Home > Media Center > Just switched to digital cable

Just switched to digital cable

I knew my analog cable at the old house was a little flaky – I had the cable techs out several times to try to clean up the signal.  When I threatened to go satellite, they sent over the whole friggin SWAT team to work on the signal but still it had some ghosting issues that drove me nuts.

When I moved, they had a free digital cable bundle offer that I took.  I bought a second digital receiver from a guy on the internet and hooked it up to MCE 2005 just last week.  I continue to be amazed at the picture quality through MCE (I know, I know I’m about four years late to the game here but just humor me).

I have some pretty basic STBs, connected to the ATI Theater 550 tuner cards via composite video and RCA sterero cables so it’s nothing fancy at all.  So while I can definitely say that the video quality across the entire MCE universe is now perfect (perfect standard definition quality that is), I can now also confirm some suspicions I had about the suckage of the ATI analog audio:

  1. Yes, the ATI Theater 550 cards have awful audio quality and stereo separation.  I have old recorded video on my MCE from the analog source and all of the audio basically comes through the center speaker on my audio setup.  Anything recorded off of the digital box behaves on the Dobly Pro Logic system as I would expect, with decent separation and surrounding audio.
  2. Yes, the ATI Theater 550 cards are too quiet and it has never been fixed in any driver.  Seems like it should be very simple to fix, but nobody seems to care.  Now with the audio levels managed by the STB the recordings are coming through at a decent volume.  This improves the entire MCE experience, as now the volume levels are on par with the sound effects (rather than blasting the startup sound though the audio system only to get low volumes on the recordings).

Colour me impressed!  Now the next step in the evil plot is to get that HDTV (just as soon as we stop giving away all of our disposalable income to our renovator).

Categories: Media Center
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