PCI card confusion

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kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
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Winnipeg, Manitoba
I'm in the process of ordering some FTA equipment (Fortec receiver, large dish, motor etc.) but in the meanwhile I'm thinking to buy a cheap PCI card solution to get started. I want to repoint my recently cancelled ExpressVu dish over to 110/119 to try and get GolTV, NASA and some audio on my PC.

I know that the Nexus-S is a great card, but it's pricey (considering I'll be getting an STB anyway). I mostly only need the PCI card for handling 4:2:2 and HDTV feeds (have to upgrade my PC first though) but I also want a card that's compatible with myTHEATRE.

It seems that the Twinhan VisionPlus and Hauppauge Nova are good choices, but I'm not clear on all the various VisionPlus models out there. I think the 1020 is fairly legendary, but I've also seen 1022, 1025, 102g and (Digiwave?) 103g. Are these all generational upgrades or are some better than others?
 

partyharty

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 6, 2006
178
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Don't forget the 1030 (basically a 1025 in a low-profile design).

:>

Can't help with the others though, I tried to figure them out myself and in the end I just decided to heck with it (I just wanted to watch some tv). :>

There is too much to worry about. They all work about the same (or so I have heard). Some have had overheating problems (I believe the 1020 had a few that had this problem). My 1030 used to get a bit warm (but I have since installed 2 big case fans 1 blowing and 1 sucking air on either side of it (so the heat problem is gone).

c-ya
Chris
 

partyharty

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 6, 2006
178
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Nexus is good until you decide to try for HD or 4:2:2 content. It works the same as a twinhan on these (due to the fact that it has to decode these in software, same as the cheap cards).

For SD though the Nexus is a great card (but as you said ya get what you pay for, its $$)

I dont know a lot about the Nova cards so I cant help ya there.

c-ya
Chris
 

W_Tracy_Parnell

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jan 19, 2005
1,740
3
South of Buffalo NY
Kymics,

Two things. First, I would advise that a PC card only system is somewhat difficult to use compared to a settop box-especially for aiming. You see many people come on the forum here that have problems, although it shouldn't be too hard to just get the free stuff on Dish.

If you're serious about you might want to look at the DVB World USB box, which gets rave reviews.
 

kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
0
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Good point. I still have my Bell receiver (at least for now) which makes it easy to point the dish. Because the equipment is similar it actually tells you when you've hit 110/119 and the signal strength. Once it's fine tuned, then I could plug it into the PC card.

The DVB World box does look decent, but I've heard it's not supported by myTHEATRE. I haven't checked progDVB yet though.
 

W_Tracy_Parnell

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Jan 19, 2005
1,740
3
South of Buffalo NY
You should have no problem pointing then. Alot of newbies get a PC card first and then try to point the dish with no experience and it's a hassle! I could not imagine using a PC only to aim a dish myself.
 

jerryt

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 23, 2005
457
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South Florida
My recommendation on a PCI card would be Skystar 2.

$79.00 with a one year warranty on Ebay.

1020 twinhan's are solid cards but have trouble with cheap diseqc switches, so to spend 50.00 dollars on a twinhan and then have to buy a 67.00 diseqc switch is crazy. The Skystar 2 is your best deal.

Besides the Skystar 2 card can do USAL motor control with Mili's SS2diseqc1.9 plugin which is just so sweet.
 

mark_calgary

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 19, 2005
377
0
The dry side of the Rockies
kymics said:
I've seen the SkyStar-2 and it looks good, but I thought mostly only Europeans were using it. Did your's come with a remote?

I have one and am very happy with it and it comes with a remote (which I don't use). Packaged with it is a very useful free version of DVBViewer which I have upgraded to the Pro version. When I initially got the card I tried several different applications such as MyTheatre, ProgDVB, altDVB, TSReader and had too many issues with all of them. DVBViewer was the most stable and easiest to use for me.

In my application it is only used as a slave for 422 and HD FTA and sometimes for recording so I've never tried using it to drive a positioner or switch. I have come across an application specifically designed for dish pointing but can't remember what it was called offhand.

I ordered mine directly from an online shop in Germany and it cost me less than buying it from a Canadian distributor including shipping.

Definitely much more popular in Europe than here but then there is tons of support for it on the internet.
 

kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
0
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Your purpose for it would be identical to mine, so in that sense most of the cards out there are similar. I'm just trying to pick one that's stable, reasonably priced and has good software support, and recently (based on some things I've heard about the Twinhan) I've added heat issues as one of my criteria. Based on these things, perhaps the SkyStar 2 would be a good choice.

What sort of PC do you use for decent performance on either 4:2:2 or HD (preferably watching a live feed)?

I've never ordering anything from overseas, but I'm in a similar position as you. If I can't find any cheaper way to get it here to Canada then I'll consider ordering direct.
 

mark_calgary

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 19, 2005
377
0
The dry side of the Rockies
kymics said:
What sort of PC do you use for decent performance on either 4:2:2 or HD (preferably watching a live feed)?

I've never ordering anything from overseas, but I'm in a similar position as you. If I can't find any cheaper way to get it here to Canada then I'll consider ordering direct.

Once I determined that I was going to have to mailorder I looked both inside and outside Canada for reputable dealers. The Canadian sources were overpriced as were some of the American ones. Some, including at least one sponsor of this site, don't accept foreign credit cards or foreign Paypal which automatically excluded them from my vendor list. I ended up buying from a German internet store which takes Paypal and seemed to have a good reputation.

I have no issues with purchasing from Europe as I do it all the time as my wife is Dutch. The transaction was easy and I received it in less than a week (dvbshop.net).

I would have considered the Twinhan if there was a local source with a reasonable price although I'd heard about the heat problems and the crappy Twinhan supplied software so the SkyStar was my first choice. A few months after I bought the SkyStar a local reputable computer dealer started selling Twinhan (memoryexpress).

I'm using an Athlon 64 3200 and generally get 20-30% CPU usage for 4:2:0 HD decoding using the Sonic Cinemaster decoder supplied with DVBViewer. 4:2:2 SD with Elecard takes ~35%. 4:2:0 SD with Sonic takes 10-20%. I haven't watched too many 4:2:2 HD feeds but as I remember they take ~50-60% CPU (Elecard). I'm not one who is interested in playing with DirectShow Graphs but DVBViewer does allow it.

My main issue with Mytheatre was high CPU usage. I liked the interface and probably could have sorted out the CPU issues. ProgDVB and others were just too unstable and user unfriendly. I also like TSReader with VLC (no stupid graphs) but for some reason I require much more signal quality (according to my Pansat) than any other program for error free viewing :confused: DVBViewer is my current favourite. I've used it to record dozens and dozens of MovieCentral HD movies flawlessly and it is stable with a nice interface.

As a side note I'm now starting to eye some of the DVB-S2 cards that are appearing in Europe that do 8psk demodulation. Lyngsat is starting to show some North American feeds as 8psk and if there is evidence that one of these cards might work for these I could be convinced to get one (and the required CPU upgrade to decode potential MPEG4 streams).
 

kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
0
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Very informative. I'd have a much better feeling about buying that setup now (especially considering I'm also from Canuckistan). Your PC is decent, but I'm surprised how low your CPU usage is. I've read some posts that mention 80-90% CPU on HD rendering, so by all means even 50% is not bad.

I checked out the site for DVBViewer and it does look very good. With a free version to start there's nothing to lose, but definitely stability is very important to me as well, so I think I'd try it first before any other programs.

I've only done some minimal research on DVB-S2, but I've read that the North American rendition of 8psk (Turbo Code) will be different from Europe's DVB-S2. This is just a random link I found, but I'm sure I've seen this elsewhere too:

"After reviewing the ViaSat specs for the non-DVB-S compliant version of the Surfbeam, the DOCSIS one that WB uses, the WB modems are capable of both QPSK and 8PSK and use Turbo coding inner and Reed Solomon outer codes. So they are state of the art too.

DVB-S2 uses an optimized convolutional code for the inner code, due to the fact the Europeans didn't want to become patent hostages to the holders of the Turbo code patents."


It may be too soon to say what European hardware will work here, but then again I sound like a total poser because I don't even have an FTA rig yet (I like to do a ton of research before I get into anything new involving the wallet) :yes
 

mark_calgary

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 19, 2005
377
0
The dry side of the Rockies
kymics said:
Very informative. I'd have a much better feeling about buying that setup now (especially considering I'm also from Canuckistan). Your PC is decent, but I'm surprised how low your CPU usage is. I've read some posts that mention 80-90% CPU on HD rendering, so by all means even 50% is not bad.

I made sure of my numbers last night and am getting low 20's for MC-HD. Granted , it is only a 1280x720p format and what I had on was not fast motion like sports or an action movie would be. I suspect that those getting 80-90% CPU for HD were trying to watch something they shouldn't :mad: When I tried other decoders for HD (Nvidia? Nero? I can't remember...) my CPU usage went up to 50% or so. One might split hairs over which has the best picture but I can't really tell the the difference.

kymics said:
I checked out the site for DVBViewer and it does look very good. With a free version to start there's nothing to lose, but definitely stability is very important to me as well, so I think I'd try it first before any other programs.

I can't remember why I bought the full version afterwards but I suspect it was related to plugins and streaming functionality and it was only 15 Euro.

kymics said:
I've only done some minimal research on DVB-S2, but I've read that the North American rendition of 8psk (Turbo Code) will be different from Europe's DVB-S2. This is just a random link

It may be too soon to say what European hardware will work here, but then again I sound like a total poser because I don't even have an FTA rig yet (I like to do a ton of research before I get into anything new involving the wallet) :yes

I agree, it's hard to say how North America will pan out although Wildblue (from the link) is an ISP and not a television service. On a side note we are using them for internet at remote northern sites - I've drooled over the 1.8m and 2.4m Andrew offset dishes passing by my office :D . I haven't read too much yet and will continue to observe from the fringes for the time being. My understanding is that Dish Network is using Turbo coding but I'm wondering if the Networks will or go with a worldwide standard.

Right now, though, I'm thinking of the 8psk feeds on Lyngsat that are listed as being normal DVB and wondering if these DVB-S2 cards can also receive them. I'm also thinking that there are likely a few CBC feeds in 8psk on Anik F1. Without blind scan on 8psk signals I might require a spectrum analyzer to identify them and then things get a bit complex/expensive, probably too much.
 

kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
0
Winnipeg, Manitoba
I've got a good friend that works at the CBC on the technological end. I could probably ask him if he knows anything about what they're currently using and what the longer term plan is.
 

mastermesh

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 18, 2006
1,987
0
Yeah, let us know, please. :)

I too am interested in if this 8spk stuff can be decoded on an fta system and if so if it is legal to do so.
 

kymics

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2006
208
0
Winnipeg, Manitoba
I banged off an e-mail to my friend, but I'm not sure if he knows anything about 8PSK. He sometimes works up North for several days at a time, so I don't know if he's even around at the moment.

Whatever I find out, I'll post it back here.
 

Mark2074

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 3, 2004
296
20
Toronto, ON
I have a PCI Card (Twinhan 102g) that I bought some time ago. I was fooling around with it for a while. I would like to get into 4:2:2 feeds. I have brought Mytheatre and I use it primarily for PBS-HD on AMC3. I have the latest version that has USALS. The USALS feature does not always work perfectly. I find that I have to stored the satellite's position and move it slightly either way to get a better signal. Anyone else have to do this?
I bought the computer back in April. AMD 3400, 1.5GB RAM, 160GB HD, GeForce 6200, Sony DVD dual-layer. I like using it for internet feeds from Europe and gaming. Since PBS works fine on it, I figure the 4:2:2 HD feeds should be no problem. BTW, I find that even the strongest signal only registers on Mytheatre as no more than 42-45%. Is this the threshold for the software?

I have done some research on 4:2:2 feeds and found that Elecard works with Mytheatre. But I need the right codec. Where do I find those? Also, judging from the feeds that are posted in the WUT forum, I am definitely missing out and some good FTA feeds. Any help would be appreciated. I hate the fact that I can potently see baseball games and I am missing out.
 
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