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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 01-08-2007, 12:47 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Please recommend me a good tuner card

Last March I bought a Powercolor Theater 550 PRO PCI-E card and had a lot of troubles with it. I recently RMA'd it to Newegg for a replacement as I felt it might've been defective. However there is a chance Newegg will not have any more of this card and so will just refund me. If this happens, I'll be credited $89.99 to spend on another card. What would you recommend? Some specs:

Epox 9NPA+ Ultra motherboard
Athlon 64 3200+
1 GB PC-3200 DDR
Seagate 7200.7 120 GB HDD

Right now I have one free PCI slot so either PCI or PCI-E is acceptable. However, if I buy a PCI TV card, I will have two PCI cards, my Audigy 2 and that. Is that a bad thing? I don't know for how much longer motherboards will continue to have at least two PCI slots.

Also, do I want a hardware MPEG2 encoder or not? Some people say yes to minimize CPU usage while using PVR. Others say no because CPU usage in minimal and you probably don't want to encode in MPEG2 anyway.

I am open to any suggestions. I just want something that looks good, is equal to or less than $90, comes with a remote, and of course will work well with Sage.

Thanks.

UPDATE 1/17: Chose the PVR-150 with Hauppauge remote. The card came today and I put it in. Love it! Easy driver installation, picture looks great (got the ESMT tuner, using NVIDIA decoder), and the audio is plenty loud and clear.

Now, to get the remote working. I installed the batteries, plugged in the cable, installed the program and let it sit in the tray, and selected "45 button Hauppauge remote" in Sage. No go. I can't remember for certain if I selected the Hauppauge remote settings when installing Sage. Is there somewhere I can check this?

Last edited by archcommus; 01-17-2007 at 08:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2007, 01:44 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Just to note, there are a lot of good and a lot of bad reviews on Newegg for the PVR-150. Makes me think it might be good although I am apprehensive.

Also, please post which card you use yourself.

Last edited by archcommus; 01-08-2007 at 06:30 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2007, 04:36 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Anyone? Hoping to order something tomorrow.
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2007, 06:51 PM
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mcaron1234 mcaron1234 is offline
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I've been using 2 pvr-150's with sage for over a year and they have been working flawlessly. I've recently upgraded to HD with the HD Homerun and it to is working great.

It was my experience that the Hauppauge software, wintv, was terrible and difficult to use. I can see giving complaints based on that, but the cards themselves have been great. If you go with the PVR-150s make sure you use the latest drivers either from the Hauppauge website or betadrivers from SHSpvr's forum.

Matt
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2007, 07:02 PM
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sainswor99 sainswor99 is offline
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I, too, use the PVR-150 with no problems. If you poke around the forums a bit, you'll see that most of the problems with the PVR-150 stem from the tuner used on the card itself.

If you have a card with the Phillips tuners, you'll pobably be OK:

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/show...=PVR-150+tuner

http://forums.snapstream.com/vb/showthread.php?t=33675

Stu
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  #6  
Old 01-09-2007, 08:23 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

So the PVR-150 is generally a solid card, the only recent issue seems to be the crappy quality and problems with the Samsung tuners. But it looks like they've gone back to Philips now so I'd just have make sure it'll have that tuner somehow.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2007, 12:33 PM
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FidgetyRat FidgetyRat is offline
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I was using 2x PVR-150s for over a year with absolutely no problem. The audio is a bit low volume-wise but is clear and crisp (unlike other tinny tuners). You can increase the volume with a registry key edit too..



Recently I purchased my third PVR-150 and it was defective. Worst video quality I have ever seen. Sent it back to hauppauge with no problems. Im guessing i got one of those faulty tuners. I got the replacement in under 2 weeks. Have yet to install it. Hope it works.


I do strongly recommend these cards. I had no problems with them.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2007, 04:51 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Thanks, that settles it then I think. Will a retailer like Newegg be able to confirm which tuner it has for me before I purchase it? Or should I order it straight from Hauppauge to be safe? I must get the Philips for obvious reasons.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2007, 05:00 PM
ke6guj ke6guj is offline
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I dunno if Newegg would be able to, but a smaller retailer should be able to.

When I was having problems with the type B PVR-500 tuners, I called pcalchemy.com and snapstream.com, and they were able to tell me what versions they had in stock.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2007, 06:19 PM
IncredibleHat IncredibleHat is offline
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Ive got 2 PVR150s.

I had one for almost a year working flawlessly, and it had the Samsung chip. Worked great with my analog cable.

I then got a second a few months ago that has an ESMT chip on it instead. When I installed that, I had issues with some channels dropping sound, and then many channels just looking a little more worse for wear. The wierdest part was that it did this for BOTH cards, even though that initial card of mine never did that.

Anyhow, the effects have subsided since, and I've not had a audio-less channel in a long while now. I blame out cable company, the quality is so bad that it just may have been that moment that the quality caused the cards to freak out.

Either way, the PVR150s are good cards.

You can also get the PVR500, to get TWO tuners in one card (since you only have one PCI slot available).

There is also the new DualTV from nVidia that people either love or hate Those that get it and the calibration is ok, they LOVE it. Those that don't, they HATE it because SageTV still cant seem to calibrate the card right (although someone was working on getting sage to work right, but that thread has gone dead).
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2007, 09:18 PM
malbec malbec is offline
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I have a PVR-150 for a little over a year. It is rock solid and would recommend for any basic setup. If I had it to do again, I might try the HDHomeRun as my tuner, but as I understand it I/you would be throwing the dice a bit on whether your cable provider has the channels unencoded.
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2007, 10:53 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Thanks malbec. All the more reassurance.

IncredibleHat, I really don't need two tuners as I rarely record, so the PVR-150 seems to be the way to go. Newegg just processed my RMA today. If they surprise me and have another PCI-E 550 PRO in stock, I guess I'll hope it works good. Assuming they refund me, though, I will try to find a smaller online carrier of the PVR-150 that can tell me the tuner on the cards, or just order straight from Hauppauge.

Thanks everyone.
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  #13  
Old 01-11-2007, 01:57 AM
doc doc is offline
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You could always get a usb pvr2, they're external and just as good quality as my pvr350's.

The only down side is that its an extra external box and an extra power socket. If its in a cupboard it hides away nicely, but not ideal if it ends up on display under your TV as it has connectors on the front and back. A bit of a bad design if you ask me, they should all be on the back so that it looks prettier.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2007, 07:14 PM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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doc, thanks but I'm fine with getting an internal card, I have a free PCI slot and I'm hoping motherboards are going to have at least a couple for years to come still. Think that's probably the case?

Newegg will be refunding me shortly as expected so I'm ready to order. I'll be using Sage and not Windows MCE so is this the one I want? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116625 However I don't know what the chances are that it'll have the Samsung tuner. I can't order straight from Hauppauge because they seem to only be selling the MCE Kit and I.p. versions right now.
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  #15  
Old 01-11-2007, 09:49 PM
malbec malbec is offline
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I haven't looked the prices up you are researching, but you might want to give pcalchemy.com a look. If you haven't purchased Sage yet, you could buy a PVR-150/SageTV bundle there and you might save yourself enough for an extra DVD.
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2007, 01:05 AM
archcommus archcommus is offline
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Thanks malbec, bundle's out of stock, though.

Reading over that thread on the BTV forums about the Samsung tuners, it seems like MAYBE they were only used on the PVR-500's and never on the 150's. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2007, 09:04 AM
IncredibleHat IncredibleHat is offline
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Quote:
it seems like MAYBE they were only used on the PVR-500's and never on the 150's. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
I can deny that.

My first PVR150 (which worked flawlessly until I bought a second), is a samsung chip. The second one I bought is an ESMT (wtf is that?) chip, and when both of those two are plugged in, they tend to cause some quality issues.

OR, it could have just been that our analog cable quality is just at the threshold of KEERAP, that two cards drove it over the edge and caused both cards to get confused with the signal.

HOWEVER, when I plug the ESMT chipped card in by itself, the quality issues persist. If I plug the samsung chipped card in by itself, the quality issues go away. If I plug BOTH cards in, BOTH cards suffer quality issues. Odd huh?

I had been in talks with hauppauge about it for a couple weeks, batting emails back n forth in a perpetual standoff... they conceeded to not knowing what is going on and concluded to send in both cards so they could test them out for problems, which would take 'a few weeks' (plus I would have to pay for shipping).

I ended up going "AGH! A FEW WEEKS?! MY SHOWS! MY SHOWS!" ... so, I am putting up with the quality issues for now, and am looking into buying the DualTV from nvidia, however holding off a little bit on THAT card until Sage developers get some better support built in for calibration.

EDIT:
This is a shot of the two cards I took a while back (unfortunately I didnt blow up the chips in question! LOL... but you can kinda make them out):
http://swankyplace.com/forumimgs/hauppaugecards.jpg

Last edited by IncredibleHat; 01-12-2007 at 09:14 AM.
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2007, 09:33 AM
blade blade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archcommus
I'll be using Sage and not Windows MCE so is this the one I want?
You do know that you don't have to run Windows MCE in order to use the MCE cards? Personally I'd get a card without the remote or IR blaster. They work fine for some people, but others have problems with them. I'd rather have a dependable remote solution that wasn't dependent on my capture card.

Last edited by blade; 01-12-2007 at 09:36 AM.
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2007, 10:44 AM
IncredibleHat IncredibleHat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blade
You do know that you don't have to run Windows MCE in order to use the MCE cards? Personally I'd get a card without the remote or IR blaster. They work fine for some people, but others have problems with them. I'd rather have a dependable remote solution that wasn't dependent on my capture card.
Blade is right on that. Both of mine are the MCE versions, and I use XP Pro SP2. I also even use the MCE remote control.
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  #20  
Old 01-12-2007, 11:35 AM
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unkyjoe unkyjoe is offline
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I recently purchased the Nvidia Dual TV card and could not be happier, much crisper image to my eyes over the PVR-150 from Hauppauge.

PCI Slots will be around a while so I wouldnt worry.

I got my card to replace 2 of the PVR-150's that were using 2 slots and creating a lot of heat.

I now have a much cooler box than before.

Just my 2cents worth
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