windows media pc: analog vs. digital tv tuner?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by jakeopolis, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. jakeopolis macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    i all, i have digital cable (not HD) and an analog hauppauge tv tuner in my windows media center (wintv-150, i believe). i'd like to upgrade to a digital tv tuner (hauppauge hvr-1600), but my question is, will i really see a substantial increase in quality? i recently got an LCD tv and noticed the poor quality of tv going through my HTPC. when i plugged the cable directly into the tv, the quality was vastly improved. will a digital tv tuner really make that much of a difference? p.s. either way, i'm going through a cable set-top box (not HD).


    p.s. i know it's a bit weird to post windows questions on a mac forum, but i've always had really great answers from macrumors users and i don't know of another good tech forum!
  2. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    I have the same Hauppauge tuner in my MythTV Linux box. Staying with the analog tuner is the way to go if you are recording from your set-top box. The digital tuner is for recording over-the-air digital TV or for plugging your cable directly into the computer and recording unencrypted cable. Your set-top box outputs either in DVI/HDMI, component, or composite/S-video and these aren't what digital tuner cards expect as input. Unfortunately for me, my cable company went all-digital and encrypts all the channels that are not also available over-the-air so I need a set-top box at every TV. You could also see if your set-top box has a FireWire port and record directly to disk without using a tuner card at all. I did a test on ESPN-HD and got good results (in HD even) but have deferred until I get a much bigger hard drive. MythTV supports this, I'm not sure if Windows does (or if you have a FireWire port on your HTPC).
  3. jakeopolis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2007
    hmm... interesting. i'm pretty noob on the whole hd/digital stuff. i definitely need my set-top box to decode the cable signal, and the box does have composite/s-video outputs, but won't coaxial carry the signal better? it's not an HD box so it doesn't have HDMI outs.

    my main source of confusion is why the quality is so much better when i plug the cable into the tv rather than going through the computer. so if i go source --> set-top box --> hauppauge tuner/pc --> tv (via VGA from the pc), the quality is NOT as good as if i go source --> set-top box --> tv. what can i do about that while still going through the computer? i should also mention that the quality of the pc output in general is excellent (for downloaded videos, etc.), it's just the cable signal which is lacking.


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