust, and get MCE to use this for the video encoding/decoding rather than the hardware codec in the TV Tuner?

4. Since, as I understand it, the video signal from my cable is tuned by the tuner, compressed using MPEG-2, then decompressed and displayed through MCE - if I just want to watch TV and not pause or rewind - can I bypass the MPEG-2 coding/decoding/compression, and just have the laptop display the video signal directly?? I have minimal knowledge, so one of you may tell me it doesn't work this way..

5. Is the issue with my laptops display? That is, is there an inherent limitation to displaying TV on a laptop screen (I would doubt it given how well it displays DVD's, but I realize the DVD is digital and has higher native resolution than the TV signal)

6. Is the problem just an inherent issue of watching TV on a computer, since you have to compress and decompress the video signal and you can't get around it?

I realize this post is a bit long, but I hope one of you can give me some suggestions.



P.S. Does anyone know how to get MCE to remember the size and location of the MCE window...everytime I boot the program I have to resize the window and move it back to the location I want it at.
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If the DVDs look great there is probabaly no problem with your Graphics card or with your Decoder. DVDs are not recorede in digital they are encoded in 480i MPEG2 just like the inputs from your tuner card. You can not use another encoder than the one on the card.

However the encoder used by DVDs makers cost thousands of dollars instead of the few dollars that ones on the tuner cards cost so even video DVDs are a lot better. Film DVDs are encoded with successive fields from the same instant in time so there is no motion compensatin required when they are decoced which also makes them much better.

Your Graphics Card is probably just chips built onto the MOBO a0d can not be changed.

I believe Hauppauge has a USB PVR tuner for MCE which may privide better PQ with its encoder.
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