An alternative solution is the SAA7130HL decoder from Philips. Although I would consider this chip not an alternative but the newest electronic analogue. It is also a highly integrated low-cost single-chip solution that suits perfectly for capturing analog and digital broadcast. It transfers different types of multimedia data via the PCI bus. The analog signal is received by a 9bit ADC, decoded by multi-string combo-filters and scaled along horizontal and vertical axes. The decoded image is displayed in YUV and RGB formats. Analog audio signal is transferred via the connection cable to the system sound card.
Philips decoder exists in four different modifications today: 7130HL (basic or the simplest modification), 7133HL, 7134HL and 7135HL. The comparative table below is a pretty interesting thing to check out, that is why I decided to put it here:
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that NICAM digital encoding is implemented only in 7134HL and 7135HL modifications. So, I believe it makes sense to pay special attention to the TV-tuners built on the latest chip modifications, because stereo is always better than mono.
Now I would like to list the major specifications of the Philips SAA7130HL chip:
- NTSC/PAL/SECAM decoding;
- 5 analog video-Ins: CVBS and S-Video;
- Video digitizing by two 9bit 27MHz ADC;
- Adaptive comb-filter for NTSC and PAL, which also works for non-standard signals;
- Automatic TV signal detector;
- Three-level detection of the copy protection system - Macrovision;
- Brightness, contrast, saturation and hue control;
- Universal bandwidth filter;
- Horizontal and vertical picture scalability including the enlargement and reduction of the picture size;
- Adaptive anti-alias filtering;
- Two types of alternative settings for active video image scaling;
- Playback in YUV and RGB modes;
- Gamma-correction, black stretching.
Even by simply comparing the useful functions of the chips we can conclude that the solution from Philips is better suited for work with SECAM standard. In the long run it should result into better image quality in our case. The real tests will show though, how the things actually stand with the image quality. We will offer you captured TV images for all 6 TV-tuner models reviewed today, so that you could take a closer look and make your own conclusions about this or that card.