Hybrid 650 pci cards do QAM


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QAM works, is possible with an ATI TV Wonder 650 (pci, hybrid tuner) in XP (SP3 RC2). There’s loads of stuff I don’t know, haven’t tried yet etc., but, I figure posting my results so far is a win-win situation: let’s other folks play around and maybe get something working sooner, & if anyone else tries & posts their results, well that helps everybody.

The software I used was GB-PVR, based on a post in their forums from late December 07, I found Googling on ati qam etc [I do this every so often and this time I got lucky]. The software’s free & it works, and seems to have a good community in it’s forums – I honestly can’t say any more than that yet as it’s very early on trying this out.

I would have rather gotten things working in Vista, but the card’s digital tuner & drivers is still too flaky in that OS, and GB-PVR wouldn’t work with it as an OTA tuner let alone for QAM. Based on their forum post, using the card for QAM works in regular XP, so I don’t think my using SP3 has anything (positive at least) to do with it. [In fact, going off topic I’d suggest staying away from the SP3 release candidates until they work with MS updates]

Setting up QAM in GB-PVR seems a bit of a chore, though it’s not the software’s fault, and I have nothing to compare it to so I can’t give any relative ratings. Immediately after installation GB-PVR brings up its configuration dialogs, where among other things like decoders, you select the ATI (based) card and QAM. Next step is setting up EPG, with several choices and good instructions in their wiki. I chose to use “yapi2xml” mainly because it was the first EPG utility I could get to work in Vista – I’m almost positive that I could have chosen better.

Once that’s done, with the cable coax connected to the card’s ATSC antenna jack, click the button to scan the channels for mapping; it’s fairly quick & painless, plus there’s a preview window to help ID the channels found. With BrightHouse cable at least, the station ID (call letters) was listed for found network channels, so it was super easy matching the EPG program listing. Where it got confusing is ~335 channels (including subs) were found and listed as “unknown”... BrightHouse uses these for it’s On Demand service, & *possibly* for PPV.

The “unknowns” weren’t a huge problem – just took a while to figure out that the content on those that had content was On Demand... after trying to match up with the hundreds listed in the stb’s guide.

With a really weak signal from BrightHouse I can’t say too much on results yet – I need to get another, better amp at the least [the signal strength’s so low that I had to cherry pick the coax I ran direct from the amp!]. The small number of available channels is disappointing – I actually get more OTA with an amped antenna in the window – and I have no idea if this is because BrightHouse encrypts everything or if it’s [partly or all] the fault of the ATI card &/or drivers... Probably the only way to tell for sure would be to try one of the avermedia tuners in GB-PVR to compare them (though I need to get the amp situation fixed first). In an article in ATI’s knowledgebase they talk about low ATSC signal strength in Vista MC, saying it should be fixed with the latest drivers (unchanged at least since 12/07). Coincidentally (?) there are reports of the latest drivers causing what sounds like an over-driven signal during bright scenes with a lot of white, so there are known problems.

Just to confirm, you are referring to the TV Wonder 650 PCI (Hybrid) not the TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe and certainly not the new TV Wonder 650 Combo USB right? Ever since I came across the notation that the TV Wonder 650 PCI supports QAM in the ATI product matrix I questioned the validity of it.


The reason for that uncertainty was that the originally released TV Wonder 650 PCI cards made no mention of QAM support of any kind. So I started to suspect that there was a possibility that a new set of TV Wonder 650 PCI cards were released with the new PCIe and USB Combo versions revised with QAM support.

Its really great if the old TV Wonder 650 PCI Hybrid cards can do QAM.

Unfortunately, although I like GB-PVR and Media Portal (I’ve run both in the past) I wont run either of them in place of MCE 2K5 and Vista Media Center. For me viability of QAM on the TV Wonder 650 PCI Hybrid or newer ATI cards hinges on support in MCE 2K5 and Vista Media Center. This would require one of two or possibly three things; either Microsoft offers native Clear QAM support as an update to their PVR software with such hardware or ATI offers appropriate drivers / QAM tools to enable QAM operation in MCE 2K5 / Vista Media Center,……..or hell freezes over ;)

I receive something on the order of ~140 QAM channels in the clear on RCN cable in NYC so this is a feature I really want in my hardware.


BTW, I have three of these amplifiers and they work rather well:

1-to-4 Bidirectional Cable-TV Amplifier

Or you could try this one:

Bidirectional Cable TV Amplifier
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Hi Agustus -- Yeah, the year old TV Wonder 650 (pci).

My electronics ed was looong ago, but my thoughts were if it can handle the digital stream from an OTA antenna, how different could the stream be over cable? Plugging the channel info into WatchHDTV I didn't get a picture, but it did register the signal strength, which to me hints that the big question is if the software can handle splitting the stream into the various channels and decode for display. According to the original poster (in the GB-PVR forums) the drivers became QAM enabled in December [& FWIW haven't changed since]... Who knew?...

From what I've read the *big* Vista MC update is this summer (Junish? July?). I got the definite impression that QAM was a question to be decided by legal & marketing. Definitely agree about Media Center; to me personally the way forward is either Vista MC or direct cap of the stream from the stb. I don't have anything in favor or against any of the pvr software particularly, including GB-PVR (though I haven't done more than verified QAM with it) -- I just don't like PVR software. I'm just too much of a practical-minded minimalist by nature. :nuts:

We also share the same taste/opinions in amps :p That's what I've been using, but with ancient cable to the door, along with splitters for things like the modem, needs a boost -- maybe just another downstream?

Don't know what to say about your cable service, wondering if the green from my envy shows through? There's half a dozen digital channels I'd *really* like, though I'd gladly grab whatever I can get. If this is all BrightHouse provides in the clear, I'd do better improving my ATSC OTA reception!
For sure the drivers are a big part of the necessary support so its good to know that QAM support was added in December. Previously I suspected that ATI (AMD) would only release the necessary support for QAM in Vista due to some specific statements:

4 Unencrypted Clear-QAM Digital Cable TV is supported with Catalyst Media Center build 1.0.3202 and higher in Windows Vista® for PCs.

But perhaps they were only referring to QAM in respect to their software that they will support themselves whereas other applications would go officially unsupported (but likely operational).

Can you get your hands on any other applications with native QAM support for testing? As I understand it, Arcsoft TotalMedia has native QAM support or at least they do in some versions. There may be some other applications that are good candidates for testing too.

The RCN cable’s QAM lineup is fortunately rather robust at the moment especially in contrast to some other providers. However, many cable providers are quite flippant when it comes to in the clear QAM and as such change can be frequent,…..and not always for the better. For example, since my first initial scans a few channels have gone missing. When the first 2 or 3 channels went missing it was disappointing but I wasn’t overzealous about the channels in question (“AZNTV“, “NBC Weather Plus WNBCDT2” and “WNBCDT4”) but I just recently lost “The National Geographic Channel-HD” and “SciFi-DT” which were among my favorites. To be fair they may have not been removed but rather just moved which would simply require a rescan,…..
Well, I plan on doing a bit of shopping today, & assuming I pick up a cable amp, and that it works [don't know what local stock is vs. on-line], I'll try to test whatever software I can get my hands on this week. With the main cable plugged back into the box (instead of direct to the 650) I'm having weak signal problems that I'm afraid could effect set-up, scanning etc. At the same time, I received my gov converter coupon cards a while back, and if they have local stock, want to pick up one or two; buying now might be a good way to compare ATSC antenna reception with the 650 as I sort this out. I think I've got a decent enough antenna, but I may be wrong.

Unfortunately on-line research tells me I've got one of the worst cable providers when it comes to un-encrypted channels -- the few I can get with the 650 are actually a couple more than those listed in reports I've read. :cry: And firewire from the cable box doesn't appear promising at all because of the encryption plus firmware updates since I previously looked at it. If all I can get is the basic 4 network + PBS channel streams, I can live with that since it'll make my wife happy, but while waiting for Vista MC QAM support I don't know yet if ATSC or QAM would be the better choice all things considered.

While I'm getting the converter for the DVDR, the converter may provide a few surprises too. I got the DVDR originally to help streamline the process of digitizing years worth of old VHS [at the time it was one of the only ways to get mpg2 with CC embedded], but found the built-in filtering and signal enhancing worked very well and are a great asset. I'm not expecting anything out of the ordinary with the converter, but ya never know. :D

At any rate I'll post my experiences as they come...
Well good luck!

As I said before I have three 1-to-4 Bidirectional Cable-TV Amplifiers. The second one was used to amplify the signal of two Silver Sensor UHF/HDTV Digital Indoor TV Antennae in tandem (these came with two HDTV Wonder cards). In other words both antenna were connected to the amplifiers single input and then sent to the ATSC cards (across different systems). This worked well in boosting the OTA signal but it also allowed me to receive signals from different orientations so that I didn’t have to adjust a single antenna’s direction (simply use the best two directions with the two antenna).

The third amplifier was used solely for the dual Avermedia AverTV Combo PCIe X1 (M780) tuner system. This amp supplies 2x analog connections and 2x digital (QAM) connections across these two cards in the same system.

The HDHomeRun is just using a splitter but it seems to work well and picks up all the QAM channels the M780 does. The HDHomeRun still has that annoying 68 channel mapping limit though.

For what its worth I think I split my cable way more then I ever should have but everything seems to work well enough. I’m sure you want to eliminate attenuation as a possible problem though so your amp suggestion sounds like a good idea.

In any event, with good signal integrity, QAM just looks so much better then analog TV in the best case scenario for both.
Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:45 am

Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:45 am

Yeah, the year old TV Wonder 650 (pci).
Mikiem, just to confirm again, your year old TV Wonder is NOT a VisionTek 6xx is it? Is it an actual ATI branded TV Wonder 650 PCI version that was released in 06?

With the latest drivers on an ATI TV Wonder 650 bought back in 06, Beyond TV did not pickup any QAM channels (when I used the same steps as I used to get QAM from an HDHR). Haven't tested GB-PVR yet but will in the next day couple of days when I have a chance.

Agustus, due to the Antenna (Digital) selection, the BTV software also listed 69 channels while searching on the 650 for QAM channels. Over on the HDHR forums, Jafa/Mark infers that the 68 channel limit is caused by the software not the HDHR hardware.

"The 68 channel limit comes from the remap process remapping Digital Cable to ATSC. There are 68 physical channels in the US as defined by the FCC. This limit only affects DVR applications that do not natively support Digital Cable ... TotalMedia has native Digital Cable support - we will be releasing this next week. " Posted Thu Jan 31, 2008

And Silicondust has been mum on when they will be releasing the TotalMedia software for HDHR users that supposedly fixes (or bypasses) the 68 channel limit. Which they announced they'd be releasing "next week", just over two months ago but haven't given a status update, dispite several requests on their forum, on when they will actually be releasing it.
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It’s my understanding that BeyondTV doesn’t have native QAM support much like MCE 2K5 and Vista Media Center. I could be wrong on that though. I was under the impression that very few tuners will work in BeyondTV with respect to QAM and it was for the same reasons as the MCE 2K5 / Vista Media Center situation and that was due to very few hardware manufacturers taking the initiative of making channel mapping tools.

Therefore, the TV Wonder 650 line shouldn’t work in BeyondTV (and like programs) unless another manufactures channel mapping tool will work with the 650, ATI (AMD) makes there own channel mapping tool or the application in question has native QAM support. Naturally the drivers also need to support this functionality.

I’m Octavean in that that tread you linked too. It is my understanding that the 68 channel limit on the HDHomeRun is due to Silicondust’s implementation of channel mapping not the application itself. My AverMedia AverTV Combo PCIe X1 (M780) cards have no such QAM 68 channel mapping limitation in MCE 2K5 and Vista Media Center because their channel mapping approach simply doesn’t have this flaw. Simply put it’s a problem that Silicondust needs to address with “their” approach to channel mapping because other companies (Avermedia) are not encumbered by this artificial limitation.

Also, note that when the Arcsoft TotalMedia software is released for HDHomeRun use (which has native QAM support and thus no need for channel mapping and no QAM 68 channel map limit) it will disable channel mapping functionality. This means the HDHomeRun will no longer function with software that requires channel mapping on the same system.

TotalMedia - HDHomeRun Forum


Octavean said:

I see, since MCE uses channel mapping with the HDHomeRun and TotalMedia has native QAM support the mapping that MCE needs gets dropped,…or something like that?
jafa said:
Octavean_wrote said:

I see, since MCE uses channel mapping with the HDHomeRun and TotalMedia has native QAM support the mapping that MCE needs gets dropped,…or something like that?


Remember offering up Arcsoft Totalmedia is in part a way for Silicondust to address the limitations of their product with a semi polished software solution (with native QAM support) not effected by said limitation.

You cannot blame software that doesn’t support Clear QAM for Silicondust’s channel mapping problems any more then you should praise software that has native QAM support and thus doesn’t get tripped up by Silicondust’s truncated channel mapping implementation.

Octavean said:
,………..diminutive QAM mapping limit.

I acknowledge the current, “effective”, 68 channel mapping limitation of the HDHomeRun but it isn’t unreasonable to ask if it is being addressed currently and if not will it be addressed in the near future. Also If not why not? Finally, why is it that AverMedia can map ~140 or more with seemingly little to no limit and Silcondust is limited to a scant 68?

Keep in mind that,…..

jafa said:

It is not unreasonable to think that this may be addressed in a future update.
Right now I can't comment :lol:

TotalMedia will be available for download for existing owners.


They know that it should be addressed as well,...
I too caught the comments over in the Silicondust forums about the TotalMedia choice in the HDHR config program locking the HDHR into to TotalMedia program only. I've been slightly confused as to who's at fault and if they're going to (ever) fix it, and when. Silicondust seems to blame the other software vendors, and not their BDA drivers. But from what you say and from what I've read it appears to be both the Windows HDHR BDA drivers and PVR software that are at fault for this channel limit and remapping mess. As an XP user the TotalMedia program looks good, only in the fact that I don't have to screw around (every time Comcast changes their QAM listings/lineup) with the manual channel remapping. Much the same way, it sounds like the, AverMedia AverTV Combo PCIe X1 (M780) does for you in MCE.

I was giving BTV scan for QAM a try with the 650 as I was board and wanted to see if it would work. It doesn't. If the older ATI branded 650's can indeed do QAM (in GB-PVR at least), as mikiem indicates, that might be very good news to us older 650 owners at a time when there's been little to no updates from ATI for us since the card's initial release from ATI. If the QAM actually works outside of Vista on the 650 than the onus is now on the various software PVR vendors and Microsoft to update their software to allow this feature. And as a consumer I hope they do (but I'm not going to believe it until I see it with my own eyes) to give us more choices in easily configurable QAM + PVR software, because right now HDHR QAM (with BTV) on XP, and I assume in Vista/MCE as well, is a real hassle to configure when the cable company decides to remap the channels on their end. But once setup though the combo of BTV + HDHR (QAM) + 650 (OTA, analog) on XP works great.
It would seem that Silicondust is being very diplomatic (tactful) when addressing this 68 channel mapping issue which is specific to the HDHomeRun. I don’t blame them for this but it might be contributing to the confusion around this subject.

Ask yourself this question though:

If this issue does “not” stem from the HDHomeRun QAM capable hardware, HDHomeRun QAM capable device drivers or the HDHomeRun QAM tools (scanner software ect) but rather is an issue caused by the software “Media Center Edition 2005”, “Vista Media Center”, “BeyondTV and the like (software that requires Silcondust’s HDHomeRun channel mapping tools for QAM due to no native support),…….

Why then is it that the AverTV Combo PCIe X1 (M780) isn’t effected by this hypothetical intrinsic flaw in the same PVR software?

The likely answer is there is something specific to the HDHomeRun that triggers this issue with the HDHomeRun.
My guess is; it's the HDHomeRun Windows BDA drivers or the HDHR configuration software which are probably at fault, and not the hardware itself, and is causing the channel limit. Initially one could only run the tuners in either QTA or QAM mode but not both. Now you can run QTA on one tuner and QAM on the other. That was introduced in the 20080104 software (not the firmware apparently). I also suspect (as I saw with BTV) that the PVR software also needs to have the hooks in to allow the HDHR drivers to pass the stream without having to resort to mapping the QAM to ASTC OTA channels.

The manual channel mapping is the hitch. I spent two hours the other night changing stuff around when Comcast moved their QAM channels around. There has to be a better way for Silicondust to deal with the channels and their mappings.
I can confirm what mikiem said about the 650 doing QAM on XP. I have an older ATI branded 650 bought back in October/November of 06 (a reworked version). Its installed on a Windows XP Pro with SP2 computer.

As mikiem points out the setup is not easy. The setup requires channel mapping much like the HDHR does with BTV, and its every bit as painful and time consuming. In GP-PVR, once you add the capture source configured with the digital recording plugin with it's device type set to ATI 650 Pro (QAM), and have an EPG created and updated. You can then "map digital channels to EPG channels". In my case there were lots of "75.9 UnknownX (00(AC3))" or the like entries that didn't seem to show anything. Only the entries that went something like 76.0 (000(AC3)) and the like seem to work. In the cursory test that I did it seem to find the same channels that the HDHR finds. And before anyone asks, I had the HDHR unplugged/off while working with the GP-PVR software so I wasn't pickup channels from it by accident.

The live TV quality seems lacking though and doesn't appear to be as good as the HDHR is. I haven't tried recording yet though, so it's quite possible the quality of that is much better.

This begs the question of why ATI hasn't mentioned this "feature" (I'm guessing they want to make a profit on their latest 6xx line) and how, or if, the 650 QAM can it be activated in programs like MCE and BTV. This might also explain why the "latest" version of the CMC program hasn't been released to us older 650 users (ie., they want us to pay to upgrade to the latest 6xx line).
Well cable companies are known for changing channel lineups frequently. If your provider moved, removed or encrypted some desired QAM channel(s) you were previously receiving in the clear it will require a rescan at least when your viewing with a natively supporting QAM application. If your application doesn’t support QAM natively and thus uses channel mapping it could be more difficult because you have two distinct and separate applications to configure,…
At the moment I’ve been playing for *QUITE* a while with ATI drivers...

I wanted to get a good baseline before installing some of the software I’ve downloaded, and now I’ve got to do another backup & start working my way thru these programs to see what software does QAM with the 650 PCI.

FWIW & all... Not knowing how much time I was about to waste because of AMD/ATI [they made the cards, m/b chipset, & CPU I’m using, so yeah, I can point the finger of blame their way] I picked up a cable signal amp from the Best Buy less than a mile down the street – I wanted to save time. I got a generic looking (I assume re-) branded RCA drop-amp with 4 outlets that they had on sale on their web site. I used it where the cable first comes thru the wall, then put the Radio Shack amp I already had downstream, just before the splitter that sends the signal to the 650 (& nearby hardware). The QAM signal strength & quality are now good to go when tested in GB-PVR.

Also picked up a Zenith (LG) DTT900 DV (TV) convertor using a gov coupon... The allegedly sixth generation chip in that thing is everything the ATI tuner should be – too bad it’s not. Irrelevant to my pursuit of QAM (unless some kind folks hack the LG firmware), I only mention it since it really puts the 650's ATSC tuning performance into perspective... This box picks up all the same stations as the 650, just unplugging the coax from the 650 and plugging it into this stb. With the 650 I have to play with the antenna direction depending on the channel – only two transmitters are in the same direction – but not with the DTT900.

Of course the stb doesn’t give me the original digital files, and only outputs SD (per gov criteria for the coupons), but it’s usable where the ATSC from the 650 wasn’t good for more than viewing; with the 650 I always got a *really huge* number of drops in both viewing and recording. I’d verified it’s not the CPU or discs, & now with the stb, I know it’s not the antenna or my location. As far as quality goes, I really hate to say anything because there are so many variables, but where I’m sitting right now the DTT900's SD picture is about the same as the digital cable box signal over svid.
@bennor3814 -- I have an ATI branded/boxed TV Wonder 650 that I got about a year ago... I think I posted about finding over 300 unknown stations, which depended on time of day when I scanned. Where I am those are the on demand channels, used when/if someone near you has a program/movie streamed to their box -- you should be able to verify by selecting an on demand movie yourself, then previewing the unknowns till you find it (just pick something odd :D no one else would likely watch). The number of unknowns grew quite a bit 1st thing in the am, so my guess is that they also use these channels/subs for PPV -- since they'd be encrypted, the scan won't find them. If you spend enough time googling on this junk sooner or later you'll find someone posting on spying on what the neighbors are watching. :hmm:

As far as the 650's quality, with a decent signal strength it seems about equal to the DTT900 I posted about, &/or svid from the box, & about equal to a good ATSC channel -- I know that the HD signal is higher rez, but for general comparison's sake I'm talking about the same size window or screen.

As more QAM hardware comes out, I'm half hoping, half assuming that it'll work like analog tuners: fire up the program and select your source, with the actual make and model of your hardware irrelevant.

In the mean time, for those with ATI graphics cards, PLEASE be careful if you haven't installed the 8.3 drivers yet & think you might. It might be because of my hardware, or not, but it's a pretty big risk without running a backup.
In the mean time, for those with ATI graphics cards, PLEASE be careful if you haven't installed the 8.3 drivers yet & think you might. It might be because of my hardware, or not, but it's a pretty big risk without running a backup.
What problems did you have with the 8.3 drivers? I installed them last weekend and haven't had any trouble with them, yet, knock on wood. I installed the 8.3 Catalyst Software Suite for a ATI X1900 and then the ATI Theater Video Driver for the 650. Before installing them though I did uninstall all previous ATI driver/software, then ran Drive Cleaner, then proceeded with the 8.3 installation.
As far as problems go, I've had loads with the 8.3 driver set & the video display from the 650... I *suspect* that it's pretty hardware specific, and that it has something to do with .NET. It's definitely hardware (&/or driver) related. While I have no way (nor desire really :p) to try and narrow it down further by testing other PCs (one problem's enough thank you very much), my problems were significant enough that as mentioned in the CCC section, I felt I should post a heads up out of courtesy to everyone else. :) I mean we all back up our systems anyway, right? :D

Trying to briefly summarize after a bit of on-line research: ATI's avivo graphics cards offer video (as in movie) acceleration, including (depending on model) added chips & HD. Some of these features are accessible in CCC, some only thru the registry. As CCC evolves (or devolves for those with problems), newer versions have different feature defaults and implementations. Since one of the theater 650 card's main tasks is displaying TV, and since it also does avivo, it makes sense that the two cards could butt heads so-to-speak. Remember that the graphics card's avivo functions include processing the same video (deinterlacing, IVTC, edge detection, color conversion, denoise etc). Also bear in mind that some of these avivo functions on the graphics card do not work well with every kind of video -- for example trying to filter prog. HD as if it were interlaced SD doesn't always work, to the point it can stall.

Second: seems a lot of folks are getting atikmdag errors in Vista, & the equivalent errors with Nvidia graphics. There doesn't seem enough of any patterns to be useful to anyone, but many are convinced hardware's involved, though not necessarily as resource conflicts in years past, but with drivers clashing in certain environments. For now having problems or not seems almost random. Where the 650's involved I've come to think of whatever's causing the atikmdag errors to be a weak point that surfaces because of the driver(?) conflict between ATI cards. That a conflict exists seems pretty clear when installing 8.3 drivers causes problems in both separate windows installs (XP & Vista) on a dual boot PC. Especially when reverting to 8.2 problems improve.

Additionally in my experience removing or disabling hardware &/or drivers -- or updating certain core drivers -- has a big effect in how soon 650-related errors occur. It's unfortunately not a question of if, but when. While the hardware/driver environment necessary for the above graphics card errors varies quite a bit, many users have figured out by now the specific steps necessary to trigger the errors. In both XP & Vista unfortunately the crashes are not logged, as {someone from ATI mentioned} production, released drivers don't include debugging code.

Third: Problems trying to get rid of 8.3 seem to happen enough to be called a common problem, especially considering a relative few users try to go backwards in the first place. IT doesn't seem to be a problem of driver install or uninstall from the posts/threads that I've read. In my experience it has nothing to do with any ATI reg entries, & while 8.3 can add files (files that aren't part of prior driver sets), I'm not sure how much those matter.

None of which is intended to turn anyone away from ATI etc., but just basic info FWIW. I'd certainly suggest *before adding 8.3 driver set* backing up your windows install, or setting a restore point in Vista on a single boot system.
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As I track down potential software for 650 QAM tunning, I've found that Arcsoft Total media does seem to work pretty well, at least for tuning (haven't gotten to capture yet). It takes a loooong time to scan channels, and comes up with some false positives that are encrypted, though it weeds out the majority of those unknowns found in GB-PVR. OTOH it doesn't seem like you can weed the false positives out, but I'm far from done playing with it, so maybe I'll figure it out?

The Cyberlink trial of Power Cinema wouldn't recognize either tuner. The (now Corel) Intervideo program crashed with anything tuner related. Avermedia's app won't work without AverTV cards (go figure). No detection in Sage. MyTheater might work if you figured out the scan parameters, but I'm trying to keep this within the realm of something a casual user might use. There's a bunch of DVB software that in theory should work, but my guess is that they'd need to be tweaked a bit to either recognize the BDA driver &/or scan the proper QAM frequencies. Still got some to try out though, so we'll see.
QAM in Vista

QAM in Vista

I’ve been trying to get QAM working with the 650 pci in Vista Home Prem SP1. [BTW – If you’re running Vista, & Windows Update doesn’t give you the option to install SP1, then it *might* consider 1 or more drivers on your system to be at risk for screwing up during the install – according to the MS site anyway. That doesn’t seem to prevent installation however if you download the update from the Download Center].

With the 650 pci (& likely other 650-based devices?) the DS filter graph is different in Vista & XP... In XP the digital BDA tuner (orig ATSC) connects to the BDA “Microsoft ATSC Network Provider”, or “msdvbnp.ax”. FWIW this file is updated apparently in SP3 RC2. While the file is still present in Vista, the ATI BDA tuner will not connect to it (and it hasn’t been updated apparently except for localization problems since 11/06). The ATI BDA tuner will connect to a file not present in XP: “msnp.ax” which = the BDA “Microsoft Network Provider” [note no ATSC, DVB-S etc.]

I *think* that problems getting ATSC or QAM (& probably DVB) out of the 650 in Vista – at least in programs other than Vista’s MC – is because those programs try to use the same “Network Provider” as in XP.

While the simplest reg hack doesn’t seem to work – setting the ATSC Network Provider to msnp.ax – it’s possible I imagine that diving into the registry further might come up with a cure. Might also try renaming a copy of msnp.ax, but I haven’t had a chance to try either. Replacing the older msdvbnp.ax file with one from XP etc. makes no difference. [Note: these files seem protected & the only way I could do anything with them in Vista was to enable the Super-Admin acct, then change the files’ ownership to Admin, then set permissions. Couldn’t swap them even booting into XP.]

What does seem to work – *& I have no idea at this point of any potential problems* – is to copy over the two 650 XP driver files: atinavrr.sys & atinpprr.ax , which will connect to the ATSC Network Provider, msdvbnp.ax. While of course mileage-will-vary, trying to disable the 650 in Device Mgr to swap the files out (something I’ve done many times in the past), crashed Vista immediately, so I had to swap the files after booting into XP – safe mode etc. would probably work. [Windiff showed the 2 versions of atinpprr.ax to be different, though they’re same size etc, so I swapped both.] AND, Vista’s MC seemed to continue to work with the 650's Analog Tuner!

Don’t know that swapping drivers would be a good solution, even temporary, but so far it seems the only one if you want/need to get the digital tuner or QAM etc working in Vista. When I have a chance I’ll swap the drivers out again (I put things back to normal in between testing) & take another look at programs that work for QAM in XP but not in Vista, like the ArcSoft app. So far the only one I’ve tested with the XP drivers is GB-PVR, and it does seem to work tuning QAM.
mikiem, were you getting BSOD's as your errors with the latest ATI driver updates? Recently (as in the last two weeks now) I started getting occasional BSOD's using BTV 4.8.1 + HDHR + 650 on XP. All have been updated to their latest respective drivers/firmware. I've posted a question over here (under the handle sbennett): http://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=28206

In my case the problem ONLY happens when changing channels on the HDHR and not the 650 (which is setup for analog and OTA digital). And only seems to happen on channels where the signal from Comcast is hesitating/pixilating. It started right after updating the HDHR firmware while running the latest version of the 8.3 CCC and the WMD drivers for my ATI X1900 and 650 cards. And I don't have any trouble changing channels on the 650 in BTV, just on the HDHR and it's only happened a couple of times. But silicondust's response to my initial posting about this issue seems to indicate it may be graphic card related. I may downgrade to 8.2 to see if the BSOD's continue and to try and isolate the issues.