[mythtv-users] Re: Hardware Recommendations?

Todd Bowman tbowman75 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 3 20:36:25 UTC 2005

Michael T. Dean wrote:

> Todd Bowman wrote:
>> Robert Tsai wrote:
>>> On Fri, Jun 03, 2005 at 12:25:06AM -0400, Todd Bowman wrote:
>>>> I'm thinking of adding a second frontend to be able to watch content
>>>> on a second TV and also to relieve some of the recording conflicts
>>>> that keep popping up.  I'm looking for an "inexpensive" video
>>>> capture card.  Since I have STBs for my digital cable, I don't need
>>>> a TV tuner, just S-Video.  Does anybody have any recommendations?
>>> I think you're confused.
>>> The second frontend will let you watch content on a second TV, but it
>>> won't help you with recording conflicts, nor does it need a video
>>> capture card. (It will need a video card to display content to your
>>> TV.)
>>> Adding video capture cards to an existing backend (or building a
>>> second slave backend machine) will help you with recording conflicts,
>>> but by itself won't let you watch content on a second TV.
>>> You can of course have machines running both FE and BE software.
>>> (To [not] answer your explicitly-posed question, I don't have any
>>> hardware recommendations.)
>> I guess a slave backend with frontend is what I meant.  I don't think 
>> adding a second capture card to my current MythTV box will work 
>> because of the need for two STBs.  Back to my original question:  Any 
>> recommendations for S-Video capture cards?
> My $0.02...
> a) You won't save any money buying an S-Video-only card--SDTV analog 
> tuners are dirt cheap today.
> b) I highly recommend the PVR-x50's (and, personally, wouldn't touch a 
> frame grabber).  If you've got experience with IvyTV, you could 
> probably get PVR-150 up and running and it's not much more expensive 
> than "dumb" frame grabbers.  If not, there are still some really good 
> deals on PVR-250MCE's (which are easier to set up).
> c) I have 2 tuners in my single FE/BE and both are connected to STB's 
> controlled via IR.  I just had to change the channel code on one of 
> them (using code 1 and code 9 of 16).  Works fine--especially since 
> all MPEG encoding is done on-card (so it even works on a friend's 
> machine with 4 PVR-250's).

I've looked at the HW MPEG2 encoders but MPEG2 seems to take up too much 
room.  I tried using the SW MPEG2 encoding in MythTV and within one day 
my 160GB disk was filled.  Even though I turned on automatic transcoding 
to MPEG4, the recordings just seemed to get ahead of the transcoding.  
Once the disk was full, it couldn't transcode any more.  Do the HW 
encoders produce smaller video files?  I don't remember the exact file 
size but I think a 2.5 hour program was something like 26GB! (640x480)

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