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Recommendations re: TV output on a computer

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Recommendations re: TV output on a computer

Old 01-06-02, 07:53 PM
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Recommendations re: TV output on a computer

Heh...

I was thinking, I could use my new RAID server system for a dual purpose. I would like to take the TV out of my office and instead use the computer, if it makes sense to do so.

Curious... what is the minimum computer system/cpu/memory for use as a TV? Could I just buy an LCD screen for the output? I was thinking one of the under $300 15" LCDs from Frys.

What is a good choice for a TV output card? Can I just run my cable system into it?
Old 01-06-02, 08:11 PM
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You don't want to watch on your monitor, either in a window or fullscreen? That's what I got used to. Virtually any video card can be used when you add a TV tuner card. Lately I like the Pinnacle Studio PCTV that ended up costing about $20. Nice picture and recording software included. Cable runs right into it (as it must in all tuner cards), as does s-video and composite. FM tuner on it as well. I prefer the separate card route myself for flexibility. I'm on my third different card on my home theater computer just to find the perfect card. The cheaper I find them, the better they get!

Or you could get a card that has dual outputs, a high-end one would be the Radeon 8500DV with analog and DVI output along with a TV tuner. Or a Radeon VE http://www.ati.com/na/pages/products..._ve/index.html . Matrox also has dual-head cards.

You should look over the ATI and Matrox cards and their OS requirements for dual display (and especially for TV output) if you go that way. The system requirements are minimal. I used to use a card on a PPro 200 system and saw maybe a couple percent utilization under NT Server. Memory usage was also minimal. I had a Hauppauge card in that system because they were the only company that produced a card that worked under NT. Win2K opens many more possibilities, but also can hinder dual display, expecially of overlay video.

When you want to get an excellent picture and don't care about the CPU utilization you can use a free program called DScaler. It deinterlaces the TV picture and you wouldn't believe how good it looks for broadcast! Also, people feed their laserdisc players into it for its ability to produce an excellent picture without the need for external processors.
Old 01-06-02, 08:53 PM
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TV tuner cards don't usually require a very powerful system if you're just using them for watching TV (if you want to use their Tivo-like features, or a video processing program like DScaler, that's another story). The newer ones that use the PCI bus to transfer the video information to the video card will obviously increase utilization of your PCI bus, but I've never seen it be a real problem since the data rate is relatively low.

The older TV cards that use the analog overlay don't have that problem, but the picture quality was never any good and as if that wasn't enough, the video pass-thru would invariably soften the image from the video card.

As for using an LCD for TV, I've seen it where it looks very nice, but I suspect it's highly dependent on having the right combination of TV card, video card, and LCD. I know that some LCD's dont' have pixel response times fast enough to display video without some ghosting. Lower-end/older LCD's using analog VGA input often will have blurring/quantization type effects on the image.

Or maybe you should consider something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...124925-0143065

No drivers to worry about, no need to have the server on. It might even come with a remote.
Old 01-06-02, 09:35 PM
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Great info.

I had thought of using my personal system, but I had some concerns.

I don't even use my system to play CDs. I use another system for that. I hate working on something critical and then having my system lock up because of a sound problem or something. For some reason, I have had lock up when I play CDs.

My system now uses a dual head Matrox to drive the two 21" viewsonics, but I don't have the TV option for the Matrox, it's just one superwide monitor for work reasons.

I still might consider that though. I don't want to dedicate one of my monitors for TV, I don't watch it that much. A small window would be cool. Can I do that, scale a window on my monitor?
Old 01-06-02, 09:42 PM
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yep.

BTW, stay away from USB tv tuners. They don't work very well and they're expensive.
Old 01-07-02, 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by randyc
Can I do that, scale a window on my monitor?
No problem at all. I used to do that all the time, a couple inch square window (or any size) that you can move anywhere you want, or minimize and just listen. I stopped using the 5" TV that I used to have by the computer.
Old 01-07-02, 12:17 PM
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out of curiosity, how easy is it to install and program a ir remote to go along with the TV?
Old 01-07-02, 12:58 PM
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Originally posted by RoQuEr
out of curiosity, how easy is it to install and program a ir remote to go along with the TV?
If the remote comes with the board, as it does with the Hauppauge and Pinnacle boards, it's very easy. Just plug it into a serial port and you're in business. It's already programmed.

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