Choosing elements for HTPC (hdtv and 4:2:2 feeds)

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Original poster
Dec 23, 2006

Firstable tell you that I´m really happy to find this forum ´cause I´ve been very interested reciving HDTV signals here in Europe, and there is no places to talk about it at all, but finally I have found you! :D

Well, I´m tryin´ to make my own HTPC with just 2 goals: To receive HDTV channels via KU-Band Satellites here in Spain with a Usals Rotor Dish, and to watch some feeds in 4:2:2. So I started looking for the DVB-s Pci Card and I´ve got two choices:

The SkyStar II, which is one of the most important PCI cards here in Europe and everyboody talk about it, and the SkyStar HD, a "stranger" one ´cause I´m tryin´ to read some interviews about it and I cannot find a place where I can compare it with the skystar II. ¿ What do you recommend me ?

The next point is the Proccesor... I´m very sure to choose AMD, but which one? Ok, I see that I need almost an Athlon 64 3500+, but reading some posts here, I´ve seen that sometimes it´s not sufficient to receive and watch 4:2:2 signals, or HDTV channels ( using, for example, elecard codec) I had the idea that the ultimate core duo proccesors was not really an answer to the troubles that we´ve got here decoding HDTV signals, but I´m thinkin´ that maybe it is the way to obtain it? It would be great to know the CPU that you are using to value my choice here :rolleyes:

And finally tell you that I will send the image to my 32" LCD monitor with 1366x768 via DVI connection...I have seen a lot Graphic Cards, but I don´t really know which one use.For sure with DVI port. ¿Any idea?

Many thanks for all, and excuse my poor Enligsh...:p
Read the following information, then if you have any additional questions please ask and perhaps some of us can answer them…

Proven Hardware List, Updated 5/4/06

ATI and NVIDIA Video Card Buyer's Guide, Updated 5/5/06

skystar 2 and viewing satellite programs in FC 2

Getting my HDTV to work, a FAQ of sorts, with a primer on HDTVs

High-definition television

Home Theater Equipment and Display Devices

Product: Video Cable
Manufacturer : Steren Electronics

Monitor Asset Manager 1.26
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Your English is better than the posts by many Americans. :)
If it hadn't been for the "¿" ... and the comment you were in Spain, I'd have never known.

In addition to any good advice you get here, you might also want to consider the forums for the various receiver software packages.
Some software is -not- capable of receiving hi def signals, but most is.

I have made some tests using a much less powerful computer, and had good success.
I used a Twinhan Starbox USB and a 1500mhz laptop.
Due to the holidays, I have been unable to work on the project.
I plan on continuing with a Twinhan 102g PCI card, and terrestrial ATSC receivers.

As for video card, there are two camps: ATi, and nVidia.
I'm an nVidia user, and from what I've read, the 6600gt is sufficient.
I currently have a 7600gt, and that should be equally adequate.
In that brand, the suffix letters are as important as the numbers, so do some research before purchase.
(a 6600 non-GT is considerably less powerful than the 6600gt)
Now, as to the ATi family of cards, you'll have to do more research.

There are three things you can do with hi def:
1) watch it on your computer;
2) watch it on your TV;
3) record it for later use.
I have simultaneously watched and recorded hi def shows on my laptop.
My goal is to record, and possibly play back through a TV set, from a bigger computer.
You might want to decide what your needs are, as well.

Hope this has been some small help.
I will look forward to the comments of others, as well.
Hi again!

Thank you very much FordPrefect about all that links... I´ve been readin´all of them, and now I know some very important points to follow in the proccesor or graphic card choice. And thanks of course for you Anole :D I have felt very proud of my English ;)

Firstable tell you that I won´t use the HTPC to record anything ´cause for example, I´ll just try to receive 4:2:2 signals because of the Spanish Soccer feeds...then I will watch them and stop.

I think that the point that it´s really gettin´ me crazy it´s the proccesor choice... Someone told me that I need almost a 2.8Ghz Proccesor to watch HDTV. But I know also that I can run with a lower frequency if I have a really good graphic card.Is that true? If it is, which is the relation between the proccesor frequency and the quality level of the graphic card that I must follow in the final choice?

In addition, I´ve read that, for example, the 64 series of AMD it´s something that it´s just no neccesary for us because 64 bit systems are nice for transfering huge amounts of data, but HD content still doesn't need this (Unless you plan on having 12 HD cards in a system and are running a fiber backplane to a SAN, which is not my situation...)

So then I continued reading the post in htpcnews and they talk about Core Duo technology is the best choice for an htpc. Ok, but i´ve been searching prices and I saw, for example, the AMD 64 x2 3800+ ( 221$) and it works at 2Ghz. Then I see the P.4 541 that works at 3.2Ghz and costs 116 $ !!! ¿What do I choice?

The next step will be the motherboard, but I think that I have no doubts whith it ´cause I´ll choose a cheap microATX Abit, or an Asus, after the big payment that it will take me the proccesor...The graphic card is something that I reserve for the time that I´ll have chosen the proccesor and the motherboard...

Thanks for your help!
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Hi again!

Thank you very much FordPrefect about all that links... I´ve been readin´all of them, and now I know some very important points to follow in the proccesor or graphic card choice. And thanks of course for you Anole :D I have felt very proud of English ;)


Thanks for your help!

Always go bigger then most people recommend…do not spare money on power, you can always use it and it last longer then mediocre speed machines…for example in 2002 I built a dual Pentium 3 Tualatin machines using Tyan motherboards, over 50 are still running…with no customers complaining about speed…yes, I suggest to regular users to buy dual Pentium machines, why I got tired of updating machines every two or so years, now 4 years later no one is asking to update…very satisfied customers. So having said this, here you go…buy a single CPU, when the price drops to $50 buy the second CPU and you will extend the lifecycle of your machine by two years easily…

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor – Retail

I found the above on my first yahoo search for $130.99…

Then this $129.00…

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+(65W) Windsor 2.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor – Retail

As for the motherboards try a Tyan, I have used Asus, Tyan Abit, but I always preferred Tyan for the value…

I really like this motherboard may build my project Dreambox dual tuner receiver using this motherboard…

Open Box: TYAN S2877ANRF Dual Socket 940 NVIDIA nForce Professional ATX Server Motherboard - OEM

I found this motherboard at the same place for $199.99

Potentially this setup will give you a quad 64 bit CPU system…

As for graphics cards one of these would be fine…I like the features it has, i.e., DVI, TV-Out: HDTV/S-Video Out, VIVO: Yes…these features will insure that you will be able to watch HDTV at highest resolutions with no quality issues…

Chipset Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Core clock: 470MHz
DirectX: DirectX 9
DVI: 2
Memory Clock: 1200MHz
Memory Interface: 256-bit
OpenGL: OpenGL 2.0
PixelPipelines: 24
TV-Out: HDTV/S-Video Out
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Hi guys, and merry christmas for everybody!

I´ve been taking a deeper look in the links that you gave me Ford, and everything has turned very sad. I tell you why. In newegg don´t ship anything out of U.S.A. So you could also be in Canada, and they won´t sell you anything... The same problem I had with some shops where I found the cute Astec Fusion Case, which is the one that made me fall in love.

So now I´ve been looking for some prices and all that I have obtained is:

A brand new AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+ at 220 US$ (spanish shop), and the Astec Fusion for 220 US $ (also in a spanish shop). Yeah guys, I know it, every price it´s growin´up with time, but I have no choice, so I will sell them this week.

The next point, is the mother board. I saw the one that you told me Ford, but I don´t like it at all, mainly because I want a microATX form factor board. So now I´m very interested in this one: Asus M2NPV-VM

The price is really cheap, more or less 80 US $, and I think that it comes with a "good" graphic card with HDMI that I think will work fine with HDTV channels considering the 4400+ Proccesor that I will use and the 1.5G of RAM. In fact, I found this link: There I saw that gForce 6150 chip is very appropriate for HDTV signals. And the Asus Mother board that I talked about cames with it! :D Anyway, If I see in a future that the graphic it´s not sufficient, I would buy a good graphic card ( 170 US $ +-) using the PCIx16 free in the mother board. What do you think about?

Thanks 4 all your help!
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I have a AMD X2 4200 feeding a 57inch TV via an DVI to HDMI cable. I also have a 7.1 audio card feeding the 6.1 receiver via optical cable. The X2 4200 does a very decent job on the few 35mbps 4:2:2 1920X1080i I've thrown at it. This is using TSReader and VLC to view it. I do know that one time I had Windows booted up in single processor mode and the system was unable to keep up with the stream when I had de-interlacing turned on. So get as much power as you can afford.
Hi all!

I finally got the Asus M2NPV-VM, an AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+, a Serial Ata Seagate 200g HD, and the beautiful Antec Fusion Case. The next step will be the RAM, ´cause now I´m thinkin´ about 667 or 800 for a ddr2 1g module.

In the other hand, I´m really confused with the DVB-PCI choose. I tell you this ´cause I don´t really want to pay for a DVB-S2 card when we don´t know which norm it´s going to be used by the industry to broadcast in the future.

For example, here in Europe, we don´t have a lot of HDTV channels, but some of them are broadcasted over DVB-S standars (as well as 4:2:2 feeds) so I will be able to watch them usin´ just a SkyStar II...

All that it´s pushin´ me to think about gettin´a brand new SkyStar HD or a Technotrend S2-3200...

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