Video Card Selection for output to HDTV - Australia (1 Viewer)

jawbroken

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Just wondering if anyone here would know which video card gives the best HDTV output. The output needs to be component video, Y-Pr-Pb.

I gave it a shot with my current graphics card, an ATI 9800 Pro, using the ATI adapter, but didn't get goods results (or indeed any results at resolutions over 640x 480). I think this is mainly because the ATI adapter is designed for NTSC refresh rates, I can force it to output a lower refresh rate but the picture becomes skewed or loses sync and gives me static.

So yeah, I was wondering if anyone in Australia had build a home theatre pc with component video out and could help me with choosing a graphics card with native support for PAL timings.

Thanks.

Edit: Even some sort of graphics card and transcoder combination would be fine, just something that works. Does anyone know if this: http://www.crescendo-systems.com/transcoder.html would work with PAL timings?
 

Taipan

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    What is the native resolution, and the maximum refresh rate of your display that you want to view HDTV on?
     

    jawbroken

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    This is the television: http://panasonic.com.au/products/details.cfm?objectID=2436

    It says a picture resolution of 833 horizontal lines with 2376 samples per line. I don't think native resolution is a big issue with CRT televisions? I could be wrong, I am still learning about HDTV specifications.

    The TV does have a 100Hz mode, but I believe it is locked lower at 1080i, maybe 75hz.
     

    mowog

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    jawbroken said:
    So yeah, I was wondering if anyone in Australia had build a home theatre pc with component video out and could help me with choosing a graphics card with native support for PAL timings.

    Outputting component video from a PC graphics card is a pretty challenging exercise. My setup uses a GigaByte ATI x300 card, and a custom VGA -> SCART cable to connect to my Sony SD widescreen TV. Because the TV is only SD I've not attempted any HDTV resolutions, and because the ATI cards can only reliably output NTSC resolutions I have my HTPC running at 856x480@30Hz with Powerstrip. Even at a sub-PAL resolution, the picture quality is amazing; far better than you can get using an S-Video TV-out.

    The TV you mention has a vertical resolution of 1080i (interlaced) or 576p (progressive scan). You *will* be able to output those resolutions from an ATI 9800 Pro, but it can take a fair amount of effort to make it work. How you do it depends on what inputs your TV has -- in my case, I had to make a custom VGA -> SCART cable, and then connect it to the DVI port using a DVI-I -> VGA adapter. If your TV accepts 3xRCA or 3xBNC inputs for Y/Pr/Pb then the ATI HDTV adapter is your best bet. You'll probably still need Powerstrip, though.. even though the Catalyst drivers have HDTV support.

    Either way, you won't find a PC graphics card with native PAL resolution support -- they simply don't exist. You *will* be able to make an ATI card do the job using Powerstrip, but as I said above it takes a lot of patient fiddling and experimentation, *and* a willingness to destroy your TV in the process with way-out timings.

    Anyway, here are a few links to help you on your way :)

    Custom resolution guide for HDTV-POWERSTRIP-RADEON
    HOWTO: YPrPb component output on any Radeon for under $5
    VGA - SCART cable guide
    AVForums - VGA->SCART RGB

    Good luck!

    Cheers,
     

    Callifo

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    Ive got a 64bit 6200 agp card which has native component out. Says it has a HDTV encoder as well which allows a selection of something like 20 different outputs. I use it on a SDTV though but it comes out excellent through the component. It allows me to select 720i SDTV but it has heaps of HDTV resolutions.
     

    htpcoz

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    I've got a Pana 76pw10a, which I think is basically the older version of your TV (ie "non-fine pitch" version). I use a clone 9200 Radeon in combination with powerstrip (great piece of software from www.entech.co.tw, depending on the resoluton I drive). and a KDS VGA->Component converter (there might be better/cheaper options these days for this component, as I did this about 2 years ago now).

    The picure quality with this setup is EXCEPTIONAL.

    If you go down this path, when you create resolutions under powerstrip there are a number of predefined "custom resolutions" which have "HDTV PAL Derived" in their name which were developed by another guy in Oz, using the same TV as mine, and they all work pretty well, although some are better than others wrt overscan, and text clarity. I use 960x540 progressive mostly and find it to be perfect for everything including HDTV. (Actually, to use this mode you don't need powerstrip, as the more recent Radeon catalyst drivers support it fine)

    I would prefer to use 1920x1080i, (which does require powerstrip as it requires setting the card into interlaced mode which doesn't seem to work natively in the driver). However, I have found that something that MP does in changing between the fullscreen video and fullscreen skin mode (ie MP stays fulls screen but toggles between the windowed and full screen videos) causes some sort of mode change in the video card which results in the TV losing sync for a couple of seconds when changing modes (again only if running 1080i output, I think it is related to the interlacing).

    So, I've decided to go with 960x540 which is very clear, an exact half of HDTV resolution, and will leave 1080i until I have some time to perfect. If you can get 1080i though (or if you are happy with the periodic loss of sync), you will be happy especially with HDTV broadcasts, the clarity is astounding. (on your TV probably even moreso)
     

    jawbroken

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    I assume MP = Windows Media Player?

    Is this a problem solely with media player, or with other full screen video interfaces?

    I tend to use variants such as Media Player Classic anyway, as I don't have much use for the fancy features.

    Thanks for everyone's replies! I was using powerstrip to try to get the ATI adapter to work right, but i got large skewing of the picture when I deviated too far off 60Hz.

    Does anyone know where I can find timing standards for HDTV resolutions/modes? I can never find a good resource when I search, perhaps I am not searching for the correct name, etc. You would think this information would be easy to find...
     

    mowog

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    jawbroken said:
    I assume MP = Windows Media Player?

    MP == Media Portal.. these *are* the Media Portal forums, after all ;)

    jawbroken said:
    Does anyone know where I can find timing standards for HDTV resolutions/modes? I can never find a good resource when I search, perhaps I am not searching for the correct name, etc. You would think this information would be easy to find...

    It is - see my post above, specifically the link titled "Custom resolution guide for HDTV.." :)

    Cheers,
     

    jawbroken

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    Of course, MP == MediaPortal... I had just read elsewhere about the same issue in Media Player and just assumed, my bad.

    I've been to the Custom Resolution Guide link many a time, but my TV doesn't like the timings there. Just wondering if there was a good page for more general information, is all.
     

    htpcoz

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    When you say link, do you mean web link?

    The custom resolutions that I am talking about are built into powerstrip itself. There is a posting on the entech website that has the ascii equivalents that can be imported, but I've never managed to get them to work. If you go through the powerstrip interface to add new resolution, the next page should have a button labelled "custom resolutions", then under that the HDTV PAL Derived listings should work for you (these are predefined in the powerstrip installation, you don't need to import any new ones).

    Note if you take a base timing and try to adjust it for size or position you will likely lose sync very quickly, the pana syncs on a very tight range.

    The assumption here is that your TV has similar specs to mine on the HDTV decoder, which I'd say should be right.

    There is one trick to using the 1080i resolution, you have to disable tiling on your video card first, this is a hack in powerstrip, one of the "titles" (ie it is not an obvious button, etc, it is a static text item) in the new resolution screen you can double click on that will pop a dialog to disable tiling, which is necessary for interlacing to work.
     

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