[mythtv-users] Where to start?

Stroller linux.luser at myrealbox.com
Tue Jan 9 05:29:25 UTC 2007

On 9 Jan 2007, at 02:23, Damian Surr wrote:
> ...
> I'm really quite lost when it comes to TV tuners, and the output.
> I've been reading lots saying that the Hauppauge PVR 150, 350, 500  
> cards
> are great.

I don't know that they are these days. When I was previously  
interested in MythTV, a good couple of years ago, I think these were  
well regarded for their mpeg hardware and TV-out. The mpeg hardware  
decoding was advantageous on the < 1ghz mini-ITX systems that were  
frontends-of-choice at the time, but I think many users would now  
choose an Xbox (and separate backend) first, and I think at least  
some of the chips on these cards is no longer supported in Myth. I  
don't think you could play back freeview channels through their TV-out.

> But then I read (here
> http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/pages/products/compare_products.html) that
> they are analogue. Does that mean those cards are no good if I want
> freeview and are only good for the 5 main channels?


The freeview-compatible Hauppauge cards are their "Nova-T" series.  
The "Nova-S" ca be used to get free-to-air channels using a Sky dish.

I don't really know much about these products - I'm kinda considering  
a Nova-S myself, but there may be other / better brands.

> Doesn't sound too
> great, but maybe they make more sense for the American system?

Many of the Americans here are also using "DVB" ("digital video  
broadcast") cards.

> Also, the output.
> Can my ATI All in Wonder Pro do the output?

I'm not sure the performance of the model you mentioned.

> What kind of output do I
> need? Is it different if I use a projector?

Writing as someone who's now considering replacing his telly to  
accommodate Myth, I advise you to take a very good look at your  
display device before committing to a video card.

I know nothing about projectors, but traditionally the "good quality"  
video input on UK screens has been RGB SCART, with component having  
also become more common over the last few years; these are ideal ways  
to connect DVD-players & games consoles to your telly, but it's not  
very convenient to output to these formats using MythTV.

VGA & DVI have become more common over the last couple of years, and  
any telly you purchase retail will now surely have these. They are  
the ideal way to connect to MythTV - as you know they are the  
standard out of graphics cards. Many of the TVs currently in the  
shops are "Hi-Def Ready" which means they have an HDCP-capable input  
- that's more than we need for MythTV, but it's compatible with DVI.

Note that there are (for instance) 720p TV sets of 16:9 aspect ratio  
available with both 1280x720 and c 1024x768 resolution panels. If I  
do purchase a new TV soon I will be avoiding the latter.

I guess one advantage of using a projector is that there are probably  
plenty of older VGA models available cheaply second-hand; I guess a  
resolution of 800 x 600 would be ok for MythTV - I guess that's  
better than DVD resolutions, if your DVDs are 4:3, anyway.

> Different if I'd like higher
> res graphics when emailing etc using the projector?

My experience is that TV isn't really suitable for web-surfing or  
(especially) email. It just isn't comfortable and doesn't "feel  
right", somehow. If you really need this PC to be dual-purpose then  
you might be better having a separate keyboard & monitor for that  
sort of use - this display could be entirely independent of the  
MythTV head, if you configure X correctly. To be able to surf & email  
from the couch then I find it more convenient & comfortable to stick  
a wireless card in an old laptop.

> Oh yes, is my system going to be up to the task is the other thing?

Yes. Your system - the CPU, processor & RAM is fine for SD playback.  
I think there's only one free-to-air HD channel in the UK, and I get  
the impression you're not in the market for a Sky subscription.


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