[mythtv-users] PVR-350 vs. Geforce 5200/PVR-150

Nick knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Wed May 17 05:52:52 UTC 2006

On 17/05/06, Varanger <varanger at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi!
> My backend is a:
> Pentium III - 1 Ghz
> 512 MB Ram
> HD IDE 50 GB
> PVR-150 (w/remote)
> I only encode one stream at a time and it is only SD. I am planning to buy a
> second tuner and connect it directly to my TV (make a BE/FE).
> I have two options:
> 1. Buy a PVR-350
> 2. Buy a Geforce 5200/PVR-150.
> Prices in both combinations are almost the same. I won't use the Geforce for
> playing games just tv-out feature for MythTV.
> What should I do??

Just giving my $CUR 0.02.

The PVR-350 includes not only a very high quality tv-out, but also (an
perhaps importantly for you) an onboard MPEG-2 decoder, which means
your CPU is not taxed when playing back recordings or live TV. If your
CPU is going to be doing other things at the same time as running
MythTV, you may want to consider this.

The PVR-150/FX5200 combo would also be a good choice and will offer a
limited form of future-proofing, if you get HDTV in the future. The
FX5200 card is well regarded for its HDTV compatibility on this list,
so if you upgraded in the future, you wouldn't need a new video card,
just a suitable HDTV tuner. If you go the PVR-350 route, you wouldn't
be able to use the PVR-350's TV-out for HDTV as its framebuffer is
limited to standard def resolutions (720x480 for NTSC, 720x576 for
PAL). In this scenario you could still use the PVR-350 for SD capture,
but would need new TV-Out support, so by choosing a suitable video now
you avoid this.

Using MythTV plugins like MythVideo and MythMusic will be work much
better with X-video and OpenGL  acceleration support, which the FX5200
card also has. There is an accelerated X-driver for the PVR-350, but
I'd go for the dedicated video card for better performance and
OpenGL/XvMC support. Dedicated PVR-350 TV-Out support in MythTV itself
will be phased out in the future, so this will require using the
PVR-350 X driver as I understand it.

Back in 2004 I had the same quandary - I had an Asus Pundit-R system
with a then unsupported Radeon IGP TV-Out (due to ATI deficiencies,
most other ATI cards were supported). With only 2 PCI slots to play
with, and wanting digital TV and hardware capture cards and TV-Out,
the PVR-350 was the perfect choice. Since going through a few rounds
of upgrades and with TV-Out now supported on most recent ATI and
NVidia cards, I'd go for a dedicated video card now every time.

Rest assured that either choice (PVR-350 or PVR-150/FX5200) should be
fine for SD now though.


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