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

Alex Brekken brekkal at gmail.com
Mon Jul 11 16:32:31 EDT 2005

Thanks for the review, that's very helpful.  I'm not quite ready to
try HD yet, but it's definitely on the radar.  Are the firewire
inconsistencies you found with the 6200 only on the HD channels, or
just in general?  (I'm assuming it's the latter)

I actually hope the firewire problems are on the Myth side so we might
have some hope of it improving in the future.   In theory, being able
to get MPEG2 analog, digital, and HD - as well as channel changing -
all through the same pipe seems like the holy grail for Myth users.

On 7/11/05, Todd Greene <tngreene at pacbell.net> wrote:
> 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:
> http://wendy.seltzer.org/mythtv/
> --> 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
> suspect.
> Hopefully this posting will help folks trying to build an HD setup....
> -- Todd
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