[mythtv-users] looking to upgrade my mythbox -- can a pvr-350 do it all?

Joe Votour joevph at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 6 03:22:19 UTC 2004


The answer here is a definitely maybe, depending on
what you can live with.

The PVR-350 is basically a 2D device, with no hardware
acceleration (i.e. XVideo), it is a glorified
"blitter".  Granted, this glorified "blitter" has
amazing 2D output.

With a beefy CPU, you can play video files back using
MPlayer, and it's ivtvosd driver - my understanding of
this is that it uses DMA to write to the memory on the
PVR-350's ivtvdev X driver.  It will suck up your CPU

DVD's can be played back by Xine (I find that mplayer
doesn't handle DVD's very well due to it's lack of DVD
menu support), and on my Athlon XP 2400+, Xine uses up
about 30% CPU, and complains about dropping frames. 
Mind you, the output on the PVR-350 is so crisp that I
just don't notice it.

MythGame will be a beast.  Using XMAME (the only
emulator I have tested), you can play games in a
window (at about 60-65% CPU load on the same Athlon XP
2400+), but there's no full-screen support that I can
see (no DGA support).

If all you care about is great TV, then the PVR-350 is
almost perfect.  Otherwise, you'll need a decent
TV-out card, of which, I haven't seen a good one yet,
and I've tried a Matrox G400, GeForce 440MX (with NV18
TV-out chip), and an ATI Radeon 9700 (the card from my
desktop, just testing it out).  Then again, I guess
I'm pretty picky, that's why.  :)

-- Joe

--- Gabe Rubin <gaberubin at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> Been a happy mythuser for a bit of time, but
> basically can only use
> the mythtv functions.  I am using a syntax mobo with
> built in VIA 900
> mhz chip and a pvr-350 to handle all the video-in
> and out.  I am
> considering upgrading the motherboard and CPU to
> something a little
> beefier.  As it is, I can't really play anything
> from mythvideo, nor
> can I use mythgames.  I know I have a very slow
> processor and for divx
> and other formats, the processor can't play the
> media at an adequate
> speed.  I also think that instability is a direct
> consequence of the
> sub-par mobo/cpu combo.
> My question: with a speedy processor and good
> quality mobo, will the
> PVR-350 be able to play back mpeg2 AND mpeg4, and
> handle mythgames? 
> Or should I just spring the extra $15 for a board
> with tv-out on it,
> and is the consensus that I would be losing a lot of
> quality by
> forgoing the tv-out on the pvr-350?
> Loving myth, but I really want to use all of its
> functionality, and
> mythgames seems like it would be very fun to try!
> Gabe
> > _______________________________________________
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users at mythtv.org

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