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Thread: PC HDTV?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default PC HDTV?

    I finally got curious as to how good hdtv really can be.
    But at over $1000 for a whole set with a tuner was a bit much.

    So....
    Why not on the computer with it's 8 year old, 19 inch, 1600x1200 monitor?
    Plus usb 2.0 is pretty fast, right?
    A computer can record shows on a big enough hard drive like the 1.09 terrabyte raid "0" array I have.

    At the store, I found at least 3 different usb 2.0 hdtv tuners from $99-$179.
    What a steal!
    I finally snagged the $129 pinnacle hdtv pro stick for usb2.0 with everything included in the surprisingly small package.

    Set it up and it just kicks rear end here in my area.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    I have regular cable, the $44 basic package, no cable box required.. When I was investigating HDTV awhile back, cable company said I would have to buy a digital plus TV package at over $20 more per month so I said no thanks. But I wonder if HDTV signal is already present on the coax cable and would work if I got a pc HDTV tuner card like you have?
    I live in a van down by the river

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* LumenHound's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    I downloaded the free Windows Media high definition clips and they are all pretty good.

    I thought Coral Reef Adventure, Step Into Liquid, The Living Sea, Journey Into Amazing Caves, and Dust To Glory were the best of the 22 clips available. Stunningly good cinematography.

    View the whole list of clips here.

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    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Quote Originally Posted by geepondy
    I have regular cable, the $44 basic package, no cable box required.. When I was investigating HDTV awhile back, cable company said I would have to buy a digital plus TV package at over $20 more per month so I said no thanks. But I wonder if HDTV signal is already present on the coax cable and would work if I got a pc HDTV tuner card like you have?
    Afraid not, according to the instructions that came with mine.
    Some of these usb type tuners do however, come with the right antenna for recieving breathtaking hdtv programming from the local stations though.
    Especially sporting events seem to benefit from this.
    Being able to see the numbers on every jersey on every player on the field at the same time is pretty cool.
    Plus, footbal fields do indeed appear to have grass, instead of just a flat green substance on them now.
    Same true for a Nascar race that was on earlier today.

  5. #5
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    Grinser2 Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Quote Originally Posted by geepondy
    I have regular cable, the $44 basic package, no cable box required.. When I was investigating HDTV awhile back, cable company said I would have to buy a digital plus TV package at over $20 more per month so I said no thanks. But I wonder if HDTV signal is already present on the coax cable and would work if I got a pc HDTV tuner card like you have?
    Yes, there are HDTV channels avalible on the COAX at no extra charge (if not the cable company is breaking the law) but these are only some of your local channels DTV broadcast. You will need a QAM compatible tuner to receive these channels. This rule applies to both computers and standard TVs.

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    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    I forgot to mention that analog signals do indeed pass through cable though.
    But why settle for that?

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    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Quote Originally Posted by jrmcferren
    Yes, there are HDTV channels avalible on the COAX at no extra charge (if not the cable company is breaking the law) but these are only some of your local channels DTV broadcast. You will need a QAM compatible tuner to receive these channels. This rule applies to both computers and standard TVs.
    What he said.

    Over-the-air HD = ATSC or 8VSB format (they're the same thing).
    Cable HD = QAM format. There are fewer HD cards that can do QAM than ATSC.

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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Nice info, I might try that.

    I am getting ready to add a UHF ant. to pick up the HDTV broadcast. If all of that works, then I am going to ditch cable and go back to free broadcast TV.
    Homebuilts - "BREEZE" RCR2 sidexside, "Tornado" 4 x 18650 side x side, Streamlight SL20x LED module (Custom BST Feeler Thread)

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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Lets see if I understand this. With a usb hdtv tuner kit, you can get free hd programming broadcasted in your local area and watch tv on your computer?

    What about the subscription cable channels like discovery in hd, etc? If so, you just need to hook your computer up to their box, right?

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Quote Originally Posted by cobb
    Lets see if I understand this. With a usb hdtv tuner kit, you can get free hd programming broadcasted in your local area and watch tv on your computer?

    What about the subscription cable channels like discovery in hd, etc? If so, you just need to hook your computer up to their box, right?
    Yes, you can get free OTA HD channels on your computer with an ATSC tuner card. They come in both internal and external versions. The internal cards are usually around $50 cheaper.

    You cannot get the HD channels on the basic tier of your cable system unless your tuner card can also demodulate QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) channels. Cable systems use the QAM format because it's more efficient than ATSC and allows them to deliver more channels per chunk of bandwidth. Broadcasters use ATSC (8-VSB, 8 bit vestigial sideband modulation) because it's more robust than QAM in the face of multipath interference.

    The HD Fusion 5 is considered to be one of the better QAM-capable HD tuner accessories for computers. It uses the latest generation tuner module. Earlier generations of HD tuner cards had their share of problems.
    Last edited by PhotonWrangler; 11-12-2006 at 06:04 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Thanks for the link. Ive looked at a few products online, but they require more processing power than I have. My best computer is a laptop. Centrino processor, I believe 800 mhz, with win xp.

    I let my cable go as I kind of grew tired of it and when I saw this title, I thought to myself, I have a few computers and a 21 inch monitor, I could be watching local hd if not cable hd.

    I just hope 800 mhz is enough horse power.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Now watching the Cowboys play Arizona in digital hdtv as I'm posting this.
    It's amazing what can be seen in a football game this way.

    Some of these tuners seem to need at least a 2.8 ghz P4, or a Pentium M 1.7ghz, or an AMD athlon 64.
    Mine's an Athlon 64 3200.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Oh.... I maybe better off then buying a 19 or 21 inch hd tv for less than a grand?

    My favorite computer is my zenith unit. pentinum 75 32 megs of ram windows 95 osr2. My other laptop is a mx2 266mhz, but the screen spring is broken and the battery wont hold a charge. The desktop is a basic toshiba unit, 566mhz centrum or something by intel.
    Last edited by cobb; 11-12-2006 at 04:31 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Cool......didn't know USB 2.9 HDTV tuners where available. Which one is the "one" to get?

    It would look on my 1920 x 1080 Display

    http://images18.fotki.com/v16/photos...MG_3180-vi.jpg


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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    holy cow... what a monitor! what size is that?
    mine is a Samsung 24in recently retired from TV duties when I got a 32in phillips flat screen.

    I'd like to know which tuner to get for free HDTV reception too.
    got tired of cable, so turned it off thinking dish was the way to go.

    but my boys zoomed in on Utube, so no dish or cable. so free tuner sounds great!


    Quote Originally Posted by cmacclel
    Cool......didn't know USB 2.9 HDTV tuners where available. Which one is the "one" to get?

    It would look on my 1920 x 1080 Display

    http://images18.fotki.com/v16/photos...MG_3180-vi.jpg


    Mac

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* 3rd_shift's Avatar
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    There are a growing number of 1920x1080 lcd's showing up as big as 46 inch.
    There have also been some rear projection units at that level of sharpness.

    There are a few 1920x1200 computer monitors showing too as of late that are perfect for a pc hdtv set.
    There is still some room at the top and bottom of the comp monitors of this type for the software skins to to be visible for control the programming with.

  17. #17

    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    That is a 37" Westinghouse 37W3. Looks great as a monitor. I picked up the Dell 30" which is 2560 x 1600 resolution and it was nice but since it had a much higher resolution I would have had to been in the middle of my desk to see the small text. Also hardly any games support that resolution.

    It's powered by a Core 2 Duo with 2, 7900GT cards in SLI

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: HDTV on the computer, It kicks butt!

    Man, you guys are killing me. Can anyone take a screen shot of the demo high res videos from the MS site and send me to see the quality difference, if it will work on a laptop running 1024 x 768? I run 1600x1400 at work.

    My employee discounts favor the urban lifestyle, I hear I can get a 52 inch flat screen for 800 bucks. Better check that it does hd and not just tv.

    mail4cobb@yahoo.com

  19. #19
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    Default HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    Since I got my eye sight back, I do see how fuzzy tv is, rabbit ears vs cable as well. At work I use 1200 x 1024 resolution on my system and on my laptop too,

    Therefore it seemed I could benefit from HD TV. I was looking at a card someone else here uses, but that hundred dollar card would need me to buy a 300 dollar system to run it to use with my 19 inch relisys monitor. I was looking briefly at the line up at target and see for 400 bucks I can get a 20 inch hd ready flat screen tv. I have an employee discount at philips electronics website at 40%, although I havent actually been to the website to see what was offered.

    What would you do? From what I can see, the pc would allow recording abilities in hd and regular format where as with the hd tv, I would need an HD recorder or rent one from the cable or so company.

    I believe I also get a 10 or 20% discount at dell and maybe could look at the entertainment system or barebones for the hd purpose.

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    If you buy a TV, make sure that it's "HD Ready" and not just "HD Compatible." The former has a built-in tuner; the latter usually doesn't and requires an outboard tuner or cable box.

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    Default Re: HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    If I were you, I'd just buy a HD tv and get it over with. I have TWC and its only $10 for the HD set top box WITH DVR recording. Well worth it to skip all the commercials and everything and not be tied to a computer.

  22. #22

    Default Re: HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    Philips sometimes has great prices on refurbs at their outlet store.

    I'd get a TV with built in HD tuner and an HDMI or DVI input for the PC. I've had a PC hooked up to a plasma monitor for three years and the only tuners are in the PC (it's really handy to use a PC as a Tivo because it makes it easy to edit and burn shows to DVD).

    Note if you have the space, a CRT still produces the best picture quality and allows the most flexibility with scaling resolutions if you ever intend to watch any DVD or SDTV (or play games... I've had to hack every game to run at the nonstandard 1366x768 native resolution of my TV because scaled is plain ugly with fixed pixel displays). That and you could get a 30" HDTV for $435 before your discount (if it works on refurbs).

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* John N's Avatar
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    Default Re: HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    If you really want to watch HD TV on your PC, I suggest you hang out on avsforum.com for a while.

    That said, unless you are willing to spend some effort and money, I'd say you should probably just get the TV.

    -john
    Last edited by John N; 11-24-2006 at 01:26 PM.

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    Default Re: HD TV or A New Desktop to run HD Card?

    Quote Originally Posted by bfg9000
    Note if you have the space, a CRT still produces the best picture quality and allows the most flexibility with scaling resolutions if you ever intend to watch any DVD or SDTV (or play games... I've had to hack every game to run at the nonstandard 1366x768 native resolution of my TV because scaled is plain ugly with fixed pixel displays).
    There are definite advantages to well understood and totally mature technologies, like CRTs. I don't plan to buy a HDTV anytime soon, but if I were I'd be getting a CRT model for the reasons you mention.
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    Default Anybody try HD TV over the air?

    What intrigued me was I read a review of which I forget the brand but of a PC USB HD tuner that would capture the signals from the air and the price was less then $100. Seemed like a cheap way to get introduced to HD TV even if it was just on the PC. I wonder if any CPFers have ever tried capturing HD signals over the air as opposed to cable, satellite or other methods. I wonder what the range is? I assume being digital, either you'll get it or you won't. For example I live maybe 40 miles outside of Boston and the airborne analog signals are generally pretty snowy on regular rabbit ears. I wondering how well the HD signals fare, assuming the major Boston stations even broadcast HD over the air of which I do not know if they do.
    I live in a van down by the river

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Monolith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody try HD TV over the air?

    Best HD signal is over air (highest bandwidth). Go to AntennaWeb.org and fill in your address. It will give you the directions and antenna type necessary to receive signals in your area.
    Last edited by Monolith; 04-16-2007 at 06:27 PM.

  27. #27
    * The Arctic Moderator * Sigman's Avatar
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    Default Re: PC HDTV?

    Merged 3 PC HDTV threads...
    -"Must control self"-
    ....

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody try HD TV over the air?

    You want to get a device with a 5th generation tuner such as the AutumnWave GT or the Dvico Fusion HDTV5. Both of these units can receive the off-air ATSC format as well as cable's QAM format. They generally get good reviews.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: PC HDTV?

    I have a Hauppague Win-TV-1600 PCI card that I love. I also bought the Beyond TV software which is awesome. It is basically a DVR/PVR/TiVo whatever you prefer. The software is at www.snapstream.com and you can try it for free.

    Roger

  30. #30

    Default Re: PC HDTV?

    My cable company (Adelphia/Comcast) splits the HD channels. 5, 9, etc are regular and 705, 709 are the same programs in High Def which you can receive only if you get a higher tier and a decorder box to unscramble the HD.

    Stores keep trying to sell me more big screens but I always tell them I will buy them when they can get the signal direct from the cable to the TV, I am not going to pay for a seperate box for each TV in the house.

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