[mythtv-users] recommendations for a media box
Jarod C. Wilson
jcw at wilsonet.com
Fri Apr 23 13:40:56 EDT 2004
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On Thursday 22 April 2004 18:01, Dr NoName wrote:
> Thank you very much for detailed response.
> > > Here are the specs I have to work with:
> > >
> > > AMD Athlon XP 2400+
> > > 512MB RAM
> > > 40GB HD (plus possibly a second 120GB HD)
> > > DVD-ROM
> > > DVR+/-RW
> > DVD-ROM and RW? Why?
> So that RW doesn't wear out. From my (admittedly
> somewhat dated) experience, all optical drives tend to
> deteriorate after a few years of use. I would rather
> lose a $30 reader than a $150 writer. But maybe they
> got better and I'm just being paranoid...
But as another person said, DVD writer prices keep plummeting, and they'll be
hardly more than $30 after a few years. ;-)
> > > What's the CPU utilization then?
> > Damn near zero for capture.
> Wow! You've convinced me. I don't think it's feasible
> to have more than one software-only card in a box.
> Even if CPU can handle it, the PCI bus will be
Its possible to have more than one software-only card, you just need to have
enough cpu for all of them to encode simultaneously. I'm not sure what the
bus saturation would be like versus hardware encoders. Both have to stream a
decent amount of data over the bus.
> > Depends on what all you're going to do with your
> > system, and what sort of
> > display you'll be connected to. An nVidia card is
> > better for movies and
> > games, displays much better to a High-Def TV, etc.,
> > but for SVideo, the 350's
> > image quality is better (the driver is less stable,
> > but getting better).
> ok, I think having a video card with TV out is
> definitely more flexible, so I'll probably stick with
> that. Could you elaborate a little on the quality
> issues? In what way is 350 image quality better than
The 350 feeds a true interlaced signal to the TV, with all the correct
timings. The nVidia cards don't always get it right, so if you don't enable
software deinterlacing, you see considerable frame jitter. However, software
deint dulls the picture slightly.
> And why would nvidia be better for HDTV?
Because the 350 can't do any better than SVideo (720x480 in the US). With a
video card, you can use DVI, VGA or component video (with an adapter, which
is what I do). Then you can run HD resolutions, like 1920x1080i (or 960x540p,
which is what I run, sort of -- see http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/mythhd.php).
> At the moment I have a plain CRT TV with only RCA
> inputs (no Svideo), and I'm not planning to buy a new
> one any time soon. So, is it really worth spending the
> extra cash on the 350?
For some people, the image quality blows away anything they've been able to
get with a GF4MX. I've got a 350, but I currently use GF4MX output for both
my production systems (one VGA->Component hooked to my HDTV, the other SVideo
to a 27" analog TV). I can see only a very small difference in quality
between the 350 and my GF4MXs.
> > For a video card, you use the sound card for all
> > audio output. The only
> > "outputs" your TV has to have are its internal
> > speakers (though I bypass my
> > TV entirely, feeding audio to an amp -- well,
> > actually, my TV is the
> > front-rear channel in my 6.1 surround-sound setup).
> ok, is it possible to route ALL audio, both live TV
> and recording, to the sound card?
Yes. That's the way its always done, save the case of the PVR-350 when using
its decoder, but you can also route that back through your soundcard's line
in, then send everything out the soundcard.
> My 5.1 surround
> system is sure better than the shitty speakers I have
> in my TV.
> > > 6. How well does the remote work? It's quite important
> > > for a dedicated media box.
> > Works great for me.
> > http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/remotes.php
> so does Hauppauge PVR-250 come with a remote or do you
> have to buy one separately?
The PVR-250 comes with a remote. Its better than the remotes that come with
many tuner cards, but still rather wimpy. For me, the $30 for a RadioShack
15-2116 was well worth it, especially since I've got it controlling six
devices total, including my Myth box, and it works with both XP MCE USB IR
receivers and the one that comes with the PVR-250.
> thanks a lot,
Jarod C. Wilson, RHCE
jcw at wilsonet.com
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