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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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  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 Donoho (788900) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:52AM (#10001498) Homepage
    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 sigaar (733777) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:19AM (#10001896)
    "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, "enhance" it, break it, customise it and screw it up so badly (and the whole industry will settle on Microsoft's version) that it won't work properly on any other OS in any way.

    I think when ATi stopped providing specs to the open source developers for their graphics cards, they saw for the first time just how many sales their opensource support secure for them. Hence they started making the drivers. I think if nVidia drop their Linux/BSD driver support, they'll see a fair chunk of their sales disappear.

    "Every driver for every piece of hardware has to be rewritten by scratch and approved by Linus to make it into the kernel."

    Which is done for the same reason that MS has the WHQL driver program.

    I agree with your sentiment, but it will never happen. One by one companies will wake up and start supporting OSS development or provide drivers. And when they do (if they provide quality drivers), they'll see their sales rise.
  • by KromsBrother (601291) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:55AM (#10002377)
    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 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.
  • by digitalgiblet (530309) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @01:31PM (#10003563) Homepage Journal
    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 and choose the places where I am willing to trade time for freedom or freedom for time.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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