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
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
Picking up HD Channels
CPU usage while recording two channels
Doctor Who in HD!