[mythtv-users] PVR-350 or Marvel G400-TV?

Mark J. Small msmall at eastlink.ca
Thu Dec 16 18:42:04 UTC 2004

On December 16, 2004 02:17 pm, Teemu Nikkilä wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm planning to build a Myth-box out of an unused EPIA-800 mobo and FC2.
> I'd buy a PVR-350 for TV, radio and hardware codec + TV-out. Now however
> there is a cheap Marvel G400-TV (G4+MVTA16GRI) around to buy, and
> according to some searches I made, it should work with MythTV. I'd need
> to buy a (used) mobo with an AGP-slot though to use the Marvel. So what
> do you think, which way should I go if I don't want to tweak with things
> too much and if the system should be as quiet as possible?
> -Teemu

I would advise against the Matrox solution.  It works, but it is rather 
painful.  I have a G400 + Rainbow Runner G combo, and I have had lots of 
trouble.  I've just added a PVR 250 to my system, and it was a dream to set 
up compared to the Matrox tuner.  

The Matrox tuner is still in my box, but I've actually stopped using it.

The three biggest issues with the Matrox tuner for me were:

(1) Input selection problems
Mythtv sometimes would not choose the right input on my card.  Sometimes it 
would work, but sometimes it would say "Can't find input: Television" in the 
logs.  This would vary between reboots. Once it was recognised, it would be 
fine until the next boot, so I was afraid to restart the box, because after 
every boot, I would spend an hour or more rebooting and testing, trying to 
get the input recognised.  

This was a mythtv problem AFAIK.  But it may have been a driver problem.

(2) Hard drive space.  
The Matrox card uses MJPEG for capture, which is a pig when it comes to hard 
drive space.  I would automatically transcode to MPEG4, afterwards, but I 
occasionally filled up my 40 Gig drive when I recorded several movies in a 
short period of time.

(3) No Livetv
I was never able to watch the mjpeg files without jitter until they were 
transcoded.  This was true even with a XP 2000+ CPU frontend.  This precluded 
livetv.  I  don't think the hardware decoder worked for my G400+RRG combo 
under mythtv.  I don't know if the Marvel would. I could be wrong, but I also 
vaguely remember reading that the Marvel/RRG can't use the decoder and 
encoder at the same time.  

So in short, get the PVR-350. Or maybe a 250 with a graphics card that has tv 
out.  Or a 250 + a scan converter to use with onboard video.


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