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Thread: Sky on your PC (using a Digibox..)

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    Sky on your PC (using a Digibox..)

    I've just moved out of Stafford and the Midlands (wooohoooo!), but unfortunately this means i'm stuck living in a tiny box-room for the next 3 months until I can afford a better place. This means that I don't really have room for a TV in my room; not if I want my PC+Monitors in there anyway

    I have Sky paid for up until October though, so I'd still like to be able to watch it if I can, without having to find a small TV. So, I figure my best option is to hook up my digibox to my PC and/or macbook, and watch it through that. This seems to be harder to do these days than I thought though.

    I first looked to my PC Graphics card (an old Sapphire X800 PCI-E), but of course this card isn't VIVO, and only comes with a TV-OUT connection - so I think thats a non-starter.

    Then I tried borrowing a friends TV stick, only to find that its a DVB-T stick and these devices can't pick up an analogue signal, just digital...so again I think thats a non-starter.

    So I expect that my last option is to go and buy either a VIVO graphics card, or an analogue TV Card to pickup the signal. I am thinking that the analogue TV Card is the best way to go in terms of cost/benefit, as I really can't afford to splash out £100+ on a decent replacement card for my X800.

    Can anyone reccomend a CHEAP (preferably USB, or PCI-E) TV card that will allow me to do this? I'm a little wary as I have tried analogue TV cards a few years ago and found the picture shocking with all of them, but i'm hoping things have changed now?

    Or is there a better way to do this? Maybe a Video-in card? I would ideally like to connect via a higher quality connection than RF/coax (eg s-video), but again i'm not sure of the best way to do this (do TV cards usually come with s-video connecitons?)

    Just some things to note:

    I have a working digibox + sub card connected to an LNB, so don't need a sat decoder card or anything.
    I have Tivo to do recording/pausing etc - so I don't need any fancy software or recording devices, I just need to be able to accept an RF or S-Video signal from my Sky DigiBox
    A USB device would be nice, so I can connect to my macbook too, but not essential

    Apologies for the slightly dis-organised post, but if anyone has any ideas or reccomendations, they would be most welcome

    Cheers

    Spud/Pete

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    Just get yourself a Hauppauge PVR150 and something like Mediaportal and will do the job no problem.

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    Theoretical Element Spud1's Avatar
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    Very expensive though..and I have no need for any PVR funcitonality as I already have the best PVR on the market (Tivo)..is there a cheaper one anyone can reccomend? Or would that be a false economy

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    use a vivo gfx card then

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    If you have a tivo, then its the rf-out of the tivo you'll be viewing surely?

    the hauppage hvr-900 usb stick does both DVB-T and analogue input for £45
    http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/100525
    but the quality of its analogue isn't as good as my old pci wintv 848 one when used with dscaler
    (which was/is excellent).

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Any of these will do the job:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...=274&OrderBy=1

    Also the Hauppauge PVR series:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...=275&OrderBy=1

    The advantage of the PVRs is they are hardware MPEG-2 capture cards, so have little impact on your PC. they are also widely supported in third party software, so you can use them with other TV applications easily. If all you want it for is watching live TV, and are not worried about running other programs in the background, a basic USB device should do you.

    £16.44 sound good?
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=427468


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    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    The advantage of the PVRs is they are hardware MPEG-2 capture cards, so have little impact on your PC.
    Compared with software mpeg compression maybe, but not with normal capture card overlay viewing, which uses near zero cpu)

    Remember the pc still has to decode that mpeg, and you are also losing some quality to the mpeg compression.

    Playing an mpeg takes much more of the PC's resources than just displaying an overlay like the older pci wintv cards which are higher quality too.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/48062
    Last edited by mikerr; 08-07-2007 at 02:14 PM.

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    Senior Member chrestomanci's Avatar
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    Could you connect directly to your monitor if it has TV in? Some monitors have S-VHS or componet input sockets, and if memory serves, non HD sky boxes have both. If your current monitor does not have TV inputs, then it might be cheaper to sell it, and buy one that does, than to buy an upgrade for your PC.

    As I recall, the 1920x1200 26 inch Dell monitors, that most people are lusting over have TV inputs, so it could also be the excuse you need to splash out.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerr View Post
    Compared with software mpeg compression maybe, but not with normal capture card overlay viewing, which uses near zero cpu)
    Good point. I'm so used to recomending cards to people that want to use their PC as a PVR/Media center that i forgot all about that aspect of it

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    Theoretical Element Spud1's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice guys

    Tinners - a VIVO graphics card is the ideal solution yes, but I don't have the cash to upgrade my graphics card.

    mikerr - Tivo also has scart sockets and I have converter boxes lying about, so I can use either RF, S-Video or basic component out from the TV.

    Unfortunately I don't have a monitor that accepts TV in, and I don't really want to replace either of them...I still maintain (and will do so till I die..or come accross a panel with a better quality picture) that my high end 21" CRTs give me a better picture than any LCD panel on the market, and i'm not willing to get rid and downgrade to a TFT/LCD panel

    So..i'm left with buying an addon card.

    Little confused now about the quality/performance thing...

    If I am not recording anything, and just want to view the video out in say, Vista's media center or a small window on my desktop, do I need anything other than a basic Video Input device such as this one that Funkstar suggested? http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=427468

    Looks good to me, so long as its not going to put any strain on my PC..but I think that should be fine as long as I am not trying to record or pause anything etc? (remember I have tivo for doing that, I just need to view a single TV signal on my PC )

    Will order that one from Scan later if it seems OK
    Last edited by Spud1; 08-07-2007 at 04:47 PM.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    If you aren't bothered about recording anything, then i would stick to the native software for the video capture device. Vistas MediaCenter would be like using a 10lb sledge hammer to crack a nut (athough, that can be fun).

    Looking at the description on Scan, it should do everything you need it to do and a lot more besides.

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    Yes, you can safely ignore my ramblings on ultimate quality if its a short term thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spud1 View Post
    Unfortunately I don't have a monitor that accepts TV in, and I don't really want to replace either of them...I still maintain (and will do so till I die..or come accross a panel with a better quality picture) that my high end 21" CRTs give me a better picture than any LCD panel on the market, and i'm not willing to get rid and downgrade to a TFT/LCD panel
    You have TWO 21" CRT monsters, and you are complaining about being short of space!

    I agree with you about the ultimate quality of CRT monitors, but in your situation, I would probably put one of them into storage, and use the space for something else.

    Another thing you might consider, is if one of your CRT monitors can display a TV signal, as most can sync on a wide range of signals, and there is a good chance that it will go as low as the frequency of an SD TV signal. It could be as simple as making a cable to go from RGB scart, to the componet inputs of your monitor, and then hooking up a pair of PC speakers or your stereo to the audio outputs of your sky box.

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    Theoretical Element Spud1's Avatar
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    Hehe its a question of priorities, and moving from 2 monitors to 1 after so long is painful

    Thats a good point re: using a monitor as a TV screen, as they do have BNC inputs..I don't have a suitable cable though...but might give maplins a quick call tomorrow and see what they can make for me .

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    Maplin dont make cable anymore. (I know, i used to have to tell people that about 20 times a day)

    The thing with using a monitor for tv is not really sync rates, but voltages, the other way round is easy as its just a resistor. You can get a thing called a syncblaster from maplin, Item A38BF, however, only the bigger stores will stock them, and your monitor needs to be able to sync at c.15hz

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