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  1. Member
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    HI folks. Alright so I am building a media center, almost from scratch. I pretty much know what components I am going to use for everything but the video. I am under the assumption that I need video capture from my cable line for recording, and a video card to go out to my TV. What should I get? Thanks!
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  2. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    Yes, you are right. There are cards offering both inputs and outputs off course - if you search a bit.

    Personally, I like the picture quality of those geforce 6600 cards combined with pure video

    For analogue capture, all cards are now "good" compared with what was good few years ago. Yesterday's excellent is today's average and regarding analogue capture, today's average is more than enough!
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  3. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ridergroov1
    HI folks. Alright so I am building a media center, almost from scratch. I pretty much know what components I am going to use for everything but the video. I am under the assumption that I need video capture from my cable line for recording, and a video card to go out to my TV. What should I get? Thanks!
    The most supported PVR card is the Hauppauge (PVR 150/250/350/USB2).

    Best you choose the software you want to use. Then choose a card from their supported list. IF you think you might use MCE in the future, make sure the card is supported by MCE.
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    Thank you both for your responses. I will be installing MCE 2005 with an Asus P4P800 Deluxe Mobo. My next questions are, what type of connection should I use to go otu to the TV? What are my choices and what is the best?
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  5. Member edDV's Avatar
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    First you need to understand that Microsoft assumes that you buy your MCE from a 3rd party vendor and expect all support will be provided by that vendor.

    Independent MCE sites and forums exist and you may find your support there. Google will get you to these.

    Many magazines an others have documented building one of these from parts but most report mixed results.

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1558,1742236,00.asp
    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1893732,00.asp

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/default.mspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/using/setup/addtuner.mspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/using/hdtv/readydisplay.mspx
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  6. The Old One SatStorm's Avatar
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    There are plenty alternatives to Μ$ MCE... Some of them even freeware.

    I use w2k and GBPVR for example (freeware).
    If you run XP, there is also mediaportal (freeware)

    Anyway, maybe my needs are less on this, or I simply don't wish to pay something on Μ$ again...
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Some other alternatives to MCE:

    BeyondTV
    Sage
    ATI MMC
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    Do all of these alternatives install right to XP? If I already bought XP Media Center, no reason not to use it now. Also, not that it is not appreciated but, my real question is regarding what hardware to buy for a capture card and what to buy for a video card. Thanks!
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  9. Member Treebeard's Avatar
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    I have a Media Center running MCE 2005.

    Get a 6600gt video card

    for PVR I use the Hauppauge 150, or if you want to watch/record at same time or record 2 channels at once get the Hauppauge 500, it has 2 built in tuners.
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  10. Member FulciLives's Avatar
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    The Hauppauge WinTV PVR 150 is garbage. That capture card has so many issues it really should be pulled from the market. It's sad.

    However do not let that scare you from Hauppauge. The WinTV PVR 250 and 350 models (both PCI) and the USB 2.0 Hauppauge WinTV PVR USB2 are all very good capture cards/devices. These models have been around for a while and can still be bought brand new. They have been proven to work and work very well.

    I belive all 3 of those come in MCE and non-MCE versions.

    The WinTV PVR 500 is basically a capture card made up of two 150's and as such I would not trust it but based on things that I have read those using it claim not to have the problems that those using the 150 are having ... rather odd ... which makes me not trust it (despite user comments) as I know from firsthand use and reading countless forum posts (here and elsewhere) that the 150 is garbage. If the 150 is garbage I can't see how the 500 would be any better. If you really need dual tuner support it has been shown that it is possible to install multiple 250 models in a single computer for that very use.

    Last but not least ... there is a video editing program called VideoRedo that was designed to specifically edit MPEG videos. It also has a function called "QuickStream Fix" and it is a very good idea to run all captured MPEG files through that "QuickStream Fix" option (before editing or demuxing or authoring etc.) as it fixes many problems (mostly concerning A/V sync issues) that arise when one captures direct to the MPEG format. I swear there is a lil bit of magic in VideoRedo

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
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    EXPLORE THE FILMS OF LUCIO FULCI - THE MAESTRO OF GORE
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  11. Member Treebeard's Avatar
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    I have never had any issues w/ my 150's. I only use them for watching and recording tv though in MCE. But I have heard others having problems w/ them.
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  12. Member FulciLives's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Treebeard
    I have never had any issues w/ my 150's. I only use them for watching and recording tv though in MCE. But I have heard others having problems w/ them.
    I don't mean to be rude but if you haven't "experienced" the problems of the WinTV PVR 150 then you just are not "perceiving" them ... because they are there and have been well documented.

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
    "The eyes are the first thing that you have to destroy ... because they have seen too many bad things" - Lucio Fulci
    EXPLORE THE FILMS OF LUCIO FULCI - THE MAESTRO OF GORE
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  13. Member Treebeard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FulciLives
    Originally Posted by Treebeard
    I have never had any issues w/ my 150's. I only use them for watching and recording tv though in MCE. But I have heard others having problems w/ them.
    I don't mean to be rude but if you haven't "experienced" the problems of the WinTV PVR 150 then you just are not "perceiving" them ... because they are there and have been well documented.

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
    That is why I wrote I heard others had problems, just offering my experience also.
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    FulciLives - I do respect your opinions and viewpoints here on the forum, but do you REALLY think it is impossible to consider that maybe Treebeard simply does not have the problems others do with the PVR-150? My experience in life is that it's best not to assume that every single person in the universe has experience like yours. In the past, TMPGenc had issues on some, but certainly not all, PCs where if you used it to split a file in two, it would cause the 2nd half of the video to have terrible audio sync problems. In the past, ATI cards had issues on some PCs where if you made any attempt to record SVCD video, the majority of the time it would go out of sync. Other PCs could record SVCD all day long and not have a problem. I'm not denying that the PVR-150 is garbage, but don't you think it is possible that maybe it really does work OK for a few people? I'm a satisfied PVR-350 user myself.
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  15. I'm using geforce 6600 w/ dvi out to my RPHDTV. Using nvidia purevideo decoder & happauge 500mce (dual tuner). Looks and works fine for me. If silence is a concern to you than get the Evga gforce 6600 from pcalchemy.com. It has a heatsink w/ no fan. That's what I got, it works fine. As far as software goes....you can try just about any of them (trials/freeware etc) but personally I think the 'look & feel' of mce is the nicest. if your looking to burn and edit, then it's probably not the most functional of the pvr softwares, but since I don't do much editing and burning of 'american idol' and the like...works fine for me. dvrms toolbox is there if you want to edit/burn/skip commercials automatically etc.
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  16. Member FulciLives's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jman98
    FulciLives - I do respect your opinions and viewpoints here on the forum, but do you REALLY think it is impossible to consider that maybe Treebeard simply does not have the problems others do with the PVR-150? My experience in life is that it's best not to assume that every single person in the universe has experience like yours. In the past, TMPGenc had issues on some, but certainly not all, PCs where if you used it to split a file in two, it would cause the 2nd half of the video to have terrible audio sync problems. In the past, ATI cards had issues on some PCs where if you made any attempt to record SVCD video, the majority of the time it would go out of sync. Other PCs could record SVCD all day long and not have a problem. I'm not denying that the PVR-150 is garbage, but don't you think it is possible that maybe it really does work OK for a few people? I'm a satisfied PVR-350 user myself.
    The issue with the WinTV PVR 150 is one that is inherent to the hardware and drivers that are available.

    In short it is not a "simple" problem of working for some but not for others due to some sort of voodoo which I admit is sometimes inherit with particular computer software and hardware.

    - John "FulciLives" Coleman
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    Alright so teh GeForce 6600 is a good chioce for output and one of the Haupauge devices for capture. Now, what type of connection do I want to use to go out to my TV? Coax? SVid? Don't know what the best is. Thanks!
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    Also, can't find any 6600GTs with 256mb of RAM. Is 128 going to do it?
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  19. this is what I have heatsink version of the geforce 6600 with 256mb ram
    and...what kind of tv do you have?
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ridergroov1
    Alright so teh GeForce 6600 is a good chioce for output and one of the Haupauge devices for capture. Now, what type of connection do I want to use to go out to my TV? Coax? SVid? Don't know what the best is. Thanks!

    What is your TV and what inputs do you have?

    Best: DVI, HDMI or YPbPr (analog component)

    Next use S-Video
    see https://forum.videohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=296772&highlight=
    for what to expect

    Next use composite only if necessary

    Then use RF only if no other choice.
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    Alright well the problem with that particular 6600GT is that it is PCIe which I don't have available on my mobo, so I need something that is either AGP or PCI. Suggestions? I just have a regular TV, don't think it has DVI but it does have Svideo. Thanks!
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  22. Well, if silence isn't an issue than I'm sure you can find an agp geforce 6600 on fleebay....if you do want it to be silent you can allways buy an aftermarket heatsink from zallman or the like...not sure if you want to do that, or spend the money...but it's an option.
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    What kind of TVs have DVI inputs? Never seen that. How much are they?
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  24. Member Treebeard's Avatar
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    HDTV's. just go shopping and you will see the specs as having DVI input.
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  25. The amount of memory on the card is only important if you intend to play video games. If that is a goal, recommend two seperate video cards as requirements for playing games change often, and upgrading a combo game/capture card is going to get very expensive.
    If you do wish to play games, recommend a board with PCI-E, otherwise you are already obsolete.

    If you have already purchased MCE, my advice would be to see if you can return it for a refund. Otherwise, I hope you really, really like tweaking and troubleshooting without any tech support. There are better, cheaper solutions available as mentioned.

    If your TV supports HD, then your card should have either DVI-TV out or component. Also important if an HD TV is in the near future. HDMI would be best but SFAIK there is no card that currently supports this.
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  26. If you have already purchased MCE, my advice would be to see if you can return it for a refund. Otherwise, I hope you really, really like tweaking and troubleshooting without any tech support. There are better, cheaper solutions available as mentioned.
    I disagree. I tried gb-pvr, medio, then MCE. There are probably a dozen out there that I did not try, but from what I tried, there is no more tweaking/troubleshooting with mce than with any of the others. In fact, if your not trying to do anything above and beyond what the default package offers...it works really good. (for me anyways). Trying to skip commercials, store DVD collections (with cover art), edit/burn dvrms...then yea...expect to do some tweaking. As far as tech support, your only going to get forum-based tech support on the free ones, and the mce has plenty of forums as well. That's my 2cents. All in all, like everything else, it depends what is most important to you. That will dictate what pvr software you should use.
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    Alright I will make sure i have that when I go for the HDTV purchase. I'm using an older board for this little project and I do plan on sticking to that. I won't be playing games with this unit as it will be in my living rooma nd only used for recording tv shows, playing dvds, and using the TV menu. 2 More questions:

    1. I'm going to be stuck with an AGP slot so what video card is the best for this?
    2. Do i have to pay for a subscription to use the scheduling and menu featres of the tv menu stuff?
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  28. Member Treebeard's Avatar
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    for AGP get a 6600gt video card - buy online @ places like newegg.com

    if your using Windows media center there is no fee for schedule of pvr
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    Hey Everyone. I'm back. I'm still in limbo about this media center thing. Jsut for the hell of it I hooked up an old box that had an Svideo out and i have to admit that even that thing looked pretty good with the movies, the thing that looked kind of crappy was the OS itself. Very blurry. I'm guessing maybe anythign will look that bad considerign that is not why it is hooked up to the TV. So my question is if the OS looks bad with newer hardware as well? Thanks!
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    Also, if I didnt' download purevideo from NVidia and didn't do anythign for a decoder, what would I be using to decode the video. Obviously nothing like that was installed on teh older PC I used and it looked fine to me...
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