HD Capture Cards

Chris

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I've used several. At the moment, the best "bang for the buck" is the ADS Tech InstantHDTV PCI. Good reception, good performance.

ATI HDTV Wonder = Junk

Fusion HDTV = Very good, but very picky, and if you have an SLI motherboard, it's IRQ pickiness becomes a real pita.
 

Brandon Hines

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Oh my. That ADS card look pretty nice, especially for (ballpark) $100 shipped. I wish it had some other inputs for other sources, but no complaints for thar price.

Any recommedations for an indoor HD antenna?
 

ThomasC

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Thomas
I use a MyHD MDP-130 and it works great. It's my only option because I only have a P3 1GHz processor. All of the other HD cards seem to use software decoding which would require a little or a lot more processing power, depending on the card.

This is one of the best indoor antennas: Zenith Silver Sensor
 

Hanson

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As ThomasC says, the MyHD will give you the best playback with a sub 3GB P4 because it"s hardware based. If you cannot get a 1080i or 1080p desktop, the MyHD will output a 1080i signal directly to the TV. And it uses little systems resources while playing back.

I have two MDP120's and one MDP100. The 120's both record in the back to the HTPC in the front. The 100 is used strictly for playback. Since the files don't lock, I can watch them as I'm recording. It also has dual tuners.

The Silver Sensors are good, but you may be fiddling with them forever. I use a Radio Shack powered antenna with dual outputs and programmable channel and antenna position (there are 12 positions total). I can get everything except CBS, which is okay since I have a Silver Sensor for that.
 

Brandon Hines

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My video card outputs 1080p over dual link DVI-I, which is how I have it hooked up to my display.

...I was under the impression that current broadcast and over-the-air HD maxed out at 720p due to bandwidth.
 

ThomasC

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Thomas
What's the model number of your antenna? I'd like to try it out. Using the Silver Sensor can get annoying at times.
 

Hanson

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Hanson
I don't know the model number, but here's a picture:



Sort of looks like Enterprise from ST:TNG.
 

ThomasC

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Thomas
Oh, that. I've tried that already, it wasn't any better than my Silver Sensor and it takes up a little too much room for me.
 

ChristopherDAC

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AE5VI
1080i (30 fps) and 720p (60 fps) have the same number of pixels per second, and most of the stations transmit 1080i for convenience. In fact, around here they upscale everything, with the result that you can't do your own aspect-ratio management (4:3 480i upscaled to 1080 and hard-windowboxed into the 16:9 frame is just plain mean). 720p is a little easier to compress, but MPEG-2 is optimised for interlace, so it's a tossup.

Now, "Robust VSB", which is intended to compensate for the well-known fact that digital transmission doesn't fail gently like analog, is going to take a big chunk of that bandwidth away. We'll see what happens then.
 

Brandon Hines

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Both of the cable companies I've delt with (RCN and COX) hard-broadcast aspect ratios. And it does really suck.

I'm sure that's done so Joe Highdef doesn't watch his channels in the wrong ratio and then call support.

Thanks for the resolution breakdowns. I was certain that all my parents were getting is 480p or 720p. (Their set doesn't let you know what resolution stuff is coming in at.)
 

Hanson

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I think I've gone through 4 different powered antennas from RS before settling on this one (it's great that RS will take your stuff back for a full refund). The Silver Sensor generally worked, but after a few weeks of solid reception, the reception would just bottom out inexplicably, requiring me to fiddle around with positioning to get it back. One time, NBC was so untunable that I assumed there was a problem with the transmitter for a week. There wasn't.

You're going to probably nee to play around with antennas and amps before you hit the sweet spot. Dual tuners is great for OTA because you can have two antennas pointed in different directions to cover all the bases.

One negative about the MyHD for you is that you need to buy the DVI daughter card. The native output is VGA.
 

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