[mythtv-users] Would like opinions regarding some HW choices

Stephen Tait tait at digitallaw.co.uk
Wed Sep 22 18:25:28 EDT 2004

At 21:40 22/09/2004, you wrote:
>I'm in the process of getting started on a new OTA HD PVR using Myth, but
>I have some questions. I've been through the archives and a couple of the
>user HOW-TO's. Just need a few clarifications and some HW advice.
>1. I want to get a miniATX box (probably a BioStar iDEQ box) which has
>limited space and only a single PCI slot. Not that big a deal as this is a
>PVR only box sitting in my stereo rack, so I don't need much else. I'm
>choosing the pcHDTV 3000 card right now, and would like to hear how the
>2000 (or if anyone knows, the 3000) card is on heat and CPU so far.
>Obviously heat is an issue in this box so if this card is gonna fry
>something, I would want to know before buying. Is maybe the Hauppage HD
>option a better choice?

I'm not an HDTV user, but the PCHDTV site states you'll need a fairly beefy 
CPU to decode the HDTV stream, in conjunction with an accelerated GFX card, 
which pretty much means an nVidia. I wouldn't have thought the HDTV card 
would generate a huge amount of heat (since IIRC it's just capturing an 
MPEG stream to disc)... I think the case is a bit too cramped for a full-on 
combined backend/frontend though, seeing as it'll need a fairly beefy CPU 
and a fairly beefy GFX card. A quick gander at the inside 
doesn't leave an awful lot of room once the optical and hard drives have 
been added.

>2. I've read lots of comments about different HDTV video out options.
>nVidia, a video to component adapter, and other choices. What seems to
>work the best? If I don't have to buy a seperate VGA card for this
>machine, then I won't, but it's HD only, I want the quality. And if I buy
>a card, what's the best card for component out? nVidia is the strong
>choice here because it's supported well with Linux and by the pcHDTV
>marketing blurbs, but I'll likely go with what works the best over any
>other choice.

You'll get the best quality if your HDTV accept VGA inputs (there's a few 
TV's in the UK that have VGA-in IIRC). If not, I'd be more inclined to go 
for an adapter rather than TV-Out but a) I don't know much about these 
things and b) I don't know if the TV-Out or adaptors support high 
resolutions like wot the HDTV card uses.

>If the info is interesting, this will be a FC2 install on a really big
>drive and have a USB wireless connection at some point. I assume as long
>as the audio card is supported under Linux, then that aspect is taken care
>of (S/PDIF out on all my current choices).

Wireless is not a great choice if you plan to network this machine with 
other myth boxen. Linux support is generally poor, and that 54Mbps of 
non-switched-ness will soon get swamped. If you just need it to connect to 
the internet, it'll be adequate (assuming you can get it working ;) 

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