[mythtv-users] TV Quality Recommendations (PVR-350 vs. S-Video vs. VGA->Composite)

Mike Hoover ixarka at gmail.com
Mon Feb 26 22:20:41 UTC 2007

I thought I'd post an addendum in case other people out there are
faced with a similar decision and stumble across this post.

I've finally completed construction of my mythbox.  It works great and
I can't imagine how I lived without it.  However, getting the picture
quality on it to acceptable levels was quite a battle.  Following the
suggestions of the people here and other places, I initally purchased
a PVR-150 and an FX 5200.  I got an s-video to composite adapter and
plugged the s-video out of the FX 5200 into my TV.  The picture
quality was noticeably worse than that of my TV's internal tuner.  The
colors seemed less vibrant and everything was blurry.  I spent two
weeks fiddling with various video controls to no avail.  Suspecting
the composite link, I tried hooking up a monitor to the VGA out and
the picture quality was equally bad.

Eventually, I gave up on the 150 and ended up buying a 350.  Yes, I
know this comes with many limitations and was prepared for an endless
stream of headaches.  Installing it was relatively painless, and the
picture quality ended up being almost identical to that of my TV's
internal tuner . Now, I can happily watch TV and not be driven insane
by the picture quality.

So, if you're deciding between the PVR-150 and the PVR-350, I'd
strongly recommend the 350 if you value your picture quality.  It may
not work with future versions of Myth, the audio setup is definitely a
hack, and you won't have any OpenGL acceleration, but I spend 90% of
the time on my mythbox watching TV so I don't really care about all of
those flaws.

On 12/29/06, Mike Hoover <ixarka at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I'm putting together my first mythbox, and am doing a bit of research
> on what components I'd like to put in the system.  I've read a lot of
> posts on both this mailing list and others dealing with the issue of
> picture quality on the TV from a mythbox compared to the original
> quality of the picture when plugged right into the TV.  What I can't
> find, however, are any screenshots or hard evidence of the quality
> difference.  All I hear are anectodal descriptions of quality
> differences from some,  others who claim that they don't notice any
> difference, and still others saying that it was bad until they
> downloaded some random patch that fixed everything.
> With this issue in mind, I've narrowed my options to the following three:
> 1.  Purchase a PVR-350 and use it's TV-out.
> 2.  Purchase an FX5200 and use it's S-Video out.
> 3.  Purchase a VGA->Composite or similiar adapter and use my current video card.
> I have regular old cable, not digital or satellite so the picture
> quality isn't fantastic to begin with (but still crystal clear and
> vibrant).
> Does anyone have any advice on which of these three will result in the
> best picture quality and just how much better that quality is than the
> other options (ie, will I notice the difference on my 27" TV from 7
> feet away)?  And, as always, if this issue has already been discussed
> in another thread please point it out, since I couldn't find anything.
> The only thing keeping me from purchasing the 350 right off the bat is
> the myriad of problems I've read about this card including difficulty
> getting X over the TV-out working (this is a MUST for me, since I plan
> on watching divx videos as well), problems with the picture freezing
> when fast forwarding/rewinding, various audio-out hassles, and a
> general lack of support for the 350's TV-out capability since it lacks
> OpenGL acceleration, especially in future versions of MythTV.
> Any advice is much appreciated.

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