[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Edlug Archive Jan 2004 ]

Re: [edlug] Anyone want to give an edlug technical talk on PVR/DVB?

I know this is not the hacker way but why not just buy a TiVo? Plenty of the old series one UK boxes available on Ebay at less than £200 and for that you get a Linux box that can be hacked and upgraded (take the 40GB drive out and stick a couple of 120s in to get 240 hours of recording time (can use bigger drives but I believe the extra space won't be recognised) and add an ethernet card so you can get at the video data for burning to CD/DVD) and you have a machine that has a built in MPEG2 encoder with VBR, is very quiet, has a remote control, drives a TV with either RGB or composite and does all the PVR stuff that no other box does eg season passes and wishlists, plus the learning what you like and dislike stuff. All this from a box that has a 50Mhz (yes 50!) PPC processor.

This discussion comes up time and time again on Slashdot and it is always the same, once you add up the cost of building something comparable to a TiVo you are spending a lot of money, far more than buying a TiVo and the lifetime subscription to the service would be - £400 for the pair. How much of a PC based PVR are you going to get for that? Or you can just spend £200 for the box and then pay £10 per monthy for the subscription. If you can't build your PC/PVR for less than that then why bother? It's not like you can't hack the TiVo so even that excuse doesn't wash.

Still what do I know?

Oh, I've had a TiVo for over 3 years now and I wouldn't be without it!


sxw@xxx.xxx.xxx wrote:
On Mon, 5 Jan 2004, Greg Lewin wrote:

I've been having similar ideas, since it looks as if mini-ITX boards are an idea whose time has come - 1 GHz is plenty for most applications including sound & vision, and the notion of silence from the box itself is very attractive.

I'm building a PVR based around a VIA M10000 motherboard, and the WinTV Nova-T card. The Nova-T card is DVB, so you get a digital stream, and shouldn't have to worry about the processor load of the encoding step.

For starters I'm wondering which PVR card to go for: one I've been looking at is the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 (internal), or possibly the Hauppauge Win TV PVR USB (external).

The PVR 350 has a hardware MPEG-2 encoder and decoder. The USB PVR model doesn't appear to have a hardware MPEG-2 encoder, the USB 1 version will only support recordings of up to 6 MBits/sec.

You may not find the lack of a hardware MPEG-2 decoder a problem, especially if you're using a motherboard (such as the M10000) with hardware MPEG support [1]

I have had an old Hauppauge Tv card for a few years now; it gives good enough live pictures, though I don't think it's usable for recording high-quality video to disk - unless it's possible to pipe the output into a soft MPEG encoder

This is what quite a few people have been building PVRs out of. In fact, Hauppauge cards now come with a 'SoftPVR' for Windows which allow you to time shift and record straight from these kinds of cards. Of course, you can pretty much kiss your processor goodbye whilst doing so :)

On the Linux front, MythTV supports soft encoding, and you can downsize the resolution in order to fit the abilities of your processor and disk. Bear in mind, however, that if you want to do things like 'pause live TV' your processor has to fast enough to support both encoding and decoding simulatenously.



[1] Note, however, that the support for hardware MPEG on the M10000 is dependent on either binary drivers from VIA, or on a reverse engineered set of drivers, which are under very active development.

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