[mythtv-users] Summary of my HD experiences with MythTV 0.18.1

Todd Greene tngreene at pacbell.net
Mon Jul 11 15:41:40 EDT 2005

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to put together a mythtv box 
with an HD card (PCHDTV 3000), a Firewire connection to my Comcast 
Motorola 6200, and a PVR-250 for regular TV.  I had an earlier version 
of Myth running great for about 1 year (non-HD), so I thought I'd give 
the HD a try.

The project isn't finished (in fact, isn't working yet), but I thought 
I'd share my experiences up to this point for those following in the 
same path.  Basically, all of the HD options I've tried so far haven't 
been stable enough for using on a regular basis, though I'd appreciate 
feedback from those having better luck with similar setups.


--> Graphics Card:  As far as I can tell, only the NVidia cards do a 
good job playing back HD without dropping frames.  I purchased a fanless 
GeForce 5200 card from NewEgg as recommended on Wendy's website: 

--> Case:  I got a Silverstone SST-LC11S, which I thought looked pretty 
cool.  I uses a riser board for mounting the AGP and 2 PCI cards 
horizontally.  The PVR-250 fits, but only barely after some wiggling due 
to a strange screw near the end of the PVR-250.

--> Motherboard/Processor:  I started with an AMD 3700+ and Foxconn 
760GXK8MB-ERS (SIS chipset) motherboard.  It was the only microATX 
motherboard I could find with included firewire.  WARNING:  DON'T GET 
THIS MOTHERBOARD!!! For some reason, (using Fedora Core 3 or Core 4), 
the NVidia drivers hang the system immediately.  Using the 64-bit 
version of FC3 was a little better...it didn't hang the system, but I 
couldn't get AGP enabled, so the frame rate wouldn't support HD.

So, I ended up buying another CPU/motherboard. this time a P4/3.0Ghz and 
a Foxconn 865G 865G7MC-ES (once again, the only mobo I could find that 
had built-in firewire and was a microATX, this one has an Intel chipset, 
not SIS).  This seems to work ok so far with the NVidia chip.


--> OS: I've stuck with FC3 so far (kernel, following Jarod's 
great site at: http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/  However, I've been thinking 
of trying KnoppMyth as well.  .

--> Myth version 0.18.1 from atprms.net (thanks, Axel!)

HD CAPTURE --> Firewire

As far as I can tell, the Firewire connection to the DCT6200 is not 
ready for prime time.  This may be due to the firewire implementation 
within the DCT6200, but either way, it works only intermittently.  Here 
are a few tricks to get it to work a little better:

Run "plugreport" to see which port and node the DCT6200 is connected 
to.  Then, repeatedly run "test-mpeg2 -r [node #]" and press ctrl-c 
until you get an mpeg stream.  You may need to repeat this step many 
times, but at some point, you kick the DCT6200 into action, and the 
connection then seems to work in Myth. 

Also, I'd avoid watching live TV with the firewire connection, because 
changing channels frequently causes a hang.  Other times, the new 
channel is either missing audio, or comes in at 3-4 frames per second.  
If I quit the "live tv" function and re-enter, the audio re-appears and 
the frame rate goes back to normal. 


I've tried the DVB drivers trying to capture QAM (QAM is the HDTV signal 
sent over cable, vs. the broadcast HDTV, which is a different format).  
This works, but just barely.  The "scan for channels" feature picks up 
most (but not all) of the HD channels coming over the cable.  When 
watching the channels, many of them have slower frame rates, the image 
breaks up every few seconds, and changing channels when watching live TV 
frequently causes a hang of the mythfrontend.  Once again, not really 
ready for prime time.  I'm going to try the HD-3000 with terrestrial 
signals next, and I'm hoping it will be more stable (though I don't get 
as many channels over the air).


I thought this would be the easy one, since I had it working with a 
previous myth box.  However, either the card has gone bad, or the 
Silverstone case has a lot of RF interference, because every channel 
flickers uncontrollably (like someone is wiggling an antenna). It 
crashes myth playback within 10 seconds.  I've replaced the card with an 
older K-World BTT878 that I got off eBay for $20 (which works), but I 
would prefer the built-in MPEG2 compression of the PVR-250.  I don't get 
the static with the K-World card, so the PVR-250 card is looking more 

Hopefully this posting will help folks trying to build an HD setup....

-- Todd

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