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    KBC
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    Question HTPC Help!

    Hi, I'm looking to build an HTPC and have the following components to connect:

    NTL TV Box
    Amplifier
    Plasma Screen
    HTPC

    What would be the most efficient way of connecting the above so that I am able to watch and record NTL TV onto my HTPC's hard disk?

    What type of capture card would I require? And what cabling would be required for the connections?

    This is the first time I am building an HTPC. Hope you experts can help!

    If you require more details, please post!

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    You need to post what connections your NTL, Plasma and amp have.

    Often for TV capture the Hauppauge 150 is the best way (via s-video).

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    KBC
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBry View Post
    You need to post what connections your NTL, Plasma and amp have.

    Often for TV capture the Hauppauge 150 is the best way (via s-video).
    Hi BigBry. The Plasma screen has the following connections:

    HDMI Compatible
    Component Video In
    S-Video In
    RCA AV In
    Euro-SCART
    Digital Optical Audio Out
    RCA Audio Out
    PC Input
    Headphone Out
    Subwoofer Out
    PC Card Slot

    I believe the NTL box has a scart output. So I gather I'd need to use a Scart-to-S-Video going from the NTL Cable TV box to the capture card? It's an analog capture card I need?

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    Its a nightmare unless you can get NTL to supply you with a PCI card that mimics the functions of their box.
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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBC View Post
    Hi BigBry. The Plasma screen has the following connections:

    HDMI Compatible
    Component Video In
    S-Video In
    RCA AV In
    Euro-SCART
    Digital Optical Audio Out
    RCA Audio Out
    PC Input
    Headphone Out
    Subwoofer Out
    PC Card Slot

    I believe the NTL box has a scart output. So I gather I'd need to use a Scart-to-S-Video going from the NTL Cable TV box to the capture card? It's an analog capture card I need?
    unless you can obtain a replacement cable box with a firewire connector, then yes, you'll be wanting an analog capture card with hardware encoder (such as the hauppauge 150) and an IR Blaster or RS232 connector to change channels on the box.

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    or there's always the option of a PCI DVB-S card with CAM, such as the technotrend series

    no guarantees though

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    KBC
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    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    unless you can obtain a replacement cable box with a firewire connector, then yes, you'll be wanting an analog capture card with hardware encoder (such as the hauppauge 150) and an IR Blaster or RS232 connector to change channels on the box.
    Hi directhex. Is this the most common and efficient way of connecting the NTL cable box to the HTPC? I gather I should then be connecting an amplifier directly to my HTPC's sound card and control it from there?

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBC View Post
    Hi directhex. Is this the most common and efficient way of connecting the NTL cable box to the HTPC? I gather I should then be connecting an amplifier directly to my HTPC's sound card and control it from there?
    i can't comment on the "best" solution, as i just use freeview.

    however, the options are, as far as i can tell:

    1) A PCI DVB-C card with CI capability (such as TechnoTrend TT-1500C), and a Dragon CAM recoded to emulate your NTL box's serial number

    2) Find an NTL-capable box which can operate over FireWire (US users can use a box such as the Samsung T165 to send channel-change codes, and receive raw digital video data)

    3) Use your existing NTL box, connected to a hardware encoder card via S-Video (such as a Hauppauge PVR150), with assorted IR-Blaster nonsense connected to a serial port to send channel change codes.

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    Using the Hauppauge 150 with an s-video capture is pretty easy, particularly is you use Windows Media Centre 2005. The hardware kit comes with 2 IR blasters that connect to the rear of the MCE IR receiver.

    You can feed a stereo analogue sound source into the Hauppauge card and then feed sound out via your amp. If you divert the sound directly from NTL (assuming you can do this?) you will experience lip-sync delays that can be over a second or so.

    For your picture a DVI card with a DVI-HDMI cable may be worth looking at.

    I personally wouldn't recommend a DVB-C (or S) solution for your 1st HTPC build.

    directhex raises a good question. What does NTL give you that Freeview doesn't (assuming you can get Freeview)? I don't know so forgive what may be a dumb question, I've never lived in a cable area. Freeview is a lot easier solution in a HTPC.

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    KBC
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    I currently have a 6600GT for this build, assuming this is fine, would a simple DVI-to-HDMI converter be adequate? Or would I suffer some quality loss?

    I was thinking of the Hauappauge PVR-500 as this would allow me to capture from NTL as well as standard Terrestrial TV?
    Last edited by KBC; 14-09-2006 at 05:08 PM.

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    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBry View Post
    What does NTL give you that Freeview doesn't (assuming you can get Freeview)?
    if they're the same as Telewest then I think the only worthwhile extra on the basic package is Sky One, although now that 24 series 5 has finished on it all that's left is the 7pm cartoons! Oh and I dunno if you get film4 on freeview now? If you can get those I think I'll be trying to boost our freeview signal for HTPC purposes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by KBC View Post
    I currently have a 6600GT for this build, assuming this is fine, would a simple DVI-to-HDMI converter be adequate? Or would I suffer some quality loss?

    I was thinking of the Hauappauge PVR-500 as this would allow me to capture from NTL as well as standard Terrestrial TV?
    No quality loss with the DVI to HDMI as its all in the digitsl domain - they are actually (as I understand it from googling when I was doing this) that the digital video signal are the same, the main difference is the shape of the plug and also hdmi incorporating sound. So bear in mind that you need to hook up the sound output from the htpc to the relevant sound input on your plaz. Picture quality is sublime by the way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamena View Post
    Oh and I dunno if you get film4 on freeview now?
    Certainly do!

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    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBry View Post
    Certainly do!
    and Sky One? if so, or if Sky Three is similarly good ... bye bye telewest tv!

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    No, not Sky one but Sky 3 is Freeview;

    http://www.freeview.co.uk/channels/

    I'd suggest you check your region first for the list available to you. This may help;

    http://www.dtg.org.uk/retailer/coverage.html

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexkoon View Post
    No quality loss with the DVI to HDMI as its all in the digitsl domain - they are actually (as I understand it from googling when I was doing this) that the digital video signal are the same, the main difference is the shape of the plug and also hdmi incorporating sound. So bear in mind that you need to hook up the sound output from the htpc to the relevant sound input on your plaz. Picture quality is sublime by the way!
    garbage in, garbage out

    if the video source is mpeg2-compressed-video-from-a-svideo-source-fed-from-a-scart-convertor-from-a-decoded-mpeg2 signal, you're not doing too well.

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