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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:37 AM
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Pumpkinhead Pumpkinhead is offline
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Hardware Recommendation Request

I'm a 5 year user of Sage. I've been using a combo server/client with a Hauppauge 250, 850 mhz P3, and Radeon 9500 with component output adapter. I want to retire this one.

Just installed Dell 2.4 Ghz standard Pentium 4, Hauppauge 1600, with Dell built-in VGA (has AGP & PCI slots, NOT PCI Express.)

As I fully expected, my standard def playback is excellent with under 15% processor utilization. With HD MPEG2 playback, it hits 100% utilization and is jerky.

I don't think the ATI 9500 is going to help with HD, so I didn't even try using it on the Dell. Am I right about this?

From what I understand, I have 3 options at this point:

1) Try to find a PCI (not express) or AGP video card that will accelerate HD playback significantly so that I can use the Dell 2.4 ghz computer. However, my cutoff for this is about $50, or I would go ahead with one of the following options anyway. What are my choices, if any, here for a video card that will work on this older Dell to support HD playback which is going to provide smooth playback of HD?

2) Hauppauge HD200. <$200. Sounds good except for the slow interface. I'm afraid I would be very annoyed by that. It's been pretty fast on my 850 Pentium 3.

3) Build a new computer, which would include cpu, memory, mobo, ps, video card. I could probably throw an adequate system together for $300 to $350.

Another wild card is that the Dell may choke trying to add a video card. I've seen that happen with this same model of Dell - wouldn't power up.

Any recommentations? PS: I'm not interested in Blu-ray playback, but I want to be able to play back the HD files recorded with the 1600 smoothly.

Last edited by Pumpkinhead; 10-22-2009 at 08:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:57 AM
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gplasky gplasky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkinhead View Post
I'm a 5 year user of Sage. I've been using a combo server/client with a Hauppauge 250, 850 mhz P3, and Radeon 9500 with component output adapter. I want to retire this one.

Just installed Dell 2.4 Ghz standard Pentium 4, Hauppauge 1600, with Dell built-in VGA (has AGP & PCI slots, NOT PCI Express.)

As I fully expected, my standard def playback is excellent with under 15% processor utilization. With HD MPEG2 playback, it hits 100% utilization and is jerky.

I don't think the ATI 9500 is going to help with HD, so I didn't even try using it on the Dell. Am I right about this?

From what I understand, I have 3 options at this point:

1) Try to find a PCI (not express) or AGP video card that will accelerate HD playback significantly so that I can use the Dell 2.4 ghz computer. However, my cutoff for this is about $50, or I would go ahead with one of the following options anyway. What are my choices, if any, here for a video card that will work on this older Dell to support HD playback which is going to provide smooth playback of HD?

2) Hauppauge HD200. <$200. Sounds good except for the slow interface. I'm afraid I would be very annoyed by that. It's been pretty fast on my 850 Pentium 3.

3) Build a new computer, which would include cpu, memory, mobo, ps, video card. I could probably throw an adequate system together for $300 to $350.

Another wild card is that the Dell may choke trying to add a video card. I've seen that happen with this same model of Dell - wouldn't power up.

Any recommentations? PS: I'm not interested in Blu-ray playback, but I want to be able to play back the HD files recorded with the 1600 smoothly.
The easy way out-HD200. And it will probably be your best picture.

Second way out-Something like this: DIAMOND 4650512A Radeon HD 4650 AGP

Your option 3 will still require a good high end card if it is to also act as the client. And ends up being the most expensive way out.

Gerry
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:07 AM
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Naylia Naylia is offline
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1) Asus 3450 AGP for $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121315

2) I wouldn't call the interface slow. I'd call the standalone interface slow. When it's acting as an extender I see no speed issues.

3) You can get away with onboard video. You don't need a video card. Other folks can better comment on which chipsets would be the best choice.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:43 AM
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Pumpkinhead Pumpkinhead is offline
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Thanks. It ends up the thread where I had read about the slowness of the interface was actually referring to the HD100, not the HD200. So that makes the HD200 sound more appealing.

The $50 video card sounds reasonable also. The only risk there is if it doesn't work out - such as performance issues or if it prevents the Dell from booting up. But I could probably take advantage of it in another AGP system or resell it, so it's tempting to try that first.

Option 3 I was hoping to avoid.

There was an option 4 which I hadn't mentioned. My main computer system, which I'm planning to upgrade anyway, that I use for a desktop system is on the other side of a wall from my HDTV, and it would be relatively easy to feed cables through a wall channel so that I could use it as the client while using the Dell as just the server. I'm just a little leary of what complications I would run into with that dual use workstation/client setup feeding 2 different displays in different rooms.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:56 PM
freedml freedml is offline
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I thnk the slow HD200 interface happens when there is a networking problem between the HD200 and the switch/router. If that route is clear then the interface is plenty fast.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:45 PM
DigitalMan DigitalMan is offline
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Originally Posted by Pumpkinhead View Post
Thanks. It ends up the thread where I had read about the slowness of the interface was actually referring to the HD100, not the HD200. So that makes the HD200 sound more appealing.
I had been using a P4 2.8ghz intel 865-based system as my server with an HD100 and other PC clients. I would definitely say the UI was slow on the HD100. Watching 720p on the server itself was ok, 1080, not so much.

Since then I've moved to a new server (nehalem) and the HD100 UI is pretty snappy. Based on this I think the previous slow server was more of a drag than anything else. The HD200 should be much less dependent on server muscle and more reliable than a pc client.

Having less to worry about is a good thing in my book.
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2009, 07:34 PM
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Pumpkinhead Pumpkinhead is offline
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Well, I put my old ATI Radeon 9500 Pro AGP card into the Dell 2.4 P4, and I was able to get smooth playback of 1080i source. Instead of 100% utilization with LiveTV HD, it was in the 35 to 45% utilization range, and that's with my computer display resolution set to 1080p feeding into my Sony W4100 HDTV. So good news! I was not expecting that old card to do the trick, especially after no one even commented on it.

Even with that ATI card, I initially was getting consistent jitter with 1080i content with my computer resolution set to 1080p, but I was able to resolve that by upgrading to the newest ATI driver and catalyst control center.

One weird thing, after I installed the new ATI driver, I had to go into the control panel and change deinterlacing from "auto" to "weave." I tried every option listed (bob, motion adaptive, vector adaptive), but only "weave" gave smooth playback. With the other settings, there was what appeared to be a "reversed field order" effect watching 1080i, which was very disturbing during any motion. Switching video codecs didn't help. So I left it set to "weave" which gave smooth playback. During limited testing, I think the quality is very good, so weave should be good enough.

I had some issues getting my WinTV-1600 to find any QAM channels. I was searching a bunch of threads and trying things with splitters and such as recommended by others, nothing helped - no channels found! Finally I found a thread from about 2 1/2 years ago that stated to use the ATSC connector. And ta dah! Dozens of channels found. No tricks necessary. It found everything. Since one connector said ATSC and one said cable, I of course had been using the one that said cable because I do not have ATSC! Of course, the included setup guide (and the one online) both say that it doesn't even work with digital cable, so they were no help in letting me know I had to use the ATSC labeled connector for QAM!

Prior to resolving the HD & QAM problems, I had major jittering issues with SD analog and temporary "hanging" issues just trying to use the WinTV 1600, and I knew it was related to recording as existing videos played back smoothly, but I was able to resolve the most serious issue by moving the 1600 to another slot (as well as removing a sound card & disabling some onboard hardware that I'm not using), and resolved another record/playback problem by upgrading from Sage 4 to Sage 6.

I need to get my SageTV customized. I was using the special code and comskip with Sage 4.

The 45 button remote is not laid out nearly as well as my 34 button remote. So I'm sticking with the 34 button remote. It's more intuitive, I'm used to it, and I can even use it in the dark. I have a programable remote also, but I like the simplicity and usefulness of the 34 button remote.

Anyway, I'm glad that this looks like it's going to function well with my existing equipment (ie. video card, pc, 1600) without having to buy anything except the Sage 6 ugprade. I'll have to spend some hours watching TV (1080i, 720p, SD) on it before I reach a final conclusion, but it's looking promising.

Now I just need to license version 6, install the larger HD with the 64k clusters, install my other tuner card (WinTV250), sort out my QAM channel mapping, and get the STV customized.

Last edited by Pumpkinhead; 10-27-2009 at 10:58 AM.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2009, 11:58 PM
cychou cychou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkinhead View Post
Even with that ATI card, I initially was getting consistent jitter with 1080i content with my computer resolution set to 1080p, but I was able to resolve that by upgrading to the newest ATI driver and catalyst control center.

One weird thing, after I installed the new ATI driver, I had to go into the control panel and change deinterlacing from "auto" to "weave." I tried every option listed (bob, motion adaptive, vector adaptive), but only "weave" gave smooth playback. With the other settings, there was what appeared to be a "reversed field order" effect watching 720p or 1080i, which was very disturbing during any motion. Switching video codecs didn't help. So I left it set to "weave" which gave smooth playback. During limited testing, I think the quality is very good, so weave should be good enough.
Only being able to use wave means your ATI card is under-powered.

For Interlace video source, vector adaptive should give you the best result. But that means new video card for you.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:23 AM
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Pumpkinhead Pumpkinhead is offline
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I thought that might be part of it, but I didn't expect to see the field order effect, where as something moves on the screen, it moves back a bit, forward, back a bit, forward, etc. many times per second. Rather than a performance problem with deinterlacing, it looked like it was not being handled correctly. It really reminded me of when I did video editing when fields were reversed.

I thought I had specifically verified it occurred with 720p, which doesn't even need deinterlacing, but I will need to doublecheck that.

EDIT: I did check it again. And there is no problem with 720p. I only have 2 HD channels in 1080p and I could have sworn I was switching between a couple football games on Saturday seeing the effect, and only one of them was on 1080p.

Anyway, since weave works with my existing hardware, I'm not complaining. This is still a big improvement over my previous setup where HD was not an option at all. If something about the playback bothers me with "real world" watching, I'll go ahead and shell out the dough for the $80 video card or $180 HD200. I'll be watching some serious NFL action with it today.

EDIT: I didn't have my PVR ready until the evening game, which was 1080p. When there wasn't much motion, the quality was as good as the live feed, but with motion (camera panning quickly and close-ups of motion), the video wasn't as smooth. That goes back to the "weave." It did bug me a little, but out of my 6 HD clear-QAM channels, I watch the 780p ones the most. It's hard to justify the extra expense for better hardware at this point, but time will tell.

Last edited by Pumpkinhead; 10-25-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2009, 11:07 AM
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OK, I'm still thinking about upgrading to a new video card because I have to use "weave" for my 1080i HD (via QAM tuner.) This obviously doesn't provide smooth motion. Based on tests that I've seen, I would like to use "vector adaptive" with 1080i. My Radeon 9500 Pro can't handle it - very jittery.

The Radeon 4650 is available as an AGP card. Would this AGP card work in combination with a standard Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz to allow "vector adaptive" deinterlacing without any disturbing artifacting or jitter?

I had read some comments in older threads elsewhere about certain features not being available with the AGP version or when paired with unsupporting processers, so that is part of my concern - pairing an AGP version of the card with a standard Pentium 4. But since they were referring to older Catalyst drivers, I don't know if that's a real factor or accurate... at least anymore.

Also, in addition to AGP, are there any options for "standard PCI" video cards that would do 1080i with "vector adaptive" or otherwise excellent deinterlacing of 1080i on my system? I do not have PCI-E.

Last edited by Pumpkinhead; 10-27-2009 at 11:10 AM.
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