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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/20/2005 6:21:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 8:52:23 PM EDT
HD or Standard?


For standard look at cards based on the Ati Theater 550 chip. They are fairly new and deliver pretty impressive quality over the older cards.


Review at Anand's
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 10:16:13 PM EDT
There's an All-in-Wonder card on the wife's computer. It does it's job, but not overly fancy, and up close, there's a bit of "noise" on the recorded shows. The main HTPC computer has a Hauppauge PVR-250 which I highly recommend. There are some other good ones too, here's some things you may wish to look for:

* Remote control, they usually come with one, just double check. Sometimes you can buy one as an option for $30 or so.
* Separate capture card & video card vs "all-in-one" configuration - I highly recommend doing this with two different cards. You can get a better quality capture card, then you can also get a better quality video card which you can upgrade in 12 months if you're a gamer. For example, on my HDTV, a lowly GeForce 5200 does the video-out duties...which it is more than capable of doing for the Tivo-like duties that computer performs.
* For gaming, the current ultimate is twin GeForce 7800GTX's, but a 6800GT will keep you more than happy for awhile.
* HDTV - mine don't have the capability, but it's getting more popular..plus it depends upon you have a TV/monitor that you want to watch HDTV output on (and if you get HDTV channels)
* hardware compression on the capture card - my Hauppauge does the work on the PCI card itself, my All-in-Wonder card dumps the workload off onto the CPU. The AIW computer shows 30-60% CPU loading while the PVR-250 computer shows about 6% CPU usage. One is an Athlon 2400, the other an Athlon 2500, so similar specs. If we do too much other stuff on the AIW computer while it's recording, the recording will skip a time or two. We never get that problem on the PVR-250 computer.
* Software - Some software titles like certain capture cards. The capture cards all come with some software that will work, but it's generally so-so. I recommend SageTV or Snapstream's BeyondTV software...I really like BeyondTV, plus the WAF numbers are way high. The wifez0r really took to the BeyondTV software, she uses it all the time...in fact, there's a downside, she fills up the 620GB of hard drives on that computer fairly quickly, so I'm moving files around now and then.
* Windows Media Center Edition - Welp, Microsoft makes some pretty good software, and WinMCE is no different. It looks pretty, it does a good job...except the problem is that Microsoft is evil and it shows in WinMCE. WinMCE comes with "digital rights management" controls. They aren't being used much right now, but they are there...which means a captured video could have an expiration date where it would disappear...or perhaps it won't let you save the file anywhere off the computer, etc. Evil I tell you!
* Evil cards - some of the newer HDTV capture cards may have "digital rights management" type things on them, check places like http://www.videohelp.com to see what people are saying about the cards you're looking at.
* Two cards - The latest Sage and BeyondTV will support two capture cards so you can record two shows at the same time type thing.



* WAF = Wife Acceptability Factor
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:34:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 1:21:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/22/2005 1:33:32 PM EDT by SO-COM]
All around compatability chipset choice would be an 878 based solution. My software (Beyond TV) does support the newer 883 (I think thats it ) but has quality issues with it. All around quality with the 878 I use is defintely lower then the caps I see from newer chipsets, so if your software supports something newer like the Ati 550 -- go for it. I'd check the message boards of the PVR software your using for posts about problems with the specific chipset your looking at.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 6:46:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SO-COM:
All around compatability chipset choice would be an 878 based solution. My software (Beyond TV) does support the newer 883 (I think thats it ) but has quality issues with it. All around quality with the 878 I use is defintely lower then the caps I see from newer chipsets, so if your software supports something newer like the Ati 550 -- go for it. I'd check the message boards of the PVR software your using for posts about problems with the specific chipset your looking at.



I've got a couple different bt878 chipped cards I got from eBay or something. They work ok, getting drivers seemed interesting, but some people have written some homemade drivers that work pretty well.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 6:55:51 PM EDT
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