[mythtv-users] current recommendations for video capture card

Nick Morrott knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Wed May 16 13:12:33 UTC 2007

On 16/05/07, Tiffany K <pollux1234567890 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I am looking for a capture card that is reliable, known for excellent
> quality,  and easy to install(linux/driver support).
> I may upgrade to HD in the future, so I would prefer an HD card.  However I


> I see a ton of info on the Hauppauge brand but not much on pcHDTV. This is
> surprising since pcHDTV seems to be dedicated to Linux and open-source. Is
> pcHDTV not a good brand? Or am I wrong on my assumptions?

The Hauppauge cards you frequently see mentioned - PVR-150/250/350/500
- are hardware capture cards for analog signals, whether they are from
baseband video (S-Video or composite) or their analog tuner. CPU
requirements for recording are very low as the capture card does all
of the encoding of video and audio into MPEG2 format files. These
particular cards can not capture HDTV material - unless you connect
them to a HD cable box outputting downsampled video. The ivtv project
which supports the Hauppauge PVR-xx0 cards has just entered the
mainline kernel, and is well supported.

The pcHDTV cards offer analog/digital tuning supporting NTSC
analog/ATSC digital and cable/QAM signals. The pcHDTV card does not
offer hardware encoding of analog signals which requires a higher
level of CPU to encode the video in real-time. Digital signals are
broadcast pre-encoded as MPEG-2 and are simply 'dumped' to disk. CPU
rquirements for HDTV recordings are similar to using a PVR card above
for analog material.

Living in a non-HDTV OTA country I am happy with the quality of analog
material recorded from my PVR-150/350 cards via their baseband inputs,
but their quality is noticeably lower than material than that I record
using DVB (digital standard definition material).

For the most flexibility now, I would think about getting a PVR-500 -
two analog tuners on a single PCI card - and getting a pcHDTV card in
the future to cater for your HDTV needs.


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