[mythtv-users] Best all around analog and clear QAM tuner

Dale Pontius DEPontius at edgehp.net
Wed Aug 3 17:17:35 UTC 2011

On 08/02/2011 08:32 AM, Aaron Klein wrote:
> I am tired of trying to get my PVR-1600 to work as it seems it has 
> always required some tender loving care to work as it never seems to 
> be fully supported out of the box.  I would like the ablity to tune 
> NTSC cable signals as we still get analog cable in our area but also 
> the flexability of tuning clear QAM signals also on the cable system.  
> In your views what card seems to have the best out of the box support 
> for MythTV release 10.10 or newer.  Would also need a remote or if 
> there is a stand alone IR remote that works great out of the box what 
> that might be.
> I have the following setup currently.
> Myth .21 (not sure what release of Mythbuntu) with a PVR-350 and a 
> WinTV2000 analog tuner card operating as primary backend and front end
> Mythbuntu 10.10 with PVR-1600.  Would be secondary backend and front 
> end  Currently trying to get PVR-1600 working.  Had it working on base 
> 10.10 install with no updates.  Last night installed all the updates 
> but did not update release to 11.04 and the card stopped being 
> reconized and the drivers build fails when I try to rebuild on the new 
> kernel.
> I want to upgrade my primary backend to current or close to current 
> release and then replace the PVR-1600 with a reliable and easy to 
> configure tuner for my secondary backend.  I am hoping the PVR-350 
> still works relyiably with the new kenerels as it has never had an 
> issue for many years of operation.
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> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
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I have a pair of hvr-1600s and the hardware appears to be fully 
functional under mythtv-0.24.1.  I've been using them for years now to 
do analog capture.  I've only fiddled with the ClearQAM side.

So now to the caveats...

It seems to me that the hvr-1600 is a moving target.  I follow the ivtv 
list where the driver developers hang out, and it seems like every few 
months someone else comes in with hvr-1600 problems.  Those problems 
usually turn out to be related to some new hardware spin with different 
chips onboard.  A short time later and the developers enhance the driver 
to support the new revision of the card.  A short time later and yet 
another new revision comes out.  You might do well to hang out on the 
ivtv list.

I did have a little trouble with sound on the NTSC side - aliasing that 
caused an annoying high-pitched whistle to get added.  I was able to 
force the sampling in the profiles, and that problem went away.

I have had the HD side running, both for ATSC with an antenna and 
ClearQAM on cable.  The signal/noise is a bit dicey, especially on a few 
channels.  I've been told I need to clean up my feeds, which I have a 
plan for, but haven't gotten around to, yet.  The bigger problem is 
channel configuration.  When I first set this stuff up with Myth, I 
thrashed around a bit, between fetching OTA and Digital from Schedules 
Direct, and doing channel scans.  I had a bunch of channels listed, many 
of them showing as completely unknown, some with recognizable callsigns 
but unknown schedules, some unknown with recognizable schedules, etc.  
Plus for those channels that had a recognizable callsign and an 
apparently correct matching schedule, when I would tune those channels 
the program that showed was clearly wrong.  In other words, something 
was wrong about the channel mapping.

The other day, after moving from 0.23.1 to 0.24.1 successfully, I 
dropped all of my cards, re-entered, and re-associated.  Back to the 
hvr-1600.  Myth still does not gracefully recognize the card, but it 
doesn't take much force to make it accept it.  It comes up as "v4l 
analog", which you have to change to "ivtv mpeg2".  At that point it 
fails to probe, so you just put "/dev/videoX" (X=0 or 1 for me) into the 
device field, and suddenly it shows "cx18" and everything is all right.

This time I also made sure I didn't thrash when setting up ATSC.  I only 
told it to fetch my digital sources from Schedules Direct.  After that 
things looked reasonable on the channel listing - some extra unknown 
channels, but not nearly as many as I had before.  The digital SD 
channel schedules matched the equivalent analog channel, though the HD 
channels had no schedules.  Unfortunately the channel mapping problem 
appears to persist, though I haven't checked it thoroughly yet.  The 
analog version of a regular network broadcast looked as expected - but 
the SD version of what should be the same channel looked instead like 
some home shopping channel.

I don't consider this to be an hvr-1600 problem, rather my problem about 
not understanding how this stuff should be set up.  I've also seen 
procedures for channel mapping, and they all look horribly complicated, 
so I've never gotten around to them.  Actually, I was hoping that newer 
versions of MythTV would have done better at this.

I guess at this point I should start digging into the documentation on 
how to do channels correctly. OTOH the recent CableCard threads are much 
more interesting, and may render the digital side of the hvr-1600 obsolete.

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