Personal computing discussed

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Conqueror
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Thu Jan 17, 2002 11:41 pm

I want to watch TV on my PC and also capture video from digital camera and VCR so that I could make my own VCDs. I am looking to purchase a TV tuner/video capture card for my new computer P4 1.8GHz, Win XP, GeForce3 Ti200.

I have done quite a bit of research about various cards that are available on the market today. I am particularly interested in the Hauppauge PVR (Personal Video Recorder) but I need some opinions before I make my decision. Is the card good as it sounds? There are three main features which I am interested in this card:

1) It's maximum resolution (for viewing TV/video) is 1600x1200. All TV cards from hauppauge have this resolution. No other card on the market (from popular makes like ATI, Pinnacle etc.) have got a resolution of higher than 768x576.

2) It can capture at a resolution of 768x576/MPEG1 and 768x576/MPEG2. No other TV-tuner card on the market can capture in MPEG2 unless they use another software to encode MPEG1 to MPEG2.

3) It's got a built-in hardware encoder on the mainboard, which is much faster than the software encoding and it also encodes to MPEG2 (Layer 2) with a compression ratio of 100:1.

There are also some drawbacks.

1) I quote this from a website which says the folowing in its conclusion for the Hauppauge PVR:

"This is a good board if you mainly want to do time-shifting, your budget is limited, and you don't have a powerful enough CPU to run the ATI All-in-Wonder. If you're after high-quality video captures, the AIW is a far better product: with both boards the highest quality is obtained by capturing to AVI, then using a separate encoder. The AIW should also produce a somewhat better AVI, since it's a better-specified board, with fewer video problems as a rule than WinTV boards. And given a fast enough machine, the AIW will produce far better MPEG output than the PVR. The AIW is also a better overall value, unless you already have a good 3D card.

On the other hand, if you're willing to go beyond 3 Mbit/s for full-D1 video, the PVR might look better to you. Like any half-decent encoder, it can produce good video at 8 Mbit/s without trouble."


Is it true that the AIW produces better Mpeg and AVI files than PVR? (Can anyone verify this?)

2) It doesn't have a video out! (well thats what I read anyway, can anyone verify this too?)


The ATI-AIW does look like a good card too but the problem is that it also has a built in graphics card. I already have one of the best graphics card on the market today, the nVidia GeForce3 Ti200. I simply want to watch TV on my PC, and capture video from digital camera and VCR so that I could make my own VCDs.


My friend has got a Pinnacle PCTV Rave and he always tells me all the wonderful things the card can do. I have considered this card too but it is quite basic, I want to do a bit more.

I once bought a Hauppauge WinTV Primio for my IBM Cyrix computer (ancient I know!), but due to a compatability problem, I had to return it back. I could never watch TV in full screen, but I did manage to watch it in a window although my computer used to freeze up at the same time. So I do have a good idea of how the picture quality of WinTV Primio is like when viewed in a window (which was very sharp). I also have a good idea of how the software is like that comes with Hauppauge TV Cards (I didn't like it that much). I heard that the PVR comes with a similar sort of software with not much else (verification please.)

PLease leave your comments.
<i>When the cup is full, no more can be poured -
When you're full with your opinions, no more wisdom can enter.</i>
 
becubed
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Fri Jan 18, 2002 7:01 am

I'm looking into getting a capture card at the moment to though I'm more looking for a basic one.
Some useful sites I've come across are
http://www.vcdhelp.com/
This has "116 Capture Cards in the list based on 421 user reports". Click on the Capture Cards link on the left.
From the look of the list there are a few that do MPEG2.

The one that started me off was an old review from Dan's Data.
http://www.dansdata.com/tvphone.htm

It seems to be cheap(A$190) and good out here the PVC is around $600.

becubed
 
lenzenm
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Fri Jan 18, 2002 1:18 pm

If you dont wanna go ATI AIW, you can get an ATI TV-Wonder PCI for $50. It's a pass-through card that will give your GF3 all the capabilites of an AIW.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lenzenm on 2002-01-18 12:45 ]</font>
 
Conqueror
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Fri Jan 18, 2002 9:42 pm

Thanks for the info becubed, those sites look good, I haven't checked them out properly yet, I'm going to look through them now.

Actually, as long as the card displays good quality TV and captures at a resolution of 768x576 MPEG1/AVI, I would be happy with that. MPEG2 is not a requirement, although it would be nice to have.


Lenzenm, I was thinking of doing that, but I didn't know which version of ATI Wonder card to get which did not have a built in graphics card.

Do you know if there are any good TV cards from Hauppauge apart from the PVR, which would allow me to do what I want? Which models are good ones?
<i>When the cup is full, no more can be poured -

When you're full with your opinions, no more wisdom can enter.</i>
 
lenzenm
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Sat Jan 19, 2002 12:18 am

Conqueror: no experience with the Hauphage stuffs here. As to which ATI, try: http://www.ati.com/na/pages/products/pc ... index.html

Hope that helps.
 
denverpbc
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Wed Feb 06, 2002 1:37 pm

I just got rid of an ATI Wonder VE. The reception was the worst that I've seen. Don't know if I got a bad tuner module or what. I had an AIW 128 and it had really good reception. I ended up buying another WinTV. It has very clear reception. It also works with a separate program that can record TV programs automatically called SnapStream. http://www.snapstream.com I haven't tried it yet, so I can't say what the quality is like.
 
rys2
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Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:24 pm

Hello, I recently had the same dilemna, and decided in the end to go with AVerMedia's AVerTV Studio/Desktop TV PVR. I have had good experiences with it, although I am now trying to sell it because I am most likely going to upgrade my video card to one that has a tv tuner in it. I like this card because it comes with a handy remote, it has decent picture quality, it includes Time shift* (freezing live tv programs) Instant replay, digital recording, FM Radio tuner, and multiple types of inputs. If you have any more questions, contact me.

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