[mythtv-users] Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick

Carl L. Gilbert clg-social at rigidsoftware.com
Thu May 22 20:13:00 UTC 2008

On Thu, 2008-05-22 at 12:18 -0600, Brian Phillips wrote:
> Carl wrote:
> I understand HD vs. SD and analog vs. digital.  I know HD is always digital
> but SD can be either or.  I have not see any digital device marketing itself
> as SD only, but I have seen digital devices marketing themselves as "HD."
> And there is a section in the Myth documentation about HD cards and they are
> treated seperately.  So at first glance to me, calling a digital capture
> card "HD" is seeming like a marketing thing.  I am not here to tell anyone
> how it is, I just don't know.  I'm trying to learn enough to know how to
> formulate my question so it makes sense to people who do know.  So forgive
> me if I don't make total sense.
> OK, but as far as the end user is concerned, the signal that comes out is
> MPEG? which can be stored directly?
> CL 
> ========
> Carl, please turn off HTML/Rich Text formatting on your mail client.
> "but I have seen digital devices marketing themselves as "HD.""
> It can only be called a marketing ploy if you know of digital devices that
> don't do HD, only SD.  You haven't been able to come up with a device yet
> that meets this criteria so I think you are a bit pessimistic when you see
> an digital tuner card and assume it's a marketing ploy to call it "HD".

I never looked for such a device.  You asked me if I knew of one.  You
did not ask me to go find one. 

Anyway, I dug around to see if I could see more clearly how devices are
labelled and what they actually do and I think I have it now.  This is
my concern.  How to know what I am paying for.

> So, because we haven't seen a digital capture device that can ONLY do SD, we
> have to assume that ALL digital devices can do HD, and calling a digital
> capture device HD is not a marketing "thing".  Does that answer your
> question?

What I have learned is that the tuner and the capture part are

1.  Some devices receive analog cable or analog TV.  In this case, you
need to encode the signal.  Since both of these are SD signals, you
would be "encoding" an SD signal.

2.  If a device can tune a digital signal like QAM or ATSC, then it can
"capture" HD from those sources which is pretty simple.  Which means all
QAM or ATSC can probably claim to do HD.

3.  Then you have devices that can take component inputs and encode an
HD signal.  This is much different then handling a digital transport

So those are the 3 types of things a capturing card can do with 1 and 3
being most difficult and 2 being simpler.

> I have to say I'm a little curious as to why you're asking this question if
> you don't even have a relevant piece of hardware you are investigating (SD
> only digital capture device).
> Brian
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I am investigating lots of hardware.  

The pcHDTV cards $130
  This does not seem to encode at all, but only passes on the transport
stream.  Basically just a tuner.  No input other than the coax.

The Hauppauge HVR and PVR cards
  The HVR-1600 has digital and analog tuners.  Encodes the analog into
MPEG in hardware.  Has analog input. $130
The PVR is about $80 and receives and encodes analog tv.
The "HD" PVR receives HD over component and encodes it in hardware.

And ofcourse the Pinnacle PCTV "HD" Pro Stick $130
  This seems to be capable of encoding in MPEG1/2 or Divx.  Though its
not clear if this is hardware or software.  Also has analog input which
goes with its encoding abilities.

These are all very different, but its not easy to see the differences.
Especially in the 3 devices which all have the same pricing.


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