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# 18899 29-Jan-2008 00:48
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Hi guys,

I really am not sure what the problem is here.
I have just got my HTPC up and running sweet, but hubby came to take a look and instantly said how terrible the picture quality is. And he is right, when you change the channel and the blue sky program info pops up it is really very poor quality. Im not sure what the culprit is, everything else plays ok on the PC when viewing through the TV screen just not live tv (sky) :(

System specs...
Hauppauge PVR 150 MCe edition card
Geforce 6800 graphics card
Intel pentium 4 3.0ghz
1 GB ram
Vista Ultimate 32 bit
vista remote/IR blaster

All being viewed on a phillips lcd HD ready widescreen.
Sky Decoder is DSR600 series, connecting to tv tuner card with component/scart, output being fed back to the TV with a standard PC VGA cable.

Very disappointing because it has taken me so long to get this up and running and now... just feels like it was not worth it.

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  # 107329 29-Jan-2008 06:50
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Because you are feeding the Sky signal into the MCE150 card using composite the quality is always going to be a lot worse than using component or svideo output direct to the TV that you're probably used to. Without seeing the actual setup or a sample picture it's probably a bit hard to tell if anything really is wrong or whether it's just a case of putting up with the limitations of the analogue input.

There is a new Hauppauge card coming out very shortly with component input which will be great for people who want be able to record from a STB.

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  # 107337 29-Jan-2008 08:17
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use svideo instead of composite.

I had a similar problem. svideo is considerably better, but not perfect.

 
 
 
 


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  # 107341 29-Jan-2008 08:37
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image quality can also be attributed to the decoder you are using. if the standard vista decoder is giving poor quality (as mine always did with my hardware), i suggest downloading trial versions of intervideo windvd, cyberlink powerdvd, and nvidia purevideo. then head over to thegreenbutton.com or xpmediacenter.com.au and find the Decoder Changer Utility in their download section. Once you install a new decoder, it won't actually be active until you change the settings in the registry - or run this utility to have a gui that shows each decoder (audio and video) you have installed, click and choose and press ok. then try running the tv through the media center app again. I found that with my hardware purevideo gave me the best results - whether that be over composite, or svideo. i found that with all the other ones i had severe interlacing and vapour trail effects. that all went away and i had a crisp nice picture with a new decoder.

edit:  point to note though - test both TV AND DVD - the decoder works on both, and you might find what works for one will make the other suck and vice versa.  Purevideo gave me a balance between the two

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  # 107343 29-Jan-2008 09:06
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My guess is its the PVR-150 - these come out of the box with a bunch of noise filtering such as temporial motion blur bla bla bla turned on.  This severely affects the video quality of any composite/S-Video input.  I used to use the same combo under XP MCE and Vista MCE.  This stufff was designed to clean up a poor quality Analog signal.  When you add a clean source such as Sky its makes an absolute mess off it.

You need to turn all of this off before you will get an acceptable image quality, especially the Temporial stuff... This makes the images look all washed out and blurry.  It also adds motion blur - whcih you will notice - it adds a kind of ghosting effect to the picture.  It will also makes the colour look terrible especially reds, and darker areas.


There used to be an application called TweakHauppauge under XP that would help do this, some people have had issues under Vista with this (I didn't) there is also another one called ChrisTWEAK which should let you achieve the effect under Vista.  Failing that you can modify these settings using the registry.  Its like night and day once you turn this off... And its should take all of about 2 minutes to do.

Like the other guys said, make sure your using S-Video input - it does make a big difference with Sky - especially on the Sky Guide.  You can get an image very close to the original ie Sky Decoder S-Video direct to TV.




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  # 107362 29-Jan-2008 12:01
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Thanks heaps everyone, yeah I was doing a bit of late night reading last night and have installed nVidia purevideo and changed the codec over using that GUI.

It has made a difference, however I am still relatively unhappy with the image quality. The picture is soo much cleaner and sharper just going from the sky box -> rcas -> tv that i just still cant understand why.

You can tell the quality is shocking just by looking and im not really a fussy person... and as soon as large text or the blue sky prog info box comes up it is very clear.  

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  # 107366 29-Jan-2008 12:14
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Just be aware that NVidia PureVideo is not supported under Vista and will not give you DXVA2 hardware acceleration if you hardware supports it.

IMHO the best codec is from PowerDVD.

 
 
 
 


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  # 107367 29-Jan-2008 12:15
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laurasaur: Thanks heaps everyone, yeah I was doing a bit of late night reading last night and have installed nVidia purevideo and changed the codec over using that GUI.

It has made a difference, however I am still relatively unhappy with the image quality. The picture is soo much cleaner and sharper just going from the sky box -> rcas -> tv that i just still cant understand why.

You can tell the quality is shocking just by looking and im not really a fussy person... and as soon as large text or the blue sky prog info box comes up it is very clear.


yep i've never been overly impressed by the image quality.  i only really use the tv on media center to record shows for the gf, i never watch tv myself.  so if i'd been doing it for myself i would have had enough motivation to look further into the issue - but since it's just for the gf i haven't had the time yet :)

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  # 107369 29-Jan-2008 12:19
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sbiddle: Just be aware that NVidia PureVideo is not supported under Vista and will not give you DXVA2 hardware acceleration if you hardware supports it.

IMHO the best codec is from PowerDVD.


I ran powerdvd all along until I upgraded to vista, then it just broke it.  no matter what I did i could only get jerky playback or dodgy audio syncing from powerdvd and windvd.  and the default vista codec was sooooo bad.  i'm sure it was my combination of hardware that caused most of the problems, but i guess my point is that you have to go with what works.  it's a costly exercise to troubleshoot hardware issues so do whatever works for you until you're in a position to spend the money to test hardware.

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  # 107370 29-Jan-2008 12:21
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Part of the problem here is that you're trying to display SD video full screen on a HD display. Remember that regular TV is broadcast in 576i whereas your PC is probably plugged into your TV running at 1366x768. The TV capture card has to capture that low resolution video, perform a D/A conversion to encode it as MPEG2 which is turn is decoded by the PC, deinterlaced and scaled so it can fill up a 768 pixel high display. Feed that same signal into your 29" TV and the picture will look far superior as it's being fed at the native resolution with no scaling or deinterlacing required.

You're never really going to get SD video displaying well on a HTPC, play HD video off a PC or HD source such as a HD-DVD player and you'll struggle to spot the difference.

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  # 107372 29-Jan-2008 12:26
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thats a good point that i'm surprised hadn't been mentioned before now.

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  # 107436 29-Jan-2008 18:52
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There is a new Hauppauge card coming out very shortly with component input which will be great for people who want be able to record from a STB.


When when when??????

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  # 107444 29-Jan-2008 20:19
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Satch:
There is a new Hauppauge card coming out very shortly with component input which will be great for people who want be able to record from a STB.


When when when??????


It's called the Hauppauge HD PVR and is due for release in the 1stQ 2008 with a RRP of US$249.

There isn't really a lot more info available yet, a Google search at present really just gives a lot of sites who have published the Hauppauge press release. I read sub (author of GB-PVR) posting the other day saying he was hoping to get one to play with shortly and that GB-PVR would support it. Since it's H.264 based however it can't work with Vista MCE until the H.264 support is available.

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  # 107504 30-Jan-2008 08:21
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sbiddle:It's called the Hauppauge HD PVR and is due for release in the 1stQ 2008 with a RRP of US$249.

There isn't really a lot more info available yet, a Google search at present really just gives a lot of sites who have published the Hauppauge press release. I read sub (author of GB-PVR) posting the other day saying he was hoping to get one to play with shortly and that GB-PVR would support it. Since it's H.264 based however it can't work with Vista MCE until the H.264 support is available.


I did Google it after your first post about it and saw that it was a digital card.  That won't suit Sky as the Sky decoder outputs an analogue signal.  Or am I missing something?

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  # 107507 30-Jan-2008 09:00
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got to say using svideo from a sky box ( zenith pos ) into a mce150 card on mce 2005 I got fantastic results. Ditto when I tried it on vista, no idea what driver it was, no issues, no need to dig for what was working....
Switching to composite was a bit worse but not too bad, going to the hvr 4000 was ALOT worse. I have yet to see better than the 150 for analogue sky watching.

This was running on either a 40" 768p set or a 90" 1080p projector.

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