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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 09-01-2006, 09:29 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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First time setup - anolog cable signal looks real poor

My first time with a HTPC so first time using any PVR let alone SageTV.

I hooked up my cable via Coaxial cable to the TV input on my Hauppauge PVR-500. Then I plugged in my Satellite signal from it's receiver to the S-Video input #2. The satellite signal comes in crystal clear but the cable signal is extremely poor. The cable is attached securely and I played around with it trying to tighten and loosen it and the signal never improves. It was fine when it was hooked into my TV using the same cable so I'm not sure what to do.

Any suggestions? I can make out the picture but it's unbearably noisy
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2006, 11:40 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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There's an internal splitter in the PVR-500 that will weaken the signal a bit and thereby degrade the SNR. If you have external splitters upstream of the PC, try taking them out, or rearranging them into as shallow a tree as possible. I.e. don't daisy-chain two-way splitters to get more outputs. Substitute a single four-way splitter instead. You want a minimum of splitters between your PC and the point where the cable enters the house.

If that doesn't do it, a powered signal amplifier might get you a decent signal strength. These can be had for $30-$50 at Radio Shack and such places. Again, you want to insert the amp upstream of any splitters for the best SNR.
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2006, 09:26 AM
vorius vorius is offline
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Ok I had two 2:1 splitters in my basement where the source for this TV was coming off the first splitter. So I just removed every splitter and now the coax going into my HTPC is direct. I go to check the TV and the picture quality is just as poor as before- no change. It looks almost like it's pulling the channel from the air waves instead of the cable, and the antenna is stuffed somewhere in the basement (that's how poor the picture looks!). Is it possible there is some setting I screwed up in the source setup?
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  #4  
Old 09-02-2006, 10:03 AM
vorius vorius is offline
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One thing I thought was odd was in SageTV when I setup video sources it shows as me having two capture cards, it says "WinTV PVR PCI II Capture" plus another one called "WinTV PVR PCI II Capture #2". I figured this is because my card is dual-tuner but what strikes me as odd is whether I choose either device I get the same options- 2 composite sources, 2 S-video sources and 1 TV Tuner choice. Whether I choose the TV Tuner on Capture #1 or Capture #2 I get the same picture (which in my case is that horrible looking picture from cable!)

So I just tried using HWClear (or something like that) to clear everything from my capture card, then I rebooted and reinstalled latest drivers available on hauppauge web site. I got back into SageTV and I see the same thing, looks like that's how it's supposed to be. I configured my satellite source again no problem, picture is crystal clear. Cable still looks lousy.

I have run out of ideas, is it possible I have received a defective TV Tuner card? Even though my satellite picture is perfect?

Is it maybe possible these tv tuner card require an abnormally long wire in the coax cable (that wire that should extend about 1/8 - 1/4 inch from the collar which you screw it onto plugs with) ?

This is such a bummer
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2006, 10:51 AM
carlgar carlgar is offline
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First verify that your connection is going to the TV input and not the FM input.
Where did you get the drivers for the card? Did they come with the card or did you download? If you downloaded them there is a good chance they are incompatible with your card. I downloaded the most current drivers and they caused a very bad picture. Hauppauge support provided me with new drivers that work properly.
In any case Hauppauge support is probably who you need to contact to verify if the card is bad (which I doubt).
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  #6  
Old 09-02-2006, 12:26 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlgar
First verify that your connection is going to the TV input and not the FM input.
Where did you get the drivers for the card? Did they come with the card or did you download? If you downloaded them there is a good chance they are incompatible with your card. I downloaded the most current drivers and they caused a very bad picture. Hauppauge support provided me with new drivers that work properly.
In any case Hauppauge support is probably who you need to contact to verify if the card is bad (which I doubt).
I downloaded and installed the drivers found here
under the title "WinTV-PVR-150/500 driver version 2043_24103 and middleware version 2.2"

I followed the instructions there after running the HCWClear program

The card I have is the WinTV PVR 500

Unfortunately I tried calling Hauppauge and they are closed for the weekend- probably wont be back in office until Tuesday
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2006, 04:31 PM
carlgar carlgar is offline
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The 24103 drivers are the ones that gave me trouble. Hauppauge will probably want the 5 digit model and revision number from your card so you should download the prodinfo program from hauppauge. The prodinfo program will display this data. The drivers I am currently using is 24205 dated 07/24/2006. You would probably get a faster response from Hauppauge using E-mail but I have never tried the phone.
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  #8  
Old 09-02-2006, 04:42 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlgar
The 24103 drivers are the ones that gave me trouble. Hauppauge will probably want the 5 digit model and revision number from your card so you should download the prodinfo program from hauppauge. The prodinfo program will display this data. The drivers I am currently using is 24205 dated 07/24/2006. You would probably get a faster response from Hauppauge using E-mail but I have never tried the phone.
And that's also a PVR-500 you have? I tried finding drivers labelled 24205 on their web site but no luck, I guess they sent it to you privately and never posted them? Wish I can find them for download so I can at least give it a try. I went ahead and downloaded some beta drivers too- labelled 20.43_24108. Didn't change a thing
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2006, 05:27 PM
carlgar carlgar is offline
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Yes, the most recent drivers were provided to me in E-mail, I believe they are still in beta. The 24108 drivers did not work for me. The 24054 drivers that came with my PVR-500MCE board did work. Also the 23348 drivers which was at one time on the Hauppauge site worked, but they have been removed. You might want to check the http://www.shspvr.com/ site for a set of drivers that will work for you. I did not try any of the drivers from that site but he archives older drivers so you may find the 23348 drivers there.
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  #10  
Old 09-02-2006, 06:06 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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Checked out shspvr.com and he had some 2.0.24.23025 drivers which I tried and getting same result

Would you be willing to send me the same drivers they sent you which you found to work good? I'm desperate and will try anything at this point.
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  #11  
Old 09-02-2006, 07:05 PM
carlgar carlgar is offline
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I don't feel good about sending you the beta drivers that I have because they may have been build just for my model and release. The 7/26/06 date on the driver happens to be the date they said they were working on the problem and would be sending me new drivers. I can send you the older drivers that were made public. I think you can get the older drivers at: ftp://ftp.shspvr.com/download/wintv-pvr_150-500/inf/
I would try pvr_2.0.43.24054_whql.zip or pvr_2.0.35.23348_whql.zip and I think you will get a good picture. What is the model and revision of your card? Is the 24103 drivers the ones that came with your card?
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Last edited by carlgar; 09-02-2006 at 07:08 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2006, 07:14 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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Oh, didn't notice he has an ftp with an archive of the older drivers- nice!

The drivers that I initially installed came with some software bundle when I ordered the card and SageTV together from PCAlchemy.com. Looking on the CD I think these are the drivers I originally installed: WinTV-PVR-150500MCE_2.0.43.24054 (WHQL)

I didn't actually force these dirvrs, I assume windows automatically selected them when I used the new hardware wizard

I'm going to try the 2.0.35.23348 later
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2006, 02:01 PM
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Ted@TNT Ted@TNT is offline
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You've probably already checked, but you could verify that the recording quality is set sufficiently high. I usually keep my 150/250/500 tuners set to record at 3.0 or 3.2 GB per hour, though there is still another slight improvement if I set them to Max Quality. I just figure that, it's standard def, and the picture already looks nearly as good as it can, I hate to nearly double the size of the files for that extra 1% or 2%.
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  #14  
Old 09-03-2006, 09:55 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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After trying the 23348 drivers I am now noticing a difference. Now the picture doesn't have the jagged lines like before but it's still really noisy, far too noisy for my taste. Now I am just trying to get close to how the picture looked when the cable was going through the tuner included with the TV which I think is reasonable, considering this should be name brand high quality tv tuner in Hauppauge, right?

I guess I'll have to wait though until I can talk to Hauppauge to really clear this up.

thanks guys for your help, especially carlgar.
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2006, 07:19 AM
Polypro Polypro is offline
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To be honest, without doing a side by side comparison, I've never noticed a quality change between Hauppauge driver versions. I've had success with every driver package they put out...so you shouldn't have to hunt around just to get a viewable picture. Outputting to a 12x7, 13x7, or 19x10 HDTV will give you a slightly poorer picture than a 4:3 SD set, but not as bad as what you're describing. Have you initiated recordings on both tuners and then checked each one? Are both tuners displaying the same poor picture? (In Sage, it seems the same tuner is used to display successive channels...you need to occupy each tuner in order to check them both or go into Video Sources and check the calibration screens). If you get 2 bad pictures, you *may* have a bad card. I thought I recently had a bad tuner. What fixed it for me was to disconnect the RG6 cable while viewing the picture, wait a few seconds, and then re-connect it. I *think* this forced the 500 to re-tune the freq's and it cleared up my problem. Something to try.

P
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  #16  
Old 09-04-2006, 08:14 AM
vorius vorius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polypro
To be honest, without doing a side by side comparison, I've never noticed a quality change between Hauppauge driver versions. I've had success with every driver package they put out...so you shouldn't have to hunt around just to get a viewable picture. Outputting to a 12x7, 13x7, or 19x10 HDTV will give you a slightly poorer picture than a 4:3 SD set, but not as bad as what you're describing. Have you initiated recordings on both tuners and then checked each one? Are both tuners displaying the same poor picture? (In Sage, it seems the same tuner is used to display successive channels...you need to occupy each tuner in order to check them both or go into Video Sources and check the calibration screens). If you get 2 bad pictures, you *may* have a bad card. I thought I recently had a bad tuner. What fixed it for me was to disconnect the RG6 cable while viewing the picture, wait a few seconds, and then re-connect it. I *think* this forced the 500 to re-tune the freq's and it cleared up my problem. Something to try.

P
Yeah up until now every driver I tried made no difference and I was convinced the tuner is defective. Many channels were too noisy/jagged to be viewed while others were painful to try and watch.

Right now with these latest drivers I have tried every channel is now "viewable" and the some channels actually aren't too bad. But I'm still not happy because it is still too noisy for me. I think some peope would be OK with it now but since it's noticeably worse than how my TV was before I started using a HTPC than I'd be ashamed to accept this PQ.

I haven't tried forcing the use of the other tuner and am not sure how I could do that... I only have one cable signal coming into the room where I have my HTPC - hmm maybe bring a splitter there and then split the signal? But then how do I pug in two coax connections into my PVR-500 which has only one coax input (but 2 s-video/component inputs) ?
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  #17  
Old 09-04-2006, 12:14 PM
Polypro Polypro is offline
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Just hook up the cable as normal...the 500 has a built in splitter. Watch one channel and hit record. Then select and watch another channel (this will bring it up on the second tuner)...is the quality the same? Have you disconnected and re-connected the cable from the 500's RF input yet? See:

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19637

P
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  #18  
Old 09-05-2006, 07:12 AM
sivilya sivilya is offline
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not sure if this will help - but maybe check/set the auto_tune feature in the sage.properties to true.

Maybe all you need is this little extra tuning ?!
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  #19  
Old 09-07-2006, 11:18 PM
vorius vorius is offline
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Well, talked to Hauppauge tech support today and the guy told me to RMA the cad. But we didn't really go over much to see if we can improve this card's output and I'm not entirely convinced the card is faulty since those drivers made such a big difference. I figure there's just software type tweaking to do but the guy I spoke to on the phone didn't seem very well versed with these cards... he had me do alot of simple mistakes like trying to install drivers right after I used HCWClear ("are you sure I shouldn't reboot?" ... "yeah it should go fine" ... *driver install freezes* uhh....) stuff like that. The only modification/tweaking we did was to install the latest drivers from their web site (which made it worse, as discussed earlier in thread) and to make one change in the settings of their "Primary" app (or something like that) which did nothing.

ah well, I hope it really is a bad card cause I'm getting sick of this not happy with hauppauge.
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  #20  
Old 09-08-2006, 01:40 AM
carlgar carlgar is offline
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I would have liked to have gotten more infomation about the the jagged lines. However, I suspect that is a good indication that the card is bad. My 3 year old PVR-350 started giving me the jagged lines and that is why I replaced it with the PVR-500. I never (at least not yet) saw any gagged lines with the PVR-500. You might want to make a note of your model and revision number and see what they replace it with. I suspect you may get a different model or one that comes with different drivers.
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