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NVIDIA's new MCE device places two TV tuners on a single card

NVIDIA has launched the ultimate tool for Media Center Edition (MCE) PC owners. The NVIDIA DualTV, as its name implies, offers two tuners on a single card.

By having two separate tuners onboard, the DualTV tuner is able to record two shows at once or allow you to record one show while you watch another. And since the DualTV tuner is a full-fledged MCE device, you can transfer recorded material to a personal media players or portable game players. Live or recorded shows can also be streamed throughout the home to game consoles or Media Center Extenders courtesy of software from Orb Networks.

Other features of the NVIDIA DualTV tuner include:

  • MediaSqueeze compression technology
  • PureVideo technology
  • 3D comb filter
  • 3D noise reduction hardware
  • In-line TV amplifier.
  • Multi-stream hardware encoder

Scott Vouri, general manager of multimedia at NVIDIA adds:

"There are other TV tuners in the market today, but the NVIDIA DualTV tuner offers some key differentiators that make it stand out. Based on our internal testing it’s measurably the best picture quality of any dual tuner card and saves disk space. It’s easy to use and install, and is designed for people who want to watch what they want, where they want, whenever they want."

The NVIDIA DualTV tuner is available now for a suggested retail price of $169. You can also purchase the DualTV tuner with a remote and receiver kit for $219.

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By THEREALJMAN73 on 4/6/2006 11:29:02 AM , Rating: 2
I still havn't see any new HD Tuners released. Dual HDMI and HD cards would be awesome but no one seems to be making them.

By Alphafox78 on 4/6/2006 11:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
I know, I want to imput from my cable box highdef, but there are no tuner cards that input via the RGB cables that highdef tvs take...

By nordicpc on 4/6/2006 11:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
From what I gather, we're all waiting on Vista's HD DRM setup to enable things like that. I have seen very high end video editing cards that have Component inputs, but I doubt the user experience would be anywhere near satisfactory.

The big deal is that for some damn reason, the TV guys don't want HD to follow the same rules as older digital tv, or analog. Since there's more pixels, we need more DRM. BS in my opinion.

Vista should bring cable-card devices that will actually replace the set-top box instead of just pull video from it. In the mean time, you can do like I do, and use the FCC-mandated 1394 port on the back of the cable box to stream the MPEGs from the box. It did take me about 2 months to actually make it happen, but this is the forum that made it work out:

Good luck!

By BigLan on 4/6/2006 12:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's more of a technological limit than anything. Raw uncompressed component or DVI signals require more bandwidth than a PCI-e x1 slot can provide, and so would need a very powerful encoding chip on the card to do mpeg 2 or mpeg 4 compression in real time on the chip. At the moment there simply isn't a market for those types of devices outside the professional environment.

And don't count of firewire from your STB for too long - I think that the FCC no longer requires cable companies to offer it now that cablecard ready TVs are the mainstream.

By nordicpc on 4/6/2006 12:54:21 PM , Rating: 3
That's not entirely true. In fact the PCI bus has enough bandwidth to do HD. Look at ATI's HDTV Wonder for instance. In fact if bandwidth was an issue there would be no way I could record the MPEG TS's to my hard drive, which works effortlessly, btw.

The problem is with the DRM. These silly "Copy once, copy as much as you want, never copy" tags and the scale down of analog outs is what is holding back our innovation.

By masher2 on 4/6/2006 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
> "That's not entirely true. In fact the PCI bus has enough bandwidth to do HD..."

He said raw, uncompressed HD-- which has a bitrate of (usually) 1485 Gbps. More than PCI can handle and very tight for PCIe 1X, if you assume any encoding overhead.

By Wwhat on 4/6/2006 1:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
rubbish, that's 15MB. pci can do that easy (133MB), and PCI-e is 250MB for 1 lane, enough said.

By masher2 on 4/6/2006 2:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where you get the 15MB figure, but its clearly incorrect. There are 0.92 million pixels in a 720p frame. Assume a frame rate of even 30 fps and 24 bits per pixel, and you get a bandwidth of 83MB alone.

But that's without any encoding overhead, and it also doesn't allow the display of signals such as 720p60. The HDTV standard SMPTE 292M specifies a bandwith of 1.485 Gbps, well above what PCI can handle.

Now compressed video can go far below this. But thats a different story altogether.

By z3R0C00L on 4/6/2006 3:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
1.485Gbps is not 15MB... it's 1485Mbps which divided by 8 is (8 bits = 1 Byte) 185.625MB/sec... above the PCI Bus's maximum of 133MB/sec but under the PCI Express x1 slots 250MB/sec maximum.

Still... it's variable... therefore it's highly likely that at times it may actually surpass the PCI x1 Bus's speed.. then you have another issue. I do not know of a single Hard Drive that is capable of writting at such a high sustained speed.

that's why we have MPEG compression.. ;)

By Wwhat on 4/6/2006 5:35:03 PM , Rating: 2
1920pixels x 1080pixels x 30fps = 62208000 times 24bit colordepth = 1,492,992,000 bps divided by 8 = 186,624,000 Bytes P/S.
But that's NOT variable since this is raw pixels uncompressed.
So 250MB is enough.

And yes, as you say, if you hardware compress it even 133MB should do it too, but of course the PCI system is shared resources so that assumes you have no soundcard or networkcard (nor onboard on the pci subsystem) nor RAID (onboard on pci) running.
Still mpeg compresses enogh to be way below 133MB, so theoretically even PCI could support it, although pci-e is much more suited and logical of course.

By GoatMonkey on 4/7/2006 7:54:39 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if it would be possible for them to take advantage of the installed video cards to do the compressions. Suppose you had a pair of 7900 GTX video cards in SLI. That's a lot of processing power right there. It seems like you could take the raw HD stream in from a separate card, since I don't think many graphics cards have a coax connector. Then let the video cards handle the compression to MPEG4 or whatever format. What format does HD content come in as by default anyway? Is it MPEG2?

By masher2 on 4/7/2006 9:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
> "I wonder if it would be possible for them to take advantage of the installed video cards to do the compressions"

But the problem is to do that, you have to transmit that uncompressed data to the video card...and if your tuner card is on the PCI bus, you don't have the bandwidth to send it anywhere in that state.

By Wwhat on 4/6/2006 1:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
They could at least support digital tv, which is around all over the place.

By Merry on 4/6/2006 11:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
Surely dvb tuners would have been a better idea? Or does the US not have a digital terrestrial service yet?

RE: Analogue?
By nordicpc on 4/6/2006 11:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
Over the air HD is very seldom in the US. I know in my town there would be none, since I live in the mountains, and even with a high-powered roof antanae you can only get one or two OTA SD channels.

RE: Analogue?
By Merry on 4/6/2006 12:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a wise inclusion for the UK and European market though...

RE: Analogue?
By SunAngel on 4/6/2006 12:08:24 PM , Rating: 1
Hogwash! I live in the city and I can pick up probably 10+ channels at any given time. What's funny is with three major cities within 50 miles of each other, I can pick up two or three of each of the major station abc, cbs, nbc, fox, upn, pbs. And the programming is different on each one, except for the major networks (abc, cbs, nbc, and fox). So on Sunday night, I will be able to tuner in close to 25 channels of digital ota tv.

However, I do have a hdtv antenna mounted pretty high, not quite on the roof, but it is able to grab most of the channels available to me. True, those in rural areas have difficulty receiving signals, but whose fault is that?

RE: Analogue?
By nordicpc on 4/6/2006 12:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
I guess there is a penalty for living outside of metropolitan areas. Too bad the US is so full of them.

RE: Analogue?
By creathir on 4/6/2006 12:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
??? What are you talking about... "seldom"?
Most of the country has HD OTA signals... I live 40 miles outside of San Antonio and pick up Austin and SA HDTV signals with NO problem. Austin is a town the size of about 520,000 people, whereas San Antonio is about 1.2 million. SA is NOT a wealthy market at all (the NFL sure does not like us) but somehow, every single one of our local stations broadcasts in HD. Sure if you live 200 miles from the closest 250,000+ city it probably is hard to get HDTV... but soon enough you will have it.
- Creathir

RE: Analogue?
By Trisped on 4/6/2006 12:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was channels 1-169? Plus alot of DTV boxes output in such a way that you can use a tuner card to put it on your comp. My ATI AIW 9800 Pro lets you use sVideo and RCA video in as well as an antena and there are even boards where people talk about connecting ir USB devices and configuring the ATI Multi Media Center software to change the channel for you.
Still, the better option is the HDTV Wonder . At $119 with a $20 rebate you could also buy a second and have two remotes and two cards that read SDTV, DTV, and HDTV for the same price as the card above with a remote.

RE: Analogue?
By timmiser on 4/6/2006 5:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you also. I think most people who use PC based tuner cards are people who are on the cutting edge of technology and therefore are more interested in an HD option.

On another note, I've been waiting for the last year for an HD DVR option from either my cable company (Comcast) or a satillite company. Once you do DVR, you can't go back so when HD tuners were released I wouldn't bite since they didn't have a DVR option. Voom Satillite was about ready to release a DVR HD solution but then they were bought out by Dish Network.

Comcast and DirecTV still don't have an HD DVR solution but Dish Network has just last month come out with their HD DVR so I bought it. (The installer will be here next Thursday!)

The receiver is a dual tuner with two UHF remotes however the 2nd tuner is analog only.

RE: Analogue?
By timmiser on 4/6/2006 5:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
Doh! Meant to reply to sunangel.

RE: Analogue?
By MDE on 4/6/2006 8:59:10 PM , Rating: 2

DirecTV doesn't have an HD DVR? It's expensive, but it's definately out there.

RE: Analogue?
By timmiser on 4/10/2006 7:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
True, they have one now but they didn't have one last month. DishTV beat them to market with their own HD-DVR and I bought the first one that was out.

By RandomFool on 4/6/2006 11:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine ever spending that much on a tv tuner, no matter how fancy it may be. I'm sure someone will eat it up though.

I'm starting to feel a bit out of place because it seems like every fancy new gadget makes me wonder why I would ever want that instead of going cool I need 20. Maybe I'm losing my technical edge...

RE: Wow
By tuteja1986 on 4/6/2006 12:04:12 PM , Rating: 3
I will only buy it if it has better IQ than ATI 550 PRO Tv tunner. Anandtech please post up a review :)

RE: Wow
By bob661 on 4/6/2006 2:35:33 PM , Rating: 3
There is no Anandtech, only Zule.

RE: Wow
By Googer on 4/6/06, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By CZroe on 4/7/2006 12:23:01 AM , Rating: 3
What heavy TV user needs dual tuners for broadcast? It's for cable. Duh. Analog cable will still be around for a long time.

First with 2 tuners?
By DarthPierce on 4/6/2006 11:27:13 AM , Rating: 3
is the first TV tuner designed for PCs to offer two tuners on a single card.

No... Dual tv tuners has been done before. A lot.

RE: First with 2 tuners?
By segagenesis on 4/6/2006 11:30:31 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Why is this a big deal?

This has been out for over a year now!

RE: First with 2 tuners?
By DarthPierce on 4/6/2006 11:38:29 AM , Rating: 2
here's a discontinued dual tv tuner (one one card) from 2004 that's actually powered by nvidia.... so it's not even a first for them.

RE: First with 2 tuners?
By Shining Arcanine on 4/6/2006 11:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have that card; my ATI AIW 9700 Pro used to give slightly better quality than it before it died. Hopefully Nvidia has caught up with ATI in terms of video quality with this card. On the bright side, their NVTV dual tuner card had better image quality than the ATI TV Wonder Pro.

RE: First with 2 tuners?
By GoatMonkey on 4/6/2006 12:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
I have one of the Hauppauge PVR 500MCE cards and it's great. This nVidia card looks virtually identical spec wise, maybe it has slightly better picture quality or something, but it's really nothing new. If it had hardware MPEG4 compression I would be a lot more interested. Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy using the same card that I've had for around a year now that is cheaper and does the exact same thing.

Why the hell do they keep making analog tuners?
By SunAngel on 4/6/2006 12:01:49 PM , Rating: 1
Shit! With analog dying starting the end of this year, what make them think people still wants this crap. How about releasing digital ota cards if not qam cards? If it a licensing issue, we all could wait for this issues to become resolved. Stop introducing crap that is going to be obsolite in a short amount of time.

Oh, I guess you could still plug in cable and receive channels 1-99. I guess not all is lost especially for those still purchasing cable television.

By SynthDude2001 on 4/6/2006 12:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree with you. I can't imagine spending any significant money on an analog tuner in this day and age...couldn't care less about analog-only tuners at this point.

I have heard of one dual-tuner ATSC/NTSC tuner (including QAM), supposedly to be out "soon". I'm sure it'll be expensive, but I'd buy it in a heartbeat if I had the money.

Press release here:

By masher2 on 4/6/2006 12:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
> "Shit! With analog dying starting the end of this year, what make them think people still wants this crap."

Anyone buying this card is certainly not planning on hanging a couple rabbit ears off the back of it for OTA broadcasts. They're buying to record from cable or satellite feeds...and those are NOT dying this year or anytime soon.

By Heatlesssun on 4/6/2006 12:35:34 PM , Rating: 2
Because right now, analog tuners are the only way to feed your cable signal directly to a PC. I'm not couting OTA HD/SD.

While analog broadcasting is going away in three years, analog cable is not. It will be a long time before that goes away.

No QAM No Care
By Chadder007 on 4/6/2006 12:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
$169 for analog??? Too high, plus no HD/Digital TV support along with QAM. :b

RE: No QAM No Care
By bunnyfubbles on 4/6/2006 1:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
while more expensive than quality single tuner cards, space can be a priority, especially with the decline of PCI - I've got only two PCI slots in my main rig, one is occupied by an X-Fi, if I want the ability to record two shows at once / watch one and record another / whatever, then I have to get a 2 in 1.

how does it compare
By lucyfek on 4/6/2006 12:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
to ati theatre 550 chip? i can't use it any more (because it didn't let me overclock my a64 by a bit), but i'd like somethind with comparable (or better;) picture quality.
sure the price is crazy, and lack of HD tuner sucks - they better trade the second analog tor HD and at this point thik will make competetive product - especially that others hd tuners require separate analog card installed along.

RE: how does it compare
By vijay333 on 4/6/2006 3:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
a comparison with the ATI 550 chipset would be really useful. I have two cards right now (Sapphire Theatrix and PowerColor 550) and can definitely recommend them - best picture quality of any anlog card at this point.

Actually i like this idea!
By Acanthus on 4/6/2006 11:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
I could honestly see the need for watching one show and recording another, or recording 2 shows at once.

Price is a little steep though, although ive youre buying a HTPC i guess youve got a little to spend :P

TV Tuner
By cornfedone on 4/6/2006 11:47:26 AM , Rating: 2

By ahodge on 4/6/2006 2:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
I've had an eVGA NVTV dual tuner nvidia card for well over a year now. How is this "New" dual tuner card any different other than it being Nvidia branded and sold directly through their store? BTW my Hauppauge card has much better picture quality. Hopefully this is an upgraded solution from the NVTV otherwise, stay away.

By CZroe on 4/7/2006 12:29:10 AM , Rating: 2
It had better be better than nVidia's last attempt with XFX and eVGA NVTV tuners. Those were POS cards with hirrible washed out colors. I suspect that Anand's review got a "special" review board because I've been through three in very different MCE systems and it is clearly the WORST MCE tuner you could buy.

And all you guys b!tching about analog vs. HD have NO IDEA what goes into a MCE machine. They require analog cards with hardware encoding. There are a very few analog cards that support MCE even with hardware MPEG2/4 encoding. The HD support is only for second/third tuners... PERIOD. Even if you are using two digital sat boxes you have to have dual analog tuners on you MCE machine to connect (via S-Video + IR blaster).

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