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7 posts

Wannabe Geek


# 18560 14-Jan-2008 20:00
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Hey guys ... my first question on here, so please be gentle Laughing

I'm thinking of adding a TV Card to my PC which is in my lounge connected to my wide screen tv.  I'm thinking of the Hauppauge 350 or the LeadTec WinFast 3000.  Which is better?

I don't want to run Media Center, and have lost interest in the other one (was it Portal something?) - what I really want to do is record video from my Telstra box and play it back either on the computer connected to my tv, or on my laptop using as much 'standard' software on the PC as possible, idealy media player 10 or something like that.

I'm worried that if I record the TV via standard connections (RCA) that the PC will record it in 4:3 format, rather than 16:9.  If I could configure the card so that it recorded using an aspect ratio of 16:9 it would be great.  If not, wouldn't it squash in the picture from the sides making everyone look tall and skinny when I played it back using something simple such as media player?

Has anyone done this?  Is there any suggestion about which card is better?

All help muchly appreciated.

Cheers
.

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  # 104828 14-Jan-2008 20:17
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hi, if all you want is standard def recordings from your saturn box, you're best bet is something like a hauppauge pvr150mce. 

the tv tuner will display the image however it is fed from the decoder, so if its a widescreen signal it will be widescreen, if its 4:3 it'll be 4:3. 

recording is the same, it'll record whatever format it is receiving.  however, with something like media center you can alter the aspect ratio of whatever you're watching so that it fits the screen properly.  i do this with 4:3 shows all the time, it looks fine when it's stretched and zoomed using the inbuilt aspect ratio options. 



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Wannabe Geek


  # 104844 14-Jan-2008 21:13
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thanks for your reply
is it not possible to 'tell' the card to resize the recording to 16:9?

 
 
 
 


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Master Geek


  # 104847 14-Jan-2008 21:28
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I Agree with Gehana... a pvr150mce (peared with Media Centre 2005 or vista home premium) would be perfect..

media centre is good... i would give it a go.


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  # 104924 15-Jan-2008 11:17
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The only way to resize the image is to configure your ADB STB to be in 16:9 mode and record, this could mean that your TV looks whaky if it's not a 16:9 TV... or you could go for 4:3 Letterbox, but then your recordings will be LB as well.

The only "real" way to do a digital recording is the way I do it via the Dreambox, that is replace your TCL STB (against their T&C's to connect anything other and TCL supplied hardware to their network) and use the Dreambox instead with the smartcard plugged into it, then it records a digital Transport Stream over the LAN onto your local harddisk of whatever program you want.  That way you have a direct digital recording and none of the re-encoding issues with having a TV card.

It's what I do, works really well.  Have been recording every episode of Little Einsteins which my daughters love to be played back at my wifes leisure when the kids are driving her insane.






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  # 104927 15-Jan-2008 11:23
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bk2007: thanks for your reply
is it not possible to 'tell' the card to resize the recording to 16:9?


not really.  but why would you want to force the card to record a 4:3 show in 16:9?  it'd look bizzare.  you need to decide what software you want to use with your card.  Be it Windows Media Center 2005, or Vista Media Center, MythTV, MyPVR, etc etc...or just the basic out of the box tv tuner software?  Once you make those decisions then you can look to get into specifics.  For starting out you can't get much easier than Vista Media Center.  Works perfectly with that tv tuner I mentioned and is very easy to configure.  If you're more tech savvy you might want to check out some of the linux offerings.

But I think you need to brush up on some things before you delve too deeply (no offense intended)...If you've got a copy of vista home premium or ultimate then have a play with it.  The tv tuner isn't very expensive, around $120 i think...so have a play, see what works for you and what doesn't.  i thnk a lot of your questions would be better answered by you actually using media center or learning to configure it.  There's some stuff you won't even know you want to know until you start getting into building your system...so it's not easy to give advice at such an early stage....

hope that helps.



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Wannabe Geek


  # 104962 15-Jan-2008 13:00
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It's complicated,
My TC box is configured to 16:9 and I have a 16:9 TV.  However, I had to configure the TV to display the recieved signal as 16:9 so I presume I'll need to configure a PC card in the same way?  If the TC box is prividing at 16:9 image, and the PC is displaying/recording it in a 4:3 tv window, it would be squashed, no?




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Wannabe Geek


# 104965 15-Jan-2008 13:03
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BarTender: The only way to resize the image is to configure your ADB STB to be in 16:9 mode and record, this could mean that your TV looks whaky if it's not a 16:9 TV... or you could go for 4:3 Letterbox, but then your recordings will be LB as well.

The only "real" way to do a digital recording is the way I do it via the Dreambox, that is replace your TCL STB (against their T&C's to connect anything other and TCL supplied hardware to their network) and use the Dreambox instead with the smartcard plugged into it, then it records a digital Transport Stream over the LAN onto your local harddisk of whatever program you want.  That way you have a direct digital recording and none of the re-encoding issues with having a TV card.

It's what I do, works really well.  Have been recording every episode of Little Einsteins which my daughters love to be played back at my wifes leisure when the kids are driving her insane.



Thanks Bartender Cool  Note, I'm not doing digital recording, just analogue from a digital box.  What does ADB STB mean?  Whats this Dreambox?

 
 
 
 


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  # 104968 15-Jan-2008 13:14
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bk2007:

It's complicated,
My TC box is configured to 16:9 and I have a 16:9 TV. However, I had to configure the TV to display the recieved signal as 16:9 so I presume I'll need to configure a PC card in the same way? If the TC box is prividing at 16:9 image, and the PC is displaying/recording it in a 4:3 tv window, it would be squashed, no?



it's really not as complicated as you'd think.  all modern televisions allow you to adjust the aspect ratio to display the input properly.  the tv tuner card is just recording the input it receives.  if it comes in 16:9 it records it in 16:9, if it comes in 4:3 it records in 4:3.  so there really isn't anything you need to do to the tv tuner itself.  What you'll find though is that if you're running your telstra box through your media center computer, you'll need to adjust the aspect ratio within the media center software - the same way you did in the television.  it's just so it displays correctly and has nothing to do with the recording of the signal itself.  this is easy done in windows though, press the info button and you get a zoom option, press ok a few times and it automatically cycles through some different aspect ratios to display the video in the best format for you.  this works the same way for live tv as recorded tv, and for avi/mp4/etc/etc files..  same with dvd. 

so think of the tuner as just receiving the raw feed from your telstra box.  however your telstra box is configured, thats how the tv tuner will receive it.  and think of the media center app as the same as the television - needing adjustment to display the image properly.



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Wannabe Geek


  # 104980 15-Jan-2008 14:04
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Cheers Mike

I think what wiill happen is that, like you say, the card will record it in 4:3, even tho the image needs to be stretched (as the TV is currently doing) to make it appear correct.  My worry is that if I record it (and sure, like you say the image can be adjusted), but play the recording back on a different PC that is not MCE, ie just via the media player, or play it back via a DVD player, then will the default play back be squashed?


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  # 104983 15-Jan-2008 14:10
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bk2007:

Cheers Mike

I think what wiill happen is that, like you say, the card will record it in 4:3, even tho the image needs to be stretched (as the TV is currently doing) to make it appear correct. My worry is that if I record it (and sure, like you say the image can be adjusted), but play the recording back on a different PC that is not MCE, ie just via the media player, or play it back via a DVD player, then will the default play back be squashed?



well therein lies another point to note...

if you choose to go the windows route for your media center front end, your television recordings will be in a format called .dvr-ms. if you want to play this on another computer you'd need to run some conversion software on the orignal file to put it into a more generic format. in doing this conversion you can choose the aspect ratio you want to use - by way of choosing the number of pixels eg 320x240 or 640x480 for a 4:3 conversion.

i believe you can watch the .dvr-ms files in windows media player on the computer they're recorded on (as well as within media center itself). i'm not 100% sure but i think you can also watch them on other windows machines. but to watch them cross platform, eg on mac or linux, will require conversion.

i'm not sure what format the linux pvr's record in, someone else may be able to elaborate on that.

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  # 104988 15-Jan-2008 14:37
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bk2007: Thanks Bartender Cool Note, I'm not doing digital recording, just analogue from a digital box. What does ADB STB mean? Whats this Dreambox?


ADB STB.  ADB is the manufacturer of the digital Set Top Box that TelstraClear provide to you.  A Dreambox DM500C is an alternative Set Top Box that I have been bringing into the country to work with TelstraClear's Cable TV network as a replacement of the ADB Box, this was due to my frustration with the ADB box rebooting all the time and wanting a way to make raw digital recordings of the TV, and wanting to have a component connection for my hopeful widescreen component TV I plan to get.  I also didn't need an extra box to do recordings onto such as a HD Recorder or DVD Recorder, wanted things to be as simple as possible.  When I brought a few in for friends of mine I brought a few extra in to sell.  However I don't have any left as I have sold them all.

The best way I explain it is, think of a MySky, but with a very useable on screen dispay, plus a web interface where you can do everything remotely, able to record digital recordings of TV over the network to your PC (or NAS Harddisk), plus able to stream MPEG2 Videos (or DVD's you ripped out the MPEG2 Videos from) over the network to your TV, and the recordings are not encrypted or content protected so they could be burnt to a DVD and watched on a regular DVD player if you chose to do that.

The downside to the boxes is it's against Telstraclears T&C's to connect anything other than their equipment to the Cable TV Network.

The upside is with my box at home I can make raw digital recordings of anything I am subscribed to manage the whole box via a web browser.  And it's tiny, about the size of 3 regular DVD cases ontop of each other.  And it's cool to geek out and show the toy off to friends of mine.  The wife however has not been impressed with the time I have spent on it to get it working, but now it's pretty much rock solid so things have improved in that area as well :).  I don't plan to bring in any more Cable boxes due to my wife not liking the time I spent playing around with them :(.







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Wannabe Geek


# 105020 15-Jan-2008 17:10
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ahh, partners eh - who'd have em?  Tongue out

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