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Using a USB video tuner?

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Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎07-03-2009

Using a USB video tuner?

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New FIOS customer, just learning the ropes; got a couple of issues, one being the hookup from my QIP2500 STB to my Pinnacle PCTV HD Ultimate Video Stick USB tuner.

  • When I run S-Video out and RCA audio out from the STB to the USB tuner and run a channel scan, I can't pick up any channels (except for some occasional white noise audio from ch 3, depending on the scan setings).
  • When I run coax out from the STB to the USB tuner, I can get ch 3—but the signal is very analog and low-quality, almost painful to watch on my laptop.

Any suggestions on how I can find a good quality signal? I have a feeling that my scan settings during my channel search will make a difference, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for. TIA for your help!

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Gold Contributor VII
Gold Contributor VII
Posts: 2,325
Registered: ‎08-05-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 2 of 10
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The S-Video is not an RF channel, it is an analog video only signal.  Does your USB tuner have a line or video input selection?  This is what you would need to use.
If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
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Silver Contributor IV
Silver Contributor IV
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

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Disconnect the coax cable input from the Motorola box.  Split the coax input and run one end to the the Pinnacle (the other end should go to the coax input on the Motorola box).  Then run s-video from the Motorola STB to the s-video input on the Pinnacle.

 

With a QAM cable scan on your computer, the HD locals should appear on 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, etc...or on QAM channels 71-75, depending on whether your local broadcasters provide the appropriate PSIP information.  You haven't said what software you are running, so I assume you have either Vista Media Center with the TVPack or some other third-party software that supports digital channels.  Not all software can tune QAM HD channels from cable.

 

Only the local SD and HD channels, plus the music channels, can be directly tuned.  For other, non-local channels, you'll just see the SD output (via s-video output) on the channel currently tuned by you on the Motorola box.  You won't be able to change non-local channels from your computer.

Message Edited by KenAF on 07-04-2009 12:27 AM
If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎07-03-2009

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 4 of 10
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OK, thanks for getting me started! (FWIW, I'm using the Pinnacle TVCenter Pro software that came with my USB tuner.) More questions… I have three main device options when doing a channel scan:

  • Analog
  • Digital Antenna
  • Digital Cable

Which option should I use when connecting with a component (RCA) cable? Which option should I use when connecting with the direct coax + STB/S-video solution?

(Also, when scanning an analog device, I see that I have many video standard suboptions: NTSC 433, NTSC M, NTSC MJ, lots of flavors of PAL and SECAM, Digital TV, Digital H264, Digital mpeg2, etc. I assume that I can disregard the PAL/SECAM choices, but which video standard does FIOS/my STB support?)

TIA again for responding!

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Silver Contributor IV
Silver Contributor IV
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

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@JMoreTea wrote:

OK, thanks for getting me started! (FWIW, I'm using the Pinnacle TVCenter Pro software that came with my USB tuner.) More questions… I have three main device options when doing a channel scan:

  • Analog
  • Digital Antenna
  • Digital Cable

Which option should I use when connecting with a component (RCA) cable? Which option should I use when connecting with the direct coax + STB/S-video solution?

(Also, when scanning an analog device, I see that I have many video standard suboptions: NTSC 433, NTSC M, NTSC MJ, lots of flavors of PAL and SECAM, Digital TV, Digital H264, Digital mpeg2, etc. I assume that I can disregard the PAL/SECAM choices, but which video standard does FIOS/my STB support?)

TIA again for responding!


There is no need to use component / RCA.

 

For channel scan, use digital cable with the direct coax configuration.  For s-video output from the STB, there is nothing to scan because it is not possible to tune channels from the STB's analog output (s-video, component, etc); your Pinnacle device can only display the currently tuned channel on the STB.

 

I'm not familiar with your software, so I don't know whether it will allow you to combine digital cable and s-video output with the same setup, as you can do with Vista Media Center.  If you are already running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate on your computer, I would suggest that you use Vista Media Center instead.  For that to work, you would need to install TVPack add-on.

 

 

Message Edited by KenAF on 07-04-2009 04:35 PM
If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
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Bronze Contributor I
Bronze Contributor I
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎11-26-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

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@KenAF wrote:
....  If you are already running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate on your computer, I would suggest that you use Vista Media Center instead.  For that to work, you would need to install TVPack add-on.

 

 

Message Edited by KenAF on 07-04-2009 04:35 PM

Up to now I have been unable to use Vista Media Center with FIOS Clear QAM and had to use the software that came with the Hauppauge HVR-1800 Tuner card.  Am I right in thinking from what you say here that I can add the add-on above and get Media Center to work with FIOS Clear QAM Channels.

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Silver Contributor IV
Silver Contributor IV
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 7 of 10
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@JoeK wrote:
Up to now I have been unable to use Vista Media Center with FIOS Clear QAM and had to use the software that came with the Hauppauge HVR-1800 Tuner card.  Am I right in thinking from what you say here that I can add the add-on above and get Media Center to work with FIOS Clear QAM Channels.

Yes.  Out of the box, Vista Media Center only supports Clear QAM with a few tuner cards, and the HVR-1800 isn't one of them.  The TV Pack add-on adds support for most other tuners.  Note it appears the post I linked above may be dead.

 

Microsoft sells Vista with the integrated TVPack only to OEMs.  It can be difficult to obtain TVPack separately, or even Vista with the TVPack, because Microsoft does not offer it for customers to download (or even purchase) on their web site.

 

Note Windows 7 will incorporate the TVPack and other Media Center improvements.  If for some reason you cannot locate the TVPack add-on for download, then you can always download and install Windows 7 from Microsoft.com.  The free, prerelease version of Windows 7 expires on June 1, 2010, so you would need to purchase a copy before then.  Until July 11, you can preorder the Windows 7 upgrade from Amazon.com for $49 with delivery in October.  After July 11, the price jumps to $100.

If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
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Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎07-03-2009

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 8 of 10
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OK, we're finally getting somewhere. Got a coax splitter & hooked it up per directions; ran a QAM channel scan and got a boatload of channels returned, all with strong and high quality signals. Unfortunately, the signal was nothing but solid black silence. <grrr>

I detached the s-video and audio cables and reran the scan; got a different set of channels back, all local access or over-the-air broadcast or FiOS music feeds. Got to admit I'm less than impressed; I was really looking forward to getting the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, etc. on my lappy.

BTW, I prolly should have mentioned that I'm running my Pinnacle USB tuner on a virtual instance on WinXPSP3, on top of Mac OSX 10.5. At this point, I'm wondering if I should just put out for a good Mac-compatible USB tuner, something that will receive all the basic (non-premium) channels that I'm paying for with FiOS. Suggestions?

Oh, and mucho thanks for all your help!

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Silver Contributor IV
Silver Contributor IV
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 9 of 10
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@JMoreTea wrote:
 I'm running my Pinnacle USB tuner on a virtual instance on WinXPSP3, on top of Mac OSX 10.5. At this point, I'm wondering if I should just put out for a good Mac-compatible USB tuner, something that will receive all the basic (non-premium) channels that I'm paying for with FiOS. Suggestions?

Oh, and mucho thanks for all your help!


On Verizon FiOS, the locals and music channels are the only channels you can get with a channel scan, regardless of the software and USB tuner you buy.  All other channels are encrypted;  Discovery and Travel are encrypted just like HBO.


You should still be able to tune the STB manually (using the STB's remote) and see that channel on your computer using s-video.  But you won't be able to change the channel with your computer to anything but the locals or music channels.

If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
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Bronze Contributor I
Bronze Contributor I
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎11-26-2008

Re: Using a USB video tuner?

Message 10 of 10
(19,751 Views)

@KenAF wrote:

Yes.  Out of the box, Vista Media Center only supports Clear QAM with a few tuner cards, and the HVR-1800 isn't one of them.  The TV Pack add-on adds support for most other tuners.  Note it appears the post I linked above may be dead.

 

 

Link seems OK I was able to access it and download the files.  I will install and see how it goes.  Also good to know that Windows 7 will correct this problem.  I had been wondering about that as I've been thinking about doing the pre-order for $49.99 form Microsoft.   Only reason I haven't as of yet is I was trying to find out if they would be doing a Family Pack (Up to 3 PCs in same houshold).

 

Thanks for the information, I really appreciate it.

 

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