Need help selecting a TV tuner card

Mr. K6

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Hey all,

I'm going to be moving into my own place in about 6 weeks and I'll be using my PC as my entertainment center. That said, I need a TV tuner card so I can watch on my PC :). However, I do not know much about TV tuner cards or what I should be looking for. Really, all I want is something to watch TV on for my PC, I don't really need to capture/record or do anything fancy with sound or what not. I guess I should get something with Digital and HD as long as I'm buying if it's not that much more expensive. Thanks for any suggestions/help.

-Mr. K6
 

EndersShadow

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Hey all,

I'm going to be moving into my own place in about 6 weeks and I'll be using my PC as my entertainment center. That said, I need a TV tuner card so I can watch on my PC :). However, I do not know much about TV tuner cards or what I should be looking for. Really, all I want is something to watch TV on for my PC, I don't really need to capture/record or do anything fancy with sound or what not. I guess I should get something with Digital and HD as long as I'm buying if it's not that much more expensive. Thanks for any suggestions/help.

-Mr. K6

Need the following questions answered:

1. Are you getting cable/satellite/Uverse at your new place

1a. If so are you planning on trying to hook up the tuner to it?

If no to both of those, personally recommend the Hauppauge 2250 (which has two HD tuners in it so you can either record two shows at once or record one and watch another)
 

Mr. K6

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1. I'm having cable coming in from the street to a co-axial outlet in the wall. I then will use a splitter for TV and cable internet.
2. Yes, that's what I was hoping. Basically, instead of hooking up a TV to the incoming cable I wanted to hook up my computer.

So, both of those are yes, I can't use this Hauppauge 2250 then? :( Thanks for the reply :cool:.
 

ShepsCrook

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Yes, the 2250 is a great choice for you then. It's the best tuner at the moment.
 

EndersShadow

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1. I'm having cable coming in from the street to a co-axial outlet in the wall. I then will use a splitter for TV and cable internet.
2. Yes, that's what I was hoping. Basically, instead of hooking up a TV to the incoming cable I wanted to hook up my computer.

So, both of those are yes, I can't use this Hauppauge 2250 then? :( Thanks for the reply :cool:.

I recently got cable at my apartment and here is what I have discovered (and mostly knew anyways). The cable signals for the most part are encripted. I was able to tune the channels in vista media center and get the guide downloaded to list all the info on them. i was not however able to view them on my TV. With that said my setup is very complex (2 19" monitors and a 32" HDTV) so it may have been the GPU's just couldnt handle the video decoding (but I doubt it as they are very high quality ones) or that the TV just couldnt handle the HDMI input (more likely).

If I were to have a cable box in the room my life would be much easier. The 2250 allows for you to connect up a source via RCA's. Yes this is not a high def solution, but all high def channels are encripted and require a DVR box anyway.

If you want me to be honest, unless most of the shows you want to watch are on Over The Air tv you might be better with a different tuner that works better with cable. There are a couple options, but I forget what they are off the top of my head. Basically you really need to do some research to determine how your specific setup would work. Each persons setup is a little different and some work better than others. Do a quick search on this forum and you will find tons of info.
 

Mr. K6

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I'm planning to do a ton of research tonight when I get home from work :D. Thanks for the replies, it seems this is all pretty darn complicated. Basically, I was hoping to get a card that would directly connect to the incoming cable so that I could forgo most of the other boxes (and expenses). Like I said, I don't need anything fancy, basic cable viewing and if feasible high def content as well. Really, I just want to watch TV now and then (say at 11 o'clock take a break and turn on the Daily Show or something). Anyway, I'll flex my Google muscle and search skills, thanks for the replies so far :D.
 

spacetrader

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if you have analog cable, its easy to offload your cablebox and just use a regular tuner. (i have a pvr500mce if you want to do that). if you want high-def, or even digital cable on your pc, thats where things start sucking. the hauppauge HDpvr is about the only sure solution out there...
 

SC385

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OP, here is what you need to do. Go to this website and put in your zipcode to check which QAM channels are available. I think (not 100%) it's required for cables companies to broadcase local HD channels in the clear so you should get ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX then you could luck up and get more. At my last house I got the locals plus Discovery HD, History HD, NatGeo HD, and ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU in HD. Where I live now all I get is the locals plus E!.

As for the 2250, I have one and its great except I think the internal splitter might be a little shoddy and if you have several splits elsewhere down the line you could get bad reception. I know I have two in my line and without a good, high quality splillter and cables it could be a little stuttery.
 

Mr. K6

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Thanks for the replies! Here's my result: http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/lineup_web/US:01605#lineup_286417

I thought all cable companies were supposed to be going digital now or in the near future? Wouldn't it be best to prepare for that? I don't want to do anything extra for HD, just view whatever comes in with my standard cable package. Do I definitely need the PVR or did the 2250 allow digital cable reception? Back to reading, thanks!
 

JonDoms

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if you have analog cable, its easy to offload your cablebox and just use a regular tuner. (i have a pvr500mce if you want to do that). if you want high-def, or even digital cable on your pc, thats where things start sucking. the hauppauge HDpvr is about the only sure solution out there...


Hmm, I beg to differ.
I can only get Comcast at my location. OTA is obscured by buildings + 60 miles and a HoA.
Anywho, I use a HVR2250 and windows 7 to get all my HD feeds stored onto a server.
In my living room I use a silicon dust HDHomerun and Vista to get HD along with a PVR500 to get regular cable.
In my garage I have a shuttle (running linux, ubuntu + mythtv) with firewire connected to a Comcast HD STB. I record ALL the HD channels not available via Windows non 5c encrypted QAM. This means ESPN-HD, Discovery-HD, Palladia-HD and on and on.

So there is more than 1 way to skin a cat.
 
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spacetrader

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firewire is not full HD... and holy man does that sound like a lot of messing around. glad it works for you though, if you want to be the one to explain to a noob how to set that all up .... well, i know you dont :D
 

JonDoms

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Mr. K6

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spacetrader

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Huh? Care to explain this, you're getting the video and audio feed straight from the box, so whatever the box gets, you get.

i thought it was always the case, that the firewire ports on cable boxes carry a compressed signal, and its only semi-hd or nearly-hd... im wrong?
 

ND40oz

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i thought it was always the case, that the firewire ports on cable boxes carry a compressed signal, and its only semi-hd or nearly-hd... im wrong?

You can grab the mpeg2 stream over firewire depending on the box and what software you're running, if you do this, you should get everything.

Here's a link for OSX, there are links a few posts back for MCE and Linux.

http://www.petelacis.com/2008/08/09/how-to-record-off-your-motorola-dvr-with-os-x-and-firewire/

I believe DVHS used firewire for recordings as well, of course that format never took off, but it was one of the first ways to record hd content. That led to a virtualDVHS for OSX which allowed you to record in OSX and then it's been developed from there.
 

Mr. K6

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eli2k

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I also think the only difference is card interface (from what I've read on other threads). Do you think you will be recording shows often? If you do, the 2250 might be a better choice, though more costly, but it has dual ATSC tuners. I think the 1800 has one ATSC tuner and the other is cable/analog, not sure exactly, but at the moment I wish I had a card with dual-tuners. I have the 1800 but I'm only connecting one ATSC input to it.
 

EndersShadow

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I also think the only difference is card interface (from what I've read on other threads). Do you think you will be recording shows often? If you do, the 2250 might be a better choice, though more costly, but it has dual ATSC tuners. I think the 1800 has one ATSC tuner and the other is cable/analog, not sure exactly, but at the moment I wish I had a card with dual-tuners. I have the 1800 but I'm only connecting one ATSC input to it.

That is completely correct. I have the 2250 and love it. I also have a ATI 650 combo I bought when it went on sale (going to be used in another build later this year)
 

Mr. K6

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It's pretty straight forward. One is PCI, the other is PCI-X. Other than that, they are pretty much identical. I would assume you have already been there, but if not, go to the Hauppauge site and compare for yourself.

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/compare/compare_hvr-internal.html
lol, thanks, I actually did that after I posted, but wanted to double check with someone more fluent in the technology. I think I'm actually going to be getting the 1250 instead - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116028 . Like I said, I'm not going to be recording anything, I only want to flip on the TV every now and then. That said, I see no reason to buy a card with a "useless" analog connector. Therefore I think I'll save another $20 and just grab the 1250. Thanks for the replies :cool:
 

SC385

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There is one major difference in the 1800 and the 1600 other than the interface. Not all 1600 models will tune QAM channels and because there are 3 different models and the boxes don't say which is inside you don't know what you are getting. The 1800, 1250 and 2250 will tune QAM without problems though.

My vote is for the 2250. I have one and its great.
 
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Mr. K6

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There is one major difference in the 1800 and the 1600 other than the interface. Not all 1600 models will tune QAM channels and because there are 3 different models and the boxes don't say which in in side you don't know what you are getting. The 1800, 1250 and 2250 will tune QAM with other problems though.

My vote is for the 2250. I have one and its great.
Thanks, I'm glad I got the 1250 instead of the 1600 then :D. Like I said, I don't watch nearly enough T.V. to make the 2250 a worthwhile purchase, so I think this one will be fine for now :cool:.
 
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