[mythtv-users] Firewire or capture card?

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Fri Dec 25 00:11:56 UTC 2009

On Thursday 24 December 2009 04:29:05 pm bhaskins at chartermi.net wrote:
> Question for anyone one the list:
> What would be a good ( myth ), (HD) card choice for this?
> SD capture is great off of S-video.

The HDHomerun gets mentioned a lot, although I personally have no experience 
with it. If I were putting together a new system, I'd probably go with that. 
It's an external Ethernet-based product, so it doesn't chew up any slots and 
you can put it anywhere that's got both Ethernet and a cable connection. Two 
models are available, one with one tuner and the other with two tuners.

I've got two PCI HD tuners. One is a pcHDTV 3000, which works fine in one 
system but works very poorly in another. It seems susceptible to interference 
in some computers, but I never tracked down the exact cause. I suspect it's a 
chipset issue. (The problem system had a VIA chipset, but I moved it to a 
slave backend with an AMD chipset and it's fine there.)

My other HD tuner is an AVerMedia AVerTV A180. This one has fewer features 
than the pcHDTV 3000 (specifically, its NTSC tuner doesn't work well in 
Linux, the last I checked), but it works better in more computers, in my 
experience. On the VIA-chipset system, it could usually record a show with 
few or no glitches if the computer wasn't busy with something else, although 
it did produce occasional glitches if the system was busy (as in transcoding 
or commflagging). I've since upgraded that motherboard to one with an Intel 
chipset, and it's quite solid in there.

I believe both of the cards I've got are out of production, but if you want a 
PCI card, you might be able to find some new old stock or a used card on 
eBay. The last I heard, the HDHomerun was still being made. A lot of new 
internal cards are built for PCIe. With PCI slots on the endangered species 
list, a PCIe card might make sense if you've got a free PCIe slot; you'll be 
more likely to be able to use the card with your next motherboard that way.

Rod Smith

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