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Split-Screen HD TV to DirecTV & PC HDMI Inputs?

Posted on 2009-06-29
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Last Modified: 2013-12-21
I have an old file server I'd like to convert to an XP Pro music & picture server & use to play BluRay, etc, HD discs. But I'd also like to use my Sony KDL-52V5100 as a monitor & be able to split-screen between the HD TV box & the computer, & also go full-screen on either.

This idea came to me a couple years ago when Sony offered split-screen on its LCD TVs. It appears they've abandoned that now, & in any case, I bought the TV already.
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Question by:ReformeDigitHead
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13 Comments
 
LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24744697
You can try using the Picture-In-Picture feature and perhaps resize it.  You essentially want to display two different sources and this is the only way to do it.  Otherwise, you need a specialty item like a surveillance monitor with split screens (they have hardware to do it).
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 24744908
Sorry, should have been more explicit: the TV has neither split-screen nor picture-in-picture. I'm imagining the split-screen function would from a video board, which would need an HDMI input for DirecTV.

Googled "surveillance monitor split screen" & found security industry hardware boxes which would be clunky & low-def, & then "split screen monitor software" & found this: http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/how-to-split-your-laptop-or-pc-screenmonitor-in-windows-xp/

That accommodates splitting the screen for PC apps, but how to get my HDTV in there?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24745785
I must be missing something - I see multiple windows in Excel, and an application called SplitView. If all you want to do is show multiple windows and resize them as you like, just show the entire PC desktop and use the windows resize feature to create your split view. You will need a TV tuner card that is compatible with your cable box to show it on a PC window and control all split or full views from the PC, just like any PC application.  In other words, treat the TV like a large monitor.
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 24748522
That's kinda what I expected. Googling "DirecTV Tuner Card" I found SnapStream BeyondTV & BeyondTV4, that, at first glance, look like they might do the trick. They have a list of tuner cards, one of which is the ATI TV Wonder PCI, which "looks good" to this noob.

Could you recommend a card from this:http://ati.amd.com/products/tunermatrix.html

I feel like I've learned about 10% of what it'll take to get the job done. How do I get the other 90%?
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24751302
BeyondTV is what I use, and it is very good.  The SnapStream website has good support and the product is upgradable free - I have gone up multiple versions already.  For a tuner/capture card, you will probably need one that is Clear QAM capable, if you are using cable.  This means it can handle unencrypted broadcasts (no card can handle encrypted broadcasts, such as premium channels, which require a cable box).  If you want to see premium channels, you can't do it on a PC - you have to connect the output of your cable box to your TV.  I have a VBox Cat's Eye 150 tuner card and an AverMedia Hybrid Volar Max USB tuner http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815100035; you can also get a Hauppauge HVR-2250 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116037.  I haven't used the ATI products, so I can't comment on them.

Don't worry about "noobness", everyone has to start somewhere and this site has lots of qualified experts in this area.
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 24753737
Thanks for answering with what you actually use - that's exactly what I was looking for: a known, working solution!

As a possible alternative to get around the encryption problem, how about something like the Blackmagic Design Intensity HDMI in/out card: http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

Then I could use an active HDMI splitter behind the satellite box, run 1 output of the splitter to the PC & the other directly to the TV. Go split-screen or full on the PC & toggle between inputs on the TV.

Now the hard part - teaching my wife (a real technophobe: she even hates my coffee maker because it's too complicated & tempermental) how to do it. This is really for her because she hates surfing the web on my "dirty little laptop" and I could avoid the high-priority interrupts she issues when she wants to see something on the Net.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24754867
I have heard of the Black Magic Intensity and it is the only HDMI capture card I know of.  I don't know if it will let you get around issues of copyright or HDCP, since it's intended for camcorders, but it might be worth investigating.  The cost does go up, since HDMI splitters are expensive and this card is also expensive.

BeyondTV may not work with this, since it's not a tuner card.  BeyondTV does have a remote called FireFly which lets you use it like a regular TV, so that may address your user interface problem.
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 24839241
Sorry to have taken so long to get back: found and studied a book on HTPC using XP MCE, which I envisioned all along, and found the documentation on my old file server's mother board. It's a Socket 478 P4 version with no PCI-E slots and a single AGP 4X slot, so the Black Magic Intensity Pro is out.

Looks like I'll be falling back to investigate tuner cards, but since you're not aware of any HDMI capture cards besides the Black Magic, it sounds like that'll be futile.

It appears that there are more folks that are happy with MCE than with Vista, so I might be waiting for W7 and building a dedicated HTPC box to do everything I want then. In the meantime I'll probably  just get sound & video cards for the old file server and manage the media myself.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24844742
MCE is a time-tested approach and will allow you to benefit from all the others who have developed expertise in that area.

Yes, there aren't any tuner cards that accept HDMI inputs for capture that I know of.
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 24853168
I really just want to pass the HDMI through to the screen & be able to split-screen it with Windows apps.
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Author Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 25283390
So I've given up on being able to pass HDMI through the MCE box & decided on a HIS H365F512ANP Radeon HD 3650 video card that has DVI output & is 1080P capable.
      
Connecting to my HDTV with a DVI to HDMI cable, will this give me the same HD using a Blu-Ray drive as a dedicated BluRay player?
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 1200 total points
ID: 25287307
>Connecting to my HDTV with a DVI to HDMI cable, will this give me the same HD using a Blu-Ray drive as a dedicated BluRay player?

Yes - you could also connect it with a standard VGA cable and get HD - the important thing is support of 1920x1080 resolution, which is dependent on the video card, and that one supports up to 2560x1600.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ReformeDigitHead
ID: 31626537
I knew I was asking the at least nearly impossible
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