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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10th April, 2003, 12:22 PM
svb svb is offline
Join Date: April 2003
Posts: 2

Choosing a TV Card

Sorry for my English; I hope you understand and perhaps someone will help me also. What would be the best choice to buy a TV Card. Basically there is 2 options for me. Either to buy an analog TV card for PC plus so called Digi Box/ digital TV receiver for my regular TV or I could buy Digi TV card. I Live in Europe. So give me your opinions or views on what should I do.

1. Analog TV Card + digital TV receiver (Digi Box)

In this case I could see the digital channels in my regular TV (Digi box) and with the analog TV Card I could watch these digital channels/broadcast also in my PC monitor. And in this way I could also record/capture these digital channels/broadcasts with the analog TV Card or I am wrong? Does the quality of these digital channels/broadcasts stay in a “digital level” if I record/capture them in this way (with analog TV card) or will the quality suffer for some reason?
Digi Box---TV---Analog TV card---capture quality?

If I choose this option then there is the question of what TV card should I buy. I have 3 cards to choose from– which do you think is the best? They are all nicam stereo cards with remote control. Hercules is cheapest choice; Pinnacle and Hauppauge are about 50 euros more expensive. So What does Hercules card lack in comparison to the 2 more expensive cards? Radio functionality is one, but is there some other functions that Hercules lack or is Hercules a bad choice for some reason? Is there some bugs or bad points in Pinnacle or Hauppauge cards?

Hercules Smart TV Stereo

Pinnacle PCTV Pro

Hauppauge WinTV nicam stereo fm (WinTV Pci FM)

2. Digi TV Card

What do you think, are these Digi TV cards working properly nowdays; I mean the is quality and functions comparable to above-mentioned analog TV cards? With the help of graphics cards TV-out I could watch digital channels on my regular TV and of course capture digital channels with Tv card. Problem is that only Nebula Digi Tv card will allow to capture also from analog sources (VCR, camrecorder).

There is basically 3 options to choose from Nebula DigiTV PCI (also support to analog tv tuner and capture!!!), Hauppauge WinTV Nova-t and Kiss SatDem T Digi-TV. What do you think about these cards?

Nebula DigiTV PCI

Hauppauge WinTV Nova-t (PCI)

Kiss SatDem T Digi-TV
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10th April, 2003, 01:26 PM
Chief Systems Administrator
Join Date: September 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 13,075

Lots of stuff there!

There's at least two different ways of getting the signal out of a Digibox.

Firstly, you can use the analog RF. That is, you plug the RF output from the Digibox into the RF input on the TV card. The problem with this is that it's the worst possible way of doing it! Most Digiboxes I've seen do not output the sound in NICAM on the RF output. So, you end up with a lower quality picture, and possibly mono sound.

Secondly, if the Digibox supports it, you can use the Composite or SVideo output, and the stereo outputs. This will ensure that you get a better picture quality and stereo sound. For this, you just need a video capture card, not a TV card. Some digiboxes also output the audio in S/PDIF format. This allows films to be sent with their original Dolby Digital soundtrack. Of course, you need to have some way of recording the Dolby Digital soundtrack!

Unfortunately, both these methods have a drawback - the PC usually can't change the channels on the Digibox.

The digital TV cards usually (but not always!) capture the digital stream. This means there's no decompression and then recompression. They can capture the MPEG2 stream as it's transmitted. I don't know about Dolby Digital capture.

To my mind, the Digital TV card would be a better solution, as the PC can control which channel it records, as well as capture the original source material before any decompression/recompression occurs. Unfortunately, it also means you're stuck at the bitrate the transmission was made.

Any views, thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. They don't necessarily represent those of my employer (BlackBerry).
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Old 11th April, 2003, 10:40 AM
svb svb is offline
Join Date: April 2003
Posts: 2

Very interesting information. I think this will be very helpful. Thank you for that. I will have take those things too under consideration when I will make my final decision on what card I will buy.
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