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Old November 5, 2006, 11:20 AM
Misoprostol
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Default Need a good TV Tuner for an HTPC

Hey everyone. I'm going to be building an HTPC that will be at the DVD/TV/Karaoke(don't ask) hub of the house. I'm looking at doign it in a mATX form factor with a 7950GT video card and a dual core AM2 EE processor. The part that has me confused is all the options for TV tuners, sound cards (this will be hooked up to home theater stuff, not a cheap multimedia set), and remotes. Can anyone offer any input?
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Old November 5, 2006, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misoprostol View Post
Hey everyone. I'm going to be building an HTPC that will be at the DVD/TV/Karaoke(don't ask) hub of the house. I'm looking at doign it in a mATX form factor with a 7950GT video card and a dual core AM2 EE processor. The part that has me confused is all the options for TV tuners, sound cards (this will be hooked up to home theater stuff, not a cheap multimedia set), and remotes. Can anyone offer any input?
I'm using a Hauppauge PVR-500 and I really like it. I've tried the PVR-150 which is the equivalent single tuner version and is the exact same quality. I've also tried the Nvidia DualTV MCE and found the picture quality to be horible. I tried their decoder codec as well and just couldn't get it to look good.

You might also want to wait a bit till the Ati Theater 650 comes out (if it ever does, it's been pulled off the shelves once already due to some type of issue) but the fews reviews done raved about it. Only downside I see is that there is no dual tuner version out. The didn't make one for the Theater 550 and may not for the 650 so if you want a dual tuner setup you'll need to buy two.

Two answer your two other questions. If you go with Media Center, you can buy the Microsoft remote and receiver.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...ture=Microsoft

If you want to go with something like SageTV, MythTV or BeyondTV most people either go with the Firefly remote

http://www.snapstream.com/firefly/

or a Logitech Harmony.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...cture=Logitech

As for the audio, I would recommend an M-audio Revolution 7.1 as they have excellent home theater sound quality.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.p...acture=M-Audio
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Old November 6, 2006, 12:20 AM
Misoprostol
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I will look into the sound card. I'll probably demo it in my system and decide if my parents inherit my X-fi, or get the new m-audio, haha.

As for the tuner... Is there any way we're going to see a tuner in the near future that is able to change channels with a service like shaw digital cable? It seems to me that any PC should be powerful enough to do that if we just had the hardware for it.

I will be using MCE 2005 as I just got a couple copies of it (legit and everything, I'm turning over a new leaf) so I guess I"ll go with the microsoft one.
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Old November 6, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Misoprostol View Post
As for the tuner... Is there any way we're going to see a tuner in the near future that is able to change channels with a service like shaw digital cable? It seems to me that any PC should be powerful enough to do that if we just had the hardware for it.
I havn't used them before because I only have regular cable but the MCE remotes do come with two IR Blasters or whatever they are called and basically you plug them into the back of the IR receiver and then stick the other end infront of the IR screen on the digital box and it will pass the signal on to change the channel or increase/decrease the volume.
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Old November 13, 2006, 01:18 AM
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Ok, here's a new requirement for the HTPC box... It needs to be able to accept two mics as inputs.... My parents want me to make it a karaoke box as well as everything else....
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Old November 13, 2006, 07:44 PM
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Ok, here's a new requirement for the HTPC box... It needs to be able to accept two mics as inputs.... My parents want me to make it a karaoke box as well as everything else....
Man, I didn't see you throwing that one in there. I'll have to double-check but I think the HDA X-Plosion 7.1 supports 2 Mics.

From Auzentech's website:
  • Swappable dual DIP type OPAMP controlled preamp circuit (4pcs output control OPAMP IC with DIY socket, 2pcs MIC input control OPAMP IC with DIY socket)
Name:  Auzen.JPG
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Old November 13, 2006, 10:03 PM
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It's not a capability issue, it's a content protection issue. Digital cable signals including HDTV over cable/satellite all have encryption proprietary to the provider and the box manufacturer they use. It's basically a key exchange/ decryption scheme. One of the reasons why you need a seperate digital cable or hd box is so you can decode the encrypted signal. Microsoft was working with cable providers in the US to allow cablecard support for Vista's MCE flavors. Cable card is essentially a mini card size decrypter/tuner interface. Shuttle and a few other manufacturers had prototype PCI cable card "docks" at one stage. This will be the ultimate killer app for any HTPC.

The current workaround is to take analogue video/audio out of your cable box, route into your tuner's av input and then use an IR repeater to send the signal from your MCE remote to your cable box. If you've ever used a home dvd recorder then it's the same process. Messy and you get yet another analogue to digital conversion which lowers quality.

As far as tuners, I've always been fond of the ATI theaterpro solutions, the best deinterlacers/scalers as well as mpeg2 encoding. The only problem is I don't think any ATI partners did a dual tuner version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misoprostol View Post
I will look into the sound card. I'll probably demo it in my system and decide if my parents inherit my X-fi, or get the new m-audio, haha.

As for the tuner... Is there any way we're going to see a tuner in the near future that is able to change channels with a service like shaw digital cable? It seems to me that any PC should be powerful enough to do that if we just had the hardware for it.

I will be using MCE 2005 as I just got a couple copies of it (legit and everything, I'm turning over a new leaf) so I guess I"ll go with the microsoft one.
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Old November 27, 2006, 01:07 PM
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As far as tuners, I've always been fond of the ATI theaterpro solutions, the best deinterlacers/scalers as well as mpeg2 encoding. The only problem is I don't think any ATI partners did a dual tuner version.
Yes, a dual tuner would have been nice. You know what else would have been nice, the Ati Theater 650. When the heck is that thing going to show up?:mad:
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Old November 29, 2006, 09:55 PM
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I just picked up the WinTV-HVR 950 on tuesday. Haven't had much time to play around with it yet though. Not sure what kind of OTA HD I'll get in my neighbourhood... probably none :(
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Old November 29, 2006, 10:32 PM
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I just picked up the WinTV-HVR 950 on tuesday. Haven't had much time to play around with it yet though. Not sure what kind of OTA HD I'll get in my neighbourhood... probably none :(
Yes, let us know how you like it. I was thinking of picking up one as well. Do you have an antenna on your building to hook up to for OTA?
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