[mythtv-users] Tuner opinions?

Dale Pontius DEPontius at edgehp.net
Mon Feb 22 00:16:25 UTC 2010

Brian Wood wrote:
> On Sunday 21 February 2010 02:46:54 pm Dan Armbrust wrote:
>> I'm looking to build a MythTV box... and I'm looking at tuner
>> choices... Sigh.  There are _way_ to many options out there.
>> I need to be able to record ATSC from my antenna.
>> I need to be able to record NTSC from my cable connection (I have no
>> cable box, just analog cable - this is NTSC, right?)
> Assuming you are in the USA, yes.
>> One of my desires in the ATSC tuner is the best tuner possible.  My
>> current (in TV) tuner isn't the greatest at picking up my channels
>> (urban environment)
> The question is *why* is your current TV "not the greatest" at picking up OTA? 
> You could have multi-path problems, or other interfering signals that the 
> tuner is not designed to cope with. In many, if not most, cases improving your 
> antenna system will be a better approach than looking for a "better" tuner.
> A tuner that seems "better" in one case might not seem so in another, with 
> different reception conditions, there is no one "best" tuner for everyone in 
> all cases.
>>  - The WinTV-HVR-2250 looks to be a good option for picking up my
>> digital signal.  It can record two digital signals at the same time -
>> it appears that the only downside at the moment is that even though it
>> has two NTSC tuners, the linux drivers don't yet support them?  Is
>> this still true?
> Last I heard, yes, but these things change fast.
>> - The HDHomeRun also looks interesting - basically the same pricepoint
>> for getting two digital tuners.
> Many people here (including me) like the HDHRs a lot. They give you a lot of 
> flexibility in where and how you mount them, require minimal drivers and can 
> tune ATSC or clear QAM. No slots required means a lot of flexibility in 
> motherboards.
>> Votes between these two?
>> Others that are great digital tuners - or better yet, can do digital
>> and analog, with Linux driver support?
>> If I go with either of those, I would also need an analog tuner to
>> hook up to my cable connection.
> The PVR-150 was the gold standard for analog capture for a long time, but they 
> are no longer available new. I see some on E-Bay though.
>> Suggestions?
>> I'm looking at cards like:
>> HD-5500 - only one connection, though....
> Requires you to use software encoding for analog capture, this means a lot of 
> CPU, and limited codecs available (RTjpeg and mpeg4). Can't do analog and 
> digital at the same time.
>> wintv-hvr-1600 - two connections - nice - and it appears that the
>> linux drivers support digital and analog?

I've got a pair, and I believe that the card has essentially 2 separate
tuners, which can be used at the same time.  I haven't actually done
this - I haven't actually done more than test the digital side, yet.
But I have only defined the NTSC side to mythtv, and I've played around
with the digital side independently.  Presumably mythtv has exclusive
access on the analog side, and if the two were linked I wouldn't be able
to do that.

If you want a more authoritative scoop on the card, I'd ask on the ivtv
list.  The author(s) of the drivers hang out there, and are very
helpful.  Oh, and the latest'n'greatest drivers are still out-of-tree,
though I think they'll finally be fully included in 2.6.33.

Right now I'm getting ClearQAM channels of my local broadcast stations
in both HD and SD, and need to figure out how to express that to mythtv
in the channel editor.  (I have only SD TVs, so would want to reserve
the HD for special recordings.)  Plus Comcast is in a state of flux, so
I have no idea how long before things change on me.

The hvr-1600 also has an IR blaster, so it could be used with a cable
box.  I understand that there are Linux drivers and maybe even config
files for all of this, but haven't gotten around to any of it.

Dale Pontius

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