Hauppauge PVR-500

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Hauppauge PVR-500 MCE

A.K.A.: pvr500

Vendor's Website: http://hauppage.com/pages/products/data_pvr500mce.html

Driver: IvTV 0.4.0 or newer. ** 0.4.2 is required if you have Samsung tuners **

Note: "MCE" in the name means simply that this model does not come with a remote control or Windows software for recording/viewing television. The CD-ROM that does come with it contains firmware and drivers for Windows XP Media Center Edition *only* (not XP Home and not XP Pro). ** My CD allowed me to install my card on WinXP Pro with no issues **

Support Status

Both tuners are supported (behaves like two PVR-150's). VBI data is supported in newer versions of the IVTV driver. Works fine even on Athlon64.

  • How can I get closed captions working?

Description

Two TV tuners, two MPEG2 encoders, one FM radio tuner. Comes with a 75-ohm coax input for FM radio (and an antenna), 75-ohm coax input for cable/broadcast TV, two s-video inputs, two composite video inputs, and two stereo audio inputs.

Issues and Problems

Note that if you have other Video4Linux driver modules present (such as components of the bttv driver) the modules to drive the tuners may conflict with the ivtv modules and prevent the card's tuners from being properly detected.

Kernel Recommendations

You need a 2.6.x kernel (2.6.14 or newer recommended) to make this work properly. The drivers work with the 2.4 kernel, but only with certain patches. One has been made for 0.4.1 on 2.4.20 and is an open ticket in the IVTV trac system. You will have the best results with the 2.6.x kernel series. If at all possible, you should attempt to use kernel 2.6.17.x and ivtv 0.7.0 as this will result in the least problems of all.

Pre-emptive Multitasking Warning (common to IVTV)

Warning: Do not attempt to enable pre-emptive kernel locks in your kernel configuration--the ivtv modules do not get along with them and will cause spontaneous reboots.

Signal Attenuation Warning

And remember: your cable feed usually only has enough drive power for 2 or 3 TV sets, as it comes in the building. If you're driving a ridiculously large number of devices (as is more likely than usual to be true if you're reading this article :-), then you may need an RF Amplifier. This isn't really anything like a problem specific to the PVR-500--it's being mentioned because it has twice the tuners "other" cards, users can get themselves into trouble with too many tuners twice as fast as with other cards.

Outdated Repository

Additionally, installing current firmware and PVR150/500 specific audio firmware from the atrpms repo using Jarod's:

 yum install ivtv-firmware
 yum install ivtv-firmware-audio

does not provide you with the latest and greatest recommended firmware as the folks at ivtvdriver.org suggest.

While most of the people will ignore the ivtv warnings displayed by using:

  /bin/dmesg | grep ivtv

related to buggy firmware... it becomes a big problem when you use the PVR500 in conjunction with the PVR350. (Presumably this happens with the use of PVR150 and PVR250s too, but I can't confirm that.)

Symptons include loss of audio on both the PVR500 tuners and inability to change channels. The PVR350(s) will work fine though. Follow the ivtvdriver.org people's advice and download, extract, and install the recommended firmware.

Motherboard Incompatibility

Those of you with the ASUS A8V board will be disappointed to know that there appears to be no way to get this board to work with a PVR-500 if you are using the AGP port. The PVR-500 has its own PCI bridge and the AGP port on the motherboard is also on a PCI bridge, and the second PCI bridge fatally confuses the BIOS when it goes to initialize the hardware for booting after the system inventory screen. The recommended (and only known) workaround is simply to replace your AGP video card with a PCI video card. One might also trade in the PVR-500 for a pair of PVR-150's, but since the PVR-500 costs more than a new motherboard that doesn't make much financial sense (cheaper to buy a different mainboard). Some other ASUS A8V-xx models are also affected by this bug, but can be made to work with a BIOS update. For other uses the ASUS A8V is a fairly nice board, and the PVR-500 is a fairly nice card, the board is just flawed in a way that makes it impossible to use anything with its own PCI bridge.

Associated Software

Nothing yet ...

Log Messages

If you see an "Unreasonably low latency" message from ivtv in your logs you should probably read the page on PCI Latency

Installation guides

Nothing yet ...

FAQs

No sound on first recording

I had the problem that the first time mythtv tunes to a channel (live-tv and recording) sound is not working. Changing channels fixed the sound. I had this problem with ivtv 0.4.1 and 0.4.2. After some help from the mailing list, I found out that executing

ivtvctl -d /dev/video0 -q 0

fixes the sound. I don't know what this command does. However, I had to manually issue this each time I tuned the first time with a tuner. If I execute ivtvctl a second time, I get a sound hickup. So only execute this command once if a tuner is recording. To ease my life, I created this script:

  #!/bin/sh
  # Some variables used to remember if the device is in use or not
  record_video0=NO
  record_video1=NO
  # Loop forever
  while true
  do
     # Is the video device in use ?
     fuser /dev/video0 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
     if [ $? -eq 0 ]
     then
        # Something is using video device and this is the first time we notice this
        if [[ "$record_video0" = "NO" ]]
        then
           date
           echo "   recording on video0"
           ivtvctl -d /dev/video0 -q 0
           echo
        fi
        record_video0=YES
     else
        # Not recording
        if [[ "$record_video0" = "YES" ]]
        then
           date
           echo "   not recording anymore on video0"
           echo
        fi
        record_video0=NO
     fi
     # Do the same for the other device .......
     fuser /dev/video1 2>/dev/null >/dev/null
     if [ $? -eq 0 ]
     then
        if [[ "$record_video1" = "NO" ]]
        then
           date
           echo "   recording on video1"
           ivtvctl -d /dev/video1 -q 0
           echo
        fi
        record_video1=YES
     else
        if [[ "$record_video1" = "YES" ]]
        then
           date
           echo "   not recording anymore on video1"
           echo
        fi
        record_video1=NO
     fi
     sleep 1
  done

User Experiences

If you have this card, speak up! This is a good place to note your experiences - ease of install, what you like, what's not to like, etc.

I have not actually got this card working on my myth box (it arrives tomorrow), but this link indicates it can be done.

http://www.bitbenderforums.com/~ralpha6/knoppmyth/knoppmythtv.htm


JB notes: I've had this card up and running for almost 2 months now. It works well, but I feel the quality on the pvr250 was better (input welcome here...) A fairly recent knoppmyth and an ivtv update were all I needed to get it working. I'm using the built-in tuner as one input, and s-video as the second. I'm not thrilled with the channel mappings yet (but too lazy to fix them...)

Kris Rose: I am running the PVR-500 for several weeks now. I also found that it is slightly lower quality (more "grainy" and with scratchy sound on the S-Video) than my previous PVR-350 was but making sure the coax cable was grounded improved the quality somewhat.

KK notes: I have this card in a backend system on knoppmyth30.1 and works flawless and the quality is that of analog cable it works flawless (MSI845U motherboard 512ram)

JL notes: I am using Knoppmyth 5A30 and I haven't gotten it to work. The pvr-250 I have in my machine works, but not the 500.

GA notes: If you have the newer version of the card with the Samsung tuners, you'll need at the very least ivtv 0.4.2, and patch tuner.c to version 3150 to fix the tuning. http://ivtvdriver.org/viewcvs/ivtv/branches/0.4/driver/tuner.c?rev=3150&r1=3120&r2=3150

FLOW notes: I have this running myth .19 under PLUTO .38 - works ok , a bit grainy as mentioned above and I cannot get PIP to work!

Claus Andersen notes: I have this running myth .19 - PIP works but only when XvMC is disabled (see XvMC Caveats) Colours looking OK first time I select LiveTV. Exit to main menu and re-enter LiveTV and the colours are faded/washed out (everything looks blueish). Reboot fixes problem. I upgraded to .20 and have not seen this problem again! Everything "just-works" and is smooth (even OSD) on a VIA EPIA SP8000 (800Mhz C3).

JS notes: I have been running this card for six months now in a gentoo based myth system. The results have been very mixed along the way. This card is wonderful, when everything is workign together properly, but it is also very tempermental. With earlier versions of ivtv I found I was unable to use video0. Despite the annoyance of getting it workign properly, I highly recomend this card for myth setups.

JJ notes: I had issues with my PVR-500 that is running alongside a PVR-250 using IVTV version 0.4.3. The first tuner on the card had no audio. No combination of ivtvctl -d /dev/videoX -q X would provide audio. Upon examining the boot logs, I discovered when the audio wasn't working when that particular tuner was being initialized the log reported:

cx25840 2-0044: unable to open firmware v4l-cx25840.fw

but when the audio is working it reports:

cx25840 2-0044: loaded v4l-cx25840.fw firmware (14264 bytes)

It seems to be some sort of timing issue (the hotplug driver isn't loading the firmware fast enough?), it always happens on the first tuner of the card. The second tuner always loads the firmware correctly. The "power off for 30 seconds" recommendation from the IVTV site seems to fix the problem (at least for that boot) but I sure would like a more robust solution.

LL Notes: 1 PVR-500, Slackware 10.2, MythTV .19, ivtv .0.4.3 This card is working well, fortunately I have not run into any technical issues. Picture Quality is a little lack luster.

TiTaN_pi8 Notes: I have a MythTV box running Debian, MythTV 0.19 CVS with IVTV 0.6.3. Everything works well, even teletext (closed captioning), unfortunately, like many others, the picture quality is not that great (colors/saturation bad and some scan lines) but enough to watch it from a distance (like you should! ;).