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Solved: TV card: explain what is "Overlay" versus "Preview" mode

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by slabm, Sep 26, 2009.

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  1. slabm

    slabm Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
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    Hi and THANKS for being there! This is primarily a term definition question. I don't find any clear answer in my user's guide.

    I've got this terrific TV card installed, very fancy, very feature-rich.

    I've got this terrific add-on AGP card installed, very fancy, very feature-rich. But I'm thinking that's beside the point. (It's a nVidia Geforce FX 5200)

    This TV Tuner/Capture card dates back a ways; bought it for my old Windows Millennium machine and I remember that it worked just GREAT. It has the brand name "Brooktree" but that might just be the chipset or something. Anyway, I abandoned the TV add-on when I upgraded to a newer Windows XP machine in early 2007. I couldn't find the right driver though it worked pretty fairly with the old driver for most TV stations, it didn't work perfectly. I ditched it at the time.

    I recently visited driverguide.com and searched diligently and finally did find a perfect driver for that TV card for XP. I am sure it is the latest and best driver available, so that is not even an issue.

    Since I no longer subscribe to cable, I can use this old card to watch only channel 3, as output by my VCR. (The card also has FM radio, which works great!)

    Here's the thing. A very itty-bitty teensy slight snag. When I initiate the TV Tuner, it always starts up in what they call "Preview mode". There is sound but no picture! No problem, I just tell it to go into the alternate mode, "Overlay mode", and everything is fine.

    I don't understand why this is. Anyone care to enlighten me? What distinguishes those two alternate "modes"?? The user's guide is light on explaining such things.

    I'm just curious, and maybe I can save a step (ooh, my poor finger!).

    There is a little configuration utility for the TV card, and I selected "nVidia Geforce MX", which is the newest they include on the drop-down menu, but I swear I can tell it "Standard AGP" and the same little snag occurs.

    I understand almost everything about my GeForce FX graphics card and software, but perhaps not everything. Their software uses the term "overlay" at times, but I'm thinking it's a totally different use of the term.

    Well I suppose it's pretty far-fetched that anyone on this forum can decipher what is the differentiation. Hell, everything is so so complex these days. (A mixed blessing, no doubt.)

    But if you have some light to shed, I welcome it. Thanx again :)
     
  2. fairnooks

    fairnooks Banned

    Joined:
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    5,251
    From what I understand a graphic overlay is when the video comes from the graphics card directly where it has been processed and is "overlaid" on top of the screen, in the otherwise black placeholder reserved for it in system memory. So in preview mode there is no overlay, therefore no picture coming from the graphics subsystem, and since hardware rendering is not turned on, the preview doesn't work is my guess; and, you probably do not want to turn on hardware rendering since that will put the onus on the system processor to process the graphics, which very often slows a system down or it is not capable of processing it fast enough to maintain smooth palyback--hence the invention of overlay processing by the graphics subsystem to take the pressure off the CPU.
     
  3. slabm

    slabm Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Messages:
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    Many thanks!

    Ah, so probably the reason I had no such difficulty years ago on my Windows Millennium PC was that I didn't use any add-on graphics card there, it was all stock.

    That's still a little confusing to me because the TV app must be the only app that makes that differentiation. I mean, all the games I've used for example never offer me two modes and the fact that my monitor is plugged into my add-on graphics card instead of into my PC proper is totally transparent to the end user.

    But, I suppose the TV could be a special case perhaps because it is has to interface more directly to the existing hardware to facilitate fast rendering and all. The term "Preview" mode seems a little strange; especially since it begets a blank screen in this case.

    Um, hey thanks.
    (y)
     
  4. slabm

    slabm Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Though I marked the thread resolved, I have something to add. The user guide to this thing is okay but oddly organized. I did finally find the explanation that I wanted. I found:
    Preview - Click to set low resolution display and
    updated 15 frames per second or less.
    Overlay - Click to set high resolution and updated
    screen quickly with VGA chipset specific Direct Draw driver.

    My earnest thanks you folks!
     
  5. slabm

    slabm Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Getting old. Making mistakes. Arghh.

    I continued to have difficulties and my system would freeze up for 15 seconds while the TV was initializing or exiting or changing modes, and the mode was confusing and irregular to say the least, and things just were not ideal.

    BUT NOW THEY ARE! MY BAD!!

    I went back to driverguide.com and got a FAR FAR better driver (I realize now it's not only the several component drivers but also the end-user app), and it works to perfection and starts up a LOT quicker and it has a much better look (I mean its GUI) and it has additional features such as a digital VCR with scheduler!!

    The newer driver and app were hellishly difficult to install. I had to uninstall everything, then reinstall the entire package from my ancient CD -- and only then would Setup initialize for the new package (it was unfathomable and weird). Then I deleted the old app (but no drivers), rebooted ...perfect!

    'Found out along the way that Prolink Inc. made my TV/FM card. Brooktree was a chipset element as suspected.

    What incredible inspiration this forum turned out to be.
    :eek:
     
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