Seeing how the TiVo's hard drive seems to be approaching it's final legs, I decided to give my home-grown PVR another go. A couple weeks ago, I got it pretty much working, but the picture quality was just awful, bordering on unwatchable. The picture looked fine on a computer monitor, but the S-Video out just wasn't cutting it. On a whim, I decided to try another video card; specifically, an ATI All-In-Wonder. It has TV out, and isn't an NVidia card. I'm a big fan of NVidia cards, so finding an ATI was a bit of a challenge, but I managed. Of course, I then needed to find all the cables and adapters and stuff. Anyway, back to the story.
I stuck the ATI card in the PVR box, rebooted, installed the drivers, and voila, the picture looks immaculate. Ok, so we'll stick with the ATI card. I try to setup some stuff in the PVR app, and kablamo! I fiddle with this for a while before deciding to reinstall Windows. We all know this isn't going to go well, despite the fact that it should take 25 minutes. I spent 4 hours trying to get MS Windows installed before giving up and going to bed.
Yesterday, I got a copy of an XP Service Pack 1 install disc (MSDN Universal subscriptions are nice), and tried that. Nope. I took out the new video card, turned off the ethernet, turned off the USB, adjusted the memory timing and other random stuff. No luck. Finally, I reseated the memory and turned off AGP 8x, and it seems to work.
The new video card seems to work, and BeyondTV is working nicely, despite the fact that it's still in beta. It has a few issues, but nothing that I've found that is stopping me from using it. The picture quality, while vastly improved from the built in video card still isn't 100% to my liking, so I went and did a little research. Apparently the NVidia cards are supposed to have the best TV out. Umm, ok, mine (built into the motherboard) sure wasn't cutting it. So, what do I do now? A new video card that would probably be better is about $60, nothing too much, but NVidia or ATI?!? I'll probably just get one from NewEgg, and if it doesn't help, return it.