Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › HTPC › Windows Media Center / STB
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Windows Media Center / STB

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
OK, in the living room I have a cable HD STB/DVR in addition to an XBOX 360. The Logitech Harmony makes it easy to switch between the 360 for Netflix and cable.

In the bedroom, I have hooked up an HTPC/Windows 7/Windows Media Center. I've always had an SD STB in the bedroom. The point in this configuration is to feed everything through the PC, and use the PC as a DVR. I'm using a USB TV tuner and IR blaster to interface between WMC and the STB. According to the following article: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...s-Media-Center, if I were to swap out the SD STB in the bedroom for another HD STB, it would do me no good, as WMC converts HD signals to SD.

My question, first of all, is why? Secondly, does any other media software retain the HD signal? And thirdly, when converting to an SD signal, does WMC simply scale the video proportionally, or does it render a lower quality 16:9 video?
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 5
WMC does not automatically convert stuff from HD into SD. What your saying is this -

If you run an HD STB into your PC, it will only capture at S-Video level. There are two ways around that.

1) Ceton Cable Card Tuner. With a Multi-stream card available from most cables companies, you can record up to 4 streams! You won't have access to On Demand content but I hardly think that's a big deal, you might think differently.

The secondary option to that is to use Ebay to find an ATI Cable Card tuner. Those go for about $100 now and its the more affordable option ATM. The Ceton runs $399, but there more options that may become available, but there's no ETA on those products and the backlog on the Ceton is fairly hefty. Even if you ordered today you might not get it for a couple of weeks.

But its by far the most integrated options and works perfectly with Windows Media Center 7 - http://hd.engadget.com/2010/03/30/ce...-tuner-review/

2) The next best option is to wait a few weeks for Hauppague's Colosus which is available for pre-order ($130) on Hauppague's FB page - http://store.hauppauge.com/AddToShop...?ProductID=115

This is internal and $70 cheap than the external version (HD-PVR) which runs about $200.

Both will record any HD device but set-top boxes have to use component or analog inputs, HDMI is blocked.

You'll also be limited to 1080i but that's hardly a deal breaker it still looks much better than SD.

What MS is saying there is no way to get an HD signal into a PC, well there is and that FAQ needs updating.

All these solutions work natively with Windows Media Center.
The Media Center
(14 items)
 
Storage Server
(4 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD K12 A75M AMD Radeon HD 6530D Patriot Memory  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
Patriot Memory  OCZ Agility 3 Samsung F3 Windows 7 Build 7100 - 32 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC LE24H067 Logitech Antec Earthwatts 550W Antec Sonata III 500 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech RAIDERS! 
  hide details  
Reply
The Media Center
(14 items)
 
Storage Server
(4 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD K12 A75M AMD Radeon HD 6530D Patriot Memory  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
Patriot Memory  OCZ Agility 3 Samsung F3 Windows 7 Build 7100 - 32 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC LE24H067 Logitech Antec Earthwatts 550W Antec Sonata III 500 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech RAIDERS! 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips, very good info. I guess what you are saying as far as that FAQ is concerned, is that regular capture cards are limited to SD?
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by tand1 View Post
Thanks for the tips, very good info. I guess what you are saying as far as that FAQ is concerned, is that regular capture cards are limited to SD?
Correct based on INPUT only, I have DirecTV and upgraded to a HD box once but both my old 9600XT All In Wonder and my ATI TV Wonder 650HD only take S-video as its highest input which is still SD, not even EDTV.

Still looks good because the hardware filters on the 650HD sharpen the imagine about as much as possible for an SD signal.

I also have a Cat's Eye 150 HDTV card and that outputs whatever the channel is. Its an Over The Air/Free To Air TV card. So only my local channels, but that's about 40 of them when you count all the sub-channels.

CBS is 1080i, NBC is 1080i, CW is 720p, ABC is 720, Fox is 1080i and My13 (Los Angeles) is 720p. So my locals are in HD and my DirecTV tuner is a basic tuner so SD.

However I don't know what service your getting from your cable company. If its just basic cable, you can pick up your Clear QAM channels with a TV Tuner Card, just eliminate the Set-Top Box from the equation and run the coax cable into your USB tuner (if it supports QAM). Your local channels and maybe a few other channels will all be in native HD.

If you get a dual tuner card like the Hauppauge HVR-2250 it has an internal splitter, so running one cable into the card will give you 4 total tuners, 2 HD and 2 SD. All that really means that it will record/display up to 4 different channels. There's no PIP function in Windows Media Center, so basically you can record 4 channels or record up to any 3 channels and watch 1 live.

If you're not getting premium encrypted channels, then give back your cable box and get one of these cards. The Cable Card tuners will allow you to watch HD Premium Channels.

Does that make sense?
The Media Center
(14 items)
 
Storage Server
(4 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD K12 A75M AMD Radeon HD 6530D Patriot Memory  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
Patriot Memory  OCZ Agility 3 Samsung F3 Windows 7 Build 7100 - 32 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC LE24H067 Logitech Antec Earthwatts 550W Antec Sonata III 500 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech RAIDERS! 
  hide details  
Reply
The Media Center
(14 items)
 
Storage Server
(4 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD K12 A75M AMD Radeon HD 6530D Patriot Memory  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
Patriot Memory  OCZ Agility 3 Samsung F3 Windows 7 Build 7100 - 32 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
AOC LE24H067 Logitech Antec Earthwatts 550W Antec Sonata III 500 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech RAIDERS! 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your help. I think I'm starting to understand this. Just to summarize:

My cable company originally had analog cable and digital cable. I subscribed to digital cable, which required me to rent an SD cable box. I also rented an HD cable box/DVR to allow me access to the HD channels.

My cable company is now all digital -- the former analog customers now use a small but free cable box for basic service. So I believe that going from the wall to the tuner is out.

My options would be the following:

1. Continue as is. Route the SD cable box to the USB tuner, use an IR blaster, and get normal digital cable service through WMC.

2. Ditch the cable fox and get a free basic box, routing it to the USB tuner and using an IR blaster. Save a few bucks and lose a bit of functionality.

3. Get an HD cable box and pick up the Colossus when it comes out, in order to preserve the HD signal. Still using an IR blaster.

4. Pick up a Ceton when it comes out, or find a USB ATI cable card tuner, and acquire a Cable Card from my cable company. Route the cable from the wall to the tuner, get HD, but lose On Demand.
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
Main System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1090T MSI 890FXA-GD70 XFX Radeon 5850 16 GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
3 X 7200 RPM / 1 TB Win 7 Ultimate 64 2 x ASUS 23" VH232H 1080P SeaSonic X-650 
Case
Corsair 600T 
  hide details  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HTPC
Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › HTPC › Windows Media Center / STB