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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read in other forums of people complaining about output quality of PVR-250 falling way short of the TIVO equipment, and not really the best solution for recording. Can anyone here comment before I spend $$$ on the PVR-250 (and an HTPC)?
 

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Define your expectations of "quality", IE picture quality; ease of use; system reliability.


I use a stand alone TiVo, with 144 hours of record time (basic.) TiVo is: easier to setup, more reliable (always records what it's told), can compensate for programming changes (program switches nights or time), it's pretty much plug & play.


I use MyHD and Titan Tv to record HD programming.

MyHD: picture and sound quality kicks ass on TiVo... until HD TiVo comes out, then all bets are off.

MyHD gets the job done, just not as elegant as TiVo, except for the kick ass picture quality.
 

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Yes, I can comment :). It depends on what you use for your output. I originally used a PVR250 and my video card to output via DVI. The picture was pretty bad, no matter what combination of filters and reg hacks I tried. Nowhere near as good as my Replay, and that's saying something. I got a 350 and used the Svideo out, and was very impressed by how good it looked. For standard cable, I really recommend the 350 and Svideo for your outs.


-MP
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
-Teeps:


Thanks for your reply. I was referring to picture quality with the PVR-250 and the regular TIVO. Some say the output quality of the picture is too soft and unacceptable for regular TV viewing.


But, since you mentioned using the MYHD card, can it record HD programming from a cable box or is it strictly for over-air broadcasts? I would actually rather have a method of storing HD resolution broadcasts in a compressed format rather than DVD resolutions.



-madpoet:


Thanks to you, also, for your reply. I was also going to try to hook up a DVI cable from my video card to 55" Mits. I understand that using the S-video cable from the 350 to the TV (please correct me if I'm wrong, as I am new to HTPC) that it will only see the videos play that you have recorded. Is it unable to see your desktop or gaming? Can it be used for DVD output through PowerDVD or WinDVD?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Teeps
I use a stand alone TiVo, with 144 hours of record time (basic.) TiVo is: easier to setup, more reliable (always records what it's told), can compensate for programming changes (program switches nights or time), it's pretty much plug & play.
This may be correct with regard to the stock Hauppauge software, but if you use something like SageTV the only point of merit is setup (ie you have to install the HW/SW as opposed to just pluggin it in). A 250+SageTV is reliable (doesn't miss recordings), compensates for progamming changes as well as a Tivo (same programing data), easy to set up/use/etc. I use my 250/SageTV almost exclusively for my TV viewing, and I'm quite happy with the PQ.


On an HDTV, the PQ is excellent, I'd say better than a Tivo, especially since you can use higher recording qualities than Tivo offers, dscaler deinterlacing, ffdshow post proccessing. Plus unlimited HD capacity, multiple tuners, Client/Server...
 

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The 350's output can only display standard MPEG video (no DVDs/desktop). The 2.0 Beta of SageTV does support output of the SageTV OSD/UI on the 350's output.
 

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Right... I used SVideo strictly for the video playback and DVI for my desktop/everything else. Svideo handled the material better. There's quite a few other people over in the Sage forums who feel the same way. Believe me, I used every combination of filters with Sage that I could ever imagine, but just never ccould get a combination that I liked. Regardless of video quality, regardless of filters, it wasn't great. Svideo was far superior.


-MP
 

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Most of the people in the Sage forums are using SDTVs, HDTVs are a diffent animal. The only thing I can say for certain is that with my TV (RCA HDTV doesn't deinterlace, it displays 480i interlaced) piping the video out vga (Radeon 9500) at 1280x1024i (1080i timings) is far superior to anything s-video, it's even way better than the cable strait to the TV (250's tuner is better).


Also on a 46" Mits via the Component dongle the PQ is indestinguishable live to TV or through 250/Radeon.
 

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Interesting thread, I'm putting together a Sagetv box right now, parts that I have or on order are:


MSI black Hermes barebone box.

Celeron 2G

256MB ram

160G Maxtor w/8mb cache


I'm trying to decide between the pvr350+sage or the pvr250+sage bundles. The Hermes box ( link to a review ) is supposed to be really small and quiet. I just don't know about the s-video out quality, that'll be the deciding factor between either getting the pvr250 or the pvr350.


It's come out close to the cost of a tivo box + subscription but I want total access to the mpeg files (I haven't checked out tivo hacks to know if that's possible with tivo) so I can use another comp on my network to burn some of shows onto DVDRs. Plus building your own tivo-like box just sounds fun.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jdsmith
I've read in other forums of people complaining about output quality of PVR-250 falling way short of the TIVO equipment, and not really the best solution for recording. Can anyone here comment before I spend $$$ on the PVR-250 (and an HTPC)?
Output quality? The PVR-250 does not have any output capability, only the 350 has output capability. It is strictly a recording board.


Shortcomings of whatever output device may have been used to display video recorded by the PVR-x50s should not be blamed on the card, but solely on the output device. (FYI, I've heard good things about the PVR-350's TV-output. I actually have not used my 350's TV-out yet.)


I can tell you this: If burned to DVD and played back on a standalone DVD player, the quality of the video is indistinguishable from watching a live broadcast on the same TV. If anything, it is *better* due to the PVR-x50's noise filtering capabilities. (Note: I'm recording analog broadcast TV.) And the standalone DVD player in question isn't exactly the best DVD player on the planet, it's a cheapo Rowa DVD-3610 bought at Sears for $60 a year ago. Note that burning to DVD is simply not possible with a TiVo. Neither is streaming recorded video over a network.


I'm using MythTV under Linux. It's a pain to set up, but once it's running and tweaked properly it's VERY powerful. Burning recorded video to DVD (ESPECIALLY after cutting out commercials completely) is simply not possible with TiVo. Neither is streaming recorded video to another machine on your network. (MythTV's client-server architecture makes this easy - You can easily have a recording backend with multiple tuners and lots of storage in your basement, with comparatively low-power machines as frontends for displays. I think some people are even going diskless for their frontends. Xboxes can also be used as frontends, which means you can get a frontend for $130 or so used/refurbished.)


Edit: Note that there are currently known problems with the PVR-350 TV-output and Myth. There are some bugs in the ivtv driver that result in Myth's OSD causing frequent crashes, although the ivtv developers are have made a lot of progress into fixing the problems in the past 2-3 weeks. Myth also supports recording ATSC HD streams if you have the pcHDTV HD-2000 tuner card, but you need a VERY beefy machine to play those recordings back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
-Entropy512:


Thanks for your input. There is no question as to the flexibility and power of the HTPC. My only concern was whether or not the PQ will satisfy me. Oh, and by the way, when I mentioned "output", I was referring to the MPEG file generated by the card. Others have stated that the PQ is too soft and not at all as good as the original. Based on your reply about PQ (and the replies of others), it sounds like this is the ideal solution for me. I have digital cable with a few HD channels and I am looking for a method that will provide the best picture quality to record for later viewing. I like the idea of an HTPC, but I wanted to be sure I would not be sacrificing PQ if using a PVR-250 compared to the other solutions I have been looking at, such as the TIVO type services or a standalone DVD recorder.
 

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Sigh, people on this forum have such a narrow world view. Let me preface by saying that I'm the kind of person who subscribes to the philosophy "use the right tools for the right job."


The Hauppauge PVR-350 will display the desktop (thru framebuffer); it will also in fact decode (play) compliant mpeg-2 files (including DVDs) thru it's tv-out. Like others have already mentioned, PVR-350 has superb PQ for its price.


All these capabilities exist and work today in Linux. Like Entropy says, there are a few issues with the ivtv driver, but this is one instance where Linux capability has surpassed Windows.
 

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I apologise for asking a question that has potentially been answered elsewhere...


My goal is to have a HTPC connected to both SDTV (via S-Video) and a LCD monitor (via DVI).


I want to use the S-video -> SDTV connection principally for PVR playback, control of the iTunes interface for MP3 playback (and visualizer), and for web surfing, with the understanding that for the latter two functions the PQ will be lower than on my LCD monitor.


I want to use my LCD monitor for typical computer functions, but also for occasional live TV viewing (potentially while the SDTV is viewing the same show). I read that the AIW cards are good at "live" TV, but otherwise people seem to not like them, favoring some combination of Hauppage/Radeon.


So I still don't know how many cards I would need. Could the PVR-350 by itself do everything I want?
 
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