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Television Media Hardware

Digital Cable HDTV Tuner Card Reviewed 193

Posted by CmdrTaco
Jack Kolesar of AMDPower writes "We have posted a review of a PC HDTV Tuner card that can receive QAM (Digital Cable) signals along with traditional 8VSB signals. This appears to be the first PC Card which can accomplish this task. Further, the software also comes with a utility to downsample HDTV content to DVD and DivX. "
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Digital Cable HDTV Tuner Card Reviewed

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  • Warm up the keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Grey (463613) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:31AM (#10001210)
    Minimum PC Requirements:
    • ...
    • Windows ME/ 2000/ XP or later version of Windows
    • ...
    Boo, hiss. Who's up for some driver coding?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:32AM (#10001229)
      Somebody else. Free software is like that, one million eyeballs and one burnt out developer!

      Gimmie gimmie gimme!
      • by Donoho (788900)
        Free software is like that, one million eyeballs and one burnt out developer!

        That's the beauty of free software... all it takes is one burn out developer to get the ball rolling, with no allegiance or agenda other than getting the necessary job done.
        • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:07PM (#10003284) Homepage Journal
          Of course, the problem with free software is that this driver won't full support the features of the device for several years and due to poor access to documentation or software-only features may never support some things that make the card worth buying. The software and the driver itself will probably have an inscrutable, ugly and complex interface that only works from the command line/KDE/Gnome and if you have a problem with it your only options are to fix it yourself (assuming you have programming ability and can figure out what the problem is) or pay a high hourly price for somebody else to do it.

          Meanwhile, your stupid buddies who paid their Windows Tax have been running the thing for a year without a major problem, and have spent all the time they saved by not fucking around with beta drivers watching TV and generally enjoying their purchase. Problems they had during setup were fixed by the company's technical support staff because their platform is actually supported.

          Of course, if the company EOL's the card or goes out of business entirely, the Linux driver will still work, whereas the Windows version will stagnate and die. Iomega, I'm looking in your direction as I type this.

          In short: the beauty of free-as-in-beer is only skin deep, and its true value -- free-as-in-freedom -- lies underneath a mountain of major annoyances.
          • If I had moderator points today I would mod this one up (parent message of this reply for those keeping score at home). Pessimistic (from the OSS point of view), but fair and insightful.

            Free-as-in-freedom is worth much more than free-as-in-beer, but it does come with costs. ALL freedom comes with costs...

            Like everything else in life, we must pick our battles. As much as I value the ideals of free-as-in-freedom software, I am also pragmatic enough to know that my TIME is worth something, and I must pick a

          • Goddamn that was just one of the most brilliant posts I've seen on this damn site. Finally, someone who gets that free software can cost too much in terms of time.
    • by softwave (145750) <david.coppens@ad ... s.be minus berry> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:32AM (#10001236)
      Boo, hiss. Who's up for some driver coding?
      by any means, feel free :)
    • Why can't this happen, linux "adopts" or "implements" Windows driver model, so that Windows drivers for devices like this can be installed and used?

      I know some of this exists for the wireless networking stuff, and nVidia and ATi's linux efforts are pretty much recompiles of the windows drivers..

      Hell, even forget Windows driver model.. Come up with a new, universal model. Hardware companies only need to write and test one driver which you go ahead and use under Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/X, whatever..

      Thats
      • by bsd4me (759597) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:02AM (#10001640)

        Hell, even forget Windows driver model.. Come up with a new, universal model. Hardware companies only need to write and test one driver which you go ahead and use under Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/X, whatever..

        Not to sound like a prick, but have you ever written a device driver?

        The unix device driver model (or at least it used to; I haven't written a unix driver in years) is fairly simple. The driver defines a few entry points: read(), write(), ioctl(), open(), close(), and select() (am I missing any?). That is pretty much where the similarity ends. The code to actually talk to the device (ie, the register level stuff) is the same between OSes, but the OS stuff is for the most part really OS dependent. This is more complicated now because of kernel threading and other modern kernel techniques.

        • (S(SKK)(SKK))(S(SKK)(SKK))
          That looks a lot like unlambda, but with parentheses instead of backticks. I have no idea what it means, though. Could you clue me in?
          • (S(SKK)(SKK))(S(SKK)(SKK)) is the result of applying the S-K abstraction algorithm to the lambda term (\x.x x)(\x.x x). Applying beta-reduction to this term results in the same term, so it is basically an infinite loop assuming an eager evaluation strategy.

            Check out lambda calculus [wikipedia.org] and combinatory logic [wikipedia.org] for more info.

      • by sigaar (733777)
        "I know some of this exists for the wireless networking stuff, and nVidia and ATi's linux efforts are pretty much recompiles of the windows drivers.."

        Have you looked at any of the linux forums lately? The nVidia, ATi, and ndiswrapper (sp?) are some of the most troublesome drivers.

        "Hell, even forget Windows driver model.. Come up with a new, universal model."

        Although I agree with the sentiment, it will be a cold day in hell before Microsoft plays along with this, and even if they do, they'll change it, "
      • Isn't that what the UDI project was for? http://projectudi.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net].
        Thing is, it was never really accepted by the kernel community, for a few of reasons: 1) it adds another layer between the driver and the kernel, which causes a theoretical performance penalty (which doesn't seem to exist in the sample drivers). 2) it could encourage more binary-only drivers, whereas by keeping the api a moving target, it would encourage the manufactures to either release source, or not provide drivers at all. And
    • Link [uq.edu.au]

      I'm sure it would be a great place to start getting information.

    • I was kind of hoping that one of these vendors would step up to bat in the Linux world. But I guess that I am one of many, especially here in /. world. I just hope these windows cards are less buggy than the ATI ALL-In-Wonder cards have traditionally been. Time will tell!
      • I was kind of hoping that one of these vendors would step up to bat in the Linux world. But I guess that I am one of many, especially here in /. world. I just hope these windows cards are less buggy than the ATI ALL-In-Wonder cards have traditionally been. Time will tell!

        There is one: the HD-2000, from pcHDTV [pchdtv.com] -- it's the world's first Linux-only TV tuner card, and it supports both NTSC (analog) and ATSC (digital) broadcasts.

        Right now, they're selling out the last of their HD-2000 cards to make room for t
        • COOL! Thanks for the info. I will check this out! :)
        • I can confirm QAM in the HD-3000 is not speculation. (The HD-2000 is also QAM capable, but no one has taken the intiative and added support in the driver for it, which is GPL'd. I haven't added it because I don't have cable to test it on). But remember, viewing streams over QAM is only good if the cable provider is not sending encrypted streams, which many do.
  • by BubbaThePirate (805480) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#10001265)
    Quoth the site:

    "Conclusion

    The Fusion HDTV III QAM can be seen online at specialty stores like Digital Connection for around $170.00. This is around $100.00 cheaper than a similar hardware decoder card by MyHD. However, I'm certain that the MyHD or AccessDTV cards will deliver a far more stable image. What the Fusion has going for it is QAM reception and the included DVD convector software. It also functions with TitanTV for scheduled recording. If you are concerned about possible jerkiness and dropped frames (I assume you are) you should first try out the demo from the DVico website. ATI's card appears to be a software-based card as well from what I can tell. This card retails for $199.00 but I have not had the opportunity to test it. For the Linux buffs out there, check out PCHDTV when you get a chance. This company offers a software-based HDTV Tuner Card similar to the original Fusion I design which is exclusively for Linux. It uses the Xine engine for the HD decoding. Fun Stuff."

    • Thanks for posting that information as the site has dumped from the slashdot effect.

      It should be noted, however, that all of the janus based cards (hauppage, myhd, accessdtv) I tried didn't work worth a damn in windows2000 (and no one seems concerned enough to fix it) and the ATi card ONLY works in windows xp (and apparently won't let you rip transport streams making it much less useful than the other mentioned cards)

      This fusion hdtv III card looks to be the most promising of the lot. The fact that it doe
  • Wheee! (Score:5, Funny)

    by general_re (8883) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#10001273) Homepage
    Warning: mysql_pconnect(): Too many connections in /home/virtual/site27/fst/var/www/html/mainfile.php 4 on line 19
    Unable to select database

    What a great review - now where can I get my hands on this thing? :)

  • great (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nuttles (625038) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#10001274)
    techies already don't get enough exercise, now I won't have to even swival my chair to look from my monitor to my TV. Isn't there a lobbying group for the the support of tech people not gaining any more weight? Where is my representation? Where is my protection from myself?

    Nuttles
    Saved by Grace
  • by ralf1 (718128) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#10001275)
    Prior to the instant server death? Or know the product name since its not referenced in the summary, so I can look for something on it?
  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:36AM (#10001287) Journal
    I was really interested in reading this article, as I've been looking for something to do this, and with only 4 comments posted, this is what I get:

    Warning: mysql_pconnect(): Too many connections in /home/virtual/site27/fst/var/www/html/mainfile.php 4 on line 19
    Unable to select database

    Now that AMDPower's servers have melted into a pool of molten plastic and silicon on the datacenter floor, I hope you're happy!
    • by radixvir (659331) *

      Maybe if they would have used Intel processors in their servers.

      Zing!

      • Now that AMDPower's servers have melted into a pool of molten plastic and silicon on the datacenter floor, I hope you're happy!
        Maybe if they would have used Intel processors in their servers.

        Great idea, then slashdot would be blamed for kicking off a china syndrome reaction. I always thought the Earthe didn't have enough holes in it!
    • Can you imagine the kind of crap the marketing/sales weenies are going to give the techies running this site? I mean, getting slashdotted is a sales drone's moist dream - and instead of learning about the product we see yet another proof that PHP is insecure and broken.
      Anyway, I don't want to be a sysadmin on that site today...
      • PHP is insecure and broken

        What does this have to do with PHP being insecure and broken??? The fact that they can't handle the traffic has nothing to do with their choice of software. It'd be like saying that "AMD processors are insecure and broken" because these guys can't handle the traffic. You've never seen a Slashdotting before??

  • by xenostar (746407) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:36AM (#10001288)
    It's all fun and games until you delete something important because you were watching the Olsen twins make out with each other in the always-on-top TV window in the corner of your screen.
  • by jared_hanson (514797) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:37AM (#10001298) Homepage Journal
    What is really needed in this space is a decoder card that also has a CableCARD slot. I don't care whether the CableCARD is inside the case or has an external slot, it doesn't really matter to me.

    The fact of the matter is that most QAM signals on digital cable are scrambled. Previously, you had to have a set-top box with descrambling chips in it to watch the TV. With cable card, however, these crypto chips are sparated out so the cable company can had you a CableCARD, and you can buy whatever set-top box you want.

    So, even if you get this card, you aren't going to be able to watch many digital cable channels with it since they will all be encrypted (at least here in the US). Now, when they release a version with CableCARD, I'll jump all over it (and begin the search/code for Linux drivers).
    • Can you buy anything with this and do any cable companies even support it (ie, issuing the cards)? I know it's a real standard, but it's not here yet that I know about.

      It would enable a free-standing HD Tivo I could use with my HD cable service, since they could use the DirecTivo trick of recording the raw signal straight to disk, in addition to ditching the hated cable box.

    • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@NOspam.comcast.net> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#10001630) Journal
      Actually, I've been thinking about modifying a few cable modems to intercept the QPSK OOB signal on digital cable, and spoof it. Have 2 cable modems, with some splitters and filters in between them, so that we can get QAM to the set top box, but the first cable modem could listen/talk to the headend, and the second cable modem could listen/talk to the cablebox.

      For instance [24.125.12.101], docsis cable modems would seem to be able to ahndle this, assuming they have a frequency agile tuner (most do, I believe), and aren't one chip solutions (RCA ones come to mind).

      Anyone care to comment?
      • by _anomaly_ (127254) <anomalyNO@SPAMgeekbits.com> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:18PM (#10003410) Homepage
        Anyone care to comment?

        If I knew what the hell you were talking about...
        :-)

      • Actually, I've been thinking about modifying a few cable modems to intercept the QPSK OOB signal on digital cable, and spoof it. Have 2 cable modems, with some splitters and filters in between them, so that we can get QAM to the set top box, but the first cable modem could listen/talk to the headend, and the second cable modem could listen/talk to the cablebox.

        Oh. My. God.

        This tweaks my geek *bigtime*.

        I'm not an RF engineer, but I've done my share of DOCSIS fun in the past.

        Count me in... fire me an ema
        • I may email you, in truth my interested has waned a bit from when I started.

          We're talking 2 cable modems alone, just to intercept and playback modified OOB, though. Two cable modems that have a JTAG port, and discernable insides, so that we can reprogram them. For all I know, it may even mean twiddling with the DSP, since these things only listen QPSK, they talk QAM on the upstream (OOB is QPSK both ways).

          It means having plenty of spare DCT2000s. It means having a BDM cable, and more smarts than I had whe
    • by bofkentucky (555107) <.bofkentucky. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:10AM (#10001757) Homepage Journal
      As I understand it, the 1st Gen Cablecard spec is pretty crippled, straight decrypt only. For Program Guides/PPV/other, we have to wait for CableCard v2
      • Yep, it's a one-way, downstream only standard right now. If you use it in a TV with built in CableCARD, for instance, you lose some features of the set-top box such as guide listings, ordering PPV, and all that. The two-way standard will be much better, but also is quite a ways away since the technical hurdles are quite large.

        However, for devices with external network connectivity, you can get around some of the downsides. For instance, if you had a computer with a CableCARD, you could just download gui
    • >>
      What is really needed in this space is a decoder card that also has a CableCARD slot. I don't care whether the CableCARD is inside the case or has an external slot, it doesn't really matter to me.
      broadcast flag not withstanding in June 05)...

      I'm pretty sure they have something like that in europe where you can slide your card into a Nexus-S and get your legitimate paid for Satellite signals... no such love in the US.

      The only other way to go, for PC based HDTV digital signal chain that's NOT OTA DT
      • (sorry for repeat /. ate most of my post)

        What is really needed in this space is a decoder card that also has a CableCARD slot. I don't care whether the CableCARD is inside the case or has an external slot, it doesn't really matter to me.


        Here, Here! Once I was able to get to the 3rd page, I was dissapointed to see that it only supports unencrypted QAM... and if you are lucky enough to be on a cable company that has unencrypted QAM content, how long do you think THAT is gonna last...

        I had my hopes up..
    • Would it not be possible to write some decryption software to decode scrambled digital signals? Something like how a Nagravision encrypted satellite stream can be decrypted through emulation of a smart card.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, cable companies are now required to carry HDTV broadcasts in an unscrambled format, per their license. Just as all the ATSC channels are. My cable company (Cox) reluctantly began transmitting all local HD channels unscrambled beginning August 1st.
      • Yes, but just local channels are required to be unscrambled. This is just the ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates. Any other non-local channels (ESPN, Discovery Channel, HBO, etc, etc) will be encrypted. A vast majority of the content on a digital cable network is encrypted.
    • My understanding of how Cox handles digital cable is that the entire cable network (boxes, modems and whatever else they use) are part of a MASSIVE IP network. Each of the set-top boxes acquires an IP address in the 10.0.0.0/8 range (I presume I got my CIDR right) and it authenticates the MAC address. I'd have to call to verify this, but I could envision that you might be able to call up Cox, give them the MAC and be able to pay for the service while skipping the rental fee for the box.

    • "The fact of the matter is that most QAM signals on digital cable are scrambled."

      Are you talking about the pay stations (HBO, Showtime, etc)...or all of them...even the ones that would be 'free over the air' type HD station broadcasts?

  • Innie, not Outtie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grunt107 (739510) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:37AM (#10001300)
    From the pictures it looks like all connections are inputs, with no TVOut.

    It would be nice if this had composite out to TV(A/V), not just the 'Play on PC'. Combine w/PC-based controller (MythTV), and I would not need to add HDDVR and HDTuner to get HD picture.
    • Yeah, but one of them would be the fat one... ;)
    • Then the card would require a hardware MPEG2 decoder which would add about $100 to the price - see all the other such cards available like the AccessDTV and the MyHD, etc, all at a pricepoint at least $100 more than this one. If all you want is composite out, then all you need is the the composite/svideo on your regular video card, neither of which is capable of full hdtv res anyway.
  • by gordona (121157) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:40AM (#10001348) Homepage
    Its fine to have a card that can receive QAM signals from cable. However, as the article states, this card can only receive in-the-clear (unencrypted) content. Since most cable operators in north america encrypt their high value content (HD is definitely high value), the ability of the card to decode QAM signals is of limited value. Additionally, the modulation modes are not evident. That is, can the card decode 64QAM and 256QAM?
    • by radixvir (659331) * on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:51AM (#10001477) Homepage

      That is, can the card decode 64QAM and 256QAM?

      it says in the article it can decode both

    • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:53AM (#10001519) Journal
      What about decrypting it in software?

      I know there were tons of software descramblers for Nargavision, or whatever that was called.

      Can a digital cable signal be decrypted? How strong is the encryption? As old as it is, I'd imagine the first digital set top boxes couldn't have had too much horsepower, so the scheme must be relatively simple to decode that much data on-the-fly..

      Could "decoders" (password hashes?) be bought and downloaded from the cable company?
    • According to the article it can decode both, however go to the referenced Digital Connections page in the summary (places you can buy it). Digital Connections has some warnings on there that QAM256 almost always works and that QAM64 is much more hit and miss.

      Andrew
    • I'd like this for legitimate reasons as well.

      I have a Disk Network system which sends encrypted-MPEG-2, apparently in a DVB wrapper. I pay for it, I have the smartcard, no shenanegins here. I don't want any channels I don't pay for - if they were worthwhile I'd pay for them but they're not.

      I want to build a MythTV box that can take the satellite signal like the Dish PVR I have (very buggy). It should be feasible and all legal, but DMCA and the industial cabal have seen to it that such hardware is nearl
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:40AM (#10001353)
    Although I have posted about this before, I have recieved "threats" due to my "misrepresentation" of the card on slashdot. Do a search on http://www.avsforums.com [avsforums.com] and you will see that the software for this card is flaky and Fusion will not release the specifications so independant driver development can take place. If you buy this card, only get it for over-the-air HDTV. Again, do your research before buying this card, it does not work as advertised.
    • by Jack Kolesar (532605) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:08AM (#10001739) Homepage
      Let me clear up a few things about this card. There were several revisions of it and it was very hard trying to get QAM to function properly from overseas. They actually released a version that was supposed to do QAM. It was the Non-Gold version of the Fusion III. The Gold version does function with QAM. And, I have tested it as working at home. As always, with any hardware, YMMV. Keep in mind again that if its encrypted (most content is) you're not going to get a picture. I have included a screenshot in the article of it actually working with a digital preview station.
    • I personally found the card to be less than useful. The software included with the card IS flaky. I CAN'T just download new drivers and software because it is 50MB to 60MB, I'm not about to tie up my line for that. (I'm just a few hundred feet too far from any form of broadband)

      Despite the Matrox G450 clearly being in one of their compatibility lists, it does not work, even with the latest drivers, unless I only wanted to watch the analog broadcasts.

      As for QAM, the older versions didn't work, but the c
  • Summarized Review (Score:5, Informative)

    by ianbnet (214952) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:46AM (#10001414)
    This took me forever to put together (F5 F5 F5), so you better like it. This is a very partial selection of the review; note that there are usually chunks missing between paragraphs. Go visit the site and give them ad revenue once they're stable again.

    Fusion III Gold QAM Card

    It has been nearly three years since I reviewed one of the first HDTV Tuner cards to hit the market. At that time, the Access DTV card retailed for $400.00 and the only HDTV station available in my area was the local CBS. While the adoption of High Definition has improved greatly, I have to admit that it has been slower than I expected. Equally as surprising is the limited availability of HDTV tuner cards. Until recently, there were few players in this market. I am happy to say that this is starting to change. Manufacturers such as Hauppauge, ATI, and Dvico have developed affordable HDTV cards. Today, we are looking at one of these cards, the Dvico Fusion III Gold QAM. What makes this card unique are some very exciting features that others do not offer. Most notably is the reception of QAM modulated streams. What is QAM you ask? Simply put, DIGITAL CABLE.

    The Fusion also allows you to adjust the display ratio for virtually any screen. One of the features that we beta testers fought for was the ability to do a Pan & Scan from a 16x9 source. Nearly all HDTV broadcast are in a 16x9 aspect ratio. However, not all content is in 16x9. So, if the local news is being shown on CBS-HD, there will be black bars on the left an right of the screen. This is acceptable for a 16x9 screen. However, if the image is being shown on a 4x3 screen (computer monitor), you end up with a square image inside of a square screen. Luckily, Pan & Scan allows you to fill the entire screen with the image.

    A recent feature which was added lately (not shown in this screenshot) is the ability to get analog audio through the PCI bus. Otherwise, you need to use an internal audio jumper cable for analog television. HDTV AC-3 audio is decoded through software and can be output as either 2CH analog, 5CH analog, or straight through the digital SPDIF out of your sound card.

    For those of you who have still not seen HDTV up close, stop now and go download the Fusion Demo. HDTV on a computer monitor is quite impressive. I found the image quality to be remarkable on the Fusion and have included some screen shots below. Keep in mind that these are compressed JPEGs. Here you can see analog TV next to HDTV from a real broadcast that I recordeed of the same sitcom. The images speak for themselves. Click for a larger view.

    NTSC Broadcast
    ATSC Broadcast

    While I found the image quality to be outstanding, I cannot say the same for the decoding capabilities. Some broadcasts seem to be quite jumpy depending on which version of drivers and software that I was using. 720P broadcasts were jumpier than 1080i. What is strange is that the CPU utilization was practically nothing using DxVA, around 30%. Still, at some times I saw dropped frames. When speaking to DVico about this, I was told that they are experiencing some problem with nForce based boards. However, I also tested the card on a VIA board with similar results. DvXA did deliver a much better image than pure-software decoding. Using software-only also restricts full-scale decoding. The software decoding option offers quarter, half, and full-scale decoding. Above half-scale was unwatchable on my 3200+. The image shown above is taken from a full-scale DxVA grab.

    Analog decoding was exceptional. The software has built-in deinterlacing capabilities which greatly improves the image quality of analog broadcasts. However, a full-out deinterlacer such as DScaler yields better results.

    QAM Decoding

    Here is where things get a bit tricky. While the Fusion III Gold QAM is capable of receiving and decoding QAM, it CANNOT decode an encrypted channel. That means that it depends entirely on what your local cable company is encrypting for their d
  • http://shop.ati.com/product.asp?sku=2546404 [ati.com] ATI has had this card out for a while. I don't own it, but I do have one of their regular all-in wonder cards. I've got no problems recording and time shifting video.

    On another note, many people have been talking about cable companies scrambling their HDTV cable channels. These cards aren't for receiving digital cable HDTV channels; they are for receiving OVER THE AIR HDTV broadcast channels (as well as regular analog cable channels).
    • The ATI card has a chip to handle QAM but unfortunatenly it is disabled.
      Therefore it is no use for most Digital Cable in the US even if the signal is not encrypted.

      • Where did you find this info about "the ATI card has the chip to handle QAM but unfortunatenly it is disabled"? I don't see that on the product page.

        And I never said it was of any use for digital cable. I said ANALOG cable. You can still record digital cable with it, just send the rca outputs from the cable box into the ati card and change the channel on the cable box to whatever you want to record.
    • by Jack Kolesar (532605) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#10001619) Homepage
      Hi I'm the author of the article. Stupid little virtual server... Anyway, It does receive HDTV QAM. That is what it is built for. It also receives "standard" digital cable. It DOES need to be UNENCRYPTED though.
    • by HBergeron (71031) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:30PM (#10002794)
      Hate to crap on another poster (I really do) but this fella got modded up for this post and I thought a clarification would be helpful...

      The issue here is NOT a new TV card, those are common and would not rate a story on /. What WAS interesting is this cards ability to receive CABLE hdtv. So "These cards aren't for receiving digital cable" wins at least the weekly, if not monthly award for missing the point entirely.

      What people want to do is record their Sopranos, or concerts or HD ESPN football games, and right now, and forever more, none of the current crop of HDPC cards can do that. Apparently this one really can't either, but including the feature is a step in the right direction. Next maybe someone with real customer orientation and some coding skills may actually put out a working card with a "cable card" slot for decryption, and then we'd be cooking with gas. Watch this space.
    • Wrong on several counts. (RTFA?)

      The Fusion series of HDTV cards have been around for a couple years.

      The newest revision IS the first to (supposedly) receive unencrypted QAM.

      The point of this card IS to receive digital cable HDTV channels. That was the major revision from the Fusion II to the Fusion III. However, you can only receive unencrypted QAM channels over digital cable. Obviously, only a few channels are transmited unencrypted.
  • Maybe they should try using PostgreSQL. Maybe even PowerPC instead of AMD. :)
  • Their mysql database just took wretched, so I couldn't get passed page 1... BUT if this is true it's a big boon for the homebrew HDTV, HTPC, PVR, DVR scene (enough acronyms for ya?).

    I've got to get my hands on one of these stat!

    Anyone who read the whole article know how they are doing the modulated QAM? Is it via CableCards?

    E.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Introduction
    Fusion Box
    It has been nearly three years since I reviewed one of the first HDTV Tuner cards to hit the market. At that time, the Access DTV card retailed for $400.00 and the only HDTV station available in my area was the local CBS. While the adoption of High Definition has improved greatly, I have to admit that it has been slower than I expected. Equally as surprising is the limited availability of HDTV tuner cards. Until recently, there were few players in this market. I am happy to say that th
  • Ati makes a HDTV tuner as well. Linky [hothardware.com]
  • The HDTV card is cool...

    The website is hosted on Ensim's hosting solution...

    The website has been slashdotted...

    That about covers it.

    Oh and Linux users can use it. There have been reported successes using this card with MythTV.
  • Doesn't work with encrypted QAM feeds? What's the point, then, since most anything worth watching is either (A) on unencrypted, non-digital (NTSC?) cable or (B) encrypted QAM.

    HD feeds are all encrypted, so what we really need is a CableCard adapter for our HTPCs. That would rock. It would rock so much that I don't expect one to come out for at least a couple of years (at least not if the cable co's and MPAA can help it). feh.

    This whole "digital content" mess is headed for a meltdown, mark my words.

    • I don't have a problem paying for my cable, so a card that will accept a cable company provided solution to encryption and access control (e.g., CableCard) is fine with me.

      However, I want to make sure when everything goes mandatory digital, that I have a solution in place that allows me to timeshift without loss of quality and without being encumbered by DRM that would prevent me from skipping commercials and such. Not copy, not redistribute, not share - just timeshift. (I already have the MythTV-based P
    • Apparently you are unaware that cable companies also frequently transmit unencrypted QAM channels.

      Generally they are the normal broadcast channels, and maybe a few others, but this is the only option for those of us who are outside the transmitting radius of the OTA broadcast towers.
  • YES!!! There is a Linux driver for this card!

    Chris Pascoe [uq.edu.au] has written a Linux driver for the Austrailian version of the card. See: http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/~chrisp/DVICO-Linux/ [uq.edu.au]. AFAIK, the only difference between the Austrailian and American versions is the tuner. If we can find the codes (perhaps by sniffing them w/ a homebrew I2C sniffer [warmcat.com]), we should be able to have a fully-functioning driver for the US card.

    Bonus: the card is half-height, and comes with a low-profile PCI backplate, which would make it fit nicely into a small MythTV-powered PVR.
  • I'm surprised that it hasn't been mentioned, but does this support the broadcast pira^H^H^H^H protection flag?
    • Re:broadcast flag (Score:2, Informative)

      by Jack Kolesar (532605)
      Again, author here... I brought this up during our beta testing sessions. DVico does NOT currently support the broadcast flag in their products. Keep in mind that the FCC ruling gives July 5th as the "drop dead" date for supporting it. That doesn't mean that this card or your existing DVHS, Tivo, HDTV Tuner, etc. is going to start working. It just means that any device produced at that time will need to recognize the flag. I think that if they were required to, DVico could easily accomplish this in sof
    • If it goes into effect (support the EFF, maybe the gov will come to its senses)... Stuff manufactured BEFORE the cutoff date (july 2005 IIRC) is exempt/grandfathered in. So start stockpiling PVR cards for Ebay profits after it goes into effect =(

      e.
  • I've been considerering getting a DVHS system to record my favorite shows via Voom. Then I'd like to compress them with an HD codec like HD WM9 and store them on my drives or DVD-R's. Are there any decent HD codec alternatives and related software?

    I am specifically interested in people's experience with 1920x1080p encoding.

    BTW, the Bravo D3 will be able to play WM9 HD material.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s= &t hreadid=347428
  • So this card cant recieve encrypted QAM data, so unless your cable company is giving away their HD content (leaving it unencrypted - HA fat chance outside of the local channels which you can get OTA anyways) its not all that useful. Until a decoder/capture card is CableCard enabled (allowing it to be authorized to decrypt the HD channels) its not all that useful as an HD capture card. I know my local cable co (Cox) scrambles all digital content except for the PPV-Preview channels as well as the local HD sim
  • is that broadcasters decide what quality they want the Mpeg-2 compression to be. I don't remember the numbers but apparently cable broadcasters compress HDTV signals much more than over-the-air broadcasters. You can tell by the bit-rate of the stream.
    A couple of things that I didn't see in this cards softwaare was "Display Bit-rate" and "Save video in original stream format".
    All I can suggest for anyone buying HDTV hardware is to do a heck of a lot of research.

  • by Chris Siegler (3170) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:06PM (#10003986)
    I've owned both the FusionHDTV II and the MyHD MDP-120. My short review for those interested:

    FusionHDTV: low price and nice playback of HD streams. It has a nice FF function that makes skipping commercials easy. There is also a nice included program for converting a HD transport stream (what the card records to your hard drive) into DVD video. The BIG downside to this card is that it's almost impossible to get a perfect recording of shows because of the software decoding regardless of how fast your computer is. Out of a few dozen shows I tried recording, not one had no errors.

    MyHD MDP-120: Downside is that it's expensive and you have to spend even more to get DVI output. Also the warranty is vague at best, so you'll likely be out $300 if the thing breaks. The upside is that the card records shows on just about any box flawlessly. It's got good tuner reception and the software is pretty solid now. It has basic PVR functionality for connecting to titantv and choosing shows.
  • by heroine (1220) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:14PM (#10004090) Homepage
    Obviously they're not going to say in a weblog, but does the card record the original transport stream or downsample it to a DVD resolution and record a program stream? With all the legal problems, you probably won't see any retail card recording HDTV transport streams.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

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