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post #181 of 194 (permalink) Old 2008-03-03, 06:24 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario
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Quote:
Both cards I currently use are Combo cards. That means I have 4 tuners available in my HTPC. No need for Kram Drivers.
Not sure I quite understand this part - I thought the old HDTV Wonder card was a 'combo card' in that it had both NTSC and ATSC tuners? Yet MCE'05 still wouldn't allow you to use it on its own without doing the hack...

I guess that the ATI 650 PCI (not express) would be the same story? I also see cards from Sapphire using the same ATI chipset they should be combo cards also, and perform just as well?

Anyone have any experience with the newer Hauppage ATSC cards? Are they also 'combo cards' in MCE'05 ?
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post #182 of 194 (permalink) Old 2008-03-03, 09:59 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Mississauga, ON
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Quote:
Not sure I quite understand this part - I thought the old HDTV Wonder card was a 'combo card' in that it had both NTSC and ATSC tuners? Yet MCE'05 still wouldn't allow you to use it on its own without doing the hack...

I guess that the ATI 650 PCI (not express) would be the same story? I also see cards from Sapphire using the same ATI chipset they should be combo cards also, and perform just as well?
The HDTV Wonder is a Hybrid card. That means it can use either an ATSC or an NTSC tuner. However, not at the same time. A Combo card means it can record on both tuners at the same time.

The ATI 650 PCI (the non-PCI Express model) is NOT a Combo card. Like the HDTV Wonder, it is a Hybrid card. I can't vouch for this card.

The Saber I picked up at NCIX is a Combo PCI card (if you visit The Green Button forum you will see it is highly recommended because it uses the 5th-Gen LG Chipset). I would've picked up another 650 PCIe if I had a PCIe slot free. Because my HTPC is a mATX board, both PCIe slots are used.
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post #183 of 194 (permalink) Old 2008-03-04, 09:19 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario
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Thanks for the explanation of Hybrid vs. Combo card.

I see that the Hauppage site lists the HVR1600 as a Hybrid card as well. I'm a bit confused about the HVR1800 since it also says Hybrid, but does mention how its a 'Dual Tuner' which the 1600 doesn't. It's PCIe only though so I'm better off with the ATI 650 in that case...
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post #184 of 194 (permalink) Old 2008-03-04, 03:13 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario
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(Can't figure out how to edit my last post!)

jeneral, where did you buy the ATI 650 PCIe? I can't find it anywhere...

There are ATI 650 based cards from VisionTek at CanadaComputers (PCI and PCIe) but I can't find any mention of hybrid vs. combo

http://www.visiontek.com/products/th...w650_pcie.html
http://www.visiontek.com/products/th...vw650_pci.html

They're also rather expensive $130+
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post #185 of 194 (permalink) Old 2008-03-05, 07:00 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Mississauga, ON
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The card I bought is the VisionTek card at Canada Computers. It was ~$130. Go to ATI's site for more info. They refer to it as a combo card (not the PCI however).

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonder650/PCIe/index.html

For more info on tuner cards visit this site.

http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/index.html

Good luck with your decision.
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post #186 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-20, 05:38 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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I have XP Media Center Edition installed on two PCs. When I had Shaw cable, everything worked perfectly. I could record programs on either PC and using a Linksys media center extender, I could watch these recordings on the living room TV.

The best thing I 'used to be able to do' was use the guide to record programs and series. I got program guides that allowed me to record shows up to two weeks in the future, or record an entire series. Now with a *C 319 attached to the tuner card in the PC (MCE ATI Home Theatre Pro) I have to tune the PC to Channel 3. When I call up the *C program guide, I can only change the channel on the 319 receiver. I am unable to record *C programs unless I am pysically there to push the record button or I pre-set the channel and use the timer on the *C 319. It is like 1985 all over again.

Does anyone have a work around or a better solution that does not include the *C PVR or a TiVo?
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post #187 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-20, 05:46 PM
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What you need is an IR blaster - this is a device that your PC uses to change channels on satellite or cable boxes by mimicking an InfraRed remote control. These generally come with MCE PCs - you can buy one at online or retail stores - look for MCE remote. Then you will have to rerun the TV setup in MCE and tell it that your provider is *C and it will test the IR blasting.

The IR blaster will then be taped to the front of your *C box with the other end plugging into the remote receiver. The only downside is that channel changes will be a little slower if you are channel surfing.

The kit you are looking to buy looks like this. The large unit that says Microsoft plugs into the USB port of your PC and the small black wire in the top left of the photo is the IR blaster.


edit - By the way these come with some TV tuner cards and if you need a new, or additional, tuner card then you could go with that option. For example there is a Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE kit that you can sometimes get for around $80.
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post #188 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-20, 06:59 PM
 
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Thanks for that reply - it clarifies a lot of things. I have tried configuring my MCE as a satellite signal and I get to the step that requires an IR blaster. However, my current MCE TV card remote does not have the IR blaster connection, but if I understand you correctly, if I buy the MS branded MCE remote, the IR blaster will then control channel changing on the *C box. This solves the first part of the issue.

The second part concerns the downloaded guide I need for controlling recording. Before I buy the MCE remote, I need to know whether once the IR blaster is in place, will MCE allow me to download the *C guide and set up the recording function?
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post #189 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-20, 07:19 PM
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While I have not tried to set up *C as my provider, there is no reason why it should not work. Generally when you run the setup MCE asks for your postal code. It will then give you several choices. Here is an example you would see in Calgary:

Choose Your Provider
Cable
Shaw Cablesystems - Cable (Calgary)
Shaw Cablesystems - Digital (Calgary)
Telus TV - Digital (Calgary)
Satellite
4DTV (USA)
Bell TV (Canada (East))
Bell TV (Canada (West))
C-Band (USA)
Star Choice (Canada (East))
Star Choice (Canada (West))
Local

Once you select *C West and complete the setup it will download the guide and, assuming that the IR blaser setup went ok, then you will have the new channel lineup for *C. You could probably try this right now.
Local Broadcast (Antenna)
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post #190 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-22, 09:15 PM
 
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StarChoice Program Guide and MCE

Thanks Wayne. So far so good. The issue now is finding an MCE certified remote in my small town as you have advised. I will likely do a mail order.

Before I do that though, I have some questions, because when I called *C, the techie did not know about downloading the program guide as you suggested - in fact he told me it was impossible to download the program guide over the Internet as it was was only available over satellite.

Is there anyone who has experience using MCE as a PVR using *C? Will all my problems go away if I get a MS MCE certified remote control?
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post #191 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-23, 12:35 AM
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I have been using XP MCE 2005 with several *C receivers without any issues. Once you get the proper setup the guide will control whatever STB you may have. MCE is capable of learning all the necessary remote commands. I had issues with input detection and the remote speed had to be maually lowered, otherwise the box would miss a command. Just be patient if you experience setup issues.
I had issues with the MCE Star Choice East Guide a couple of years ago, as it was missing most of the American network HD channels, but the western feed was complete. The difference in the guide is only noticed if you subscribe to the movie networks. Once you plug in your Postal Code, either one will work. I am still using the western feed to this day.
At the time I purchased a Sony MCE 2004 RZ50G Digital Studio which came complete with a Sony remote/controller and two blasters. It has served me well and the upgrade to 2005 led to greater stability. I'm sure, by now, MCE will handle just about anything.
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post #192 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-23, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by brunodog View Post
... because when I called *C, the techie did not know about downloading the program guide as you suggested - in fact he told me it was impossible to download the program guide over the Internet as it was was only available over satellite.
You never want to speak to the service providers about these sorts of things. They have zero knowledge about using something like MCE and will do all they can to dissuade you since it typically means less revenue for them.

The techie probably thought you meant downloading guide data to your satellite box via the internet.

I don't know if I mentioned this but MCE uses Zap2it. Go to www.Zap2it.com, click on TV Listings and enter your postal code. Select Star Choice West. That should be exactly the same data as you will get with *C.
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post #193 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-03-23, 04:10 AM
 
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Wayne and jbracing - you guys are the greatest. Thank you both very much.
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post #194 of 194 (permalink) Old 2009-04-04, 08:19 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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My MCE remote arrrived today from TigerDirect. I was up and running in 5 minutes.
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