What is the best Hardware Analog Capture Card (1 Viewer)

BigBuddha

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Hi,

I would be like to hear what people believe to be the best Hardware MPEG encoding card(s) available on the market.

I have a Hauppauge PVR 150MCE, and I am not happy with the quality of the vision that it reproduces. If I send the same signal to my HD Plasma directly, the visual quality is quite noticably sharper/clearer.

I am using the composite inputs to connect analog signal from a Foxtel Cable STB in Australia.

So please let me know which is the best card to use.

Thanks in advance :)
 

rtv

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    Composite is a pain in the arse :twisted:

    I doubt you'll find a card which delivers better quality then your MCE 150...
     

    BigBuddha

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    rtv said:
    Composite is a pain in the arse :twisted:

    I doubt you'll find a card which delivers better quality then your MCE 150...

    Hey rtv, thanks for your reply.

    The STB only has a choice of SCART or composite out, so is there anything that I can do to get a better PQ?

    Or is there such a thing as a High Definition capture card ??
     

    rtv

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    You will never get analog signals looking nice and crisp on an HD Plasma :-/

    If you can go for SCART-RGB - use it!
     

    Taipan

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    BigBuddha said:
    If I send the same signal to my HD Plasma directly, the visual quality is quite noticably sharper/clearer.

    I am using the composite inputs to connect analog signal from a Foxtel Cable STB in Australia.

    Are you comparing "apples with apples" here - are you using the same composite output from the STB to both the HD Plasma and the 150MCE for your comparison? In this case, I agree with you that you should not see any difference, even though composite is the "poorest" video connection.

    Or are you comparing composite to the 150MCE with SCART to the HD Plasma? In this case, you should definitely see a differnce as SCART is superior to composite.
     

    BigBuddha

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    Taipan said:
    Are you comparing "apples with apples" here - are you using the same composite output from the STB to both the HD Plasma and the 150MCE for your comparison? In this case, I agree with you that you should not see any difference, even though composite is the "poorest" video connection.

    Or are you comparing composite to the 150MCE with SCART to the HD Plasma? In this case, you should definitely see a differnce as SCART is superior to composite.

    Just for the record the SCART cable is SCART to Composite conversion.

    You were right, I was using the SCART to the PLASMA and the composite to the 150MCE.

    But now that I have changed them around, (the SCART to the 150MCE and the composite to the PLASMA), I still get the exact same results :(:( the composite into the PLASMA is noticeably sharper PQ than the SCART to the 150MCE :(:(:(.

    I would willingly buy a new card but the general consensus seems to be that the 150MCE is about as good as it is gonna get??

    The worst part is; that until I switched over to the PLASMA one day (MP crashed and i wanted to see the end of the movie without having to wait for the reboot) , I never even noticed it, but now that I know about it, it's driving me nuts :(:(
     

    Taipan

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    Hey BigBuddha,

    I don't have a Foxtel STB, or a 150MCE, or a HD Plasma, so I could be just blowing a lot of hot air here ..... :)

    But I have some more queries - how do you have the video card connected to the HD Plasma - if it is also by composite, then you have 2 composite connections in the 150MCE path compared with 1 in the STB to HD Plasma path - which would definately make it look worse... :(

    Also, do you know what bit rate the 150MCE is digitising the Foxtel image at - is it the maximum rate that is available? I am assuming here that you can control the bit rate and that the best quality would be at the highest bit rate?
     

    BigBuddha

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    Taipan said:
    I don't have a Foxtel STB, or a 150MCE, or a HD Plasma, so I could be just blowing a lot of hot air here ..... :)

    But I have some more queries - how do you have the video card connected to the HD Plasma - if it is also by composite, then you have 2 composite connections in the 150MCE path compared with 1 in the STB to HD Plasma path - which would definately make it look worse... :(

    Also, do you know what bit rate the 150MCE is digitising the Foxtel image at - is it the maximum rate that is available? I am assuming here that you can control the bit rate and that the best quality would be at the highest bit rate?

    Hey Taipan, you are not blowing hot air! All efforts at helping me are most graciously accepted ;-)

    Anyway.....

    Question #1) Connected by RGB, basically the plasma panel acts as a PC Monitor. That's how the PC sees it. I can also connect it via DVI to HDMI. however there is no quality improvement over the RGB and the RGB offers more settings regarding screen size/position etc.

    Question #2) There is a bitrate setting in the card setup in MP. But any changes made in this section are not saved. The bitrate setting is set to "Variable" with an average of 8000 and a peak of 12000 K Bits/sec. I believe that 12000 K Bits/sec is the maximum limit for this card. I have tried setting it to "Constant" and 12000 but like I said the settings are not saved for this section.

    Thanks again for your help!

    BB
     

    Taipan

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    Hmmmm - I can see your dilemma - if the 150MCE really is digitising at 12Mb/s, then I would think that you should not see any deterioration of a composite video image.

    Since MP does not save the bit-rate settings, can you be sure that it is using the best rate available?

    Is the PQ any better if you use the Hauppauge application to capture the video (where I assume you can control the bit-rate)?
     

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