TV Tuner Cards For HTPC Discussion - Page 6 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #76 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-08-25, 03:54 PM
 
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Post OTA HDTV with Media Center Vista

Crosspost from my blog, hope this information is useful! http://www.thenears.com/archives/148

During my testing of Windows Vista Media Center, it appeared that the off-the-air registry hack to get your ATSC tuners working in Canada was now defunct. Iíve been doing some playing in the registry and have come up with a new method that does seem to work well in Canada. Iíd appreciate it if someone can test this out and confirm it in the comments. If it is proven to work for others as well, Iíll publish this with screenshots as a more official looking FAQ.

Assumptions:

1. You have a working analog tuner, with MCE drivers installed
2. You have a working ATSC tuner, with MCE drivers installed

Steps to enable the ATSC tuner in Canada

1. Configure your Media Center as if you lived in the US, preferably using a zip code somewhere near your location. I used Buffalo ZIP 14201. Let Media Center auto-configure your tuners.
2. Confirm that itís all working properly (obviously the guide data will be wrong at this point).
3. Open up the registry editor by typing regedit [enter] into the start search box. Note that you can really mess things up in the registry, so be careful and if youíre not comfortable in the registry then you might want to stop here.
4. Locate the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners\{71985F48-1CA1-11D3-9CC8-00C04F7971E0}. This is the tuning space for the digital tuner(s) and at this point it should be properly set up for ATSC tuning.
5. Right-click on the above branch and select ďExportÖĒ, save it with a filename like ďATSC_Tuners_Working.regĒ.
6. Navigate in Media Center back to the TV Settings menu and set up your TV signal. This time make sure that you select Canada and get everything set up properly for your provider. Note that when you run through the setup this time MCE will not detect the ATSC tuner, which is normal.
7. Verify that everything is working as you would expect, albeit with no high-definition content yet.
8. Close media center
9. Find the registry file that you saved earlier in USA mode, double-click to import it back into the registry.
10. Locate the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Media Center\Service\EPG\ATSC and modify its value from ď0″ to ď1″.
11. Reboot the computer *or* simply restart the Microsoft Media Center Receiver service using the services control panel.
12. Start up MCE, navigate to the TV Settings Guide Setup and manually add the channels you would like to receive. This page is a good resource for the Toronto area. The format you want to enter, using the Fox Network on the RemoteCentral page as a reference, is 29-1 for the channel designation (page one of the add missing DTV channel wizard) and 14 for the frequency (page two).
13. For any channels that donít automatically get guide information (most likely Canadian channels like CTV) you can associate them with another channel in your guide using the edit guide setup tools.

Works well for me, please point out any inconsistencies or errors for me before I publish this more official-like. This guide was done primarily by memory so Iím sure Iíve messed up a few references.
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post #77 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 10:15 AM
 
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Software VS hardware decoding

I would like to know from your experiences/venerable knowledge which tuners use the least of your computer ressources.

I'm still debating between the STB and a tuner either PCI or USB and my main concern is that the PC tuner will be a CPU hog.

My system runs Win2k on an Athlon XP 3200+ w/ 1GB DDR. I know it's enough to run most tuners out there but I sill want to save those cpu cycles for other things.

Thanks for the help!
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post #78 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by SpaceHog View Post
I would like to know from your experiences/venerable knowledge which tuners use the least of your computer ressources.
A tuner with a built-in hardware MPEG2 encoder. Everything else is really about the speed of your harddrive. I have a quad-tuner HTPC (two Hauppauge PVR500MCE) and had to move to a SATA drive, but my CPU usage is barely 30% when all four tuners are used so I can easily watch a Divx show/movie at the same time.

My machine is a P4 2.0GHz with 1GB RAM.
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post #79 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 02:40 PM
 
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WOAH! that's a lot of entertainment going on at once! Seems like you have a nice system running

I want to clear out something though. I am running win2k and I don't intend on running anything else in the enar future. I notice it has MCE in its name. is that an issue?


Thanks again!"
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post #80 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SpaceHog View Post
I notice it has MCE in its name. is that an issue?
Not at all! Because it was made for MCE in mind, it doesn't have a built in IR Blaster port since Microsoft sell their own. Instead, it comes with a second set of Audio/Video inputs to connect a Rogers STB if you want. I use Snapstream's BeyondTV with the cards.
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post #81 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 03:18 PM
 
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After searching the card I'm realizing this may not be the solution for OTA HDTV.

Is it capable of OTA HDTV reception along with the proper antenna?
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post #82 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 03:34 PM
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Uhh no.. Sorry, it's not an HDTV card. Crap, didn't read the thread title properly!

The Dvico card is what I'm about to go for. The stream already comes compressed so there isn't much for your computer to do except having a fast hard drive. Fast storage is important.
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post #83 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 03:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceHog View Post
I would like to know from your experiences/venerable knowledge which tuners use the least of your computer ressources.

I'm still debating between the STB and a tuner either PCI or USB and my main concern is that the PC tuner will be a CPU hog.

My system runs Win2k on an Athlon XP 3200+ w/ 1GB DDR. I know it's enough to run most tuners out there but I sill want to save those cpu cycles for other things.

Thanks for the help!
I'm running MythTV on Linux. I had three PCI OTA HDTV tuners.
- 1 pcHDTV 5500 (really only good for Linux... Windows drivers are experimental)
- 2 kWorld ATSC110 (Windows drivers out of the box)

While recording three HD programs simultaneously, my CPU load barely hits 10%. (And the MythTV backend is a lowly P4-2600.)

You should only really see a CPU spike when you are watching HD content... recording ATSC OTA HDTV is just capturing the stream and feeding it to the hard drive. No processing of the data should be required. I can't comment on NTSC capture - I've only done it a few times.

OTA HDTV capture is really not CPU intense. As mentioned by others, you just need a fast hard drive to save everything as it comes in.

I think Windows will have slightly higher CPU loads, but not enough to be of concern. Though with Windows you definitely will benefit from having more RAM to keep the system from swappping to virtual memory heavily.

Just make sure the software you use for capture does not try and alter the video capture real-time (like re-encode it to save on space). Otherwise, that will definitely spike your CPU utlization. I think 1GB should be enough... but you'll need to keep an eye on memory use initially. Fortunately, Win2K has a smaller RAM footprint than XP so that should help too.

Out of curiousity, what software are you planning to capture the video with in Win2K? I'm only familiar with capturing HDTV OTA with XP and Linux. I suspect a lot of the XP solutions work with Win2K... I've just never checked.

Last edited by zounder1; 2006-10-03 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Add more information...
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post #84 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 03:43 PM
 
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Hmmm... the ATSC110 looks tasty!

Just found this combo: ATSC 110 and MCE-200 on TigerDirect for 153$. Not too shabby!


They claim it requires MCE but I guess that's some more marketing BS... right?
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post #85 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by zounder1 View Post
You should only really see a CPU spike when you are watching HD content... recording ATSC OTA HDTV is just capturing the stream and feeding it to the hard drive. No processing of the data should be required.
To add to that, if you're planning to do some post-processing like using Comskip (to mark commercials) and VideoRedo (to snip them out), then the CPU may become an important factor.

I use Comskip after hours and it bumps up my CPU usage.
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post #86 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 04:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SpaceHog View Post
I want to clear out something though. I am running win2k and I don't intend on running anything else in the enar future.
Ooops. Scratch the kWorld ATSC110 that I have. According to their site it only supports WinXP.

I think you are going to have to be careful to ensure any OTA ATSC card you get is supported in Win2K. A USB OTA card might also be a problem as the USB support in Win2K is not as good as WinXP.

It looks like dVico cards support Win2K... but you should double check that.

To add to the confusion I actually have my kWorld box and it says the following as a system requirement:
------------------------------
Microsoft Windows, Windows XP
Media Center Edition 2000/XP
------------------------------
This is verbatim. And yes it is confusing. I have no idea what that means requirement wise!
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post #87 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 05:59 PM
 
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Well I finally end up ordering the ATI HDTV.

I know it has its feats (especially the software) but I know the hardware is going to deliver. And it just seems logic since I have a 9600 SE in my 1337 h4x0r1n6 rig!

They're the tuner manufacturer we love to hate I think!

Now onto an antenna...
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post #88 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcP View Post
To add to that, if you're planning to do some post-processing like using Comskip (to mark commercials) and VideoRedo (to snip them out), then the CPU may become an important factor.

I use Comskip after hours and it bumps up my CPU usage.
Another CPU intensive task would be to reencode to MPEG-4/Divx/H.264/WMV9. Even with a fast CPU you are probably looking at about 4-5 hours to re-encode a 1 hour show.

Of course the reason to do so is to save hard drive space - which is not insignificant when HD recording takes about 9 Gig per hour.
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post #89 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 08:15 PM
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Well I finally end up ordering the ATI HDTV....
I hope you get a newer model than the one that has been recalled recently. A lot of people are mad at that product.
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post #90 of 960 (permalink) Old 2006-10-03, 08:19 PM
 
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I hope you get a newer model than the one that has been recalled recently. A lot of people are mad at that product.
Well if TigerDirect sells a card that's been recalled by the manufacturer that's plain dishonest!

What did you heqr exactly and where?
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