[mythtv-users] Advice on adding a second capture card

mrwester mrwester at gmail.com
Tue Jan 24 02:02:36 UTC 2006

On 1/23/06, John Biundo <johnbiundo at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> I've been wanting to add a second capture card almost since the moment
> of deploying my Mythtv box a couple of weeks ago.  I held off because I
> wanted to stabilize things, but I'm now anxious to go ahead and shop for
> the second card.
> I'm still having a few problems, but feeling confident in my ability to
> work through them.  Since I've been putting this off, I'm going to beg
> your indulgence and ask the list for some recommendations on a second
> capture card.
> Currently I have a PVR-150 that mostly works fine (my main complaint is
> some motion-blurring in fast-action sports) and an nVidia FX5200 TV-Out
> card, for a SD/analog cable setup.  Running Ubuntu with an AMD64 3200+
> CPU and 512MB RAM.
> I guess I've narrowed my choices to a second PVR-150 or a PVR-350.  My
> basic questions are:
> 1. Will I likely be happier with a PVR-350 for watching livetv sports
> (and I'd move the 150 into a backup/recording role)?
> 2. If I get a 350, should I use its TV out, or continue using the FX5200
>   (i.e., is the 350 likely to give better output for fast-action sports)?
> 3. If I get a 350, do I have to handle sound differently than I do with
> the 150 (i.e., do I have to capture audio via line-in on my sound card)?
>     Is all of this handled automagically by mythytv if I'm recording
> different shows on each card?
> (With questions 2 & 3, I'm trying to get at how much trouble I'm likely
> to run into going with a 350 instead of a second 150).
> 4. I seen a fairly steady low-level stream of issues popping up here
> when people add a second card to a system.  Any cautions or things to
> look out for in advance of adding the second card would be appreciated.

The blurring you are referring to is deinterlacing artifacts and has nothing
to do with the capture card- rather the video card/display.  I recall
reading on the list when the PVR-150 and PVR-500 came out that these "new"
cards should in theory offer slightly higher quality capture than that of
the PVR-350 or PVR-250, but to tell you the truth, I cannot tell the
difference between my 500 and 350 as far as capture goes- they are the same
to me.

You will probably hear more to the contrary from this list as this question
has been asked before, but in my hands, the TV-out of the PVR-350 cannot be
beat for  SD  tv viewing...  When I ran the TV-out of my PVR-350 I saw no
deinterlacing artifacts and no stutter on the CNN ticker.  My machine is an
XP2900+ and since adding an HDTV tuner I've switched to a FX5200 via DVI to
a 1280x768 LCD panel running at native resolution.  While HDTV looks great,
running at about 65% CPU without XvMC for a 1080i stream, in my opinion the
TV-out of the PVR-350 offers better SD picture without deinterlacing
artifacts than the DVI out of my FX5200. SD programming displayed via DVI of
the 5200 shows some stutter on tickers and deinterlacing artifacts.
Fortunately for me, much of the action/sports I record is broadcast in HDTV
and 720p doesn't need deinterlacing.  Playing around with the different
deinterlacing options within mythtv can help some, but  If I did not have an
HDTV tuner, I'd still be using the PVR-350 tv-out...

As far as issues when adding another card, if you're staying within the
Hauppauge PVR-XXX  world of IVTV, it should be pretty straightforward.  I
had via KT400 mobo that didn't like a PVR-350 and PVR-500 in the same box,
but that was with 0.2 series drivers and I've not gone back to see if they'd
cooperate with the more mature ivtv drivers and that motherboard.  The
nforce2 motherboard I currently use has no problems with the 3 analog tuners
of the PVR-350 and PVR-500 and DViCO HDTVFusion 5 lite.
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