[mythtv-users] many questions from a MythTV newbie

Peter Watkins peterw at tux.org
Wed Mar 29 05:04:56 UTC 2006

Daniel Jarboe wrote:
> First time posting to this list.  I've recently been looking at
> requirements for a new MythTV box for HD.  I currently tune HD with a
> cable converter, but may be switching to ATSC soon.

There's a good chance that your cable feed will give you the "local" HD
channels as usable QAM channels. My indoor ATSC antenna can't capture as
many local stations as my cable company provides in unencrypted QAM (one
local station is neither in unencrypted QAM nor tunable with the indoor
antenna and ATSC).

> Frontend/backend:
> I'm leaning toward frontend/backend setup to keep drive/fan noise in
> living room at a minimum.

I've got an Antec midtower with a 120mm case fan, stock Athlon64
sink/fan and an Antec TruePower power supply. While I don't have access
to a SPL meter, it's fairly quiet, probably as quiet as the cheap home
theater in a box DVD/receiver with its always-on ~30mm case fan that
I've got. My advice: it's not much more expensive to build a fairly
quiet PC, so build your backend with a fairly quiet case, fairly quiet
drives, and a fanless vid card like an FX5200 and see if that's good
enough before spending more on a separate frontend.

> Any idea approximately what kind of network thruput would be required?
>  The back of the envelope type network calculations in the MythTV
> Howto looked to be for non-HD.  The captured files would be shared
> over NFS unless there is some other recommendation.

100mbit wired would be fine. You could put one device on a 802.11g wifi
connection, but probably not both. My HDTV/ATSC recordings seem to clock
in around 6-7GB an hour, or ~ 16 megabits/second. With backend and
frontend both using wifi, that's 32 mbit/s before you consider network
and MythTV protocol overhead. Most 802.11g clients don't get a full
54mbps connection. BTW, it's easy with NTSC standard def capture cards
like the Hauppauge PVR-x50 series to get SDTV recordings that take as
much space & bandwidth as HDTV, and you may want to do that (if you have
any SD tuners), especially for shows that are broadcast letterboxed --
zooming in on a low bitrate SD recording with an HD set can be ugly.

> Capture Cards:
> I like that the pcHDTV-3000 and DViCO FusionHDTV Lite 5 reportedly do
> ATSC, QAM, and NTSC.  Is anyone aware of any compelling differences
> from a usability perspective?  Do they both work well?  Similar
> ease/challenges with configuration?  Would you be indifferent?

I can only speak about the HD3000. I've been fairly happy with picture
quality for ATSC. Haven't worked much with QAM yet. But I think the
HD3000 has one of the worst physical designs -- the coax jack doesn't
stick out far enough from the back of the card, so very few coax cables
will screw onto the HD3000 jack all the way. Compare pics of the HD3000
to pics of others like the AverMedia A180 or Air2PC HD5000 and you'll
see what I mean. I expect my next HDTV capture card will be an AverMedia
 A180 card; for less than half the cost of an HD3000, it seems worth
checking out.

> Should there be no trouble with just stereo sound for the HDTV
> broadcasts?  My audio receiver does not support digital audio inputs. 

Should be fine; I use the stereo RCA inputs on my TV.

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