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Thread: PVR question

  1. #1
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    Question PVR question

    How do I connect my S-video output on my PC to my TV? The TV has only a 75 ohm coax connector. I also read that watching recording material or DVDs from your PC on your computer is a "fuzzy" proposition.

    BTW do the DVDs I record with my TV-In ATI card have the same quality as the ones I might record on a seperate DVD recorder?

  2. #2
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    If your TV only has a 75ohm connector, it will not be able to fully utilize the quaility that S-Video provides. That said, there are adapters that will convert S-Video to 75ohm, but as said before, you will lose quality.

    As for the ATI cards TV-in...it all depends on the type of tuner the ATI card has, and the type of signal it is receiving. Same goes for any DVD recorder that records TV shows.
    -curtis

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilC
    How do I connect my S-video output on my PC to my TV? The TV has only a 75 ohm coax connector.?
    As Curtis mentioned there are adapters. If you have other components (VCR, or cable box, etc.) your best bet is a multi-input RF modulator like one of these. (They can be found for cheaper on ebay)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilC
    I also read that watching recording material or DVDs from your PC on your computer is a "fuzzy" proposition.
    Viewing computer output on a standard resolution tv is indeed an eye-straining experience. Video overlay (DVD playback) looks ok, not bad really, but trying to read text, surf the net, etc. will give you a migraine. You would need a "frontend" software like Xlobby to make it workable. On the other hand, hooking PCs up to a hi-def TV via component, VGA, or DVI is becoming more and more common and with enough processing power and the right software the picture rivals and often surpasses that of high-end upscaling DVD players. I have an HTPC in my TV room and I haven't used my DVD player in over a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilC
    BTW do the DVDs I record with my TV-In ATI card have the same quality as the ones I might record on a seperate DVD recorder?
    I assume you're talking about DVDs of recorded TV, and not a DVD>DVD copy? (If the latter, you're going about it all wrong). Depends on the card and the DVD recorder, but I'm pretty sure most ATI's have only analog TV-in, so the quality would be comparable to a good VCR recording. Only the most recent ATI cards have quality capture hardware. For standard defintion, you're better off with Hauppage PVR 150, 250, or 350 (has hardware encoding). For HDTV, go with a Fusion or a myHD.

  4. #4
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    Default Clarification

    I have used my ATI Tv Wonder to record Cable TV to my HD, now I want to write the files to DVDs using Sonic and then watch the files on my TV. But I need to know if the files will be of typiacl cable TV quality? The files are a bit grainy on my PC monitor. If I use the modulator and use the TV will the files be as clear as cable. I have standard cable.

    Does a box like Xlobby sharpen the resolution?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilC
    But I need to know if the files will be of typiacl cable TV quality? The files are a bit grainy on my PC monitor. If I use the modulator and use the TV will the files be as clear as cable. I have standard cable.
    In short, no. The TV Wonder is not a great capture card to begin with (meaning both its tuner and its video encoding process are not among the better ones on the market. The tuner in your tv is probably higher quality). Moreover, the process you are using (cable > ATI Tuner > video file > re-encoded to DVD) is somewhat akin to making a video tape of a video tape, in that each step involves quality loss, particularly if you have the TV Wonder set to encode to mpeg, which is a "lossy" (or compressed) format. Add to that the quality loss involved in going from S-video to coax. Compare the above to simply going straight into a DVD recorder (which also involves re-encoding, but not as many steps). However, the recordings WILL look better than they do on your PC monitor because you won't be upscaling them to whatever resolution your desktop is set to (standard def tv files are only 704 x 480).

    Does a box like Xlobby sharpen the resolution?
    No, Xlobby is software not hardware. It provides a frontend -- e.g. a graphical interface that is more user friendly than trying to read your deskop on a standard definition tv. With it you can create a tv show database, assign images or "cover art" to each recording, and load whatever software you use to view the files. It is primarily used to access files archived to the hard drive. If all you want to do is play a DVD through your computer, it is not necessary and, frankly, the learning curve is steep if you're not handy with computers.

    All that being said, why not give it a shot and see if you're happy with the results. I'm assuming you already have a DVD burner in your computer? The RF modulators can be found on ebay for as little as $10, and you'll need one if you ever want to hook up a regular DVD player to that TV (unless you plan on replacing the TV). FWIW, I have a media server in my basement, on which I store all my music, the kids DVDs, etc. and that computer is hooked up to a standard def TV in the same way you are proposing. Although I don't often use this setup for TV/DVD viewing (my main HTPC is hooked up to a HDTV, and networked with the media server), it works fine in a pinch.
    Last edited by sensibull; 11-21-2005 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks! Your post was spot-on. BTW what are some of the better TV capture cards? I suppose I would like a configuration where the captured signal gets recorded directly to the DVD. If I could get the same quality of recording directly I could forego a DVD recorder and simply use a DVD player. Am I right that you imply that a dedicated DVD player/recorder is still the best option?

    I am picking up the modulator tomorrow.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilC
    BTW what are some of the better TV capture cards?
    See the very last line of my 2nd to last post.

    I suppose I would like a configuration where the captured signal gets recorded directly to the DVD.
    Not really possible with a computer to go directly onto a blank DVD, but you can record at DVD quality mpeg (720 x 480) and then use a burning program that does not re-encode during authoring (i'd have to look into which ones those are, but I think TMPGenc DVD Author is one). Even if your software re-encodes, the quality loss would be slight so long as you use the "DVD Quality" setting in your capture card.

    Am I right that you imply that a dedicated DVD player/recorder is still the best option?
    Well, yes and no. In your situation, with your process and your current gear, a DVD recorder would lessen the number of re-encoding steps, remove the potential for CPU hickups ruining a recording, and make for an overall easier setup process. It also looks better in the living room (Unless you go the extra mile and buy a really nice computer case). But it depends on your priorities, and how much into the computer stuff you want to get. If you want to be able to edit the files, a component DVD recorder doesn't offer that. There's also the cost of specialized blank media, which some component DVD recorders require. Personally, I will never buy a component DVD recorder because I think a computer is just so much more flexible. But then again, I don't archive my recorded tv on DVDs... I just save to my hard drive, watch, and delete. When I buy equipment, I usually base my decision on what can offer me the most uses and flexibility w/o rendering any of my current gear redundant. You already have the TV wonder and the PC. A PC burner will only be $40 more (or maybe you have one already?). A PC burner will also allow you to copy DVDs w/o any restrictions, create your own customized DVDs (assuming you even want to), archive data on DVD-ROMs, and they are on average $100 cheaper than component DVD burners. In fact, you could probably get a PC burner and component player for the same or less than the cost of a component buner. That would be the best of both worlds, IMO.

    I am picking up the modulator tomorrow.
    Just make sure it has an s-video input. Not all of them do.
    Last edited by sensibull; 11-21-2005 at 05:14 PM.

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