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Need help picking a video/TV card

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  • Need help picking a video/TV card

    I know we're usually always talking about carPC's, but I'm working my PC towards being a home theater/entertainment/internet PC. So I need a TV tuner card, or a video card with a TV tuner. I still want to play games and do all of the normal PC stuff on it too, so it would need to be a fast 3D card or a separate TV card.

    What can you guys recommend? I've looked at a bunch of TV tuner cards from Hauppage, but frankly I'm confused by all the "features". I tired reading some home theater forums, but those guys are nuts. They get WAY too excited about black levels and projector lumens and all that, but don't talk much about the PC hardware. I just want to be able to plug the cable TV cable into the card, and have my PC show the TV on the screen. Recording shows and having TiVo functions would be a definite bonus. Also, the sound needs to go out to me surround sound receiver, but that will come from the PC's sound output, right?

    I dunno. Enlighten me!

    TIA,
    Tom
    So far:
    M10000 Nehemiah, 1Gb RAM, Opus 90w PS, Buffalo Tech WLI2-USB2-G54, 160 Gb HDD, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS, iGuidance, Zippy EL-610, Panasonic CW8123B Slim Slot CDRW/DVD, 10" Lilliput, Sony XA-300, Sony CDX-MP30 Head, OBD-II

  • #2
    As one of the HT forum guys who honestly knows squat about levels & lumens, my recommendation is to go for one of the hauppauge cards. They're considered "reference" level, meaning every software & h/w mfr makes sure their stuff works with the hauppauge. Plus they're just stable as heck & reliable.

    Re:sound - do you mean 2ch, or surround? If just 2ch, then it can come from your PC's headphone jack. If you want surround, then if you have a digital audio out on your motherboard you're set. If not, then it'd be best to get a sound card with digital out. Doesn't have to be big bucks.

    BTW, check out the personal website in my sig if you want to be scared about where this path could lead you. That's 99% of the reason I try not to come here too often - i spend enough $$ automating my house; god forbid I get too much of a carPC bug.
    Last updated 4/11/06 - My personal website with my slick integrated HTPC GUI and HA System
    My HA/HT blog

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info, ivb. I'll check out the Hauppage cards. I see there are several. I'm thinking about the WinTV-PVR 500, since it's dual tuner. That way I can record one program while watching another. I wish it was PCI-X rather than PCI.

      I wanted to check out your website, but it won't come up.

      I did some looking online and I see mention of an nVidia dual tuner model that's supposed to have come out in November. But I can't find any cards? Do you know anything about it?
      So far:
      M10000 Nehemiah, 1Gb RAM, Opus 90w PS, Buffalo Tech WLI2-USB2-G54, 160 Gb HDD, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS, iGuidance, Zippy EL-610, Panasonic CW8123B Slim Slot CDRW/DVD, 10" Lilliput, Sony XA-300, Sony CDX-MP30 Head, OBD-II

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      • #4
        Hmm. website is up now, not sure what you saw.

        I don't know anything about that nvidia. Also, a dual tuner is a good idea for the reason you mentioned. I will warn you - as soon as you get used to recorded TV, you'll never watch live TV again. Even shows like 24, which we want to watch "live", we start 15 mins after the hour. They're only 42 mins long - that way when we skip forward through all the commercials, we can still end ontime but not be punished by waiting.

        Why do you care about PCI-X vs PCI? You won't use remotely enough bandwidth for PCI-X with 2 SDTV streams. Better to save those slots for something else, like an outbound video card.
        Last updated 4/11/06 - My personal website with my slick integrated HTPC GUI and HA System
        My HA/HT blog

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