Replace OEM tuner or add better one

Discussion in 'Windows Media Center' started by xiowan, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    I just bought a new computer and am disappointed it doesn't have video out
    ports of any kind. I am thinking of replacing the tv tuner or adding an
    additional tuner. I also may need a better graphics card if it will work.
    The live TV picture is very poor...makes me dizzy at times while it tries to
    catch up with the action. I have Comcast basic cable service and my coax
    cable is hooked to the video in on the tuner card. I have an 8 y.o. computer
    with a tuner card that displays a very nice live tv picture from the same
    cable input. My monitor resolution is 1024x768 @ 75 Hz. I would appreciate
    any help I could get regarding the advantage of replacing vs adding a tuner
    card and whether I should/can install a better graphics card. At some point
    I want to be able to send tv to a soon to be purchased HD ready tv. Here is
    the technical info about my computer:

    Intel 82945G Express Chipset Family

    250GB Serial ATA Internal Hard Drive(7299 rpm)

    Intel Pentium D CPU 830, 3.00 GHz x 2(Dual core)
    800MHz frontside bus, 2x 1MB L2 cache

    1GB PC4200 DDR2 memory

    ATI Unified AVStream Driver located PCI slot2 (PCI bus 6,
    device 1, function 0)

    *Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver?
    Maximum graphics memory available 128MB
    *does this take the place of a "Graphics Card"?

    NEC DVD_RW ND-3540A

    ATI Theatre 550 Pro TV tuner w/FM antenna, MC remote

    GATEWAY 840GM OEM Computer

    Thanks for any assistance you may have for me

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 20, 2005
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  2. xiowan

    SYA Guest

    I have the HP equivelent of your system, if I am reading your specs
    correctly, you are using on-board video which will not cut it. I had the same
    issue, and added an ATI x700 card which is PCIe (you will need to check the
    specs of your PC to see what type of free slots you may have)

    The results of adding a decent video card with its own memory were night and

    Good Luck
    SYA, Sep 20, 2005
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  3. Sounds like your graphics are integrated on the motherboard. If so, I can
    understand why it might not have a video out port. See if you have an
    available AGP slot - if so, you can easily add a compatible graphics card.
    An nVidia 5200 or better would work or an ATI 9550 or better. For HD, you'll
    probably want to step up to an nVidia 6600 or an ATI 9800. The other
    question is which DVD Decoder you use, as that will also affect image

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Sep 20, 2005
  4. xiowan

    dgoodma Guest

    Can you use a PCI based Video Card as and/or? My MediaCenter only has an
    available PCI slot.
    dgoodma, Sep 20, 2005
  5. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Great minds think alike SYA! I had been looking for a couple weeks at video
    and the ATI Radeon X700 Pro Video Card was one of 2 I thot might be a good
    I am concerned about the compatibility of already installed software for my
    550 Theatre Pro with the ATI X700. Will they work ok together?
    Dana: I thot about using the ATI 9800 you mentioned, but I don't think I
    an AGP spot for it. I do however have PCI slots, PCI E, and PCI Exress 16
    Do you think the PCI 16 slot with the ATI x700 would give me ok SDTV and
    later HD?
    And, do I have to disable the graphics function on my motherboard to be
    able to use
    an add-on video card? I have replaced a floppy drive in a computer before
    but am not an I dare try to install a PCI Express 16 card
    myself or should I
    turn over my computer to someone who says they are and expert at the store?

    Thanks again for your input SYI and Dana!

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 20, 2005
  6. There are PCI cards available that meet the minimum requirements, but you
    might have to search for them. I don't know if a PCI video card would have
    the bandwidth to handle HD...

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Sep 20, 2005
  7. I believe the ATI x700 is fast enough to support HD but can't swear to it as
    I don't have one. If you have a PCI Express slot, you can use that for a
    high-speed graphics board instead of AGP. On most motherboards, they detect
    when you have an AGP or PCI-Express graphics board installed and turn off
    the motherboard's display adapter. If it doesn't, then you need to go into
    the BIOS (generally by pressing the Del key when booting) and turn it off.

    It shouldn't be that hard to install the card - just check the documentation
    first to see if you're supposed to insert the card then install the drivers,
    or install the drivers then insert the card.

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Sep 20, 2005
  8. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Also Dana, I am confused about the integrated Intel® Graphics Media
    Accelerator 950 with Dynamic Video Memory Technology
    (DVMT) 3.0 supports up to 224MB video memory; high-definition audio
    support). Since I have a tremendous picture on the sample video in MC2005
    and on
    purchased DVD's, is it really the graphics card I need or could the tuner
    just not be doing a good job of sending data to the computer? I have
    Cyberlink PowerDVD and Nero 6 also and don't want to have inter-connectivity
    probs with these. I noticed that 2 weeks after talking to Gateway tech about
    no video output being a poor idea on a high-end computer that they pulled all
    their MC2005 computers with my set up and now only offer my model with NVIDIA
    GeForce 6800 Ultra with 256MB DDR3 Dual DVI & TV-Out or NVIDIA GeForce 6600G
    with 128MB, DVI, VGA & TV-Out now!
    They no longer mention the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, so it must
    not be all that hot for MC2005! Anyway......need to find out if the new
    graphics card replaces the integral Intel graphics or will compliment it?

    Sorry........I talk too much!

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 20, 2005
  9. Well, since your Intel graphics are built into the motherboard, any new
    graphics board you install would be in addition to the other
    words, you may be able to run both at once. Or you may depends
    entirely on your BIOS and whether it can support both at once. If you add a
    new card, say, an nVidia 6600 or 6800, I'm not sure why you would _want_ to
    run both...the nVidia would be a much better card than the Intel.

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Sep 21, 2005
  10. xiowan

    Curious Guest

    The Intel 915 graphics are very powerful especially when used with 128MB of
    DDR2 533 memory is allocated to the video on a 512MB system. In fact some
    users have reported that they have no problem with any HD output resolutions
    and have even been able to handle 1080i program inputs from an HDTV card.
    However, more often it appears to be able to only handle 720p program inputs
    from an HDTV card. This makes it similar to an NVIDIA 6600 which can usually
    can handle 720p inputs and outputs but not 1080i inputs and outputs. A 128MB
    6600GT card is normally required to handle 1080i HD program inputs and
    Curious, Sep 22, 2005
  11. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Hi "Curious":
    Thanks for the input on the embedded Graphics. I went to the Intel Site and
    located detailed information on it. If you're interested, the link is:
    I found a link to a site that determines what tv stations I can expect
    to receive off-air at my location in another post here. It seems the
    mountains in Tucson are going to allow me to get a total of two HD
    signals.......1 of which is in spanish! So,I
    guess my main concern is a tuner that enables a good SDTV signal and a
    graphics card that can display it properly. I saw in that link that the
    Intel graphics is supposed to be compatible with MCE 2005 although since it's
    embedded, it's not on Microsoft's "Partner List". I guess when my next
    Soc.Sec. check gets here, I'll pick up the ATI 700 Pro graphics card and
    pray it improves the picture.

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 22, 2005
  12. xiowan

    Curious Guest

    TV picture quality is dependent on the weakest link in the chafing of Tuner
    card encoder-DVD Decoder-Graphics card. Since the sample program and DVDs
    look great then that means that your graphics card can present great video
    when presented with quality inputs created by high quality commercial
    encoders like those to make DVDs.
    Curious, Sep 22, 2005
  13. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Hi again "Curious"
    I'm starting to wonder if it's possible that the embedded Intel Graphics
    Acelerator is just not compatible with the way Windows Media Center Edition
    2005 is configured?
    It isn't listed on the "Partners" list for MCE 05, and the Intel website
    doesn't list it as a compatible Operating System. An e-mail from Intel Tech
    support stated:
    The Intel(R) 82845G graphics controller does not have specific drivers nor
    support for Microsoft* Windows* Media Center 2005. For more information on
    supported operating systems, please visit the following link:"
    If this is correct, I wonder if that's my problem. I hate to invest more
    money to buy
    what I supposedly already bought. It seems unlikely to me that Gateway
    would assemble a computer that didn't meet design requirements for MCE 05
    though. I'm sure they consult with Intel and Microsoft to ensure everything
    is compatible and test it. Right? I contacted Gateway Support about this
    possiblity, but haven't heard back yet. I have a CyberLink PowerDVD 6.0
    that should handle the codes from the ATI 550 Theatre Pro Tuner
    properly........they are both on the "Partners List" from M.S. Perhaps
    someone from M.S. will see this and pop in with information about the
    compatibility prob, if I have one. Thanks again for the input.

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 23, 2005
  14. It sounds to me like Gateway owes you a video card. If your PC is still
    under warranty, tell them you want to return it for one that works.
    Especially if the model you bought was replaced with one similar that
    included a video card rather then the motherboard video, it tells me that
    it's their fault for selling something that isn't capable of doing what they
    claimed. Tell their support person you want to "escalate the issue to a

    Dana Cline - MVP
    Dana Cline - MVP, Sep 23, 2005
  15. xiowan

    JW Guest

    Many MCE users have no trouble with the Intel graphics which are supported
    for MCE by Intel. See following Link:

    Thre were new XP drivers released for the chipset in the last couple of
    months. There are no special MCE drivers since the Windows already support
    the functions MCE requires.

    The Intel Chipset can only be listed in the approved for MCE 2005 logo
    program if Intel requests it.
    You might notice from the list that the MS XBOX extender is not on the list
    since apparently the MS Extender team has not bothered to request its
    listing from the MCE group.
    JW, Sep 23, 2005
  16. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Hi Dana:
    That was the conclusion I came to, so I emailed Gateway support telling
    them that. They replied with an e-mail suggesting I re-install the graphics
    drivers and video drivers. The system recovery told me to uninstall the
    drivers before re-installing them using the "Add/Remove" program.
    Surprisingly, the video driver is listed in the system recovery but not
    listed in the installed programs in "Add/Remove Programs" list. I went ahead
    and installed the video program without un- installing it first. The picture
    might be a little bit better. Need to wait for a football game to see if it
    is improved enough to be usable for me.
    Hi JW:
    I checked out the link you mentioned. It does list the Intel Graphics
    Acelerator 950 as compatible with: "Windows XP, Windows XP 64 bit, Media
    Center Edition, Windows 2000.....". Guess the Intel tech who e-mailed me
    saying it was not compatible with MCE 2005 was either guessing or didn't care
    to spend the time to check. I'd be interested to know how you found out
    "many MCE users have no trouble with the Intel Graphics" and if they also had
    an additional graphics card?
    I started out pretty upset that my computer didn't live up to my
    expectations but am now thinking it is a good "learning experience". Learned
    more about computers in the last couple weeks than I ever thot I would!

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 23, 2005
  17. xiowan

    xiowan Guest

    Hi All:
    Good to thinking, after re-installing the drivers for the
    TV card, maybe I should go thru the MCE 2005 TV Settings again. After doing
    that, the picture is definitely improved! It's at least as good as I had on
    my 8 yr old STB TV tuner and I have all these other features too. Thanks to
    all of you for taking time to educate me on all the possibilities to explore
    to fix my problem!

    XIOWAN in Tucson
    xiowan, Sep 23, 2005
  18. xiowan

    JW Guest

    I have been supporting this newsgoup for well over a year mostly in the area
    of display and tuner related problems related to graphics cards, HDTV
    interfaces, drivers etc. Last spring I worked with several users of Gateway
    systems who had been having problems with MCE 2005 and Intel Graphics and
    all of their problems were resolved with driver updates. Intel does offer a
    PCI addon card for about $30.00 that will provide a DVI interface to their
    graphics chips in addition to the standard VGA interface on the motherboard.
    See the following link:
    JW, Sep 23, 2005
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