[mythtv-users] cheap TV-Card

Maarten mythtv at ultratux.org
Mon Mar 29 18:56:52 EST 2004

On Sunday 28 March 2004 12:41, Michael Messner wrote:
> Hello myth-Users,
>  because the PVR-Cards are much to expensive for me I'm interested in a
> cheaper TV-card!

Ah, finally...!   I felt the same way as you do.  For starters, an Athlon is 
much less expensive than a PVR250, let alone two of them cards. 
Secondly, mpeg4 yields smaller files than mpeg2, as an added bonus.
Thirdly, if(...) this project would've ended up unsatisfactory (which it most 
definitely isn't, but you never really know in advance...) I have plenty uses 
for a massively overpowered Athlon system, whereas two PVR250 cards would 
very likely end up in my attic[*], or as a bargain on ebay. :-(

[*] Where I currently have a very expensive Nexus-S laying around... :-(

The system I (specially) bought for Myth has an Athlon 2600, and two cards 
(BrookTree 8x8). One of the cards is defective though; it cannot tune to much 
of the channels although the other card has no problems with these channels.

But anyway, I wanted to try and get the system to record two channels 
simulaneously.  On account of what people say here this may be either 
difficult or (near) impossible.  But I plan to at least play around a little 
bit with encoder- and bitrate settings to make that happen anyhow. 
Or maybe I'll even cut my losses and buy a yet-even-faster Athlon chip in a 
few months. Who knows, maybe the XP3000+ is affordable by then.

I'd be quite happy to get VCD or SVCD quality (resolution) out of it.
Even as it is now, it looks fairly promising. My system apparently uses 30 % 
when encoding 1 stream, and 60% when watching live TV (or watching an other 
previously recorded show, which shows the same CPU usage number, 60%). 
Thus, interpolation would suggest that encoding two streams + watching should 
(just) be possible on this hardware.  But there is no substitute for a 
real-life test, of course. The system may get instable or flaky when pushing 
the CPU over 90%.  Also the I/O subsystem may not cope, but I doubt that.
My current settings are: native mpeg4, 480x480, bitrate 2200, no recording 
filters, no HQ, no 4MV, deinterlace on playback.

> But I don't really know which cards are good and also fully supported from
> myth and linux.

Can't really help you there, most cheap TVcards are supported since they have 
a BT848 or BT878 chip, but you never really know if some newer revision cards 
may be equipped with other chips.  I'm on the lookout myself since I need to 
buy a second card. I'll try and convince the salesman to let me look at the 
card / chip before buying.  You don't run much risk: but stay away from USB 
ones!  I'd say any of the $50 Pinnacle, Miro or Hauppauge cards will work.

> It should just be a card for analog TV.

Yeah. Just be aware that the cheaper cards will probably be mono. It is no 
real big deal for me, but it might be for you.


Linux: Because rebooting is for adding hardware.

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