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HTPC Woes

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by silkstone, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. silkstone

    silkstone

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    So, i finally gathered enough components to build myself a HTPC and was really looking forward to trying it out, but i have come across a couple of problems and i was wondering if anyone could help me out?

    The HTPC is set up is on an old e8400 with a HD6670 and an aver volar Go analogue TV usb stick. I am connecting it straight to the cable from the wall to try and watch cable.

    My first problem is with the video quality, it's just awful. The signal is clear, as in there is no static, but the pickture is pixelatted and blocky. It looks the same as when trying to watch an MKV or H264 file without/with older codecs. The picture when hooked up to my TV is crystal clear, but on the PC is is fairly bad - it's difficult to make out any text on tv programs.

    Secondly, when setting up the channels in WMC there are a ton of missing channels and the same when i set it up using the aver proprietary software, however the missing channels are not the same; The aver software picks up channels that MWC doesn't and vice-versa.

    There is no channel guide for where i am, but that is not a problem, i just want to be able to scan and add all the channels and manually name them.

    I don;t suppose anyone here with experience setting up HTPCs has any advice for me?

    Thanks in advance
  2. tomvh1 New Member

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    HTCP woes.

    1. My guess is that your "analog" USB stick is not setup for cable frequencies which differ from over the air "channels. Try using a "cable box" if you have one, Run the cable out of the box into your analog USB stick. Is your "Analoge USB stick" HD ready ?
    This should solve your problem. Only downside is that you must change channels with the cable box.

    2. Go put and buy a cable frequency compatible tuner that can select cable frequencies.
    For High definition HD it should be specified a "QUAM" capable tuner.



    I hope this sheds some light on your woes !
    silkstone says thanks.
  3. silkstone

    silkstone

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    There is no cable box for my cable. The company basically just rub a single basic cable package which contains the basics including all the ota channel. Non of the stuff is HD. It's just regular tv. . Strangley enough ot is the standard channels that are. Available by usng an antenna that I can't pick up. Stuff like HBO. Works fine.
  4. tomvh1 New Member

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    HTCP Woes

    Hi Silkstone,

    Sounds like a plan. I am not a big cable guy and I use an antenna to watch local channels'

    Good Luck, Tom
  5. Jetster

    Jetster

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    What you have is a Analog tuner. 90% of channels are digital. You cant get them at all. What your getting is a few analog channels and they dont come in very well at all. Even over the air channels are digital now. But a few analog remain

    What you need: ATSC / ClearQAM / NTSC Tuner

    When you get the right tuner. You can put on a digital antenna and over the air you can get HD picture. But most likely no HD on your cable unless you pay for it


    The reality is I have spent hours trying to set up tuners on my HTPC. I alway go back to torrents and over the air local station in HD. A good digital tuner will cost you a $150 and to get paid HD channels you will need a card.

    SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME - Three Digital Tuners...
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  6. silkstone

    silkstone

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    WMC Woes [Updated]

    Thanks for your response, however none of the channels here are HD.

    I've been playing around some more and The Aver TV application is able to pick up about 70 channels, which is the same amount i have on my TV i believe. However, WMC only picks up 21 channels. I've rescanned 5 times now and it isn;t picking up the same amount as the Aver TV app :(

    The qulaity is still a problem and i believe it is decoder based, i am still working on that and have had a little success in sharpening the picture.

    I have no idea where to go from here regarding how to get WMC to tune all the channels :(

    Another strange problem i have come across is that using the Aver media app, the quality is terrible UNLESS is press record, then the quality snaps up and the picture becomes a lot more clear. I don;t have this problem in WMC, the picture is always more crisp...

    Here is the Aver TV app Screen Shot


    [​IMG]

    When i record the show, it switches to much better quality

    [​IMG]

    http://www.mediafire.com/?armje2vg24dre4j (14mb)

    And WMC is about the same quality. (can't capture the screen)

    http://www.mediafire.com/?p9xqiq1y9qqmkhh (3mb)

    The sample videos may be a little bias as MWC is using a higher compression.

    all this leads me to believe that there is a codec issue and it may be possible to tweak the settings to get better quality video.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  7. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Digital does not imply high definition. A digital signal is used to save bandwidth so you can squeeze more channels in the same frequency range. HD is just an added bonus to digital signals but doesn't mean they exist in your area. I still think you might want to invest in a digital receiver. I've seen plenty of standard definition digital boxes.
    silkstone says thanks.
  8. silkstone

    silkstone

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    Thanks for the response. I just edited my post above to show what i am talking about.

    hmmm.. i didn't know that about TV signals. Are digital TV decoders more expensive than analogue ones? And would i get better picture quality with a digital TV tuner?

    I just bought this one yesterday, so i'd like to try to get it working first before spending more money.

    Digital or not, it still doesn't really explain why one application picks up all 70 channels while the other only picks up 21.

    would something like this give better quality video in Vietnam (where i live)? http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=293

    From wikipedia: VTC operates five national channels and is the only provider of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Vietnam. VTC's DTT service is a subscription service though piracy of the signal is rampant.

    I don;t have a cable subscription to this cable provider, so i assume that my cable service is not digital. correct?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  9. Jetster

    Jetster

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    If your getting 70 channels it must be digital. But what is the model and make of your Tuner. I have no idea why the quality would change when you record
    silkstone says thanks.
  10. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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    sounds to me like its just the signal.... package.. u have. the blockyness is due to the low res. im guessing u have a crt tv? probably why it looks better on the tv than on the pc. pcs resve a higher res and the program may be stretching the image. i had this same problem with movies i ripped to my hard drive. vids with a res of around 480x320 looked bad on my monitor, but pretty good on my old 27inch sony trinitron tv. this has a lot to do with the way tv display their image. err the crt type anyway. also, the older tvs are closer to the nativ res. i think sd is at most 720x480progressive.
  11. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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    srry for double post.. my phone wont scroll within a textbox well

    although sd is up to 480p, many channels could be 2/3 that and only thr 4:3 equal and interlaced on top of that. also u could have signal loss if theres no box to boost the signal, so u get a low bitrate signal.. and ot looks bad... worse than watching movies on a VCR. if the tuner is of poor quality u could see even more signal loss. from ur above screenshots.. it seems decent all things considered. could be some "noise" from the quality of the tuner and signal loss
  12. silkstone

    silkstone

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    My TV is an LG plasma, it's 40" and connected by HDMI cable.

    Even if my cable signal is digital, it doesn't really explain why WMC can only pick up a few channels where other apps can pick them all up :(
    My TV stick is an Aver Volar go, The channels that WMC does pick up all say that the signal strength is 100% and i get the same result in the channels whether it is connected directly to the source and when i split the signal between the TV and HTPC.


    I've been doing some research and the blockyness may be due to the 64-bit OS: WMC is only able to use 64-bit codecs. I'm going to try a couple more things, and if they don't work switch over to 32-bit windows 7 to see if that works any better.

    I'm out of ideas for the number of channels tho, i can't find any reason why WMC can't detect them.
  13. silkstone

    silkstone

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    Update - So When i select the source as an antenna in WMC it gets 66 channels (not all have programs) and when i select cable it has 170 channels (again not all have reception)....

    I'm looking through the channel of both sources now, but i have the feeling that when set up to antenna, i get the channels that i don't get when set up to cable and vice-versa.

    Is there any way to combine these two options?

    Update - Using the antenna option i only get about 6-7 channels, i'm not sure if any of them are the missing ones.

    I think i know the problem. Media Centre downloads Regional data to set up the TV signal rather than scanning the frequencies. Is there any way to manually scan the frequencies in WMC so i can set up the channels without having to rely on the (inaccurate) downloaded data?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  14. jmcslob

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    MediaPortal...
    It's a little better than AverTV and WMC...Just takes a little time to setup and it will use whatever codec pack you want...or select for it...it's very easy to use once you get used to it and if you have an Android or Iphone it works terrific with Unified Remote over your network or BlueTooth
    http://www.team-mediaportal.com/

    It will also let you choose the channel order and makes it easy to connect online for a TV guide...


    Oh it will let you scan cable and air and combine signals anyway you want...
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
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  15. silkstone

    silkstone

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    I put that on, but i couldn't figure out for the life of me how to set it up.

    I'll give it another try later this evening
  16. Krazy Owl

    Krazy Owl New Member

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    If your cable come right form the wall then it's normal signal and will be basic definition so little bit shitty on a HD screen. If you had a HD cable box between the wall and the tv or computer lets say then the signal would be HD and not blurry on the 40". Basically you take an Analog usb key trying to fit it onto a numerical setup AND you dont use an HD signal.
  17. silkstone

    silkstone

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    The thing is, Straight from the wall into my TV, the picture is fine. It's just when going through the computer the picture turns all pixellated.
  18. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    That could be the adapter itself, but if VTC is like a lot of US carriers, it started with a large number of shared channels on both analog and digital with most analog channels also in digital. It's very possible one of the following is happening:

    You're receiver is not a good one (I had this case a long time ago with an analog receiver.)
    You're receiver only does analog (which explains the blockiness since a lot more is done to the signal if you have to convert it from analog to digital.)
    Or it is very possible that the signal isn't very good and that the receiver on the TV is better at filtering out noise (measured as SNR) and working with signal with low power output (measured as power level,) than the other adapter.

    Could you tell us what kind of adapter you're using for the computer? Also would you happen to be using Cable for your internet as well?
    silkstone says thanks.
  19. Krazy Owl

    Krazy Owl New Member

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    The tv is able to adjust to the signal automatically like my tv on a lower resolution then the problem come from the usb stuff i suppose.
  20. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    It would certainly help to know what kind of adapter he is using.
  21. silkstone

    silkstone

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    I'm using an Aver Volar Go, There isn't really much available. I'm guessing that it's just not good quality :(

    I have looked at the signal strength in the different applications and it always shows up as 100%

    TBH, i could live with the lower quality. The main problem is getting 3rd party apps to tune the channels: Both WMC and Media Portal refuse to show me all the channels that come up using the aver 3D TV application.

    I would just use the Aver application, but it does not automatically start using time skip, and there is no option to enable it on the remote, i have to take the mouse and click around each time i want to watch tv. The same is true about pausing, i have to use the mouse to pause using that app, rather than using my remote.

    I really just want to get WMC working so i can work with it using a WMC remote.
  22. jmcslob

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    I'm guessing you had a problem with tuning the channels...
    There is a separate program you do all that through (TV Server)...but it is easy....

    There is a whole series on Youtube on how to set it up

    Here is the most common issue people have setting it up..
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  23. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    That is your problem, the specs says its analog only. You're not receiving half of the signals your getting. You really need a digital tuner.
  24. silkstone

    silkstone

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    The thing is i am receiving ALL the channels available, but only in the Aver Media 3D TV app.

    Media center and media portal won't pick them up, where the other program picks everything up.

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