Author Topic: Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI  (Read 3680 times)

Offline Chandler

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
    • Quantex Zone
Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI
« on: Jan 11, 2005, 10:21 AM »
Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI - Model 909

Introduction

The Hauppauge Nova-t PCI is probably the most universally supported DVB-t receiver available.  It is based on TechnoTrend's TT-Budget PCI design and uses a modified version of their software.

In Autumn 2004 Hauppauge released a replacement for the venerable Nova-t PCI, called the Nova-t model 90002 (Nova-t MCE).  This is a completely new design based on the Conexant CX23882 broadcast decoder with the companion CX22702 DVB-t demod and with a brand new Thomson DTT7592 tuner.  The card also comes with an infra-red remote control using Hauppauge's "IR" utility which is highly customisable to support other 3rd party applications.

As you can see from the image below this is completely different from the older card, and is very similar in terms of components to the Leadtek LR6650 OEM board supplied with Packard Bell MCE computers.  The actual board layout differs however.

The more observant of you will notice that this new model has two RF connectors.  The 2nd connector is an RF passthrough rather than a full modulator.  Normally the passthrough is only active when the system is powered up, but this card supports the standby current a lot of modern motherboards support.  The red LED next to the tuner indicates when the card has power.  On my Biostar M7NCD nForce2 board it has power for as long as the system is connected to mains power.


Click here for full image

The remote control supplied with the card is the same as the silver remote that comes with the PVR cards.  You get two batteries too :)

Installation[/u]

Being an internal PCI card, you need to have some degree of computer knowledge, but it's not particularly difficult.  When you start up Windows, you will be prompted with the standard new hardware wizard.  Insert the driver disc and all drivers are automatically installed.

The first time you run the software it will ask if you want to scan for channels.  You can either let it do an Automatic scan (which takes some time) or manually scan if you know the channel numbers.  I have a few complaints about channel scanning, relating to stability and scanning of time-shared channels.  The first problem are occasional errors in mfc42.dll and ntdll.dll when scanning.  This only began to occur in September, and one theory is that it's due to too much information in the multiplex's EIT tables.  There aren't any stability problems once all channels are found however.

My second complaint is that time-shared channels aren't found.  In the image below, the on-air CBBC Channel is found, but the off-air BBC Three is not.  It is necessary to scan again when BBC Three is on-air to get it, and then they both co-exist in the channel database fine.  This was a complaint with the old model too, but never occurs with ShowShifter DVB so Hauppauge should really consider fixing this to avoid complaints about "missing channels".


Click here for full image

Another complaint is that channels aren't sorted by LCN, or alphabetically.  In fact they're not sorted at all.  They're just added to the channel list in the order that they're found.  This is both confusing and messy.  People expect BBC One to be on 1, Channel 4 on 4 etc.  I seriously hope that this is changed in the future because re-ordering them is messy and involves a lot of shuffling (tip: you can use MS Access to edit it manually which is a lot quicker).

Tuner Performance[/u]

The Nova-t 90002 uses Thomson's DTT7592 tuner.  Not a lot is known about this tuner but one thing can be sure; it performs a lot better than the majority of other tuners.  The best test for it was during the Summer where I get severe co-channel interference on Mux 1 (BBC).  I have a distribution system with a Daewoo SetPal, Hauppauge DEC2000-t and the Hauppauge Nova-t 90002.  The co-channel interference will suddenly occur.  The first boxes to give up were the DEC2000-t and Setpal, with both issuing warnings out low signal level before completely losing the signal altogether.  It was another 10 minutes before the Nova-t 90002 gave up (the co-channel was really bad at this point).  This is by no means a technical way of testing it, but it does prove that this particular tuner is good at rejecting unwanted signals.

All of Belmont's muxes were received without problems and the tuner seems fine with regards to how it's affected by impulsive interference.
« Last Edit: Jan 13, 2005, 09:27 AM by Chandler »

Offline Chandler

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
    • Quantex Zone
Re:Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI
« Reply #1 on: Jan 11, 2005, 10:25 AM »
User Interface[/u]

The Nova-t 90002 uses the familiar WinTV2000 interface which has been used by Hauppauge for a few years now.  This marks a huge change both in appearance and stability from the TechnoTrend Digital TV software.  During testing I didn't experience any picture/sound freezes.

Version 1.0 and 1.1 were very similar in terms of features, and were slightly lacking compared to the older TechnoTrend-based Nova-t.  Hauppauge have recently released version 1.2 and this has brought some new features.  The following section will show you most of the features of this software.

Now/Next


Full Image

When changing channels a translucent Now/Next overlay appears on the video.  This replaces the old green "annunciator" text.  It would be nice to have an option to choose how long this is displayed, because on some muxes the banner disappeared before the data had time to be collected.

Subtitles


Full Image

Subtitles are now supported and can be turned on with the CC button.  They are rendered perfectly and with the correct timing.  There aren't any visible artefacts, and no apparent stuttering both of which I noticed on the old Nova-t PCI.  Subtitles are automatically recorded into the MPEG file and are invisible in most applications.  When recordings are loaded in WinTV2000 they can be turned on or off.

Recording


Full Image

Recording can be initiated with the OTR button to start recording straight away - this will continue until stopped.  Repeated presses of the OTR button starts the OTR timer with the following times 0:15, 0:30, 0:45, 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, 4:00.  After 4:00 another press returns it back to limitless recording.  Pressing the Pause button continues recording but stops live playback, thereby reducing CPU load.

Version 1.2 of the software makes it possible to record DVB radio stations (Smash Hits, The Hits Radio, BBC Radio 1 etc.) and is also capable of recording subtitles.  The subtitles shouldn't cause problems in 3rd party applications and also are off by default.  When viewing recordings in WinTV2000 you can choose whether to display them or not.  I'm not aware of any method to transfer the subtitles onto DVD and most utilities will strip them out upon processing.

There is also a driver fix in 1.2 which stops some interrupt borne stuttering problems at frequent intervals.  There was also a fix for input sequence errors in Ulead's software and to improve playback with the Hauppauge MediaMVP but I find that it's made the files incompatible with VideoReDo. Hauppauge are aware of this and I'm told it is hoped to be fixed in 1.3.

Playback


Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4

You can play back files within WinTV2000 and playback can be controlled either with the mouse or with the remote.  The fast forward and rewind work at two speeds, 2X and 8X and can be called either with the mouse in the program or via the remote control.  There is also a slow motion feature accessible via the mouse.  You can pause and restart and the Replay and Skip buttons on the remote advance or take back playback in steps of 10 seconds.

Pause


Full Image

Naturally this card supports time-shifting.  Simply press the OTP button and the buffering starts.  Then hit the pause button again when you want to pause and the Delay timer starts to increase.  When you want to resume watching either press Play or Pause and it starts immediately.  You can also fast forward, rewind, slow-motion etc for as much of the programme as you have buffered.  There are dedicated buttons to jump backwards and forwards 10 seconds.  To resume back to normal time, press the TV button and the Pause panel slides away.
« Last Edit: Jan 13, 2005, 09:30 AM by Chandler »

Offline Chandler

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
    • Quantex Zone
Re:Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI
« Reply #2 on: Jan 11, 2005, 10:33 AM »
Multiple Languages


Full Image

Multiple audio languages can be selected by right-clicking on the A/B indicator.  In the UK this can be used for listening to the "Audio Description" channel used by the BBC quite often, and also for some sporting events which have a secondary audio track without commentary (i.e. just ambient noise)

Right-Click Menu


Full Image

Clicking with the right mouse button brings up a shortcut menu which provides a fast way of changing channels.  By default single right click changes window modes (title, no title, full screen) and holding down the right mouse button displays the menu.  You can change this behaviour by going into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Hauppauge\WinTV32\Preferences in the Registry and setting MouseDefinition to 1.  This setting makes the menu appear on single click and left click change window mode which is more conventional.  The channel selection is sorted into three groups - All Channels (which displays TV and Radio), TV and Radio.  It would be nice to see some more features in the right-click menu, such as to start recording, display Now/Next, display subtitles etc.  A system tray icon with the same menu would also be handy.

Channel Database


Full Image

It is possible to view the channel database which lists things such as frequencies, audio languages and PIDs.  You can also edit the "preferred number" in here by single clicking on it, but it takes a LONG time to get all channels in the correct order.

Settings

The Settings pages haven't changed much over the years and are beginning to look outdated.  There are also a few settings that be changed via the registry which don't appear anywhere here.  They are best described as "functional" more than anything else.


Image 1   Image 2   Image 3  

The Annunciator is only used for Volume and Recording/Pause status now due to the new Now/Next feature.  I hope that it is replaced completely in future versions.  There's one setting on the Title and No-Title tabs that should be checked after installation - Enforce Aspect Ratio, Do Not Resize Window.  If these aren't ticked you will get distorted aspect ratios.


Full Image  

The Pause Buffer size determines how long you can pause TV for.  I like to increase it from the default value of 1000MB to somewhere nearer 4GB to allow for longer periods of pausing.  1000MB only allows for around 30 minutes depending on channel.  The Quality Level box doesn't serve any real purpose as quality is determined by the broadcaster.


Full Image  

I've never been a fan of the Snapshot feature because rather than capturing at the native resolution of the video it always uses desktop sizes (640x480, 800x600 etc) and doesn't make any effort to scale it properly.  It would be nice to see 720x576 and 704x576 sizes in there.  You can get much better quality by recording an MPEG file and using the snapshot feature in DVD playback software such as WinDVD or PowerDVD.


Full Image  

The Audio tab doesn't serve any real purpose anymore and again could probably be removed from future versions.

Primary


Full Image

Primary has been an important troubleshooting utility with WinTV for some time.  It allows you to choose between the various methods of displaying the video.  On a Windows XP system, you have a choice between VMR9, VMR7, Overlay, Primary and DIB Draw.  The default for XP is VMR7 which works on the majority of hardware, but ATI cards have scaling problems in VMR7 in which case you should use VMR9.  On Windows 2000 the preferred mode is Overlay.  There are also settings under MPEG Playback Options.  The affect how video is displayed during recording, playback and pause modes.  You can turn on hardware acceleration provided by the graphics card.  These are off by default since some cards can be unpredictable when asked to accelerate DVB streams - nVidia cards tend to lockup, and ATI cards can be a bit juddery.

Scheduler


Image 1    Image 2

The Scheduler is another familiar utility for old WinTV users.  It utilizes Windows Scheduled Tasks, as with the TechnoTrend cards, but also maintains a list which can be edited as well as having flexible repeat options.  For example, you can record Neighbours at 5:35 until 6:00pm on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri but not Sat, Sun.  You can also set up a "reminder" which opens up a notepad window with a message in it.

« Last Edit: Jan 13, 2005, 09:35 AM by Chandler »

Offline Chandler

  • Universal Moderator
  • xTreme Poaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
    • Quantex Zone
Hauppauge Nova-t 90002 PCI
« Reply #3 on: Jan 11, 2005, 10:35 AM »
3rd Party Software Support

Unlike the previous model (which was a TechnoTrend Budget DVB-t PCI) there isn't a lot of 3rd party application support, yet.  What does support it is very good however:

ShowShifter DVB 3.10 - The card is detected in this BDA-enabled version of ShowShifter DVB.  ShowShifter does have issues with channel scanning however and needs to be given exact frequencies to scan for.  As most of the transmitters in the UK use a 167kHz offset this proves to be a bit of a problem.  I have made a "fixed" channel list available from here.  You can also modify the irremote.ini file to add support for ShowShifter.  You can download mine from here.

Microsoft Windows XP MCE 2004 - I tried this card in an MCE 2004 computer and using the supplied regular drivers it was detected and found all channels with no problems.  All MCE features worked fine with this card in.  If you have an analogue MCE computer, then this card would be a perfect upgrade to DVB-t (Freeview in the UK)

Microsoft Windows XP MCE 2005 - As Windows XP MCE 2005 is now available in OEM form for purchase by the general public I decided to give it a try.  Unfortunately it seems that MCE hogs access to the card, so WinTV2000 doesn't run unless you manually end all of the Media Center processes (eh*.*).  I've seen this with other cards running under MCE2005 so it looks like a problem with the OS.


Conclusions

The Nova-t 90002 is a worthy successor to the Nova-t 928/909 with promising software.  There are a few features missing at present (Digital Text, 7/8-day EPG) but according to Hauppauge these will appear in a future software update, possibly version 1.3 later this year.  The fact that it supports BDA out of the box makes it even more worthwhile and should make it the card of choice for MCE system builders.

Final Score: 7/10

DISCUSS HERE
« Last Edit: Mar 05, 2005, 01:06 PM by Chandler »