[mythtv-users] Recommendation for a tuner card

Andrew Gallatin gallatin at cs.duke.edu
Tue May 11 16:08:20 UTC 2010

Brian Wood [beww at beww.org] wrote:
> On Monday 10 May 2010 10:31:18 am Patrick Doyle wrote:
> > On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 12:20 PM, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:
> > > On Monday 10 May 2010 10:13:04 am Patrick Doyle wrote:
> > >> I believe that my WOOT special USB stick tuner did not survive a
> > >> recent power outage for some reason, so I need to purchase a new tuner
> > >> card.  Would anybody care to to recommend an ATSC (and preferably QAM
> > >> too) tuner card that works well with Myth?  It doesn't need to be USB.
> > >>  If it were known to have better sensitivity (i.e. can pick up signals
> > >> better) than some other card, that would be a definite plus.
> > >
> > > The obvious answer would be an HDHR.
> > 
> > Thanks... I'll go look at that.
> > 
> > > As for sensitivity, the problem is that most postings here related to
> > > that subject are very subjective, and may not relate to your particular
> > > situation.
> > 
> > There is a specific objective sensitivity measurement that can be made
> > for radio receivers.  It's not typically published for consumer grade
> > electronics.  For mass market electronics that are all based on the
> > same design, or a very small number of designs, there may be no
> > difference in sensitivity.
> > 
> > But if there is one receiver that performs better than others, I
> > figured folks on this list would know that.  So I figured I'd ask.
> Part of the problem is that tuners have become commodity items. Manufacturers 
> use whatever they can get at the best price, and often change tuners like we 
> change socks.
> Even the venerable Hauppauge PVR series used many different tuner modules 
> throughout its lifetime.
> You can't assume that just because one particular unit works well, another one 
> with the same model number will also do so.
> So if someone reports "great sensitivity" with a particular product, you can't 
> assume that the one next to it on the shelf will perform as well.
> Some people have reported that the HDHR is not as sensitive as some other 
> products (though specific data is lacking), and others have said that recent 
> production units are somehow "better". I take such reports with a large grain 
> of NaCl. I use my HDHR with a cable system, where levels are generally high 
> enough to not be a problem, I've been very happy, but someone using an antenna 
> might have a different opinion.

I use an HDHR with a CM4228 attic antenna.  I live on a wooded lot, 4
miles from a commercial airport and 17 miles from the TV towers.
Between the attic, the trees and the planes, I have a lot of multipath
to deal with.  In this scenario, the HDHR performs considerably worse
than all my other tuners currently in service (LG based Dvico Fusion
HDTV5, LG based AirStar 5000, Samsung S5H1409 based Pinnacle 800i) and
only a little better than my retired nxt2002 based Air2PC-ATSC-PCI
(2nd rev)).

After getting the HDHR this spring, I've had to reposition my antenna
for the first time in years (since I retired the nxt2002 based tuner).
I think I've finally gotten HDHR reception nearly stable, but its hard
to say, since I'm not regularly using it for recordings.  I plan to
build a new 0.23 install, and so I'll probably make it the primary
tuner there and see how it does.

Oddly, if I use a second CM4228 aimed at a neighboring market it does
pretty well.  The towers there are 50+ miles away, but there are less
trees and planes in that direction, so I have less signal strength,
but better signal and symbol quality.

FWIW, the AVS Forums guys who presumably know a lot about tuners say
the tuner on the HDHR is not so great:
There are posts in the Silicon Dust forums where people have had
problems with "image frequencies" (where stations roughly 14.5
channels apart interfere with each other).

Don't get me wrong -- I love HDHR because it doesn't require drivers
or PCI slots, and it sips power compared to my old PCI tuners.  The
support from Silicon Dust is top notch.  I just wish the tuner was


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