How can I improve my signals?/Tuner quality
What type of hardware is recommended?
How Can I Check the Status of My Order?
What is the warranty?
Is Cable/QAM supported?
I've upgraded my system will I have problem?
What is difference between the HD-2000 and HD-3000
Were can I get more info on the Broadcast Flag
What is the power consumption on the HD-5500
How many DTV channels will I be able to receive?
In what countries can I use the card?
Can I hook this up to be a PVR?
Will the HD-2000 card work with cable TV?
Is the card an universal pci card?
Can I buy in bulk and get a discount?
Is there a windows version of the drivers?
Can I use this card with satellite or Direct-TV?
Can I use my current anntenna and cable?
What antenna should I get?
How does cpu speed affect video quality?
Does the antenna need to be outdoors?
Is there any PVR software to record shows?
How can I watch HDTV on my computer
What are the LEDs for on the back of the HD-2000?

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How can I improve my signals?/Tuner quality
The type of antenna, cables, splitters, amplifiers and alignment make up almost all of the total signal quality. The following will help improve signal quality.
  • Use RG-6 coax Cable (Consider quad shielding if using long runs or running along side of power cables.)
  • Avoid using excess cable.
  • Use a directional UHF antenna (Top end models cost about $60 but may be over kill so check Antennaweb to find out which type you need for your area -- Pay attention to the * Digital HDTV channels).
  • Test with and without an amplifier (Too powerful of a signal can cause excess noise and reduce total signal quality)
  • Take special care in aligning the antenna, this includes up/down tilt as well as left/right movement. (You can use the signal monitor program that comes with the card, the download page or use MythTV to monitor a channels signal.
  • Mount an antenna as best to "line of site" to where the tower is located. Avoid pointing through evergreen trees or other very dense trees. Outside mounting will improve signals as can mounting on a pole above the home.
  • Check several channels incase the towers are not in the same direction.
  • Be cautious of spliters. Powered splitters are usually better but not always. Some cheap splitters can also produce better results than expensive ones. Gold or brass plating is usually only needed if the connectors are outside to help prevent extra corrosion. Most splitters will cause less than a 5% loss in signal.
Signal quality will very depending on the environment and receiving hardware but there have been reports of over 60 miles with 90%+ signal quality (Around 65% signal quality is needed to receive HDTV). If you live in a city or near a HDTV tower then your current VHF/UHF TV antenna or a very small indoor antenna should be all you need.
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What type of hardware is recommended?
The minimum recommended hardware requirements for playback of HDTV streams recorded by pcHDTV cards are:
  • IntelŪ PentiumŪ 1200Mhz or higher
  • NVIDIA card with IDCT acceleration for machines under 2000MHz
  • Sound card (S/Pdif output required for 5.1 audio)
  • 256 Meg RAM or higher
The minimum recommended hardware requirements for recording of HDTV streams by pcHDTV cards are:
  • Linux Kernel 2.6.12 for DVB driver (Recommended)
  • Linux Kernel 2.4.26 for Video4Linux driver (Optional)
  • IntelŪ PentiumŪ 400Mhz or higher
  • 128 Meg RAM or higher
  • One available PCI 2.2 slot
  • Hard drive capable of writing 6MB/s
Recording and playback can be done on the same system, or split up and connected with 100mb ethernet.
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How Can I Check the Status of My Order?
You can check the status of your order by going to the Support page and entering your Order number into the form.
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What is the warranty?
All pcHDTV cards are warranteed for 90 days to be free from any manufacturing or material defects. Defective cards will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of pcHDTV. No Other Warranties. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE CARD AND SOFTWARE ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" PCHDTV DISCLAIMS ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
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Is Cable/QAM supported?
The pcHDTV HD-3000 and HD-5500 cards support the three major types of cable transmissions-- 8VSB, QAM64 and QAM256. It is possible however for cable companies to encrypt channels and render the card unable to record some or all channels. Success will depend on each cable company and how they distribute cable to each neighborhood. On average in the US, 70% of cable is unencrypted. You may be able to find out exactly what is available in your area at avsforum.com's reception index
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I've upgraded my system will I have problem?
If you are using the DVB drivers then everything should still work. If you are using the Video4Linux drivers, you may need to recompile the pcHDTV kernel module. HD-2000 and HD-3000 have support built into the kernel. The HD-5500 will have kernel support in 2.6.18 and later kernels. Please note that the NTSC kernel drivers for the HD-2000 were broken in the 2.6.16 and 2.6.17 releases and we hope to have that fixed in 2.6.18. (ATSC HD is ok)
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What is difference between the HD-2000 and HD-3000
The HD-2000 was a 5v PCI card with two RF inputs and mono sound for NTSC. The HD-3000 is a similar card with one RF input, one SVIDEO input, one COMPOSITE VIDEO and AUDIO input and one audo stereo output for NTSC but the HD-3000 also supports Cable/QAM. The HD-5500 is a universal PCI card like the HD-3000 but using LG's demodulator it also support Cable/QAM. None of the pcHDTV cards detect the broadcast flag.
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Were can I get more info on the Broadcast Flag
You can visit the EFF website by going to our Links page and clicking on that link.
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What is the power consumption on the HD-5500
The HD-5500 has a max power consumption of 245mA on 5V, 305mA on 3.3V, and 590mA on 1.8V.
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How many DTV channels will I be able to receive?
The number of stations you will receive depends on your location or cable provider. Also a single channel may also be broadcasting multiple subchannels with different programming on each one.
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In what countries can I use the card?
The card only supports NTSC/ATSC which is broadcast or will be broadcast in the USA, South Korea, Canada, Argentina (Buenos Aires - Experimental), Mexico (DF, Tijuana). Other countries are either undecided or using the DVB standard.
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Can I hook this up to be a PVR?
The HD-2000 and HD-3000 cards and drivers are compatible with many open source and Linux projects. MythTV is the most popular choice for PVR software under Linux. Free program guide information is also available when using MythTV.
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Will the HD-2000 card work with cable TV?
No, The HD-2000 card is only for terrestrial broadcasts. Digital Cable and Satellite reception are not supported. You may use the HD-2000 with analog cable only. You must have an HD-3000 or HD-5500 card for digital cable support.
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Is the card an universal pci card?
The HD-5500 is a univeral pci card for PCI 5volt and 3.3volt systemss The HD-3000/HD-2000 card are PCI 2.2 compliant 5-Volt cards. There may be mother boards that only accept 3.3 volt cards so check that the PCI slot has a 5v key/riser toward the center of the board and not a 3.3v only key/riser toward the connector end of the mother board.
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Can I buy in bulk and get a discount?
Yes! Please Contact us for details at sales@pcHDTV.com.
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Is there a windows version of the drivers?
The HD-3000 and HD-5500 come with drivers for 32 bit windows 2000 and xp systems. The HD-5500 is know to work on windows 32 bit systems with ATI graphics cards running the ATI multimedia Center.
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Can I use this card with satellite or Direct-TV?
Not for HDTV. You can connect your satellite set top box by s-video or composite video outputs to the HD-3000 and record video this way, but this is not HDTV.
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Can I use my current anntenna and cable?
Yes, but you may need to adjust the direction that your antenna is pointing in order to get a good HDTV signal. HDTV is directional so your UHF antenna should point towards the HDTV tower in your area. The type of antenna, cable, or amplifier can greatly affect signal quality.
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What antenna should I get?
Visit http://www.antennaweb.org and enter your address and zipcode. You will be given a list of digital stations in your area and by clicking on the antenna type it will tell you what type of anteena you will need to receive a signal from that station. Pay attention to the stations that are marked "Digital".
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How does cpu speed affect video quality?
Decoding of HD streams requires more cpu power than decoding DVD streams because of the higher resolutions. If the cpu can not keep up, frames are dropped and motion does not appear smooth. With slower cpus we recommend video cards that support hardware accelerated mpeg decoding and the XvMC interface. Currently nVidia supports this in some of their video cards such as the MX series and FX4200 cards. Better deinterlacing can also be done on higher performance machines. We recommend systems with greater than 2.4GHz cpus to provide the greatest flexibility in the choice of video cards, deinterlacing algorithms and players with HD video streams. The MythTV project recommends a P4 3.0Ghz with Hyper Threading for smooth playback with their PVR software.
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Does the antenna need to be outdoors?
Outdoors will almost always produce a much better signal than indoors. If you are in an apartment building or other large building you may not be able to recieve a constant signal.
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Is there any PVR software to record shows?
MythTV is the most popular PVR software for Linux, and it does support all pcHDTV cards. Other choices are freevo or simple scripts and a crontab to set up recording schedules.
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How can I watch HDTV on my computer
The software applications xine, xawtv(Version 4), mplayer and MythTV all support HDTV.
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What are the LEDs for on the back of the HD-2000?
The Green LED indicates signal lock and the Red indicates ATSC errors. At power on the Red will blink on then the Green will come on and remain on. When the driver loads the Red will flicker once then later come on and the Green will flicker. In NTSC mode only the Green will be on. In ATSC mode with no station or signal the Red will be on and the Green will flicker. With a weak station or signal the Red will flicker and the Green will be on. With a strong station or signal the Red will be off and the Green on.
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