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Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible to hook up an HDTV STB to a standard computer monitor, and get genuine HDTV resolutions?


Presumably you'd need to build a cable matching the RGB output of the STB with VGA input in the monitor. But would you need a scaler, or would it work at whatever vertical resolution you set the STB output to.


You see, I work all day on a laptop, with an external monitor. And I'd love to pick up HDTV on the monitor. If I had a desktop computer I'd just buy one of those HDTV cards. Or maybe I'll have to wait until they put an HDTV receiver in a PC card format...yea, right! :p


- John
 

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Well they do. Infact you have at least three to choose from and they all record HDTV to your hard disk.


1) Hipix DTV200 from Telemann

2) AccessTV

3) Hauppauge makes some too with and without record capabilities.


Digitalconnection.com is a highly respected source here for these cards and they are a technical resource not simply a box dealer.


As for driving the monitor any PC card will drive true HDTV into a computer monitor. The HiPix which I am partial to can either share the monitor with a PC or run a seperate output directly to an HDTV keeping the computer monitor always on the application program. Plus the HiPix can output YpBpR in case you end up with a true HDTV that does not accept VGA signals.


Quite a few stand alone STBs also will display native HDTV on a computer monitor. the best deal is the RCA DTC100. This has a 15pin VGA output. Some boxes only output YpBpR which is not compatable with a computer monitor and there is no consumer priced convertor to convert YpBpR to VGA. The other direction, VGA to YpBpR are available from $120 to $300.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the good advice. I'm planning on getting a Samsung SIR-T150 STB. It has an RGB D-Sub 15 pin connector. Will that connect with the VGA input on my monitor?


The T150 is just 499 at BH Photo, then you get a $100 rebate from Samsung until January. That make it a 399 STB. I believe the T150 has more compatability than the RCA, but it doesn't do DirectTV. But all I need is OTA. I figure, anything else I'd want to watch I'll just rent from Netflix.


The AccessDTV and HiPix cards are full-size PCI cards aren't they? They are not the tiney PC card format (formerly called PCMCIA) that fit into a laptop?


- John
 

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John, I am watching my Dish 6000 on my computer monitor via the RGB connector, it looks awesome.
 

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John,


I have the Samsung stb and have connected it directly to a VGA monitor. I got a picture. After adjusting the horizontal/vertical controls on the monitor I was able to get an approximation of a 16:9 picture and it did look very good.


I would expect a PC card such as those Glimmie suggests would give you more exact control over the picture aspect ratio and would be a better apporach than just hooking up the stb.


Tom
 

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The Hipix and AccessDTV cards mentioned above can record too, yes! Onto your hard drive. For $400, they are really hard to beat. The HD image on my 21" Dell Trinitron monitor still beats every HD large monitor I've seen.
 

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Yes, HiPix, accessDTV cards are full size PCI cards

(in fact the HiPix uses two slots because it

has a "daughter card" on the back panel

to give you all the connectors it needs).


I don't think there are any HDTV PC-MCIA

(laptop) solutions.
 

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I bought a RCA DTC100 two years ago and the first thing I connected it to was my Nokia 445X 21" monitor.

I was sold on HDTV immediately.

I still watch HDTV quite often on a 445X PRO monitor in addition to a front projector.

When running 1080i to the monitor, the dots fromt the shadow mask are someone visible from up close.

I now use a Vigatec scaler to scale all my inputs to 1080P and this includes upconverting 1080i.

The 1080P image makes all other rear projection HDTV displays I have ever seen pale in comparison.


Frank
 

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Frank - how long have you been using that

1080p scaler? Your comments on which shows

look best don't always jibe with what I see

(1080i) mode, so I wonder if some encoding

actually favors being deinterlaced.
 

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Quote:
Frank - how long have you been using that

1080p scaler?
A few months.

I am able to switch between 1080i and 1080p very quickly and see the difference. The biggest improvement is with video based material with little vertical filtering.


Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #13
PVR & Frank,


I'm just going to use my computer monitor temporarily, just to experience HDTV, until I find the right scaler and FP combination, ... and get my wife to buy in.:rolleyes:


My monitor is just a 17" LCD. I think it's native rate is only 1024 x768. So I guess that since it's too narrow and too wide for the 1080i standard and too narrow for the 720p standard, I'll probably be stuck with 480i or 480p. Am I understanding this correctly? In any case 480p should look much better than the analog OTA I get now.


Is it the opinion of either of you that there is a significant PQ advantage to any display device that will accept 1080p? As far as I know, only CRT based systems are capable of that today. I've heard that DVD scaled up to 1080p looks awesome.


Are those of us who are considering the new 1280x720 DLPs going to wish we had waited for a 1920x1080 chip? Most all the HDTV sources are using the 1080i except ABC. But they may change. It seems to me that the ideal would be not to have to scale, but only deinterlace the 1080i HDTV signal, to get a technically incredible picture.


- John
 

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John Don,


If you try to use your 4:3 LCD monitor for

HDTV you might have a problem with the 16:9

image looking vertically stretched. Most

CRTs and some LCD lets you squish the image

(vertically) back to 16:9 to get the aspect

ratio corrected but on your LCD that would

give you something like 1024x576 effective

resolution.


Some STBs will let you crop HDTV and output

it as 480p but it depends on which STB you get.

The main benefit you would get out of this

arrangement is the fact that the signal

is digital. With DTV you are free from

"ghosts", "noise", "herringbones" and other

problems that plague the old analog broadcast

TV standard.


I use a Sony W900 display and watch

DVDs at 1920x1080p (nice)

and HDTV with plenty of detail to keep me

happy.

I (too) am waiting for 1920x1080p projection

to arrive. I haven't made a final decision

on Plasma, dILA or LCD. Today if you want

close to 1920x1080p resolution out of a

projector you need a very high end CRT based

system (e.g.: Sony G90) that will set you

back around $30,000.


So: Even though there is some picture to be

had beyond 1280x768 your large screen options

become limited and very expensive. Unless

you are willing to wait a few years for

technology to advance you might be happier

just getting one of the "720p" resolution

displays that are most common now.


Purists like Frank and I won't be happy if we

think we are missing some of the image quality

but very many people are happy with 720p

resolution today.
 

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So technically you can play back the HiPix HDTV to a VCR and record the program you want to keep? How much space does a 45 minute show take up and can you pause commercials like a VCR? Can you select the quality of your recordings like a replayTV? I just came across this thread while researching the Samsung T150 which I may buy for $499. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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PVR:


I also have the sony FW900 24 incher but have yet to install the new HD video card. I have been waiting on the response from telemann and Hauppague regarding 'DTV Link' (HDCP/DVI) and whether the cards will have a compatable link. A couple of questions for you please....


1) What software do you use to upconvert the 480p DVDs into 1080p? For HDTV's or projectors I hear of using expensive scalers such as focus enhancements 'quadscan', etc, but it seems you do this internally with your PC, I assume.


2) Using the same method, hypothetically, when the 2nd generation DLP/D-ILA chips come out at 1920X1080 you would be able to 'scale' using software alone to 1080p.


The only problem with this I am running into are the INPUTS into the Telemann HiPix and Hauppague Win TV-HD are only RF and composite, so how would you pull signals from a satellite receiver with component, RGB or even DVI OUTPUTS??


You'd have to have separate inputs into the monitor that are not switchable by remote, running one feed from the PC's video card for OTA HDTV and another from the STB for HBO, SHOWTIME, etc.


You may be planning ahead like I am, but, like you, I'm really enjoying the best resolution money can buy, right NOW.:D
 

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>>> So technically you can play back the HiPix HDTV to a VCR and record the program you want to keep? How much space does a 45 minute show take up and can you pause commercials like a VCR? Can you select the quality of your recordings like a replayTV? I just came across this thread while researching the Samsung T150 which I may buy for $499. Thanks for the feedback.


HDTV signals (regardless of going through a HiPix or not) do not record to regular type VCRs. There are expensive digital VCRs that can record HDTV signals but I don't have one of them. The HiPix saves the HDTV datastream on a computer hard disk and then you can use any computer backup system (e.g.: DAT tapes) to save the data files.


45 minutes of HDTV is about 5 gigabytes.


Yes, HiPix lets you pause, fast forward, rewind, etc. pretty much like a VCR.


The HiPix always records the exact bitstream in full quality - sort of like a DirecTiVo or UltimateTV - NOT like a replayTV.


>> PVR:

>> I also have the sony FW900 24 incher but have yet to install the new HD video card. I have been waiting on the response from telemann and Hauppague regarding 'DTV Link' (HDCP/DVI) and whether the cards will have a compatable link.


Telemann may be undergoing some sort of re-org in their engineering department so you may have to wait a while for an answer from them.


>> A couple of questions for you please....


>> 1) What software do you use to upconvert the 480p DVDs into 1080p? For HDTV's or projectors I hear of using expensive scalers such as focus enhancements 'quadscan', etc, but it seems you do this internally with your PC, I assume.


I just use software DVD playback with my desktop running at 1920x1080p. My current favorite program is Cineplayer4, but PowerDVD4-XP and WinDVD3 also work quite well. The quality of your VGA/video card makes a big difference. I use a "tweaked" Radeon LE.


>> 2) Using the same method, hypothetically, when the 2nd generation DLP/D-ILA chips come out at 1920X1080 you would be able to 'scale' using software alone to 1080p.


YES. The latest software DVD playback produces amazing deinterlaced video. I think many experts consider it close to that of the high end hardware scalers. Also free dScaler software lets you deinterlace and scale NTSC video up to full screen (I watch Laserdisks at 1920x1440 on one of my computers using dScaler).


The next generation of dILA/DLP should be awesome but unfortunately the price will be very high for many years to come. It seems that dILA is going to be offered in QXGA (2048x1536) sooner than a "HDTV native" 1920x1080...


>> The only problem with this I am running into are the INPUTS into the Telemann HiPix and Hauppague Win TV-HD are only RF and composite, so how would you pull signals from a satellite receiver with component, RGB or even DVI OUTPUTS??


You wouldn't. The component and RGB outputs are uncompressed analog data which is not what you want to record. Tuners with DVI outputs are likely meant to enforce recording controls which is not something that the current HiPix hardware/software is taking into account.


There are only a few ways to record any HDTV satellite signals right now:


Some people have old Dish network 5000 receivers and discontinued HDTV modulator modules that send full resolution digital HDTV signals as an 8VSB signal through the RF coax and into a HiPix.


Some people have WVHS VCRs that can record component HDTV signals in analog but there is some slight loss of picture quality and the tapes are very expensive.


169time.com is reported to have shipped a couple of modified Unity motion receivers that can send HDTV signals over firewire to certain compatible digital VCRs.


>> You'd have to have separate inputs into the monitor that are not switchable by remote, running one feed from the PC's video card for OTA HDTV and another from the STB for HBO, SHOWTIME, etc.


My setup is basically like this:

Dish 5000 -> HDTV modulator -> HiPix (VGA passthrough) -> Sony W900.


This way I can play DVDs (via the VGA), watch OTA NTSC or HDTV broadcasts (by having the HiPix take over the screen in 1080i mode), or HBO-HD / SHO-HD on Dish (by tuning to channel 3).


Keep in mind that the HiPix is a passthrough/overlay device. So when not running the HiPix software the VGA controls the screen. When the HiPix software starts playing a file or is instructed to display "full screen" HDTV then the VGA card signal is automatically replaced by the HiPix HDTV signal (no manual switching needed).


I use a Radio Shack antenna junction to feed the Dish HDTV modulator to the VHF input, and then have a UHF OTA antenna feeding the UHF input so the output (to the HiPix in) has both my San Francisco local HDTV OTA channels (all UHF) and the HDTV satellite (VHF channel 3) on the same wire.


>> You may be planning ahead like I am, but, like you, I'm really enjoying the best resolution money can buy, right NOW.


Exactly. Due to space limitations and costs of large displays, I was willing to compromise on display size for the time being. I feel good about the decision because the quality of the picture from the W900 or FW900 is better than most projection devices (even though it is small).
 
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