Basic PVR configuation with reasonable video

Michael McSharry

Active Member
I've dabble a little bit over the past year with the idea of implementing PVR with last generation video equipment. It seems to me that I should be able to record a TV show to a PC and play it back and experience roughly the same quality of playback video as the original.

It also seemed to me that I should be able to view live video on a computer LCD monitor using a DVI interface and get at least as good quality as seeing the video using a vga on a CRT or on a standard analog TV.

My experiences do not bear this out and I've not invested the time to understand the what and why of what I'm seeing.

The toys I've been playing with are:

Windows MCE 2005 with NVTV tuner and Nvidea 5200 VGA/DVI/Svideo,
17" CRT and 19" LCD at 1280x1024,
10 year old Toshiba rear projection TV with Svideo input,
Dish Network SVideo video source

If my objective is simply to implement a PC-based PVR with the intended output to the 10 year old Toshiba TV then what do I need to change to get reasonable results? What if I want to also view it on a PC Monitor?
You have a few different variables there - when you say "your experiences do not bear this out", what looks better and what looks worse?

Generically answering your question:
Would you ever do DVDs? What are the odds you'll succumb to the 25% annual price drops on plasma - my bet is <$1000 by March for brand-name [i.e., panasonic] ED Plasmas.

1) S-video is interlaced, and hence you'll have a hard time improving it significantly. I was never able to get my analog TV working better than direct from DirecTV STB, but it was definitely identical.
2) Video card: I switched out my ATI 9000 Pro and put in a 9800 Pro 6 months back. The very first time my wife walked into the room to watch something on our plasma, she said "wow - what did you do?". This is on an ED Plasma over VGA, and I've never tried it against an Analog TV, but that's something to contemplate.

FWIW: I just finished updating my personal website with all the details on how I did my thing. It's, a detailed list of the equipment I use with the 12/1 prices is at