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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 02-19-2006, 06:46 PM
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mruseless mruseless is offline
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TV quality and upscaling questions

First, some background...

I'm running a NVIDIA 6600 card component out to an older Mitsubishi 60" HDTV (the model is the VS-60805). The TV is 4:3 format, so I'm using 640x480 (slightly tweaked 480p) resolution. I tried 1080i, but with that 16:9 format on my TV, then Sage using 4:3 format within that, my 60" TV became a 44" TV.

OK, so I'm tuning with a PVR-500. But the picture is noticeably worse than the Mits' own tuners. I've tried messing with nearly every hardware and software setting to no avail. For example, the TNT logo is noticeably pixelated through SageTV, but much better through the Mits tuner. I've tried swapping the cables. No change. I get some improvement by using the NVIDIA MPEG2 decoder, but it still doesn't match the Mits.

I'm also getting a lot of barber-poling, cross hatching, or whatever you call it.

Any ideas why there is such a difference?

Thanks for any thoughts....
Eric in Denver

Last edited by mruseless; 02-19-2006 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 02-19-2006, 08:04 PM
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You may have your recording quality set lower than necessary for that size of display. Check your default quality setting and increase it until you see some improvement.

Just an idea to get you started.
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Old 02-19-2006, 08:59 PM
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Thanks for the idea!

Unfortunately, it didn't seem to make any difference.
It was set to the default of Great (2GB per hour), so I increased it to Best (3GB per hour). I couldn't tell a difference.

Eric in Denver
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  #4  
Old 02-21-2006, 10:20 PM
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I'm becoming very dissappointed in the picture quality of the Hauppauge PVR 500. I'm thinking of buying a PowerColor Theater 550...

Has anyone compared these cards side by side?

Eric in Denver
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:49 AM
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I have found that the tuners in the Hauppauge cards are not as good as what is typically found in most TV's and VCRs. They are very sensitive to weak signals. If the picture is poor to start with, it won't matter how good the encoder is.

Poorly constructed Coax cables or using any kind of splitters will degrade the signal and while the signal may look fine when you plug the cable directly into the TV, it looks static-y when you tune through the Hauppauge. I have also seen this cause only certain channels to appear fuzzy, while others looked clear.

One solution is to use the S-Video input on the Hauppauge card if possible. If you must use coax, try replacing the cable, or add a signal amplifier. You want the amplifier to be before any splitters. Note - if you have digital cable or hi-speed internet access, you will probably want a bi-directional amplifier.

One other note - if you look around this forum you will see that many people are having problems with no sound on certain channels when using these cards. This appears to only be a problem with certain versions of the PVR-150 cards (newer versions I believe). Apparently it is caused because the cable companies may be slightly off when they modulate the various stations onto the cable channels and the Hauppauge card isn't able to auto fine tune properly. The work-around is documented elsewhere in this forum, but involves creating a text file with manually determined offsets to compensate. The PVR 500 is based on the same design as the 150 so it likely suffers some of the same problems
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Old 02-23-2006, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for the info. I will try a signal amplifier, and I'm also going to order a Powercolor Theater 550. If it looks better, I'll order a second one and return the Hauppauge card (assuming that PCAlchemy will still take it back.)

E
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:17 AM
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Does anyone know if the Hauppauge PVR-500 has a comb filter?

When I look at the Powercolor website, (http://www.powercolor.com/product_th...0pro_pcie.html) there is a side-by-side comparison of what a comb filter does to the TV picture. I don't really know what a comb filter does, but the fuzzy picture looks just like the problems I have with the PVR-500, and the clear picture looks like the image from the Mits tuner.

I know the pics on that website are exaggerated, but I suspect the Hauppauge card does not have a comb filter and my Mits does.

Any opinions/experience?

Eric in Denver
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2006, 07:57 PM
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You'll only really be able to see significant brushing if you have a higher end video card that will do it on the fly -- aside from that most mpeg2 chipsets will only offer marginal difference between quality.
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