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Problems with Video Quality Using Media Center As DVR

sns_guy
04-02-2008, 11:14 PM
I just built my first PC :yippee: which I'm using Vista Home Premium and Windows Media Center for recording. Here's my setup.


Antec Nine Hundred
Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium
ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor
G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HIS Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800

I have the Comcast Digital Cable Box hooked up with a coaxil cable and the picture looks fuzzy. When I use my XBOX 360 as an extender the picture is really fuzzy compared to the actual signal to my tv. I have the settings on Best in Media Center not sure what else to do. Any one have any ideas?

oblioman
04-03-2008, 04:11 PM
Bypassing your PC, how does the pic look when directly hooked to your tv?

sns_guy
04-03-2008, 05:00 PM
Bypassing your PC, how does the pic look when directly hooked to your tv?

Thanks for responding. I actually don't have the capability of hooking directly to my TV at the moment. I'm going to order the required cords to run to it but don't have them in hand. Reading the specs on the Haugpage it states If you have a digital cable set top box or a satellite box, the WinTV-HVR-1800 can connect via either Composite or S-Video inputs. I have it plugged into the NTSC coxail jack using a coaxil. I tried plugging it into the ATSC but nothing worked. Could having it plugged in the NTSC coaxil jack instead of the S-video be the problem?

pfh
04-04-2008, 03:02 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the those inputs are only going to deliver a SD 480i image which is going to look pretty bad?? Post processing or upscaling is going to look even worse if that's what you're doing.

cavsabersteel
04-04-2008, 07:06 AM
What are you using to connect the cable box to the tv?

With my Pinnacle HD tuner, I had TERRBILE reception when I used coax cable, even with a signal booster. The booster helped, but not much. I started using an S-Video cable, and the problem got a lot better. I can watch it at fairly good resolution as long as I don't go full screen - 65" is just too much TV for 480i.

The heart of the issue is that HD broadcasts can be sent over coax cables to your cable box, becasue it is just 1's and 0's and your cable box assembles the image. Once the image is assembled, you have to have HD connections all the way to the TV (either Component or HDMI). For some :banghead: reason, all TV tuner cards only have coax or S-video inputs, which reduce the quality to SD.

sns_guy
04-04-2008, 10:42 AM
What are you using to connect the cable box to the tv?

With my Pinnacle HD tuner, I had TERRBILE reception when I used coax cable, even with a signal booster. The booster helped, but not much. I started using an S-Video cable, and the problem got a lot better. I can watch it at fairly good resolution as long as I don't go full screen - 65" is just too much TV for 480i.

The heart of the issue is that HD broadcasts can be sent over coax cables to your cable box, becasue it is just 1's and 0's and your cable box assembles the image. Once the image is assembled, you have to have HD connections all the way to the TV (either Component or HDMI). For some :banghead: reason, all TV tuner cards only have coax or S-video inputs, which reduce the quality to SD.

Will that also fix the fact that when I scan for the channels with media center that it's only finding one channel. From what I'm understanding when I use the coaxil cable it's it's reading it analog and when I use the S-Video cable it will read it digitally correct?

cavsabersteel
04-05-2008, 08:09 AM
Will that also fix the fact that when I scan for the channels with media center that it's only finding one channel. From what I'm understanding when I use the coaxil cable it's it's reading it analog and when I use the S-Video cable it will read it digitally correct?


Im not 100% sure since you are using a cable box (I assume you MUST use the box to decode the premium channels), but that sounds like the same issue I had with my tuner, which receives a signal from my satellite box. In my case, since I am just relaying the signal from the box to the tuner, it will only detect one channel - whether I am using coax or S-video.

If you were to run the cable from the wall directly to the pc, you would find every channel, but that wouldn't help you because you need the cable box to decode the premium channels.

It looks like your best option is to use S-video fromt he cable box to the pc (you will probably only be able to find one channel), and use an IR blaster so that when you change channels in WMC it will send the signal to your cable box.

Maybe someone that has tried a similar setup from a different persepctive can help, too.

sns_guy
04-05-2008, 12:12 PM
Im not 100% sure since you are using a cable box (I assume you MUST use the box to decode the premium channels), but that sounds like the same issue I had with my tuner, which receives a signal from my satellite box. In my case, since I am just relaying the signal from the box to the tuner, it will only detect one channel - whether I am using coax or S-video.

If you were to run the cable from the wall directly to the pc, you would find every channel, but that wouldn't help you because you need the cable box to decode the premium channels.

It looks like your best option is to use S-video fromt he cable box to the pc (you will probably only be able to find one channel), and use an IR blaster so that when you change channels in WMC it will send the signal to your cable box.

Maybe someone that has tried a similar setup from a different persepctive can help, too.

That sucks if it's only going to detect one channel. I have an IR blaster receiver but the problem i it's not changing the channel on the cable box controlling it in WMC. I can use the guide in WMC select a program and it won't do anything. It only controls it from the box and it will change on my computer screen. Every time I try to record something it says it has the same title. what ever is on channel 3. It's also randomly recording stuff for no reason. :banghead: Like now. I don't even have the Cable box on and it's recording blackness. No program just blackness.

cavsabersteel
04-05-2008, 12:33 PM
That sucks if it's only going to detect one channel. I have an IR blaster receiver but the problem i it's not changing the channel on the cable box controlling it in WMC. I can use the guide in WMC select a program and it won't do anything. It only controls it from the box and it will change on my computer screen. Every time I try to record something it says it has the same title. what ever is on channel 3. It's also randomly recording stuff for no reason. :banghead: Like now. I don't even have the Cable box on and it's recording blackness. No program just blackness.


Not sure why the guide data would do that, it sounds maybe like WMC does not have the correct program schedule for your cable provider. That could be microsofts problem or your providers problem. As for the failure for the IR blaster not sending the correct signal, that doesn't surprise me. I had to go through WMC tuner setup about 10 -15 times to work out various issues. Every time I went through setup, it would fix one problem but create a new one. I finally got it right, tho, with the correct guide info.

Now my only issue is that after ALL that work (which was fun, hence the only reason I did it), the satellite DVR records better quality, so I rarely use the WMC guide. :what: I do LOVE the interface for playing now/upcoming movies and all the info in WMC, though.

sns_guy
04-05-2008, 12:43 PM
Not sure why the guide data would do that, it sounds maybe like WMC does not have the correct program schedule for your cable provider. That could be microsofts problem or your providers problem. As for the failure for the IR blaster not sending the correct signal, that doesn't surprise me. I had to go through WMC tuner setup about 10 -15 times to work out various issues. Every time I went through setup, it would fix one problem but create a new one. I finally got it right, tho, with the correct guide info.

Now my only issue is that after ALL that work (which was fun, hence the only reason I did it), the satellite DVR records better quality, so I rarely use the WMC guide. :what: I do LOVE the interface for playing now/upcoming movies and all the info in WMC, though.

Ya the thing is I want to use WMC for recording due to the fact that gettng rid of the Comcast DVR and downgrading to just the cable box and loosing the HD channels will save us almost $400 a year. I can deal with a less than perfect picture for that but I don't want it to look like crap like it is now. I'm gonna running the setup again and see if I can get to work. Thanks for your help. I may be back for more!! :D

sns_guy
04-08-2008, 09:40 PM
Ya the thing is I want to use WMC for recording due to the fact that gettng rid of the Comcast DVR and downgrading to just the cable box and loosing the HD channels will save us almost $400 a year. I can deal with a less than perfect picture for that but I don't want it to look like crap like it is now. I'm gonna running the setup again and see if I can get to work. Thanks for your help. I may be back for more!! :D

Okay so I got the s video and rca cable to go directly from the cable box to my tuner card. The picture looks much better. still looks somewhat less quality then the actual DVR itself. Not sure if it's the tuner or what but I'm still looking into. The problem I am having now is that I can't get the channels to change using media center. It's only reading one channel which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Is there any way to fix this. Has anyone else have had this problem?

sns_guy
04-09-2008, 11:21 AM
Anyone?

sns_guy
04-11-2008, 03:16 PM
So I was able to get my HTPC to read comcast through the wall. The problem now is it's a pretty crappy picture. Would anyone know if that is due to plugging it in from the wall or my tuner card. Is there a better tuner card to use?

mschupp
04-11-2008, 07:01 PM
So I was able to get my HTPC to read comcast through the wall. The problem now is it's a pretty crappy picture. Would anyone know if that is due to plugging it in from the wall or my tuner card. Is there a better tuner card to use? Don't know anything about your card but I've been happy with an ATI TV Wonder 650 card (with Beyond TV from snapstream). It has separate coax inputs for NTSC and ATSC. I'm not on cable, I use an antenna for OTA reception.

However, before spending any more money you should get hooked up directly to the TV set and see what the picture is like.

sns_guy
04-12-2008, 12:42 AM
Don't know anything about your card but I've been happy with an ATI TV Wonder 650 card (with Beyond TV from snapstream). It has separate coax inputs for NTSC and ATSC. I'm not on cable, I use an antenna for OTA reception.

However, before spending any more money you should get hooked up directly to the TV set and see what the picture is like.

I actually don't have the cords to hook it directly to the tv at this point in time. But I am using my xbox 360 as an extender through firewire. The picture is much better on my tv through my xbox. But is still somewhat degrated then the actual picture through my digital cable box. Could that be the card and the quality is just not great. I have the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800. Which has both an input for ATSC and NTSC. Would it better to go with either of these two instead http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100014 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815127006
Thanks for help!!

sns_guy
04-12-2008, 11:44 AM
I actually don't have the cords to hook it directly to the tv at this point in time. But I am using my xbox 360 as an extender through firewire. The picture is much better on my tv through my xbox. But is still somewhat degrated then the actual picture through my digital cable box. Could that be the card and the quality is just not great. I have the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800. Which has both an input for ATSC and NTSC. Would it better to go with either of these two instead http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100014 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815127006
Thanks for help!!

Anyone know anything about these cards?