First Impressions of Blackgold’s BGT3620 Freeview HD Tuner Card

First Impressions of Blackgold’s BGT3620 Freeview HD Tuner Card

At last I have my hands on a Freeview HD card for Windows Media Center! The Blackgold BGT3620 Freeview HD tuner (DVB-T2) is a really small half sized PCIe card which I installed the card my Tranquil ixL PC IMG_0737

Once the card and drivers were installed Windows Media Center detected the tuner as a dual DVB-T card and scanned the channels as per the normal TV setup, the only difference is that it picked up the four extra HD channels.

The problem with Freeview HD on Media Center is that there is no EPG data for the HD channels due to the Freeview DRM issues I wrote about yesterday, this can be fixed with a bit tweaking for three of the channels and I will get a post up showing how to do this later (I am going to see if I can automate the tasks)

UPDATE: I have BBC HD working as well as the other channels and I will be developing an app to automate the setup


Once I had fixed the EPG issues Freeview HD worked great, the picture quality is fantastic. You can really see the difference from SD and I don’t want to watch standard def TV any more! I thought I may have issues with signal quality on the HD channels as I had signal problems with some tuners in the past but I am pleased to say that is not a problem with the Blackgold card, I had two channels of HD recording at once and there was no real impact on the ixL. Watching Doctor Who in HD is amazing you can really see the difference.

So if your in the market for a new TV tuner then this has to be one of the best on the market, the HD channels really do make a difference and at £89 (plus vat and delivery) I think the tuner is well worth it, I am really going to miss the card when I have to give it back to Tranquil this week. Blackgold should be shipping the cards in a couple of weeks and Tranquil are selling ixL systems with the card as on option

Specification from Blackgold:

Hardware receiver support – Analogue terrestrial (PAL, NTSC, CECAM), dual digital terrestrial including both DVB-T and DVB-T2, dual digital cable DVB-C.

Hardware external video – Composite video CVBS, S-video, Component video YPbPr, Component video RGB

Hardware remote – IR remote receiver, learning receiver, remote S3 wake-up (Options, not standard)

Hardware profile – Miniature profile solution exceptionally low real estate, supporting compact half height and full height PC systems. (88.5mm x 50mm PCB outline including PCI-e fingers)

The BGT3620 is the perfect Windows 7, Vista & XP Media Center TV partner. No other product in this class provides the extensive support for Media Center of the BGT3620:
1. 32 and 64 bit Broadcast Driver Architecture (BDA) WHQL drivers
2. Media Center remote control including S3 wakeup (option)
3. Special Media Center support for tuning and scanning of DVB-C channels
4. External video equipment connection via an audio/video adapter cable supporting composite video –yellow  phono  connector, S video – mini DIN connector, component RGB video –  red/green/blue phono connectors  and stereo audio –  red/white phono connectors

 

Setting up the tuner

setup2

Picking up HD Channels

setup3

 

HD Channels

setup10

 

CPU usage while recording two channels

setup11

 

Doctor Who in HD!

setup12

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One thought on “First Impressions of Blackgold’s BGT3620 Freeview HD Tuner Card

  1. Good to hear you guys are getting some HD finally in 7MC. (and I thought we were slow)

    Hopefully it doesn’t pan out like it did in Australia.

    What happened here was we have had HD simulcast channels since 2001 on DVB-T (which showed actual HD versions of shows when they were available – or just showed upscaled content when not). Of course since it was DVB-T we’ve been able to record/watch HD in Media Center the whole time. Now over past few months since multichanneling restrictions were lifted – the broadcasters decided they wanted to use their allocated HD bandwidth to provide additional channels showing different stuff. Since HD wasn’t considered mainstream (and due to various broadcasting laws to stop SD only users from being left out) – the primary channels/content with the ‘a grade’ programs are all SD – and the HD channels show less popular stuff.

    That basically means 90% of the major/popular tv series (local and US, UK shows) are now only available in SD and the HD channels show crap noone is really interested in (including repeats of very old shows from the 60’s and 70’s which don’t benefit from HD – most are not even Widescreen). Now anyone who wants HD versions of major series has to use Torrent and other illegal means to enjoy it in good quality.

    Hopefully the ‘T2’ capabilities mean broadcasters have more bandwidth and don’t have to make these decisions.

    Also – just to add a shameless plug – but if you use Big Screen EPG to import listings for these HD channels – it can import the proper media center ‘HD’ tags (so it will be clearly marked as such in EPG and also will then use the ‘preffered quality’ settings more effectively for deciding which version of a show to record).

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