[mythtv] [ivtv-devel] [ivtv-users] PVR-350 and MythTV support

Erik Mouw mouw at nl.linux.org
Thu Feb 8 12:48:21 UTC 2007

On Wed, Feb 07, 2007 at 03:02:12PM -0500, Jeff Simpson wrote:
> > However, the PVR350 allows you to use rather moderate hardware for a
> > front- and backend (i.e.: my old P3 850 as combined front+backend and
> > a PII 300 as a second frontend).
> Only if you want a limited-use frontend. You can only play mpeg2 on
> it, which means no automatic transcoding, no dvds, etc. It is a good
> way to breathe life into older hardware, but I can't recommend this
> card to anyone with a fast machine.

That's what I use it for: an advanced VCR.

> > > #3, Framebuffer is slow slow slow slow, and it EATS cpu. I have a 3ghz
> > > machine, but the menus are still slow. I often find the X session
> > > using 50 or 60% of my cpu, just SITTING there.
> >
> > Never seen that. An idle machine is just idle over here. Occasionally
> > Xorg tends to eat 100% CPU time, but that seems to be unrelated to Myth
> > cause the same happens occasionally on my desktop.
> I see it often if I leave it in the list of recordings where it shows
> a small preview, that alone will eat up 30-40% of cpu. actually using
> it to display something eats more. The hacks to let you play a DVD or
> other format of video through XV on the PVR output are just that -
> hacks. They eat a LOT of CPU that a normal accelerated card would not
> have to.

Ah, that must be it. I switched life preview off immediately after
install cause I didn't like it. I haven't even noticed it was eating

> > > Forget trying to run it
> > > at the same time as another X session, it jumps to a full 100%.
> > > Playing anything that isn't a native mpeg2 video makes the system
> > > crawl.
> >
> > If you only use PVR x50 cards to record the problem doesn't exist.
> only if you don't auto-transcode to mpeg4, watch dvds, or use the myth
> box for anything that isn't just plain old TV. Myth isn't just for
> SDTV, it's supposed to be the everything box.

Only SDTV over here in .nl. The local cable monopolist (UPC) offers
"digital TV" but that's only SDTV resolution and only possible to
receive with their own setup box (i.e.: not DVB-C compatible).

> I also can't use
> mythgame on the PVR-350 at all, since it can't scale or accelerate.
> Games like stepmania that would be great on a myth box can't be played
> on a graphics card without openGL and acceleration.

I'm not a gamer and neither is my wife :)

> > > #3 XDriver is a great project, but it's always been buggy at best, and
> > > difficult to compile (with each version of X, the driver has needed
> > > another patch or hack just to compile). I think now that it's in some
> > > repositories (gentoo), it's better? (I've still had to patch it, but
> > > maybe by now it's better).
> >
> > FWIW, it never crashed on me.
> Mine doesn't crash either. But it is buggy. Switching VTs results in
> garbage on one of the main screens on my other card when I use the
> framebuffer, if I kill X and restart it, the screen is garbled until I
> play an mpeg video, at which point it fixes it, small little bugs. And
> a LOT of hacking around just to make it work in the first place. It's
> not plug-and-play like a typical video card is.

Never seen that, but I have a dedicated mythtv box (or rather: I have

> > > So in summary, the PVR-350 *does* work, it just isn't as fully
> > > supported as say, any nvidia or ati tv out card made in the last 5
> > > years for 1/4 of the cost. The video encoding is well supported, just
> > > like the 150/250/500, it's just the output that's flaky. In my own
> > > personal opinion, having owned a PVR-350, I would say that I'd be
> > > better off owning a 150 and an nvidia geforce card with TV Out.
> >
> > I diagree. A PVR 150 is about 85 EUR, for 140 EUR you have a 350. That
> > difference does buy you a ati or nvidia card with tv out (cheapest is
> > around 40 EUR), but doesn't buy you a CPU fast enough to do the
> > decoding, especially when you have some old hardware lying around.
> If you only want the bare minimum of what myth has to offer, than the
> PVR-350 will do it. But if you want advanced PVR features like
> "fast-forward" and "rewind", you need a supported card. It's sad but
> it's true.

That's indeed all I want :)

> I really like the idea of the PVR-350, the idea that the
> hardware can do all the tedious decoding and save the processor for
> the real work. The problem is not many people use the card, and as
> such, support for it is lacking. It's the same reason I wouldn't want
> to use an alpha or sparc machine. The architecture is great, but
> software support is terrible.

If all you want is a PVR, the PVR-350 is a great card.


They're all fools. Don't worry. Darwin may be slow, but he'll
eventually get them. -- Matthew Lammers in alt.sysadmin.recovery
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