[vdr] Nova-T USB vs NOva-T USB2 for epia PVR

Laurence Abbott laz at club-burniston.co.uk
Mon Dec 12 16:42:33 CET 2005

On Mon, 2005-12-12 at 03:29 +0000, Wookey wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm new to this PVR lark, although I have been using an EPIA min-ITX box as
> a Divx/DVD player using geexbox for a year or two.
> I hope this list is OK for asking relative newbie questions - please point
> me elsewhere if it's not the right spot.
> I want to add DVB-T reception to my media box, and ideally have it replace
> the video recorder too, but it remains to be seen if it has sufficient welly.
> A fair amount of net-wandering suggests that the Hauppage winTV USB and USB2
> cards are both suported but they use different chipsets - is that right? Any
> pros and cons between them? My gut feeling is that the USB2 should be better
> as the interface to it is faster, but the hauppage specs say that the older
> card needs a 500Mhz host, whilst the newer one needs a 1Ghz host. Does the
> newer one really need more from its host, or this just an effect of the
> (windowsa) software they supply? Also I can find a lot more docs for the
> older device - is the new one a bad idea at this stage?

When I tried the windows software for a PCI Nova-T several years back it
was really nasty and clunky and crashed all the time.

I have one of each of these two USB devices. The original winTV USB
device 'just worked' with vdr once I'd built the drivers for it.
Unfortunately, the bandwidth of USB 1 is so low that you can only use
one channel at a time. If I tried two recordings at the same time, all I
got was two recordings comprising random block pictures and lots of
nasty sounds! Even with a single channel it can struggle if the bit-rate
is high. I don't think there is a way of restricting a specific device
in vdr so that it will only ever record / stream a single channel.

The newer USB 2 device (which I bought because the old one was so
crap!), needs firmware which may take a bit of fiddling to get it
loading with hotplug. I have got this device autoloading drivers and
firmware, and it works fine with things like 'tzap' and then
'cat /dev/dvb/adaptor0/dvr0' into a file gives a perfect DVB stream.
However, so far I have not managed to get vdr to talk to the thing! It
recognises it as a DVB device but just doesn't get a DVB stream from it.
I'm not sure whether I have got a new version of it, or something like
that, but it's really annoying because it works fine, just not with vdr!


I think there is something strange with the filter timeout because
'scan' from dvb-apps won't work unless it is told to use a longer
timeout. I am guessing that this may be the cause of my problems with
this device and vdr. I need to sit down and do some debugging...

> My box is very slow (and thus silent) - it's an EPIA 800Mhz box, too old to
> have built in MPEG deconding. It plays divxs fine, but glitches slightly
> playing Full-res DVDs. I think adding a hollywood + PCI card will help it do
> playback with less load, and is the only chance of it being able to play
> something whilst recording something else. But that will fill its only PCI
> slot, which is why I am considering USB for the TV input. Does this make
> sense, or should I forget trying to play and record at the same time and
> just put in a PCI winTV card?

With a PCI Nova-T, I can quite happily record two streams (from same
multiplex) and watch another recording at the same time.

> I could upgrade the box to use an M10,000 motherboard and an internal DVB-T
> card instead but that's best part of 100 quid more expensive, so I'm hoping
> to get away with it. TV quality is not too important, so long as it's not much
> worse than a VCR, that's fine.

I'm doing this on an Epia MII-12000 using software MPEG decoding which
means CPU usage is about 60-70%, which isn't really optimal. A dxr3 /
Hollywood+ card does give a really good output but some people have a
really hard time getting them going in a stable manner. I have a PCI
DVB-T card in the same box so I can't use my dxr3 in it.

Hope some of that helps.



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