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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there all, 2 Bunny here again with a question on building basically just a dedicated QAM tuning computer while cutting basically every corner possible. So far we secured an Intel socket 478 motherboard of questionable origin (If the model number of that would help, I can get that) and with our bad experience with the Samsung SIR-T451, we wanted to make it our goal to build "THE sub $75 computer that can tune QAM". I priced out some components and cases and hard drives on eBay, but one of the big questions reside in the onboard "ancient" Intel 82845GV graphic card. I've played HD video on a Radeon 9200 before, but never on something like this, so my two questions for the day are this:


1. Is there any chance that the Intel 82845GV can play HD video? Even my laptop's relatively poor GMA X3100 card can do that, so can the 82845GV accomplish it?


2. Is the Intel 82845GV compatible with Entech powerstrip? I'll need to be able to set the resolution to 1080 full HD at 30hz, interlaced as well as compensating for the television set's overscan.


Thanks for reading. Let me know what ya'all find out
.


- 2 Bunny
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelation /forum/post/20890481


Forget about it!


You should be happy if the 845GV can drive a 1080p panel. Maybe at 16-bit color.

Well, it's not 1080p, just 1080i Full HD. I asked a Windows gamer I knew, and he thought that it should probably be able to play HD video, but wasn't sure about its compatibility with Powerstrip.


- 2 Bunny
 

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Compatibility with Powerstrip will be questionable. The 845 series didn't have the capability to do custom resolutions at all unless you used some special Embedded Drivers, and even then it was manual.


I'm sure it can technically drive a 1920x1080i screen, but the real question is can the P4 decode the MPEG2 fast enough to display it without jerkiness. My only basis of comparison from that era is the Fusion HD cards from way back when which used CPU cycles to decode rather than a dedicated hardware decoder. I had a dual-CPU Pentium III system and it could barely cope; the P4 might have been better, but I never bought one.


The X3100 had MPEG2 HW accel, and probably more importantly took CPUs which were considerably more advanced than the P4.


Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20893254


Compatibility with Powerstrip will be questionable. The 845 series didn't have the capability to do custom resolutions at all unless you used some special Embedded Drivers, and even then it was manual.

Is either the "embedded drivers" or "manual" part of that process too difficult to be accomplished? Would it most likely be the same procedure for the 845GV? Are there any older threads on the topic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20893254



I'm sure it can technically drive a 1920x1080i screen, but the real question is can the P4 decode the MPEG2 fast enough to display it without jerkiness. My only basis of comparison from that era is the Fusion HD cards from way back when which used CPU cycles to decode rather than a dedicated hardware decoder. I had a dual-CPU Pentium III system and it could barely cope; the P4 might have been better, but I never bought one.

Well, we've got another P4 based system with similar specs: It's got a nicer Radeon 9200, but not quite as powerful 2.8Ghz P4. It has 700 and some MB of RAM, but it is able to play most 720p MKVs flawlessly and with ArcSoft Total Media (the xp software that comes with the tuner card) is able to play HDTV with some choppiness and less than 20% processor load with it tuning while the program is minimized. Does this mean that even the Radeon 9200 (better than the Intel 82845GV, I'm guessing) can't quite decode the video fast enough, or is it something else (like the software and how it interacts with the tuner)? Should I try the tuner with Windows 7 on our P4 2.8 with those measly 700 some megabytes of RAM? If the software is to blame, would Windows 7 work well enough on the 3Ghz P4 with 2GB of RAM and the 82845GV graphic card?


Thanks.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Bunny /forum/post/20895408


Is either the "embedded drivers" or "manual" part of that process too difficult to be accomplished? Would it most likely be the same procedure for the 845GV? Are there any older threads on the topic?

You'll need the IEGD drivers (I found them at http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Deta...adType=Drivers on Intel's site).


As for what to do, specifically, after this... wow, it's been a long time. I don't remember the details-- but you can start with this:

http://mark.honeychurch.org/1440-x-900-intel-865?page=3


Quote:
Well, we've got another P4 based system with similar specs: It's got a nicer Radeon 9200, but not quite as powerful 2.8Ghz P4. It has 700 and some MB of RAM, but it is able to play most 720p MKVs flawlessly and with ArcSoft Total Media (the xp software that comes with the tuner card) is able to play HDTV with some choppiness and less than 20% processor load with it tuning while the program is minimized. Does this mean that even the Radeon 9200 (better than the Intel 82845GV, I'm guessing) can't quite decode the video fast enough, or is it something else (like the software and how it interacts with the tuner)? Should I try the tuner with Windows 7 on our P4 2.8 with those measly 700 some megabytes of RAM? If the software is to blame, would Windows 7 work well enough on the 3Ghz P4 with 2GB of RAM and the 82845GV graphic card?


Thanks.


- 2 Bunny

The tuning takes up very little CPU, it's the viewing, in those days before serious HW acceleration. If you just want to record HDTV to hard drive and watch it on a different machine, you're golden. For playback on that machine, however... I honestly never tried on a P4, so I am reluctant to say it will not work. Give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael
You'll need the IEGD drivers (I found them at http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Deta...adType=Drivers on Intel's site).


As for what to do, specifically, after this... wow, it's been a long time. I don't remember the details-- but you can start with this:

http://mark.honeychurch.org/1440-x-900-intel-865?page=3
Thanks. That guide looks like a great start. I couldn't help but notice however, that at abouyt halfway down that page, you need to use Monitor Asset Manager to get the information from the monitor. I was wondering if this will work in our situation since I'm just using a VGA breakout cable - the telly can't send that information back through the RGBHV pins, can it?


If not, is there somewhere else where I could find this information? Do I still use PowerStrip if I use IEGD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael
The tuning takes up very little CPU, it's the viewing, in those days before serious HW acceleration. If you just want to record HDTV to hard drive and watch it on a different machine, you're golden. For playback on that machine, however... I honestly never tried on a P4, so I am reluctant to say it will not work. Give it a shot.
The machine doesn't really quite exist yet - we're building off a motherboard. This is why I wanted to try before then. Do you think that video card can do it?


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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Bunny /forum/post/20905869


Thanks. That guide looks like a great start. I couldn't help but notice however, that at abouyt halfway down that page, you need to use Monitor Asset Manager to get the information from the monitor. I was wondering if this will work in our situation since I'm just using a VGA breakout cable - the telly can't send that information back through the RGBHV pins, can it?


If not, is there somewhere else where I could find this information? Do I still use PowerStrip if I use IEGD?

You don't use Powerstrip with IEGD-- you can't, as far as I know. You'll be programming the system with a custom resolution using IEGD utility.


If you are using a standard resolution, the step where they use Mon Asset Manager is probably unnecessary. Just push the VESA standard timings as a DTD, unless you are aware that your TV uses non-standard timings. Might have to use 1920x540p instead of 1920x1080i, as that's what some TVs expect. If you need help finding the standard DTD for whatever resolution you are planning to use, let me know.

Quote:
The machine doesn't really quite exist yet - we're building off a motherboard. This is why I wanted to try before then. Do you think that video card can do it?

- 2 Bunny

According to the spec document ( http://download.intel.com/design/chi...s/29074602.pdf ), that chipset can drive up to 2048x1536 at 60Hz on its analog (VGA) interface (page 11). However, it also states that Video Overlay max source resolution is 720x576 (page 19), which implies to me that if the software you're using attempts to use the video overlay functionality to display HDTV you might run into problems. You should have no problems viewing the desktop, in other words, but depending on the playback software you might be in for trouble.


Sorry I don't have more information for you. I understand the desire to not let pre-existing hardware go to waste (the number of elderly systems I have lying around the house is embarrassing), but I don't have much personally to offer regarding chipsets from the P4 era.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20906299


You don't use Powerstrip with IEGD-- you can't, as far as I know. You'll be programming the system with a custom resolution using IEGD utility.


If you are using a standard resolution, the step where they use Mon Asset Manager is probably unnecessary. Just push the VESA standard timings as a DTD, unless you are aware that your TV uses non-standard timings. Might have to use 1920x540p instead of 1920x1080i, as that's what some TVs expect. If you need help finding the standard DTD for whatever resolution you are planning to use, let me know.

Oh, okay. Do you know if there is any way to determine before hand if our CRT RPTV has nonstandard timings? If it uses the standard ones, do you know where I could find those? If I use 1920x540p, will my aspect ratio be screwed up, or will it course correct on its own?

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20906299


According to the spec document ( http://download.intel.com/design/chi...s/29074602.pdf ), that chipset can drive up to 2048x1536 at 60Hz on its analog (VGA) interface (page 11). However, it also states that Video Overlay max source resolution is 720x576 (page 19), which implies to me that if the software you're using attempts to use the video overlay functionality to display HDTV you might run into problems. You should have no problems viewing the desktop, in other words, but depending on the playback software you might be in for trouble.

Is there any way to check in advance if the software uses "video overlay" technology? At this point, it is still "up in the air" if we're going to use Windows xp or Windows 7, so I might end up using ArcSoft TotalMedia or Windows 7 Media center to tune the television, depending on which works better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20906299


Sorry I don't have more information for you. I understand the desire to not let pre-existing hardware go to waste (the number of elderly systems I have lying around the house is embarrassing), but I don't have much personally to offer regarding chipsets from the P4 era.

That's cool. You've helped me quite a bit so far, and the computer in question doesn't even exist yet
.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Bunny /forum/post/20908049


Oh, okay. Do you know if there is any way to determine before hand if our CRT RPTV has nonstandard timings? If it uses the standard ones, do you know where I could find those? If I use 1920x540p, will my aspect ratio be screwed up, or will it course correct on its own?

I'd Google "Modeline" and your model number-- that should give you all the timings information you need.

Quote:
Is there any way to check in advance if the software uses "video overlay" technology? At this point, it is still "up in the air" if we're going to use Windows xp or Windows 7, so I might end up using ArcSoft TotalMedia or Windows 7 Media center to tune the television, depending on which works better.

Sorry, you have exceeded my level of expertise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20909363


I'd Google "Modeline" and your model number-- that should give you all the timings information you need.

"1920x1080" 74.250 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1094 1124 interlace +hsync +vsync


Good call. Can that utility compensate for overscan?

That number was for the WS-48313, not the 311, but they're all pretty similar, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20909363




Sorry, you have exceeded my level of expertise.

Guess we'll just have to cross our fingers on that one.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Bunny /forum/post/20910118


"1920x1080" 74.250 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1094 1124 interlace +hsync +vsync


Good call. Can that utility compensate for overscan?

That number was for the WS-48313, not the 311, but they're all pretty similar, right?


- 2 Bunny

I don't think that IEGD utility can compensate for overscan directly. You should ask Wo0zy if DTDCalc can be used just in "measurement mode" (not reading or writing to the registry) on old Intel or even non-Intel systems. When Powerstrip won't work (as in this case) that's still the best way I know of to compute new timings values to cope with overscan. Then once you know the overscan-fixed timings you can program them into IEGD and you should be good to go. Maybe. Hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/20910702


I don't think that IEGD utility can compensate for overscan directly. You should ask Wo0zy if DTDCalc can be used just in "measurement mode" (not reading or writing to the registry) on old Intel or even non-Intel systems. When Powerstrip won't work (as in this case) that's still the best way I know of to compute new timings values to cope with overscan. Then once you know the overscan-fixed timings you can program them into IEGD and you should be good to go. Maybe. Hopefully.

I'll try that. I noticed that his profile said his last activity on the site was in July, but I've sent off a message anyway. I'll post here to letcha'all know what happens.


- 2 Bunny
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In light of some things I've seen on Craiglist lately, I've decided we might not go through with dumping $75 into building up a P4 computer. In the meantime, I've put off getting computers or parts and want to look into focusing on the technical bits of custom resolutions. Using spare parts, I built a VGA breakout cable and after reading a thread, I was told I should use some software called "DTDCalc" which is now installed and running with my Intel GMA X3100 mobile video card.


Let's back up though first - before I tried DTDCalc, I just did some basic experimentation with the resolutions the stock drivers would let me choose. When I first plugged it in, I was surprised to hear the Windows music tone that plays when you plug in a PnP device or monitor as the computer wouldn't be receiving any of the info that the monitor sends back. Anyway, the computer was still outputting 1024x768 from the last time I had it hooked up to the projector. When I did that, I accidentally left the set on the RGB input, and it did some sort of weird colors thing, the thing that it usually does for a half a second when your video source changes resolutions, only it kept doing that. I pulled the VGA cable right away because I figured that it might not have been a good idea to leave it up that way. Next, I tried to see if I could get 1080i, so I picked 1920x1080, but "30Hz" was not on the "Hz" menu, and I figured maybe you have to change it to that resolution before you get that option - bat move. Apparently, the Mitt really despised 1080p, 'cuz the computer would all of the sudden think the cable was unplugged, then plugged in again.


After I got that sorted out, I tried just plain 640x480p (again with the stock setup, no DTDCalc just yet), and this time, the Mitt just shut off as soon as I switched to the RGB input. Chuckle. Today, an internet search told me that the best choice for custom resolutions and overscan reduction was with DTDCalc. I found some timings for a similar Mitsubishi display and put it in. When I restarted, I went into the Intel GMA control panel to find my resolution. I picked 1920 by 1080 from the resolution menu, but this time, "30Hz" was available from the "Hz" menu. This is where things start to get interesting. At that immediate point in time, my wallpaper was a very dark wallpaper with very little of anything on it. After I picked the resolution and pulled up the RGB input on the television, I saw my wallpaper. I could even see my mouse all around on the screen. But as soon as I tried to move a window onto that monitor, it would just fly off the handle and go crazy with the wacky colors, and eventually turn off. If I put any other wallpaper up there with a little more image to it, it will go crazy.


Next, I thought I'd try 540p just to see if I'd have better luck with it, but after creating an entry and rebooting, I just couldn't find it on the list.


Any ideas?


Thanks.


- 2 Bunny
 

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That's... kinda bizarre behavior. I got nothing, here. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do you have any thoughts as to the minimum requirements of playing live HDTV smoothly? From what I've gathered from the Mygica A680B instructions, only a 2.8Ghz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a video card with 256MB of memory are required.


What do you think?


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Does anyone know of a good benchmark for a computer for playing live HDTV smoothly? From what I understand, the requirements are a 2.8Ghz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a video card with 256MB of memory. I'd like some input from the experience of the community, not just some rough requirements on a package.


Thanks.


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Does anyone know of a good benchmark for a computer for playing live HDTV smoothly? From what I understand, the requirements are a 2.8Ghz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a video card with 256MB of memory. I'd like some input from the experience of the community, not just some rough requirements on a package.


Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks.


- 2B
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Bunny /forum/post/21334110


Does anyone know of a good benchmark for a computer for playing live HDTV smoothly? From what I understand, the requirements are a 2.8Ghz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, and a video card with 256MB of memory. I'd like some input from the experience of the community, not just some rough requirements on a package.


Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks.


- 2B

If you just want live TV on your older TV set, I wouldn't recommend going the HTPC route. Going with a TiVo or similar would be more hassle-free. HTPC's are a lot easier to work with if you've got a newer 1080p set with HDMI and even then, you can still encounter the occasional problem.


Then again, if you've got a newer TV, it would already have built-in ATSC/clear QAM tuning so a separate device wouldn't be needed for live TV.


Lowest gear I've been able to play ATSC/QAM on is:

Celeron 430 1.80 GHz Conroe-L (roughly equivalent to P4 3 GHz)

2x1GB DDR2 800

945GC/GMA 3100


Actually, lowest gear is an Intel D945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini-ITX PC (7MC with MPEG-2 hardware acceleration) but that one could barely drive a 720p set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

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


If you just want live TV on your older TV set, I wouldn't recommend going the HTPC route. Going with a TiVo or similar would be more hassle-free. HTPC's are a lot easier to work with if you've got a newer 1080p set with HDMI and even then, you can still encounter the occasional problem.


Then again, if you've got a newer TV, it would already have built-in ATSC/clear QAM tuning so a separate device wouldn't be needed for live TV.


Lowest gear I've been able to play ATSC/QAM on is:

Celeron 430 1.80 GHz Conroe-L (roughly equivalent to P4 3 GHz)

2x1GB DDR2 800

945GC/GMA 3100


Actually, lowest gear is an Intel D945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini-ITX PC (7MC with MPEG-2 hardware acceleration) but that one could barely drive a 720p set.

Good to know. Just out of curiosity though, what makes the 1.8Ghz celeron "equivalent" to a 3Ghz P4?


Funny you should mention the GMA X3100, 'cuz that's what's in my laptop. It's a weak card, but (in addition to being all I can afford) it tears through live HDTV perfectly with ease.


The whole reason I wanted to go the computer route instead of buying a $60+ QAM tuner was because I learned the hard way that not all QAM tuners are created equally (not to mention the fact that we've got a working USB tuner). We dumped a ton of money on one that only found two of our HD channels, and it couldn't play either of them back. We decided that we absolutely cannot risk that again (the seller graciously let us send it back for a refund minus the shipping) and will only go with spending money on "things we are sure of", and the only thing I know for sure that works is our USB tuner.


If you know of any dedicated tuners that you have seen actually working properly on Charter QAM the same way my Mygica $20 USB tuner has been working (completely and flawlessly), let me know please. If not, we need to sort out the computer thing.


Thanks.


- 2B
 
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