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Thread: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

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    Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Hi all,

    At present I have a Media Center setup based on Windows 7 Home Premium with a Hauppauge HVR-1300 Freeview DVB-T card. At the moment I have a problem in that either I'm getting bad Freeview reception or the Hauppauge drivers suck badly (kinda suspect the latter). Either way, the flat I live in has a satellite dish with two cables run into the living room that I'm currently not using so I suspect the previous tenant or owner had Sky+ installed.

    What I'd like to do is to have either a dual-tuner card or 2x single-tuner cards capable of receiving free-to-air satellite channels, including whatever current HD content is out there. I gather if I was to get a Freesat HD set-top box and plug it into the satellite dish cables I'd get the Freesat normal and HD channels through that so am I right in thinking that if I add the right type of TV cards I'd basically get the same thing? Any suggestions on cards that work well with W7MC and either have dual-tuners or can be paired up for watch-one-record-another or dual recording?

    Cheers
    8bit


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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Why not just wait for Freeview HD to come out?

    By the 2010 World Cup almost 50% of the UK will be able to get Freeview HD and 98.5% by the end of digital switchover in 2012.
    More Info

    Save you a pretty penny, considering FreeSat cards can be expensive. A good dual Freesat Dual Tuner will cost you about £100 and it's only PCI.

    I personally recommend the KWorld PE-355-2T (PCIe) @ £46.91 if your Hauppauge is giving you hell. Of course there are considerations, I having a little trouble with the one in my primary box. I suspect conflict with my Xonar D2X, I've got a thread here with more information and developments as they come forward.

    Since they're on Pre-order I'll be happy to resell you my Kworld PE-355-2T, but I'll need to rule out a few things before I'd be happy selling it. i.e. hardware fault with this particular card, conflict with Windows 7 64bit. Fortunately I have another PE-355-2T. So I can do some swapises to check. Thanks for the info on the Hauppauge, it rules it out for replacement.

    Oh and I just noted you also have a Xonar based card on your main rig, is it possible you are having the same issue as me? I mean to say, is the rig with the TV card your primary, or another one with a Xonar based card. If it is my sound card and replacing the TV card isn't gonna fix it Asus will have hell to pay.

    What I did to get tolerable reception: Uninstall BOTH the TV card and the Sound Card from the Device Manager. Reboot, and let the devices reinstall. This should allow you to actually view content. Challenge number two comes with the changing of channel. Switch to a channel and watch for at least 2 full minutes, then change the channel. If you are having the same issue, you should BSOD.
    Last edited by nightkhaos; 17-11-2009 at 04:02 PM.
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    I also have the above kworld tuner and its great. Just to let you know though that there aren't any tv tuners which can recieve freeview hd as it will be dvb-t2 and according to what I've read it isn't likely freeview hd will be on a pc anytime soon due to drm type restrictions tieing it set top boxes only. Can't really help with the freesat card tho sorry, think you'd be looking for a DVB-S card.
    EDIT: The Hauppauge Nova HD S2 seems to be a popular card for freesat.

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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by crazyfool View Post
    I also have the above kworld tuner and its great. Just to let you know though that there aren't any tv tuners which can recieve freeview hd as it will be dvb-t2 and according to what I've read it isn't likely freeview hd will be on a pc anytime soon due to drm type restrictions tieing it set top boxes only. Can't really help with the freesat card tho sorry, think you'd be looking for a DVB-S card.
    So what, they're completely ignoring the pre-establisehd, and well accepeted DVB-T standards that allow for HD content that the rest of the world uses and doing it all on their own? You have to be kidding me!

    Also, considering every single product advertises that it is capable of 720p and 1080i content, if indeed you can't view Freeview HD on your TV Card, then these retailers should be done by Ofcom for false advertising.
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Exactly my thoughts m8. They are going to use DVB-T2 for broadcasting hd freeview, therefore nobody can watch because dvb-t2 set top boxes wont be available till next year. And also they may use some sort of encryption or drm so that only the set top boxes can decode the signal meaning no hd freeview for pc. Only bought a new tv a year ago and now I'm going to need another box under it... wtf... And that begs the question what is the point of freesat
    Not sure if I'm allowed to link to other forums but this guy here explains it pretty good

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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    There is no terrestrial DVB-T HD standard, except for the up-coming DVB-T2 (at least as far as I know)

    Broadcasting HD over DVB-T would not be fesable due to the amount of bandwidth it would consume.
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    There is no terrestrial DVB-T HD standard, except for the up-coming DVB-T2 (at least as far as I know)

    Broadcasting HD over DVB-T would not be fesable due to the amount of bandwidth it would consume.
    Don't believe the Freeview UK corperations propoganda. Freeview HD is live in Austrialia and New Zealand right now, and they don't need DVB-2T to broadcast it. There are one of two reasons why Freeview UK has decided to opt for DVB-2T.

    1) The BBC doesn't want to upgrade the aging network to allow for better signal to nosie ratio, thus allowing the bandwidth for Freeview HD to be allocated without it using a huge frequency range.
    2) Digital Rights Management in an attempt to "crack down" on people who don't paying TV Licensing (an arachic and pointless system that the UK is the only country still to adopt. Grow up, seriously).

    Oh and another minor note, New Zealand has managed to provide digital HD content over without reallocating the orignal frequencies for legacy analog televsion programs. Another thing that makes me thing that this is just an elebroate money making scheme.

    Add to this the test network in London uses DVB-T, and I call bull on the whole "We need DVB-2T to get Freeview HD."

    NB: It is entirely possible that the 720p/1080i card we already own are actually 2T cards but they just aren't advertised anywhere except for the fact that they support 720p/1080i.

    NB2: I am also of the understanding that part of the technical difference is that 2T cards can encode via H.264 and AC3 for audio. Is it possible that this extra encoding options is the only technical difference between the two standards, and thus, since we can do H.264 and AC3 via DXLA, we already have the required equipement?
    Last edited by nightkhaos; 17-11-2009 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Added two notes.
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    Why not just wait for Freeview HD to come out?

    More Info

    Save you a pretty penny, considering FreeSat cards can be expensive. A good dual Freesat Dual Tuner will cost you about £100 and it's only PCI.
    Well for a start, my HVR-1300 isn't DVB-T2 as far as I'm aware so I'd need to replace that anyway to get Freeview HD. Also, since I'm not convinced of the reliability or fitness-for-purpose of the current card I want to replace it now and DVB-S2 is a (potential) option since I've got a Sky dish with dual wiring in the flat.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    I personally recommend the KWorld PE-355-2T (PCIe) @ £46.91 if your Hauppauge is giving you hell. Of course there are considerations, I having a little trouble with the one in my primary box. I suspect conflict with my Xonar D2X, I've got a thread here with more information and developments as they come forward.

    Since they're on Pre-order I'll be happy to resell you my Kworld PE-355-2T, but I'll need to rule out a few things before I'd be happy selling it. i.e. hardware fault with this particular card, conflict with Windows 7 64bit. Fortunately I have another PE-355-2T. So I can do some swapises to check. Thanks for the info on the Hauppauge, it rules it out for replacement.
    Sorry, should also have said - PCIe isn't an option for me, the only PCIe x1 slot on my motherboard is obscured by the dual-slot graphics card and the other x16 slot can't be used for anything except another graphics card in SLI. I found this out the hard way when I tried to use a PCIe Xonar audio card and the machine wouldn't boot.

    The dual-tuner one you linked to (thanks!) doesn't seem to support DVB-S2 - does that mean it won't pick up HD channels?

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    Oh and I just noted you also have a Xonar based card on your main rig, is it possible you are having the same issue as me? I mean to say, is the rig with the TV card your primary, or another one with a Xonar based card. If it is my sound card and replacing the TV card isn't gonna fix it Asus will have hell to pay.

    What I did to get tolerable reception: Uninstall BOTH the TV card and the Sound Card from the Device Manager. Reboot, and let the devices reinstall. This should allow you to actually view content. Challenge number two comes with the changing of channel. Switch to a channel and watch for at least 2 full minutes, then change the channel. If you are having the same issue, you should BSOD.
    The Xonar card is in the same rig as the TV card, yes. The Xonar has been a PITA from day one too - Asus really do know how to write terrible drivers. At one point I abandoned it from my system altogether when I was running Vista and went back to onboard, the Xonar drivers were causing havoc in games, getting crash to desktop, corrupt sound effects, stuttering, plummeting framerates etc. The W7 drivers seem a bit better but I'm not convinced they're what's causing the problems with the HVR1300 or its' drivers. I've never had a BSOD that I can attribute to the HVR, used to have problems changing to ITV, Channel 4 or Five under Vista MC, when that was happening I had to hit the Stop button on the remote, go back to the guide and select the above channels from there. This seems fixed under Windows 7 MC tho so I put it down to yet another bug in Vista.


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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Most ATI graphics cards with HDMI outputs will output audio in uncompressed multichannel LPCM....basically making sound cards like the xonar virtually obsolete unless your amp/receiver will only accept encoded audio like DTS-MA and DD-Plus......although everyone I have looked at that supports those standards also supports uncompressed multichannel LPCM.
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    Well for a start, my HVR-1300 isn't DVB-T2 as far as I'm aware so I'd need to replace that anyway to get Freeview HD. Also, since I'm not convinced of the reliability or fitness-for-purpose of the current card I want to replace it now and DVB-S2 is a (potential) option since I've got a Sky dish with dual wiring in the flat.
    I personally think you shouldn't upgrade it until you actually have a problem with not being able to recieve HD content on your card.


    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    Sorry, should also have said - PCIe isn't an option for me, the only PCIe x1 slot on my motherboard is obscured by the dual-slot graphics card and the other x16 slot can't be used for anything except another graphics card in SLI. I found this out the hard way when I tried to use a PCIe Xonar audio card and the machine wouldn't boot.

    The dual-tuner one you linked to (thanks!) doesn't seem to support DVB-S2 - does that mean it won't pick up HD channels?
    Not sure, let's be clear on something here: DVB-S2 is still called DVB-S depending on who ya talk to. We might be having the same problems with 720p/1080i enabled DVB-T cards actually being DVB-2T cards... it would explain a hell-of-alot.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit View Post
    The Xonar card is in the same rig as the TV card, yes. The Xonar has been a PITA from day one too - Asus really do know how to write terrible drivers. At one point I abandoned it from my system altogether when I was running Vista and went back to onboard, the Xonar drivers were causing havoc in games, getting crash to desktop, corrupt sound effects, stuttering, plummeting framerates etc. The W7 drivers seem a bit better but I'm not convinced they're what's causing the problems with the HVR1300 or its' drivers. I've never had a BSOD that I can attribute to the HVR, used to have problems changing to ITV, Channel 4 or Five under Vista MC, when that was happening I had to hit the Stop button on the remote, go back to the guide and select the above channels from there. This seems fixed under Windows 7 MC tho so I put it down to yet another bug in Vista.
    Right, so try what I said then, uninstall both devices and see if your signal problems magically disapear. If it is the Asus Xonar card, you and me both have a problem, one that will involve us yelling at Asus.
    Last edited by nightkhaos; 17-11-2009 at 05:46 PM. Reason: Added note
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Most ATI graphics cards with HDMI outputs will output audio in uncompressed multichannel LPCM....basically making sound cards like the xonar virtually obsolete unless your amp/receiver will only accept encoded audio like DTS-MA and DD-Plus......although everyone I have looked at that supports those standards also supports uncompressed multichannel LPCM.
    The only problem with that is in situations where you do not have an external amplifier and you are thus treating your Xonar as the Amp. This is effectively what the multimedia aspect of my *hemhem* Uber gaming machine come media centre come ultra-portable (with a small truck) machine requires.

    My HTPC however does have an external amplifer, so I just throw the output via optical (DTS encoded) (since I'm using DVI rather than HDMI for the video output).
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    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
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  12. #12
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    I've added a few notes to my posts. Please make sure you take them into account, particularly about the DVB-S card I linked. Can someone confirm it actually isn't HDTV capable, cause all I'm getting is anadoctial evidence.

    Okay, it turns out after further googling the issue that the one guy had with HD content via his 4000i was actually related to the recent change in bitrate via the BBC for BBC-HD, and ATi graphics card Windows 7 drivers.
    Last edited by nightkhaos; 17-11-2009 at 05:47 PM.
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    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  13. #13
    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    Save you a pretty penny, considering FreeSat cards can be expensive. A good dual Freesat Dual Tuner will cost you about £100 and it's only PCI.
    This is dual tuner and will give you HD if the software you are using it with supports HD and those channels are being broadcast on DVB-S. I presume W7 MC will let you do HD. MediaPortal definitaly will. The software that comes with the Pinnacle won't, hence no HD capable label on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    NB: it seems that tuner I liked, althrough a dual tuner, is NOT HD capable. This does cause a pickle. Is this one a single or a dual tuner?
    Single tuner, compatible with DVB-S and DVB-S2 so with the right software would do HD on Freeview and ignoring encription, would be able to do HD from Sky (Sky use DVB-S2 transoponders for their HD line up).


    The thing about tuner cards is they don't actually care about the content of the channels. All they do it tune to an analogue frequency and decode the signal, passing the Transport Stream to the software player. This stream can store anything, SD video, HD video, audio in any format, raw binary data (over the air firmware updates for example), MHEG data, etc. Dealing with this is all down to the software player. If the software can handle HD streams, then the product gets labled as being HD compatible. if the bundled software can't, then it doesn't get that fancy sticker on the box. Use the same card with a real media center app and you magically get HD capability.

    So all you have to care about is whether the card can decode the signal type used on the analogue 'channel' and if it will work with your chosen media application. The card being HD or not has nothing to do with it.

  14. #14
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    This TV card stuff is not very well documented! It's rather annoying. I wish someone would do reviews of TV cards and what not, I have to rely on forum postings, and get 5 or 6 indepedent confirmations of something before I actually get an idea of the status quo. So far I've discovered:

    Problems with ATi, Windows 7 and DVB-S cards in general. In particular the PCTV 4000i, haven't found out if this issue also applies to the Nova 2S.

    And the Wikipedia to the reasue regarding DVB-2T... I've found the technical differences are not just limited to the modes, but there the DVB-T standard is backwards compataible with certien aspects. What I need to find out now is weather or not Freeview HD will be using any of these standards that are unique to DVB-2T.
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    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    So all you have to care about is whether the card can decode the signal type used on the analogue 'channel' and if it will work with your chosen media application. The card being HD or not has nothing to do with it.
    I suspected as much. But I was frelling confused. This is not exactly a well documented and easily understand technology, TV cards. Everything else on the market there is plenty of relavent information, but with TV cards I have to search through the depths of hell to find a relevent sinpit of information. If you have any nuggest of information that can help, please, brain dump.

    I am starting a business with the intent of reselling custom built HTPCs as a product, and I don't want to end up selling a faulty product. That is why I am rather annoyed by this Xonar/Kworld conflict I am having, because it is replicated by one of the speced setups I and my business partners have designed! We want to be sure it's going to work afterall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
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  16. #16
    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Freesat-capable card for W7 MC

    DVB-T2 not 2T!!!! sorry, it's been bugging me

    DVB-T2 cards will also be able to tune to DVB-T sources, as only one analogue 'channel' will be used for HD in the UK. I believe there is a lot more frequency space in Oz and NZ for HS over DVB-T.

    There are problems because driver standards are not very well defined. For example the MS BDA driver model (for digital TV cards) has no provision for all the functions DVB-S cards are capable of (controlling motors, stitches, CAM and CI modules, etc.) probably because MCE never supported these features. This means manufacturers have added their own extensions and software needs to be written to support it specifically (or the manufacturer can supply a patch for MCE to make it work with their card).

    I don't know how many channels were involved in the previsou Crystal Palace trials, but I would guess less than the 4 they are proposing to be rolled out nationally. Squeezing 4 HD channels into the space of an old analogue channel is only really possible with the added bandwidth given by DVB-T2 this is why they have gone this route.

    Anyway it's better to go that way now than introduce two Freeview HD channels on DVB-T then decide they need to change to DVB-T2 in a couple of years to get another couple of channels. This may be what happens in other countries. The BBC and the UK will already be using a newer generation platform.

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