looking for a GOOD working DVB-C card with ProgDVB

#1
Hello,

this is my first post on this forum. :)

Well, I am going to purchase a PCI DVB-C card for my PC.

My basic system consists of:
AMD Athlon XP 3200+
Gigabyte nForce2 chipset
Windows XP SP2
ATI Radeon 9600 Ultra

What I want is a perfectly working (if this really exists :)) DVB-C card with ProgDVB.

In my opinion there are only two eligible card solutions available.

First:
Mantis chipset based with HDTV support (Terratec Cinergy C PCI HD) or identical in construction a Twinhan 2040

Second:
Philips chipset based with HW MPEG2 decoding (no HDTV) (Technotrend Premium C-2300 Hybrid)

On reading through the forum, I found several problems existing with both chipset based cards. :(

Which one would you suggest/prefer or any other ideas?

However, I would be glad, if someone knows (has it running) one of them, which is working for him with no real issues.

Further I would like to know, what's the real difference between the TT Premium line in ProgDVBs Hardware and Software mode?
Probably in HW mode the video is decoded by the HW MPEG2 chip of the card and in SW mode the system codec is used? Is that right?
Which one produces the best picture quality?

For TechnoTrend Premium line exist probably no BDA drivers.
In fact BDA is a common standard (better compatibility to third party multimedia SW only?), but is there still another advantage of using them as driver for my card?

To TT Premium line:
Is ProgDVB able to loop audio through PCI-Bus to audio device or have I to attach the stereo mini jack cable between DVB card and audio card line in? I suppose this will result in better audio quality and controllability.
Is AC-3 output support by coaxial SPDIF?

Will an original common interface (pseudo PCI card adapter or 3.5" front bay) add-on work in conjunction with ProgDVB?

And my last question (maybe only the author prog knows the answer): :)
Newer cards based on Philips SAA7146 DVB solution offer HD-TV capability (i.e. Satelco or KNC One).
The only thing I noticed in product description responsible for HD is the presence of a MPEG4 codec (mostly by Cyberlink).
TT-Premium line use the same chipset, but don't offer this feature.
So is it possible to adapt the driver, the TV-Software and of course the codec, to get HD on these type of cards, too?
Is there any other HW/SW dependency?

A lot of questions. Hope someone can answer them. :roll: :o

Many Thanks.
sterling

#2
Just a few remarks on the Premium cards:

Premium cards are mainly meant to be used with their hardware TV out. This provides very good quality for normal TVs (interlaced, optimal for classic CRTs) in HW mode. The PC screen picture is not de-interlaced then, as the DSP does not provide such a function.
But there is a KS / PCI-e driver available, that forces software decoding even if device is in HW mode. Means, full TV out function, but codec use for the PC, including PCI audio then.

Regarding HD, this can't be done by the DSP hardware. So no way for the TV out. And the DSP hardware still is active partly in SW mode, like the stream filtering still done in HW (no TS therefore). There is an undocumented limitation for stream data rates, that may prevent you from using old style mpeg2 HD even in SW mode.
This won't effect budget cards, as even those with a Philips 7146 won't have a DSP.

In plain HW mode, you will not have PCI audio, the analogue input to line in is a must.

AC3 over S/P-DIF may work over a plugin, but I've never tested this, due to no adequate hardware. My vintage tube HiFi won't accept this...

Premium cards may partly fail to work on PCI-e based systems, mainly due to no hardware video overlay then. Unsolved timing issues...

Premium remote will not be able to start a DVB application, as the IR receiver is only active with the card already started.

Premium cards need some more electrical power than most budget cards, possibly giving trouble for some mainboards. Specially there were some issues with many nforce2 chipset based boards, if I remember well.


Besides of this, I don't have cable anyway...
My signature:

Please read here:
On Bug Reports And Other Complaints
and there:
BOARD RULES - READ THIS!



I don't give support by e-mail or PM.

And I will never assist on PayTV hacking.
PM ME FOR THIS AND YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IMMEDIATELY, WITHOUT ANY WARNING!!!

NEVER EVER DARE TO CONTACT ME FOR PRO VERSION ISSUES!
I am not responsible for that.
Check the 'Activation' section.

Please keep it in English here, or Russian in the Russian section, or German in the German section.

I don't read nor write Klingonian or any other language than English and German.
Addressing me personally in any exotic language will be treated as severe insulting! Be warned!!!


1.)AMD Phenom II x4 940, GA-MA770-UD3, 8 GB DDR2-6400. 7 Pro SP1 x64 + XP Pro SP3 x86
DVB-S2: Cynergy S2 USB HD
2.)P4 3200 i865G (F-S Scenic W600pwr) XP Pro SP3
DVB-S: hauppauge WinTV Nexus-S rev. 2.2, driver TT 2.19h, hardware mode

19.2°,13°,28.x°E,30°W, DiSEqC 1.0


Auf Deutsch:
DVB-Cube <<< Das deutsche DVB-Forum >>>

#3
Thank you Juergen! You're a really tough guy. :)
Premium cards are mainly meant to be used with their hardware TV out. This provides very good quality for normal TVs (interlaced, optimal for classic CRTs) in HW mode. The PC screen picture is not de-interlaced then, as the DSP does not provide such a function.
But there is a KS / PCI-e driver available, that forces software decoding even if device is in HW mode. Means, full TV out function, but codec use for the PC, including PCI audio then.
Okay, to sum up your post, it means the primary goal of the DSP is for improving image quality on TV-out?
I always thought the TI-DSP-chip is for real-time HW decoding to reduce the load of the processor in the computer system?
So older computers don't need to retire. :)
Further you can record streams with very low CPU-load.

Regarding your information, the TT Premium cards are in HW mode (ProgDVB) only useful, if you want to use the TV-out?
(I don't need this function, so I won't use it longer as an argument for deciding wether to choose Mantis or Philips chipset on DVB-C devices)
Are there any other advantages (faster MPEG decoding, lower CPU-load)?

But something to understand for myself. The stream of DVB-C/S is mostly (are there channels broadcasting progressive) interlaced?
Following your argumentation, how is it possible to use ProgDVB in HW-mode to see anything on your computers screen, if it's not de-interlaced by the DSP chip?
There must be some kind of SW (MPEG2 decoder), which does the job concurrently to the DSP chip (for TV-out only), if you want to see a picture on your PC screen. Am I right?

Which driver do I need, that forces software decoding even if device is in HW mode? Is it only available for PCI-E video cards (that I don't have)?

What does "KS" means in this sentence ".. a KS / PCI-e driver .."?

Do you know, which setting (HW-mode or SW-mode) the TT Premium cards use with original TV-Software from TT (TT Center)?
(my TT Premium DVB-S card always needed the analogue cable, so it should run in HW mode?)

Finally to say: in SW-mode, ProgDVB uses it's own codecs to display the MPEG2-video stream not utilizing any kind of the DSP?
Regarding HD, this can't be done by the DSP hardware. So no way for the TV out. And the DSP hardware still is active partly in SW mode, like the stream filtering still done in HW (no TS therefore). There is an undocumented limitation for stream data rates, that may prevent you from using old style mpeg2 HD even in SW mode.
This won't effect budget cards, as even those with a Philips 7146 won't have a DSP.
What do you mean with "TS" in this context?
But can't you bypass the DSP chip by a new driver and simply "behave" like a budget card? Would be very interesting.
(however, HD is a feature of the future for me)

Another question: According my current knowledge, there will be no significant (if any?) difference in picture quality wether in SW-mode or HW-mode on your computers screen (not the TV-out!)?

Where do you get your information from? Can you recommend a good source. I would prefer to read myself a bit.

Which plug-in is necessary for AC3 output over SPDIF of TT premium card? I have a Creative DDTS-100 digital decoder, which maybe support the stream.
Do you know, if it's a real AC3 stream or just AC3 via PCM?

You didn't anwser the question to BDA and the CI? No idea or accidentally skipped?

Many thanks.
Sterling

#4
sterling wrote:Okay, to sum up your post, it means the primary goal of the DSP is for improving image quality on TV-out?
Not improving but enabling, as when the SS1 concept was made, most PCs in the world were critically slow and also did not provide VGA based TV out nor even video overlay. In those days, for most people, using dedicated software was the only way, to handle TV on their machines.
Anyway, the technical quality of the SS1 way very close to the top, including strictly standard compatible CVBS.
sterling wrote:I always thought the TI-DSP-chip is for real-time HW decoding to reduce the load of the processor in the computer system?.
So older computers don't need to retire. :)
Sure, but you know, there are minimum requirements, that weren't all easily fulfilled by every machine in that early days. Not very far before that, many people went for HW decoders for watching DVDs, like the famous Hollywood cards...
sterling wrote:Further you can record streams with very low CPU-load.
Not really. Writing streams into a file container would not require CPU power more than a 486 could not have provided, but of course no other task may interrupt this in any way.
You can record with decoder disabled, this is a general option for SW mode or budget cards.
sterling wrote:Regarding your information, the TT Premium cards are in HW mode (ProgDVB) only useful, if you want to use the TV-out?
(I don't need this function, so I won't use it longer as an argument for deciding wether to choose Mantis or Philips chipset on DVB-C devices)
More or less, these days you are correct.
Though, I'm using HW mode only even on my P4 1800, as this keeps CPU load to a minimum, blowers stay slow and quiet. Living room thinking...
And I can surf or mess around with other software, whilst my girlfriend still is watching TV or a recording on my 27" TV.
sterling wrote:Are there any other advantages (faster MPEG decoding, lower CPU-load)?
May well be.
If watching crypted stations, you need a well working CSA hardware (or DLL), but only cards with a CI (option) would have a chip for this.
Also possible are some differences due to the quality of the (virtual) networking device, that's used to stream out from the tuner.
sterling wrote:But something to understand for myself. The stream of DVB-C/S is mostly (are there channels broadcasting progressive) interlaced?
SD is and will stay interlaced in most cases.
Though, we can't really know, as more and more displays are scanning progressive and contain DSPs. TFTs MUST have this anyway.
sterling wrote:Following your argumentation, how is it possible to use ProgDVB in HW-mode to see anything on your computers screen, if it's not de-interlaced by the DSP chip?
Exactly.
There's only one chance to get de-interlacing, use of a codec.
Even if using the KS / PCI-e driver (Technotrend 2.19c), that forces SW mode for the PC screen, the HW TV out would stay interlaced. And the PC screen picture will need the same CPU as in plain SW mode.
sterling wrote:There must be some kind of SW (MPEG2 decoder), which does the job concurrently to the DSP chip (for TV-out only), if you want to see a picture on your PC screen. Am I right?
Not really.
As I told above, the TV out is and always will be interlaced. Old TV standard must...
If you want or need de-interlaced on the PC screen, either use SW decoding or find a VGA card, that can de-interlace video overlay (a contradiction in itself, normally).
sterling wrote:Which driver do I need, that forces software decoding even if device is in HW mode? Is it only available for PCI-E video cards (that I don't have)?
Works with all kind of VGA cards. Tested here with a RagePro Turbo AGPx2 ages ago...
sterling wrote:What does "KS" means in this sentence ".. a KS / PCI-e driver .."?
Don't ask me, watch John Cleese in 'How To Irritate People'...
For PCI-e that driver is the only way, as both HW manufacturers, for mainboards and DVB devices, failed to get HW video overlay to work correctly there on, due to unsolved timing issues.
sterling wrote:Do you know, which setting (HW-mode or SW-mode) the TT Premium cards use with original TV-Software from TT (TT Center)?
(my TT Premium DVB-S card always needed the analogue cable, so it should run in HW mode?)
Depends.
With PCI-e drivers, it will use HW mode for the TV and audio out, but for PC screen and audio it will use SW mode then, including audio over PCI.
sterling wrote:Finally to say: in SW-mode, ProgDVB uses it's own codecs to display the MPEG2-video stream not utilizing any kind of the DSP?
To be precise, the CSA, stream filtering and recording interface will in any case stay in HW, also available HW options will stay active for this. Then the streams will be handled by SW.
sterling wrote:What do you mean with "TS" in this context?
Transport stream, including more than just video and (selected) audio.
sterling wrote:But can't you bypass the DSP chip by a new driver and simply "behave" like a budget card? Would be very interesting.
(however, HD is a feature of the future for me)
Sorry, no.
The Linux specialists have found a risky way to solder at the hardware, then apply a modified driver.
But for sure, this is not for the common user, SMD routine needed, warranty gone, also possible it won't work under Windows anymore...
sterling wrote:Another question: According my current knowledge, there will be no significant (if any?) difference in picture quality wether in SW-mode or HW-mode on your computers screen (not the TV-out!)?
Depends on content and your display, very much.
Celluloid won't provide interlace. So, if placing the half frames properly, you may not have any interlace effects then. But there also the VGA frame rate would matter, the true display scan rate (of a flat screen) as well, and even the kind of fluorescence material in a CRT or the display speed or an LCD / TFT will have a great influence.
Any kind of conversion will have it's aspects...
sterling wrote:Where do you get your information from? Can you recommend a good source. I would prefer to read myself a bit.
I'm a qualified TV mechanic, and I'm playing around with all kind of electronics for more than 35 years now...
sterling wrote:Which plug-in is necessary for AC3 output over SPDIF of TT premium card? I have a Creative DDTS-100 digital decoder, which maybe support the stream.
Do you know, if it's a real AC3 stream or just AC3 via PCM?
Sorry, no idea.
My HiFi was made in 1966, tubes aren't suitable for S/P-DIF...
This for I've never played around with this.
AC3 filter threads should be found here easily, search function recommended...
sterling wrote:You didn't anwser the question to BDA and the CI? No idea or accidentally skipped?
By intention...
BDA is proprietary and expensive M$ crap under NDA, intentionally made incompatible with Win9x.
And there will never be a BDA driver for SS1 Premium, as Technotrend told.
So, DiSEqC will always work with it, so will the remote, the CI and CSA stage and everything else, and there will be no DRM (broadcast flag or Macrovision or similar) on it...
And I never got the CI extension module, as I don't use any CAMs and subscriber cards.

BTW, software decrypting is not discussed here, try dvbn.happysat.org for issues like this. But even for plugins, a (De-)CSA hardware (from a CI option) is nice to have...
My signature:

Please read here:
On Bug Reports And Other Complaints
and there:
BOARD RULES - READ THIS!



I don't give support by e-mail or PM.

And I will never assist on PayTV hacking.
PM ME FOR THIS AND YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IMMEDIATELY, WITHOUT ANY WARNING!!!

NEVER EVER DARE TO CONTACT ME FOR PRO VERSION ISSUES!
I am not responsible for that.
Check the 'Activation' section.

Please keep it in English here, or Russian in the Russian section, or German in the German section.

I don't read nor write Klingonian or any other language than English and German.
Addressing me personally in any exotic language will be treated as severe insulting! Be warned!!!


1.)AMD Phenom II x4 940, GA-MA770-UD3, 8 GB DDR2-6400. 7 Pro SP1 x64 + XP Pro SP3 x86
DVB-S2: Cynergy S2 USB HD
2.)P4 3200 i865G (F-S Scenic W600pwr) XP Pro SP3
DVB-S: hauppauge WinTV Nexus-S rev. 2.2, driver TT 2.19h, hardware mode

19.2°,13°,28.x°E,30°W, DiSEqC 1.0


Auf Deutsch:
DVB-Cube <<< Das deutsche DVB-Forum >>>

#5
Great! :lol:
Simply nice lesson. :D
Thank you so much :!:

And by the way, for an undergraduate TV mechanic, your English is quite good. :wink: (please don't misunderstand)

I nearly understood everything you wrote, but I am too lazy to write a (hopefully) last reply.
Waiting for the next day.

sterling
cron