What TV cards are working well with MythTV / Win MCE ?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by elpenguino, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. elpenguino

    elpenguino Guest

    Hi all,
    What are you using for your PVRs?

    I'd like one thats:

    PCI
    Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
    elpenguino, Jul 22, 2008
    #1
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  2. elpenguino

    JohnO Guest

    On Jul 22, 1:40 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:
    > Hi all,
    > What are you using for your PVRs?
    >
    > I'd like one thats:
    >
    > PCI
    > Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    > Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Chris


    Hauppauge - the gold standard, supported by everything and reasonably
    cheap nowdays.

    PS - You didn't mention GBPVR - imho better than MCE.
     
    JohnO, Jul 22, 2008
    #2
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  3. elpenguino

    Richard Guest

    elpenguino wrote:
    > Hi all,
    > What are you using for your PVRs?
    >
    > I'd like one thats:
    >
    > PCI
    > Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    > Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux


    Hauppauge PVR 150. Sadly it is only PCI however.

    But why do you want an analog card? Other then prime there is little
    reason for it when already compressed digital signals are there for your
    taking.
     
    Richard, Jul 22, 2008
    #3
  4. elpenguino

    JohnO Guest

    On Jul 22, 3:35 pm, Brian Mathews
    <> wrote:
    > On Mon, 21 Jul 2008 19:44:20 -0700 (PDT), JohnO <> wrote:
    > >On Jul 22, 1:40 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:
    > >> Hi all,
    > >> What are you using for your PVRs?

    >
    > >> I'd like one thats:

    >
    > >> PCI
    > >> Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    > >> Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux

    >
    > >> Cheers,
    > >> Chris

    >
    > >Hauppauge - the gold standard, supported by everything and reasonably
    > >cheap nowdays.

    >
    > >PS - You didn't mention GBPVR - imho better than MCE.

    >
    > Does it have onboard MP4 support..?


    No, it encodes MPEG-2

    >
    > From past post I have read, it does not support Mp4..


    Correct.

    However assuming the OP wants to use his media center to record tv it
    is of little consequence.

    If for some reason he needs mpeg-4 then both MythTV and GBPVR allow
    for on the fly transcoding as long as your CPU is up to it.
     
    JohnO, Jul 22, 2008
    #4
  5. elpenguino

    elpenguino Guest

    On Jul 22, 3:53 pm, Richard <> wrote:
    > elpenguino wrote:
    > > Hi all,
    > > What are you using for your PVRs?

    >
    > > I'd like one thats:

    >
    > > PCI
    > > Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    > > Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux

    >
    > Hauppauge  PVR 150. Sadly it is only PCI however.
    >
    > But why do you want an analog card? Other then prime there is little
    > reason for it when already compressed digital signals are there for your
    > taking.


    Hi,
    sorry if I wasnt clear (accessed groups via the web and after typing
    everything suffered a page clearing mouse click!) - am after something
    for Freeview.
    I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    to record to MPG4 / xvid ?

    Since I use MPG4 already it seems easiest to keep everything the same.

    I see this card:
    http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363662
    The PVR4000 does satellite and terrestrial ( Great!) but needs a P4
    3.2 !! seems a high requirement but then it offers MPG2 or h.264
    ( which is MPG 4 innit?) so i am guessing it doesnt do much in
    hardware like the PVR150. Anyone confirm that ?

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
    elpenguino, Jul 22, 2008
    #5
  6. elpenguino

    JohnO Guest

    On Jul 22, 3:53 pm, Richard <> wrote:
    > elpenguino wrote:
    > > Hi all,
    > > What are you using for your PVRs?

    >
    > > I'd like one thats:

    >
    > > PCI
    > > Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    > > Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux

    >
    > Hauppauge PVR 150. Sadly it is only PCI however.


    He wants PCI

    >
    > But why do you want an analog card? Other then prime there is little
    > reason for it when already compressed digital signals are there for your
    > taking.


    Agreed - but if you want to capture SkyTV there's no alternative.
     
    JohnO, Jul 22, 2008
    #6
  7. elpenguino

    Gordon Guest

    On 2008-07-22, elpenguino <> wrote:
    > On Jul 22, 3:53 pm, Richard <> wrote:
    >> elpenguino wrote:
    >> > Hi all,
    >> > What are you using for your PVRs?

    >>
    >> > I'd like one thats:

    >>
    >> > PCI
    >> > Hardware compression/processing so I dont need a multi-core CPU
    >> > Got good driver support to work with Windows or Linux

    >>
    >> Hauppauge  PVR 150. Sadly it is only PCI however.
    >>
    >> But why do you want an analog card? Other then prime there is little
    >> reason for it when already compressed digital signals are there for your
    >> taking.

    >
    > Hi,
    > sorry if I wasnt clear (accessed groups via the web and after typing
    > everything suffered a page clearing mouse click!) - am after something
    > for Freeview.
    > I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    > to record to MPG4 / xvid ?
    >
    > Since I use MPG4 already it seems easiest to keep everything the same.
    >
    > I see this card:
    > http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363662
    > The PVR4000 does satellite and terrestrial ( Great!) but needs a P4
    > 3.2 !! seems a high requirement but then it offers MPG2 or h.264
    > ( which is MPG 4 innit?) so i am guessing it doesnt do much in
    > hardware like the PVR150. Anyone confirm that ?
    >

    Confirmed Maybe.

    One has to keep in mind that *analoge* TV is a raw stream. The other stuff,
    DVD-T and DVB-S is a MPG (compressed) stream.

    Converting Analog stream on the fly (recording) requires the grunt. The
    other is all ready encoded. De coding is so much less demanding of the
    hardware.

    The PVR-4000 does analog TV, so this is where the 3.2MHZ plus CPU is
    required.

    Quote

    H.264 is a standard for video compression. It is also known as MPEG-4 Part
    10, or MPEG-4 AVC (for Advanced Video Coding).

    Unquote

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264
     
    Gordon, Jul 22, 2008
    #7
  8. elpenguino

    Richard Guest

    elpenguino wrote:

    >
    > Hi,
    > sorry if I wasnt clear (accessed groups via the web and after typing
    > everything suffered a page clearing mouse click!) - am after something
    > for Freeview.
    > I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    > to record to MPG4 / xvid ?
    >
    > Since I use MPG4 already it seems easiest to keep everything the same.
    >
    > I see this card:
    > http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363662
    > The PVR4000 does satellite and terrestrial ( Great!) but needs a P4
    > 3.2 !! seems a high requirement but then it offers MPG2 or h.264
    > ( which is MPG 4 innit?) so i am guessing it doesnt do much in
    > hardware like the PVR150. Anyone confirm that ?



    You wont find anything that will decode the h264 and reencode into one
    of the simple mpeg4 profiles in hardware.

    h264 is much more advanced then most things will deal with. Totally
    incompatible with divx/xvid and other mpeg4 derivatives.

    The only hardware encoders are the ones that take analog, and those
    suffer from only taking analog.
     
    Richard, Jul 22, 2008
    #8
  9. elpenguino

    Craig Shore Guest

    On Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:46:49 +1200, Richard <> wrote:

    >elpenguino wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> Hi,
    >> sorry if I wasnt clear (accessed groups via the web and after typing
    >> everything suffered a page clearing mouse click!) - am after something
    >> for Freeview.
    >> I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    >> to record to MPG4 / xvid ?
    >>
    >> Since I use MPG4 already it seems easiest to keep everything the same.
    >>
    >> I see this card:
    >> http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363662
    >> The PVR4000 does satellite and terrestrial ( Great!) but needs a P4
    >> 3.2 !! seems a high requirement but then it offers MPG2 or h.264
    >> ( which is MPG 4 innit?) so i am guessing it doesnt do much in
    >> hardware like the PVR150. Anyone confirm that ?

    >
    >
    >You wont find anything that will decode the h264 and reencode into one
    >of the simple mpeg4 profiles in hardware.
    >
    >h264 is much more advanced then most things will deal with. Totally
    >incompatible with divx/xvid and other mpeg4 derivatives.
    >
    >The only hardware encoders are the ones that take analog, and those
    >suffer from only taking analog.


    So it doesn't actually take much in the way of hardware to just
    capture/save the stream without doing anything to it on the fly then?
     
    Craig Shore, Jul 22, 2008
    #9
  10. In article
    <>,
    elpenguino did write:

    > I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    > to record to MPG4 / xvid ?


    Note that the digital TV cards don't do any encoding, they just capture the
    bitstream straight off the air.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 22, 2008
    #10
  11. On Tue, 22 Jul 2008 22:44:44 +1200, Craig Shore
    <> wrote:

    >On Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:46:49 +1200, Richard <> wrote:
    >
    >>elpenguino wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>> Hi,
    >>> sorry if I wasnt clear (accessed groups via the web and after typing
    >>> everything suffered a page clearing mouse click!) - am after something
    >>> for Freeview.
    >>> I see the PVR150 records to MPG2 format - anybody using a DVB-T card
    >>> to record to MPG4 / xvid ?
    >>>
    >>> Since I use MPG4 already it seems easiest to keep everything the same.
    >>>
    >>> I see this card:
    >>> http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363662
    >>> The PVR4000 does satellite and terrestrial ( Great!) but needs a P4
    >>> 3.2 !! seems a high requirement but then it offers MPG2 or h.264
    >>> ( which is MPG 4 innit?) so i am guessing it doesnt do much in
    >>> hardware like the PVR150. Anyone confirm that ?

    >>
    >>
    >>You wont find anything that will decode the h264 and reencode into one
    >>of the simple mpeg4 profiles in hardware.
    >>
    >>h264 is much more advanced then most things will deal with. Totally
    >>incompatible with divx/xvid and other mpeg4 derivatives.
    >>
    >>The only hardware encoders are the ones that take analog, and those
    >>suffer from only taking analog.

    >
    >So it doesn't actually take much in the way of hardware to just
    >capture/save the stream without doing anything to it on the fly then?
    >


    The Freeview DVB-T transmissions come in the form of an MPEG2
    transport stream containing multiple TV channels broadcast in
    parallel. Each channel is in the form of an H.264 video stream and an
    AAC audio stream (or AC3 audio on an alternate TV3 channel). There
    are three such "multiplexes" (TVNZ, TV3 and Kordia), each being
    broadcast on one old analogue UHF channel. To record, all the
    software does is to select out the video and audio stream for the
    wanted channel and re-multiplex the two streams together again into an
    MPEG2 transport stream (.ts) file. In theory, the software can split
    out multiple channels from one multiplex at the same time and record
    them to separate .ts files, so good software can record from say TV1,
    TV2 and TNVZ6 (on the TVNZ multiplex) using just one tuner.

    Not much CPU is used to record as all that needs to be done is to copy
    the video and audio stream data, not process it in any way. But the
    data rates to disk are something to worry about, especially with HD
    programs. I am recording DVB-T from Freeview using a Hauppauge
    HVR-900 USB tuner and an Avermedia Volar USB tuner. I record an extra
    1 minute of pre-roll and 4 minutes of post-roll time, as well as the
    actual program length.

    Some examples:

    Beyond Tomorrow (SD, TVNZ6, 50 minutes) has taken anything between
    1.09 GiB and 1.53 GiB over the last few weeks.

    CSI-Miami (HD 1080i, TV3, 1 hour) today took 5.00 GiB.

    The Tudors (HD 720p, TV1, 2 hours) on Sunday took 6.94 GiB.

    So if you are recording more than one HD program at once, you need to
    have enough RAM to cache it while the disk heads move from one file to
    the other, and the hard disk has to be able to keep up with the data
    rates. You also want to be able to play back one file at the same
    time. Modern SATA 2 7200 rpm drives are recommended for this job!

    On playback, you really need a video card that does H.264 in the GPU.
    If you have that, all the rest of the system needs to do is to feed
    the H.264 data to the video card and it does the rest. On my Asus G1S
    notebook which has a builtin Nvidia 8600M GT card, I see low CPU usage
    when recording two programs and playing back another, typically
    10-20%. It has a Core2 2.33 GHz processor. If your video card can
    not do H.264 in hardware, you seem to need at least a 2 GHz Core2 or
    equivalent just to do the H.264 processing for playback.

    So, for SD programs or if using an analogue TV card with builtin MPEG2
    encoder, you can use an older PC for the job. But for HD, you really
    want a fairly new PC if you want it to cope. An older box may be able
    to record one channel at a time, but may not be able to play back at
    the same time, or may not be able to successfully play HD video at
    all.
     
    Stephen Worthington, Jul 22, 2008
    #11
  12. elpenguino

    Richard Guest

    Craig Shore wrote:

    > So it doesn't actually take much in the way of hardware to just
    > capture/save the stream without doing anything to it on the fly then?


    P3 733 is able to handle a couple of streams to disc without problems,
     
    Richard, Jul 22, 2008
    #12
  13. In article <>, Stephen Worthington
    did write:

    > The Freeview DVB-T transmissions come in the form of an MPEG2
    > transport stream containing multiple TV channels broadcast in
    > parallel.


    I thought in NZ DVB-T was MPEG-4. DVB-S is MPEG-2.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 23, 2008
    #13
  14. On Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:55:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
    <_zealand> wrote:

    >In article <>, Stephen Worthington
    >did write:
    >
    >> The Freeview DVB-T transmissions come in the form of an MPEG2
    >> transport stream containing multiple TV channels broadcast in
    >> parallel.

    >
    >I thought in NZ DVB-T was MPEG-4. DVB-S is MPEG-2.


    Correct on both counts. Freeview DVB-T is H.264 = MPEG-4 Part 10 aka
    AVC. But the H.264 video streams (and associated audio streams) are
    broadcast in an MPEG-2 Transport Stream container. DVB-S is MPEG-2
    video streams also inside an MPEG-2 Transport Stream container.

    An MPEG-2 Transport Stream is a way of transmitting video and audio
    (and other) streams multiplexed together, along with some redundancy
    data so that errors can be corrected. It is different from an MPEG-2
    Program Stream file, which is what .mpg files are, in that it is
    optimised for transmission over imperfect broadcast methods. MPEG-2
    Program Stream files are much less complex and have no error
    correction capability.

    Also confusing is that MPEG-4 also covers DivX/XviD, which is totally
    different to H.264. H.264 is MPEG-4 Part 10, and DivX/XviD is MPEG-4
    Part xx where xx < 10 (I do not know the right number for it, I think
    it might be 3 or 4). Both the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 standards cover a lot
    of things other than just the video codecs such as H.264. So it pays
    to be much more specific than just saying "MPEG-4" when referring to
    anything.
     
    Stephen Worthington, Jul 23, 2008
    #14
  15. On Wed, 23 Jul 2008 04:33:26 +1200, Richard <> wrote:

    >Craig Shore wrote:
    >
    >> So it doesn't actually take much in the way of hardware to just
    >> capture/save the stream without doing anything to it on the fly then?

    >
    >P3 733 is able to handle a couple of streams to disc without problems,


    What sort of streams? HD streams can be significantly faster than the
    ones coming from an MPEG-2 hardware encoder on an analogue TV card. My
    Hauppauge PVR-500 card with MPEG-2 in hardware stores 3.2 GiB per 64
    minutes of recording. A 64 minute HD recording varies a bit, but a
    typical example from TV3 (1080i) is around 5 GiB.
     
    Stephen Worthington, Jul 23, 2008
    #15
  16. elpenguino

    Richard Guest

    Stephen Worthington wrote:
    > On Wed, 23 Jul 2008 04:33:26 +1200, Richard <> wrote:
    >
    >> Craig Shore wrote:
    >>
    >>> So it doesn't actually take much in the way of hardware to just
    >>> capture/save the stream without doing anything to it on the fly then?

    >> P3 733 is able to handle a couple of streams to disc without problems,

    >
    > What sort of streams? HD streams can be significantly faster than the
    > ones coming from an MPEG-2 hardware encoder on an analogue TV card. My
    > Hauppauge PVR-500 card with MPEG-2 in hardware stores 3.2 GiB per 64
    > minutes of recording. A 64 minute HD recording varies a bit, but a
    > typical example from TV3 (1080i) is around 5 GiB.


    Those were 10 megabit streams from a pair of pvr 150's, so about on par
    with a dvb-t stream. that was also out a PCI nic to another machine on
    the lan. Never saw any evidence of dropped frames or data in the
    resulting files, unless something stupid was happening on the machine at
    the same time.
     
    Richard, Jul 23, 2008
    #16
  17. elpenguino

    elpenguino Guest

    thanks for your comments everybody, thats very interesting.
    thanks for the reminder about GBPVR - it has a huge list of useful
    features.

    XP MCE seems awful from my short eval - I hate the way it locks you
    into certain file formats. Plus it refuses to use my 878 card which
    does work under XP even if it is a tad old and crappy.

    I'll save up for a decent pci card and try it in my PIII 933 (usb 1.1)
    before final use in my P3.0 which is still my main desktop.

    I'll be coding everything to xvid so i can stream it to my client -
    xbmc on xbox HW. It's too gutless to play HD files but i've trained my
    dearly beloved to operate it so it's worth continuing :)

    cheers,
    chris
     
    elpenguino, Jul 27, 2008
    #17
  18. elpenguino

    JohnO Guest

    On Jul 27, 1:46 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:
    > thanks for your comments everybody, thats very interesting.
    > thanks for the reminder about GBPVR - it has a huge list of useful
    > features.
    >
    > XP MCE seems awful from my short eval - I hate the way it locks you
    > into certain file formats. Plus it refuses to use my 878 card which
    > does work under XP even if it is a tad old and crappy.


    GBPVR doesn't 'officially' support the '878 cards and only
    'officially' supports hardware encoding analog tuners. But there' are
    threads on the GBPVR forum on how to get around this.

    But with digital tv available now, along with cheap hardware encoding
    PVR tuner cards you'd be mad to stick with our '878 one.

    >
    > I'll save up for a decent pci card and try it in my PIII 933 (usb 1.1)
    > before final use in my P3.0 which is still my main desktop.
    >
    > I'll be coding everything to xvid so i can stream it to my client -
    > xbmc on xbox HW. It's too gutless to play HD files but i've trained my
    > dearly beloved to operate it so it's worth continuing :)
    >
    > cheers,
    > chris
     
    JohnO, Jul 27, 2008
    #18
  19. elpenguino

    elpenguino Guest

    On Jul 28, 10:41 am, JohnO <> wrote:
    > On Jul 27, 1:46 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:
    >
    > > thanks for your comments everybody, thats very interesting.
    > > thanks for the reminder about GBPVR - it has a huge list of useful
    > > features.

    >
    > > XP MCE seems awful from my short eval - I hate the way it locks you
    > > into certain file formats. Plus it refuses to use my 878 card which
    > > does work under XP even if it is a tad old and crappy.

    >
    > GBPVR doesn't 'officially' support the '878 cards and only
    > 'officially' supports hardware encoding analog tuners. But there' are
    > threads on the GBPVR forum on how to get around this.
    >
    > But with digital tv available now, along with cheap hardware encoding
    > PVR tuner cards you'd be mad to stick with our '878 one.


    I dont plan on sticking with the 878 card - just got it cheap and 2nd
    hand to play with certain applications which do work but are pretty
    crappy as far as dropping sync goes. Also the audio-out-the-TV-card-
    into-the-mic-socket lay out reeks of crappiness !

    I dont mind getting one thats officially supported if it costs a
    little more but means a lot less time on the forums - I might get to
    watch some of these programs then .
     
    elpenguino, Jul 28, 2008
    #19
  20. elpenguino

    JohnO Guest

    On Jul 28, 11:24 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:
    > On Jul 28, 10:41 am, JohnO <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > > On Jul 27, 1:46 pm, elpenguino <> wrote:

    >
    > > > thanks for your comments everybody, thats very interesting.
    > > > thanks for the reminder about GBPVR - it has a huge list of useful
    > > > features.

    >
    > > > XP MCE seems awful from my short eval - I hate the way it locks you
    > > > into certain file formats. Plus it refuses to use my 878 card which
    > > > does work under XP even if it is a tad old and crappy.

    >
    > > GBPVR doesn't 'officially' support the '878 cards and only
    > > 'officially' supports hardware encoding analog tuners. But there' are
    > > threads on the GBPVR forum on how to get around this.

    >
    > > But with digital tv available now, along with cheap hardware encoding
    > > PVR tuner cards you'd be mad to stick with our '878 one.

    >
    > I dont plan on sticking with the 878 card - just got it cheap and 2nd
    > hand to play with certain applications which do work but are pretty
    > crappy as far as dropping sync goes. Also the audio-out-the-TV-card-
    > into-the-mic-socket lay out reeks of crappiness !
    >
    > I dont mind getting one thats officially supported if it costs a
    > little more but means a lot less time on the forums - I might get to
    > watch some of these programs then .


    Don't forget that you can do a rough but passable job of decoding
    analogue UHF SkyTV with that '878 card!
     
    JohnO, Jul 28, 2008
    #20
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