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27 posts

Geek
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Topic # 49814 20-Nov-2009 18:47
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Hi,

I'm looking at picking up a USB tv tuner for my wife's laptop initially and then possibly using it in a Nvidia ION powered HTPC.  I'd like to get a dual tuner like the Nova-T 500, but the documentation isn't clear that it'll support the Freeview HD channels.  I saw a blog post (Fossie insider http://www.geekzone.co.nz/Fossie/4566) indicating that any digital tv tuner will work, but yet the product documentation makes no references to support for H.264/HD channels.  Several other tuners do specifically say they support HD, but they're generally single tuner.

I'd like a product that can utilize GPU accelleration as well.  Oh, and it must run on Vista/Win 7 64bit .

Can someone please clarify?

Thanks
Jason

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 274804 20-Nov-2009 19:08
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Generally the hardware doesn't care about the codec (H.264, MPEG2) or resolution (SD, HD) being used. All the hardware does is transform the DVB-T signal into a bitstream for the computer. It is the software on the computer that does the actual interpretation of the signal, extracting video and audio streams and decoding them. As long as the hardware supports DVB-T or DVB-S, depending on what you want to use, it'll work with Freeview. It doesn't even matter to the device driver.

When they say H.264 or HD support on the package, they mean that the bundled viewer software supports it. Most people here don't bother with that and use 3rd party software like MediaPortal, DVBViewer, or MythTV instead with appropriate codecs to decode the video and audio.

For the use of GPU acceleration, that's a codec issue, and again nothing to do with the tuner hardware or device drivers for the tuner.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 274809 20-Nov-2009 19:15
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The Nova-T 500 is a PCI card not a USB tuner so needs a spare PCI slot to work. Obviously the laptop does not have one so you will have to find another option.







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Geek
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  Reply # 274818 20-Nov-2009 19:48
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@jarno
Thanks a lot for clearing this up. I really appreciate the help.

@thefatmould
Oops, you're right... I've looked at so many of these products, I'm getting them mixed up. I thought I saw some version of the Nova USB that was dual tuner, but I guess I was wrong.

Jason


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  Reply # 274829 20-Nov-2009 20:27
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I somehow don't think you need a dual tuner on a laptop - it will need to be a very high end laptop to be able to record two streams - and will need a lot of disk space. A single tuner would probably work just alright.

I used a Hauppauge HVR900 before and it worked fine - if you want no problems you will need to be running Windows 7 for its built-in H.264 decoder, otherwise you will have to install some third party codec software, which adds a bit more work to the whole setup.






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Geek
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  Reply # 274839 20-Nov-2009 21:34
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Agreed that dual tuner is overkill for laptop, but depending on what I do with HTPC in the future a dual tuner is a minimum. The one I'm looking at now is an Avermedia Twinstar, which claims to use both tuners separately if they're both plugged in, or implements a "diversity" mode to make it extra sensitive if only one antenna is plugged in.

I actually just loaded Win 7 on her system, and it's a beauty. The system has onboard ATI 4500 and it plays h.264 HD content without hardly hitting the CPU. My "ancient" Dual core E6600 and ATI X1650 on Vista 64 keeps up on HD ok, but with at least 25-30% cpu utilization.

Jason

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