There are three different HDTV cards that have been sold by pcHDTV.
Installing the card
The HD2000 and HD3000 are 5v only cards so they require a 5v PCI bus connector. (If you look at the connector edge of the pcHDTV card there is a slot towards the back; away from the TV connectors) These cards will not work in motherboards that only supply 3.3v PCI slots.
The HD5500 is a universal card. This means that there are two slots in the connector edge (5v near the back and 3.3v near the TV connectors).
To install the cards:
- Make sure the computer is powered off
- Open the chassis
- Locate an available PCI slot of the appropriate type
- Remove the cover plate for that slot from the chassis (if present)
- Insert the pcHDTV card into the PCI slot, with the TV connectors exiting the back of the chassis.
- Press down firmly to ensure the card is fully inserted into the PCI connector
- Secure the card with the appropriate means. This is an important step because you may be connecting and disconnecting your antenna several times and it is easy to knock a board loose accidentally. For most chassis this is the screw you took out to remove the cover plate for this PCI slot. Some chassis have fancier ways of securing their PCI cards. If you have questions consult your PC case manufacturer.
- Close the chassis
- Power on the system
Connecting the source
Each pcHDTV card provides a different set of connectors.
The pcHDTV HD2000 has two coaxial inputs. These can be connected to an antenna for receiving "over the air" (OTA) standard and digital broadcasts. Standard broadcasts can be received on either input and the driver provides for selecting which input to use. For digital broadcasts, the driver defaults to the connector closest to the LEDs and doesn't provide for switching. It is possible to receive standard and digtal broadcasts at the same time, but driver support may be lacking.
The pcHDTV HD3000 has one coaxial TV input, one s-video input, one composite video input, an 1/8" stereo audio in jack and an 1/8" stereo audio out jack.
The pcHD5500 has one coaxial TV input, one multi-purpose connector (labeled S-VHS) and one 1/8" audio input jack. The cable provided with the HD5500 is a multi-purpose cable and connects to the multi-purpose connector on the card. The multi-purpose cable provides an s-video input, a composite video input, an 1/8" audio out jack and an IR receiver.
S-video and composite inputs are standard definition inputs like on many TVs. Digital high definition signals can only be received through the coaxial TV input. Yes, s-video is digital. No, the s-video output of your HD receiver box is not HD.
The HD3000 and HD5500 are capable of receiving both ATSC (North American broadcast standard) and QAM (digital cable standard) digital streams. However, most cable companies encrypt most of their premium channels, so the pcHDTV card isn't a quick way to bypass your cable box. Your cable company should be sending your local channels unencrypted.
You should also connect the audio out of the card to the aux input of your sound card. Most TV Apps in linux default to capturing sound through the sound card instead of direct from your pcHDTV card, so this connection will help you verify that the standard def TV portion of your card is working. Audio in HDTV is embedded in the digital stream.