[mythtv-users] Digital tuner card recommendations

Daniel Kristjansson danielk at cuymedia.net
Sat Dec 16 03:33:46 UTC 2006

On Fri, 2006-12-15 at 21:12 -0600, Jared C. Davis wrote:
> I got some great advice from this list when I was looking for a video
> card, so I'm hoping to repeat the experience. :)  My ideal card would
> be easy to install and configure, reliable, and cheap (in that order).
>  I am tentatively looking at the pcHDTV 5500, which seems to be about
> $135 USD (shipped) from pchdtv.com.  But I have no idea if these are
> good cards or if there are better ones.
These are good cards. But they apparently do require you to have
a decent power supply; I've never had a problem though. You should
also look at the HDHomeRun, it doesn't have an NTSC tuner and it
is a little pricier, but it has two 8-VSB/QAM-64/QAM-256 tuners
built in which can be really handy.

> I also read that HD signals take more CPU effort than standard
> signals.  My myth system is also my main computer, and it has a
> Pentium-D, 2.8 GHz and an Nvidia 6200 PCI-E card which does the
> dual-head between my monitor and the TV.  I hope this will be fast
> enough to simultaneously (1) record a tv show, (2) watch a recording,
> and (3) work on emacs or browse the web.
You should just make it, I had a P4 2.8Ghz with MythTV for a
good long time. I did have to compile with:
 "--compile-type=release --enable-proc-opt"
Also, I needed to enable HyperThreading and use a preempt kernel
with a jiffies of 1000, rather than the default of 100. This
did not allow me to do much time stretching, but I could watch
LiveTV at 10% time stretch, LiveTV is the most demanding TV
watching task on a combined FE/BE system. I could not do
commercial flagging or transcoding while watching an HD
program, but HDTV recording is uses very little CPU...

> I can leave the PVR-350 in if that can help the other card in encoding
> or with playback.  I guess if I kept the PVR-350 in, we could even
> record two shows at once, one high def and one standard, if the CPU
> could keep up.
Yep. It is only the decoding of the HD which is CPU intensive,
neither PVR-250 nor HDTV recording is CPU intensive and you can
record one of each while watching an HD program on a P4 at 2.8Ghz
with one 5400 rpm hard drive.

> I'm running Ubuntu with the 2.6.17 kernel and Myth
> 0.20, but I can upgrade the kernel if need be. I only have one free
> PCI slot and no other slots, but I could remove the PVR-350 if I
> needed to free up a second slot.
Both the HD-5500 and HDHomeRun are compatible with the PVR-350.
You may need to upgrade the kernel, or at least install the
drivers from the CD for the HD-5500.

-- Daniel

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list