VDR Software Decoder Plugin

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Historically, VDR required an AV711x based DVB PCI card (i.e. full featured card) to decode Audio and Video and to render it's OSD. Since these cards are quite expensive and old-fashioned now, so called budget cards dominate the market. They deliver the MPEG signal to the software and it's the main CPU that decodes it. See also Output devices (VDR wiki) for general information.

There are two answers for the questions: "So what software is there for budget cards in Linux?"

Answer 1: VDR Software Decoder Plugin

The VDR Software Decoder Plugin is a plugin for VDR. See the VDR Wiki for more information.

However, this plugin is not installed by default, so you have to expect some amount of work to get a software-decoder based VDR setup running.

Answer 2: Xine

Xine comes with full DVB support in its standard installation, therefore one only needs to install the DVB driver and xine and can start watching digital TV. The gxine user interface is very powerful and allows many changes on the run.

More information

Both solutions are able to decode HDTV channels, and avoid the limitations and problems of the AV711x based PCI cards.

Links:

Some open questions

Sadly, no portable OpenGL-based renderer is known which would allow to build a STB with any cheap modern graphics card. (is this true, allows the xine-plugin OpenGL outputs?)

- I can only speak about the softdevice plugin. It works very well and with any graphics card that supports Xvideo. No 3D-stuff required. For sound it uses Alsa but here I had to use Alsa's dmix plugin else the sound stutters.