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12-05-2008, 12:13   #1
franksm
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MCE/STB picture quality nirvana, how to get there ?

Hey folks

With the old NTL Digital PACE box hooked up to a 32" 720p LCD via an MCE box, the picture was always 'okay'.

I now have one of the new UPC PACE DC621KU digiboxes hooked up to a 47" 1080p screen via MCE, a Hauppauge card and an SVIDEO converter - the image from the STB is a bit pixellated however. Imagery from the PC is pixel-perfect, and DVDs are pretty good too.

Are these STBs capable of good display on a 1080p screen ? Are the SKY STBs any better ? Or is there something I should change in my setup (eg. the Hauppauge PVR150 card) to improve things ?

Here's my setup:

STB is a PACE DC621KU
OS: Vista Ultimate SP1 32 bit (Windows Experience Index 4.5, for what it's worth)
RAM: 3.0GB
CPU: Intel Dual core 6400 @2.13GHz
Motherboard: Intel DG965OT
TV card: Hauppauge PVR150MCE
STB: NTL digital --> SCART --> SVIDEO into Hauppauge card
Graphics: Asus ATIRadeon X1650 at 1080p (512mb RAM dedicated, 1274mb shared system RAM, 1766MB total)
Display panel: Wharfdale LCD47F1080P TV

Confirmed as running at 1080p

Cheers

Frank
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12-05-2008, 18:09   #2
bazwaldo
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Are you converting the RGB ouput on the pace box to svideo for the hauppauge input or the composite output?

If composite, does converting actually make it better or worse? Have you tried the direct composite input on the hauppauge instead?

BTW, surely SKY HD would make a better picture. I've been p1ssing around with the config of my HTPC with NTL and a few things have a made a difference.
1) Turn off Vista Aero, just have Vista Basic
2) Turn off indexing for your Recorded TV drive
3) Setting CPU Min/Max to 100% in power settings
4) Making sure the video card did the upscaling and not my display (part of nvidia settings)
5) Installed MCEVideoSettings. Means you can change the recorded TV colour settings directly rather than when playing the dvrms.
6) Played with nvidia colour settings too
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12-05-2008, 19:53   #3
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Yep, converting SCART-RGB from the STB to S-Video and from there to the S-Video input on the Hauppauge card. Will try the composite feed instead.

I have made the TRDenoise changes that my ATI graphics card requires too (fixings a problem with smearing).

Will have a go at your other suggestions there for Vista, although not sure about (4) making the video card do the upscaling. Will check that out

Ta
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13-05-2008, 09:30   #4
bazwaldo
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Do you have one of those RGB to s-video plug-in converters from maplins? Or something else? I'd like to know what difference you see from composite compared to the output from it.

I made a lot of my changes above at once and rebooted. Then noticed a difference but don't know which of the above actually helped. Maybe only one, maybe all. Worth a try though.
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13-05-2008, 12:54   #5
SouperComputer
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The most important piece of the puzzle is arguably the MPEG2 decoder on the HTPC. What one are you using?
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14-05-2008, 12:22   #6
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Yep, am using the Maplins RGB-to-Svideo convertor (Shinybow is the manufacturer).

Have just tried using the composite feed instead of Svideo - composite gives a noticably fuzzier picture.

As for the MPEG2 decoder, I am just using the standard thaht comes with Vista - my install is fairly vanilla, the only extras being Lifextender and Webguide4
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18-05-2008, 22:22   #7
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Hey guys

what do you reckon ? I think the clue is in the fact that DVD playback via Vista is quite good, no sign of graininess. Would that rule out the MPEG2 decoder ?

Live TV via the STB is still the problem - horizontal black lines on a white background flicker as if interlaced (but 1080p is definitely in effect, no interlace). Oddly, the screen appears to be pixellated into a mosaic of about 80 squares the width of the screen. Subimages within these mosaics are fuzzy. It's hard to describe and it's hard to capture the problem in a photo
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