[mythtv-users] C-Cube hardware DVD decoder - any use for Myth?

Stroller linux.luser at myrealbox.com
Sun Jan 21 14:04:47 UTC 2007

Hi there,

In my commercial capacity as IT consultant (or as I prefer to say "PC  
plumber") I offer my customers & the local community free secure data  
removal if they want me to pass the hardware on to freecycle  
afterwards. Of course this also means that I get first snaffle at the  
good stuff. :D

Someone dropped 'round an old Dell Dimension Pentium 3 600mhz this  
week, which contains a hardware DVD decoder card, and I'm wondering  
if it's worth hanging on to for Myth use?

I have to admit that although I was aware that hardware decoder cards  
were available some 5 or 6 years ago for facilitating the playback of  
DVDs, I've never actually seen one before. I have placed a couple of  
photos at:

In the photos the decoder card is the "squarer" card (bottom in the  
first photo, top in the second) and it's attached to the longer-and- 
thinner APG graphics card supplied with this machine by a ribbon cable.

Running lspci shows:

   $ sudo lspci -v -d 123f:8888 && sudo lspci -v -d 10de:0028
   00:0e.0 Multimedia controller: C-Cube Microsystems Cinemaster C  
3.0 DVD Decoder (rev 01)
         Subsystem: quadrant international Cinemaster C 3.0 DVD Decoder
         Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 10
         I/O ports at 1400 [disabled] [size=256]
         Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 1

   01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV5 [RIVA  
TNT2/TNT2 Pro] (rev 11) (prog-if 00 [VGA])
         Subsystem: Diamond Multimedia Systems RIVA TNT2/TNT2 Pro
         Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 11
         Memory at f5000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
         Memory at fc000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=32M]
         Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 1
         Capabilities: [44] AGP version 2.0


In the MythArchive FAQ <http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/ 
Mytharchive#FAQ> it is asked:

   How can I speed up DVD creation?

   If you use an encoder card that creates mpeg2 files and allows you
   to set the capture resolution (PVR-x50 for example) then you can
   save a lot of time by setting the capture resolution to a DVD
   compliant resolution.
   For PAL countries they are 720x576, 704x576, 352x576 and 352x288
   For NTSC countries they are 720x480, 704x480, 352x480 and 352x240

Does this mean that this card can be used? Obviously, I don't have  
any interest in using such an old graphics card in the MythTV box  
that I plan to build. Is it nevertheless possible to shift data on &  
off this card using the PCI bus? Or is the ribbon cable required?

I haven't built MythTV yet - I plan to do so within the month - so I  
can't test this card by simply plugging it in and encoding a file.  
Considering the power of modern processors these days and that I'm  
likely to want to build a PC capable of playing back hi-def, is it  
more likely that the performance offered by this add-in card will be  
negligible, anyway?

It just seems to me that this was a great piece of hardware at one  
time, and I hate to see good hardware go to waste. But if I can't  
find Linux drivers for it then I can't see what use it is to me. And  
considering that the Pentium 3 PCs I give away are presumably used by  
little old ladies to write letters to their banks or by by kids  
playing solitaire on Windows 98 (I always install Linux when giving  
these machines away, but sadly there doesn't seem to be much interest  
by the recipients in actually using it :() I honestly can't see what  
use it's likely to be to most other folks, either.


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