[mythtv-users] TV tuner cards - low cost recommendations?
knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Sat Feb 24 01:18:13 UTC 2007
On 23/02/07, Graeme Nelson <graeme at cheerful.com> wrote:
> I'm wanting to start playing around with PVR, etc. and am wanting to
> know if anyone has had any success with low cost tuner cards (e.g. the
> first 10-20 entries on http://www.pricespy.co.nz/pno_853.html).
Cheap 'generic' cards using the older Brooktree/Conexant 848/878 and
newer saa7134/CX88chips which use the bttv/saa7134/cx88 Linux drivers
can be good value for money, but you absolutely need to know if the
card is supported or be able to return it if it is not. You might want
to check out this list archive at Gossamer (see below), the PVRHW
for cards reported working, and the official MythTV docs for more
I'm certain the Leadtek Winfast TV2000 XP cards are supported and used
by many MythTV users, having seen them mentioned on the list. The V4L
wiki is also another valuable resouce -
http://www.linuxtv.org/v4lwiki/index.php/Main_Page. If only a
Linux-friendly retailer would just test them all and make available
infomation on whether they work in Linux or not - it would save so
much guesswork, and shift a lot more cards in the process.
Personally (and if I was not after the cheapest card I could buy), I
would recommend using a Hauppauge PVR-150 hardware MPEG-2 card
(NZ$100) instead of a framegrabber, but you can get just as good
quality captures (even better perhaps) from a bttv-type card. The only
caveat is that your host CPU is used to encode video when using a
framegrabber card which can limit you if you want >1 capture card. On
a hardware card, audio and video is encoded on the card itself with
little to no impact on the host CPU.
In my experience (2 yrs of using PVR-150/350, my first MythTV card was
a PVR-350), the PVR cards give very good quality output, are quick to
setup, and have well supported drivers (ivtv is about to enter
mainline kernel). You can stick 2 or 3 in a system if you decide to in
the future, and do not have to worry about CPU usage. Possible issues
can included unsupported tuners in very new stock (usually resolved
quickly) and issues with Via chipsets/DMA problems.
If you can get a strong indication that one of these cheaper cards is
supported, such as the Leadtec, I would go for it and see how the PVR
experience goes. In the future when you decide you want to expand your
system, you will have plenty of options at a range of price points to
meet your budget.
What spec system are you planning to use for your PVR experiment?
*nods* in direction of New Plymouth
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