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davcbr 07-25-2009 05:29 PM

hardware choices
 
I am pretty new to this, and have been looking at the hardware. I want to convert an old Pentium III to be my DVR. One card that I like is the Haupauge WinTV PVR-350, which has 2 analog cable channels to record with that have built in hardware MPEG2 encoders. The real thrill is that it also has a video out with a hardware decoder. This seems perfect for the computer I want to use [ lower load on the CPU ], except it does not do QAM.
OK. From the new line of cards they are now putting out, I see the HVR-1600, a PCI card [required] that has one analog, one QAM tuner, again with the MPEG2 encoders. BUT this card [ or any of their others in the new line] does not have a video out.
So, I have been looking for a display card that has an MPEG2 decoder and a TV-out. Hard to find. Does anybody know of one? There are a lot of video cards that have special graphics features. Would these have the same ability as if they had the decoder, ie would they be able to display to my TV without problems, while the haupauge card is recording?
What other alternatives are there that maybe I haven't come across?

Thanx
dc

Fuzzy 07-25-2009 05:41 PM

if you are set on using that older pc, your best option is to get a digital tuner, like the 1600 or 2250, or HDHomeRun, and use an extender (HD-200) for playback.

Djc208 07-25-2009 06:50 PM

The extenders are a great way to do playback to a TV. But if you don't want to go that route then a graphics card is the way to go. The Hauppage 350 was capable of MPEG2 playback but that was about it, it wasn't a true graphics card.

What kind of graphics card is in your machine now? The cards you discuss are all MPEG2 capture, which any even semi-modern graphics card can handle pretty well. The biggest problem will be that your machine is most likely using AGP for graphics and those cards are getting fewer and fewer, so your choices will be limited.

You don't talk about the TV or monitor you will be using either. What is this being connected to? If it's a SD TV then you'll want to make sure the card can output the right connectors (Svideo or standard RCA video connection). If it's HD then you will want to look for something with HDMI.

Basic video playback doesn't take much, especially for SD, broadcast HD a little more. H.264 is where the real HP becomes necessary, and then I'd agree it's cheaper to buy an HD-200.

robogeek 07-25-2009 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davcbr (Post 370968)
One card that I like is the Haupauge WinTV PVR-350, which has 2 analog cable channels to record with that have built in hardware MPEG2 encoders. The real thrill is that it also has a video out with a hardware decoder. This seems perfect for the computer I want to use [ lower load on the CPU ], except it does not do QAM.

The PVR-350 has a single cable tuner, so you'd only get one cable channel to watch or record at a time. The other tuner input I believe is for FM radio. If I remember correctly, the video output of the PVR-350 was a little buggy and had some limitations, but I'm not sure if all of that was worked out or not. Search the forums here to be sure the PVR-350 is going to perform to your expectations.

I second Fuzzy's suggestion. Get a digital tuner and an HD200 extender and you'll have far fewer hassles getting everything working. If you don't need HD or can't afford the HD digital hardware, even a Hauppauge PVR-500 (dual analog cable tuner) and an MVP extender would be less hassle than trying to get smooth playback working on a PIII machine.

If you're only after the very basic DVR functionality, the PIII should be alright assuming it has enough RAM to keep SageTV happy. But if you will be adding some of the user-contributed customizations, doing commercial skip processing, or using the machine for any other task like gaming or web browsing, then you should consider a bare minimum of P4 with minimum of 1GB RAM.

davcbr 07-26-2009 01:05 PM

Thanx for the replies, they are helpful. All of my equipment is standard resolution, so my output would be S-video or comp. There is no graphics "card" in the machine; I think it is the Intel default for the era. That is why I think I will be needing a graphics card, which needs to be PCI.

So, with this old computer, which itself is probably limited to standard resolution TV, are there any recommendations for a video out, or would any graphics card that HAS a video out probably do the trick?

Thanx again
dc


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