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Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:23 pm Reply with quote
john.anthony.brown
 
Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 17




I've been watching the forums for a long time because I've rarely had decent results with my hd3000.

Some rambling thoughts about the hd3000 are below.....

I'm at the point now where I just can't see myself using this product anymore.

Maybe I'm wrong but looking at these forums - it seems like just about everyone else is having a rats nest of problems, too.

Has anyone ever compared the reception they get from a set top box to that of the hd3000?

I wonder if all our problems really just boil down to bad reception or poor drivers.

Maybe OTA and QUAM streams are just to huge to reliably handle on current hardware.

Maybe the software we use to decode the streams is to buggy.

Personally I'm starting to thing it is all of the above.

Maybe I should have waited another 5 years.... By then the CPU horsepower needed for these tasks might be available and the software to use it won't be so darn buggy.

And don't tell me xine or mplayer or whatever works great. I've tried them all and they all suck.

PCHDTVR included.

If there really is someone out there with a great setup that truly works as advertised - SPEAK UP NOW.

In the past year - I don't recall hearing of a single such person.

Honestly, I really am hoping someone out there really did get this thing to work well.
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Re: Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:16 pm Reply with quote
sonnik
 
Joined: 11 Oct 2005
Posts: 49




john.anthony.brown wrote:
I've been watching the forums for a long time because I've rarely had decent results with my hd3000.

Some rambling thoughts about the hd3000 are below.....

I'm at the point now where I just can't see myself using this product anymore.

Maybe I'm wrong but looking at these forums - it seems like just about everyone else is having a rats nest of problems, too.

Has anyone ever compared the reception they get from a set top box to that of the hd3000?


That's kind of an ambiguous question. Digital is digital, signal strength should logically be the same based on your reception medium (antenna or cable).

Quote:
I wonder if all our problems really just boil down to bad reception or poor drivers.


Most of the problems I've seen here relate to software installs... one guy favors Flavor X of Linux and others prefer Flavor Y. If you're more familiar with Linux, you're more likely to have success than someone less familiar.

Quote:
Maybe OTA and QUAM streams are just to huge to reliably handle on current hardware.


Nope. pcHDTV's required specs seem right on to me. I'm using a P4 2.8 GHz and an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. pcHDTV suggests an nVidia card for best performance, and I still can't complain about anything.

Quote:
Maybe the software we use to decode the streams is to buggy.


I'm of the beleif that ATSC is a new standard, and it's not a huge source of cash for the stations that broadcast it. Think about it: it's not like stations broadcasting HDTV get better ad revenues (as of right now) simply for broadcasting in HDTV - so why should local stations put a lot of time and effort and money into the format currently?

You'll see a few threads that point out that people (myself included) were having trouble with AC3 (liba52) crc errors on stations - mostly Fox. You can read the full thread for all the information. One of my friends, with a Cox Cable HD-DVR cable box (Scientific Atlanta) told me he cannot DVR local Fox shows for an extended duration. Of all the channels, Fox seems to produce problems - no other local station. I've seen other reports on AVSForum.com stating that the same station produces "crackling" in their audio. So who's fault is that? Probably Fox's. But calling the local Fox station will probably not get you results - the level of care simply won't be there. Overall, ATSC is still not well understood - even by the broadcasting industry.

Quote:
Personally I'm starting to thing it is all of the above.

Maybe I should have waited another 5 years.... By then the CPU horsepower needed for these tasks might be available and the software to use it won't be so darn buggy.


What did you specifically want to accomplish with the HD3000? What are your hardware specs?

Quote:
And don't tell me xine or mplayer or whatever works great. I've tried them all and they all suck.

PCHDTVR included.


Xine and mplayer work great. PCHDTVR is my choice for scheduling recordings.

Quote:
If there really is someone out there with a great setup that truly works as advertised - SPEAK UP NOW.

In the past year - I don't recall hearing of a single such person.


You'll find that people visiting message boards tend to seek resolution to problems. People tend to take the time to complain more than offer praise.

I don't know what you mean by "works as advertised". Here are some bullets from pcHDTV's spec page:

- Cost effective ATSC/NTSC TV reception card
- Open source drivers and player
- All-software HDTV decoder
- Supports all 18 ATSC compliant digital formats
- Supports NTSC Analog Television
- Up to 4 cards supported in a single system for recording and display of multiple programs.
- Compatible with the HD-2000 card.
- Digital Video Recording, Time Shifting and Playback

Of those, I believe anyone would be hard pressed to consider them untruths.

Quote:
Honestly, I really am hoping someone out there really did get this thing to work well.


Keep in mind that most people simply don't want to set in front of a computer to watch TV, so the Linux and Windows HDTV cards will appeal to two types of enthusiasts:

1) Custom Home-Theater PC types. (mythTV)
2) Recording and transcoding HDTV video and audio.

I started out wanting to build a mythTV system, but then realized it's overkill for what I wanted to accomplish. I like sitting here and looking at the more technical aspect of things. I like seeing what multichannel broadcasts are offered by my local stations from time to time, I like seeing if I can tweak my setup to get broadcasts from other nearby metros.

If you aren't familiar with it, read up on the "broadcast flag". One important bullet point of the HD3000 is that it ignores this flag. Owning one will grandfather you into whatever laws and regulations may be passed by Congress. Remember, the networks and studios aren't comfortable letting High Def content float around out there for free. They are going to go out of their way, hell and high water, to make sure that you can't store any High Def content long term.

Once HD-DVD and Blu-Ray burners are widely available, you'll be able to archive your favorite shows to these discs with a modest Linux setup quite easily. If networks/studios have their way, you'll never be able to find set-top box that offers this as a feature.

Dealing with whatever headaches you have now, to get more familiar with the workings of a DVB Linux setup will prevent you from being near totally unable to do anything like this five years from now, as you mentioned. If you simply are willing to "watch live" on a set top box, that may be an option for you. However, if you'd like to stay in control of television - I'd just suggest patience and extra effort.
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Re: Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:52 am Reply with quote
nsaspook
 
Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Fairview, Oregon




john.anthony.brown wrote:
I've been watching the forums for a long time because I've rarely had decent results with my hd3000.

Some rambling thoughts about the hd3000 are below.....

I'm at the point now where I just can't see myself using this product anymore.

Maybe I'm wrong but looking at these forums - it seems like just about everyone else is having a rats nest of problems, too.

Has anyone ever compared the reception they get from a set top box to that of the hd3000?

I wonder if all our problems really just boil down to bad reception or poor drivers.

Maybe OTA and QUAM streams are just to huge to reliably handle on current hardware.

Maybe the software we use to decode the streams is to buggy.

Personally I'm starting to thing it is all of the above.

Maybe I should have waited another 5 years.... By then the CPU horsepower needed for these tasks might be available and the software to use it won't be so darn buggy.

And don't tell me xine or mplayer or whatever works great. I've tried them all and they all suck.

PCHDTVR included.

If there really is someone out there with a great setup that truly works as advertised - SPEAK UP NOW.

In the past year - I don't recall hearing of a single such person.

Honestly, I really am hoping someone out there really did get this thing to work well.


My hd3k setup is solid running Debian sid for the O/S and (svn)Mythtv. Linux kernel 2.6.14.3

ATSC HD backend system
ASUS P4P800E Deluxe GbL+SATA+A Socket 478
Celeron 310 2.13G 256K 533M 478 Retail
1GB PC3200(2x512) Matched Pair
MSI FX5200-TD128LF Retail AGP
Promise ATA133 Controller card
hd3k card
air2pc 1st gen
1Tb LVM disk array for storage.

NTSC backend system
old 440bx motherboard with intel pIII 550mhz brick.
ATI rage video (console use only)
256M memory
36Gb scsi disk system for OS
2 PVR-150 MCE cards for NTSC and STB box capture.
Gbit nic interface (NFS share for Mythtv)

1. I love AMD but Intel cpu and chipsets are much more stable for servers and backend applications.

_________________
I make magic smoke.
http://www.jargon.net/jargonfile/m/magicsmoke.html
http://www.nsaspook.com/
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Re: Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:24 am Reply with quote
Scott Larson
 
Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 713
Location: Portland, OR




john.anthony.brown wrote:
Maybe I'm wrong but looking at these forums - it seems like just about everyone else is having a rats nest of problems, too.

Look at it this way: do you want HDTV to be a hobby or something you plop yourself in front of every evening? Pretty much everyone here looks at it as a hobby to experiment with. If you don't want it to be a hobby then you should get rid of your HD3000 card and buy a good STB instead. There's no reason for you to go through all this trouble if you don't want to.

Quote:
Has anyone ever compared the reception they get from a set top box to that of the hd3000?

I wonder if all our problems really just boil down to bad reception or poor drivers.

The HD-3000 definitely has inferior reception to the most recent third and fourth generation STB's out there, especially with multipath rejection.

Quote:
Maybe OTA and QUAM streams are just to huge to reliably handle on current hardware.

When I got my HD-2000 a few years ago I was startled when I saw almost two megabytes of data coming in every second. Holy crap! But computers can handle that much data these days.

Quote:
Maybe the software we use to decode the streams is to buggy.

You're talking about free software. Naturally the software is certainly not as reliable as commercial products.

Quote:
Maybe I should have waited another 5 years.... By then the CPU horsepower needed for these tasks might be available and the software to use it won't be so darn buggy.

The CPU horsepower necessary is here now if you use MPEG acceleration. The software might be better in five years but it's hard to tell.

Quote:
And don't tell me xine or mplayer or whatever works great. I've tried them all and they all suck. PCHDTVR included. If there really is someone out there with a great setup that truly works as advertised - SPEAK UP NOW. In the past year - I don't recall hearing of a single such person.

Honestly, I really am hoping someone out there really did get this thing to work well.

I guess that's me. mplayer works perfectly for what I use it for. I have good reception of all my HD stations, I have a decently fast system, and I have a card with MPEG acceleration. I do have a nagging bug in NVIDIA's video driver that's annoying but it's rare (and NVIDIA says I'm the only one in the universe who has seen the problem).

But to me this is a hobby. I fiddle with the code to see how things work and I regularly break things but I always learn something new. In rare cases I'll learn something that applies to my day job.
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Re: Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:56 am Reply with quote
Scott Larson
 
Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 713
Location: Portland, OR




sonnik wrote:
I'm of the beleif that ATSC is a new standard, and it's not a huge source of cash for the stations that broadcast it. Think about it: it's not like stations broadcasting HDTV get better ad revenues (as of right now) simply for broadcasting in HDTV - so why should local stations put a lot of time and effort and money into the format currently?

This is a good point and is often difficult for newcomers to understand. There's a huge infrastructure in getting HDTV to your antenna. Any part of it can fail and make your HDTV experience miserable. People using niche HD products running free software on non-mainstream operating systems usually experience the problems the most.

One local station had an MPEG encoder that was failing and sending out a few packets of garbage every hour. Of course this data crashed xine and mplayer since it's pretty hard to test for every kind of unexpected data. I would have thought something was broken on my end but people watching on STB's told me their boxes were constantly reseting. People watching on cable would see their screen freeze for several seconds -- apparently the cable company's equipment was throwing away the bad data properly.

That's just one example. There's another station that running half power because they can't justify replacing an expensive tube that fried (they've gotten a waiver from the FCC for now), another station had constant audio problems until they upgraded to DD 5.1 and another that insists on carrying two unusable subchannels when it's clearly destroying their HD channel.

Then there are network problems like the WB giving my local station a pathetic 14 Mbps bitrate so everything pixelates and NBC distributing HD via Ku band so my local affiliate will get HD drop outs when it's raining (in Portland!).

When analog is having problems, stations put up that "Please Stand By -- Technical Difficulties" slate or at least put a crawling message on the bottom of the screen so you know they're working on it. Most stations don't even have equipment to insert a message into their own HD video! The only way to know they're screwing up is to call them. Many times your phone call is the first they've heard something is wrong.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:54 pm Reply with quote
wallyllama
 
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Posts: 18




Quote:
You're talking about free software. Naturally the software is certainly not as reliable as commercial products.


Scott, I agree with most of what you said, except for this line. I know someone who built a windows MCE based HTPC and is having a variety of problems, and when he has these problems he is stuck waiting for the next release, and has to hope that takes care of things. (mostly it doesn't). I've seen some of your posts on the mplayer hacks you've done, good work!

another point microsoft will only sell MCE to OEM's, there are ways to get it, newegg, etc, but basically microsoft doesn't feel it is ready for general consumption, too many variables. HP can control which hardware they use, so patching drivers becomes easier. I have a HD2k and a HD3k, so I've seen the improvement overtime. The drivers are pretty solid for me. I have some problems with display software, but if all I wanted to do was record OTA HD, no problem.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:33 am Reply with quote
Scott Larson
 
Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 713
Location: Portland, OR




wallyllama wrote:
Quote:
You're talking about free software. Naturally the software is certainly not as reliable as commercial products.


Scott, I agree with most of what you said, except for this line. I know someone who built a windows MCE based HTPC and is having a variety of problems, and when he has these problems he is stuck waiting for the next release, and has to hope that takes care of things. (mostly it doesn't). I've seen some of your posts on the mplayer hacks you've done, good work!

I was really refering to xine's and mplayer's difficulty with displaying HDTV. These applications in this context do not represent the quality of free software in the world.

These applilcations were never meant to play ATSC and to some degree they weren't designed to display HD. For example they can't display 1080i properly and they can't display ATSC captions. For reasons like this, I can't honestly tell people that these are complete HDTV applications, yet the software that comes with MyHD and other HDTV products are very complete. Sure, they have bugs but at least they're intended to support ATSC unlike xine and mplayer which were really intended to play DVD's and were hacked over the years to display DVB-T and ATSC.

And by commercial products I was really refering to STB HDTV receivers which sounds like what the original poster wants. The average STB receiver has improved dramatically over the past couple of years and are now totally complete and reliable HDTV products. These are the things to have if you just want to watch HDTV and not worry about kernel drivers or MPEG acceleration.

I can sympathize with anyone who reads the forums and wonders why on Earth we're banging our heads getting this stuff to work. For some people it's just fun to figure out to do things like display ATSC captions and smooth 1080i video. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:34 pm Reply with quote
wallyllama
 
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Posts: 18




I see what you are saying now. Linux is definitely oriented towards DIY. If you don't want to be locked into what commercial products offer, it is a great way to go. If you just want to watch TV. There are other solutions, that are probably easier to implement. Gee, don't I look smart for repeating what other people already said!
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Re: Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:59 am Reply with quote
inkling
 
Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Posts: 342




john.anthony.brown wrote:
I've tried them all and they all suck.

PCHDTVR included.

If there really is someone out there with a great setup that truly works as advertised - SPEAK UP NOW.

I've been using pchdtvr for over 10,000 hours on 3 HD3000's and 1 HD2000.

It ain't pretty, but it does what I want.

What was it you wanted again?

-ink
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What I was expecting
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:46 am Reply with quote
john.anthony.brown
 
Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 17




My admittedly whiny and rambling past came after several long hours of fighting with xine, mplayer and pchdtvr.

Each of those are at various states of sorta-working on my debian system.

My frustration is that a fairly decent powered system (by decent I mean the following: 1.8 ghz AMD athlon xp-socket 754, geforce 5200, 500mb memory) can only simetimes provide good results.

Some days the reception strength is great and mplayer handles the video decoding just fine. Other days (most days) reception is fair to midland (say around 85% when I run dtvsignal) but mplayer can't play more that a minute or two of the signal before crashing hard. Xine won't even compile. Tried patching and all that but it just plain won't do it. PCDHTVR has issues, too. Seems that sometimes I use it and it "locks" the device/driver such that it take a removal and reinsertion of the driver module to get it working again.

I'm 20 miles from 5 stations and consistenly see dtvsignal strength above 95%..

In other words - I have pretty decent conditions and hardware. What I feel is likely the issue is the software and drivers.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:18 pm Reply with quote
wallyllama
 
Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Posts: 18




Quote:
In other words - I have pretty decent conditions and hardware. What I feel is likely the issue is the software and drivers.


You probably went through most of this, so sorry if it is a repeat, but I would look at the following:

cpu usage, are you using hardware decoding of video? do you have a lot of cpu hogging desktop enhancements, like gdesklets? is playback good until the card locks up?

interrupt conflicts/sharing, for experimentation purposes, pull unused cards, turn off usb and firewire, maybe disable com and parallel ports.

you might visit the website of your motherboard manufacturer and do google searches and see if there are any known issues. I had usb device that wouldn't work, I put it in another machine and it worked perfectly.
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Re: What I was expecting
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:05 pm Reply with quote
inkling
 
Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Posts: 342




john.anthony.brown wrote:
PCDHTVR has issues, too. Seems that sometimes I use it and it "locks" the device/driver such that it take a removal and reinsertion of the driver module to get it working again.


Ah now we're getting somewhere. The HD3000 driver going south after a variable time, hours usually here, of signal scanning is a well-known problem to me, but I haven't figured out why it happens, until maybe now.

The problem is most likely worse because of latest additions to pchdtvr to do the auto-guide update. It didn't do near as many captures each day before that.

pchdtvr is somewhat aggressive in signal scanning, mostly because I have truly awful multipath signal reception issues. AOS (Acquisition Of Signal) does 10 signal strength samples in rapid-fire succession at the start of capture, then considers it good enough if 3 out of 10 are above 45%.

Why 10? Well, the old V4L2 driver needs 10 because of the tank circuit stabilization for the tuner phase locked loop. I think the Oren chip gets a carrier before the tuner tank circuit stabilizes, so the lock indication is asserted, but the tank is still getting up to full charge and the (SIG%) SNR readings ramp up over 5 or 6 signal scans.

That's all theory and speculation, of course, since I don't have the Oren specs or the tuner specs. I have absolutely no idea of how long you are supposed to wait between signal scans.

The DVB driver is just plain slower at signal scanning, so it might be able to get by with 5 samples instead of 10.

I rarely see 90%, usual good signal is around 75%, but have seen it do decent captures down to about 61%.

Sometimes I go two days without a problem, then other times I can't go 4 hours without reloading cx88-dvb. When I forget to replace the bad 2.6.13 v4l with the sep25 cvs snapshot, driver goes south in a few minutes.

Oddly enough, it never kills the driver DURING capture, because no signal scanning going on, but the 10 signal scans for AOS at start of capture on one card can take out the signal scan on another card, or kill the one card before the capture can even start.

My latest attempts on 2.6.13 involve increasing the delays in the i2c code in or51132.c and a total replacement of video4linux with a snapshot from video4linux CVS dated September 25.

I can provide those for download but they may only work for vanilla 2.6.13 due to the specific dated nature of the material.

It may not actually require the v4l CVS snapshot, if the real problem is in the i2c delays in or51132.c.

I haven't made the leap to 2.6.14 yet, but have a test running on a remote box with 2.6.14.something, with only the replacement or51132.c.

I botched the testing the past two days, am hoping I finally got all the software revisions correct.

A replacement or51132.c is in the -rc11-test archive.

It has the patch from patch-2.6.14 applied, plus mkrufky fix to handle SNR computational overflow from his recent linuxtv mailing list post, plus my re-arrangements of the SNR acquisition code.

http://www.nop.org/inkling/dtv/test/

It goes in /usr/src/linux/drivers/media/dvb/frontends/

make modules && make modules install, then reload all the v4l + dvb drivers.

Athlon 1800 is not going to capture and playback simultaneously very well. It may do 720p and SD material OK, but you'll probably want to watch 1080i material after the capture is done. The 5.1 surround is putting some stalls on my Athlon 2000 here, even without pchdtvr running.

They only recently started doing all 5.1 audio in 16:9 HD prime-time here. The 4:3 re-runs with their 2.0 audio don't max the CPU like 16:9 HD video and 5.1 audio does here.

May need to get a real soundcard that has proper pass-through so I can move the audio processing CPU workload to my surround receiver.

We both suffer with our 266 FSB CPUs, eh?

Thanks for the feedback!

-ink
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Re: What I was expecting
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:58 pm Reply with quote
Scott Larson
 
Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 713
Location: Portland, OR




john.anthony.brown wrote:
I'm 20 miles from 5 stations and consistenly see dtvsignal strength above 95%..

One of the odd things about ATSC is that strong signals can sometimes cause problems just like weak signals. I'm six miles from my local stations (all except one are transmitting 800-1000 kw ERP) but I had the most trouble with the strongest ones.

The problem was that the high signal strength was also creating strong multipath. This wasn't multipath from static objects or terrain. I'm talking multipath from cars. A couple of times an hour, conditions would line up so a passing car would knock a strong signal out for a second or two. dtvsignal would show a near perfect 95%, then drop to 40%-50%, then back to 95%.

The solution was simple. I moved my antenna away from the street. Even though dtvsignal shows lower numbers for all the stations (82%=92%) now, they stay steady the whole time and I don't have any more dropouts. Maybe someone should add a "print minimum quality" option to dtvsignal it will show that a dropout has happened.
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good test results
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:12 pm Reply with quote
inkling
 
Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Posts: 342




john.anthony.brown wrote:
What I feel is likely the issue is the software and drivers.


inkling wrote:
I haven't made the leap to 2.6.14 yet, but have a test running on a remote box with 2.6.14.something, with only the replacement or51132.c.


Checked in on the remote test machine, 1 day 15 hours and still signal scanning and still capturing. No lock-out.

Man, I wonder if that's been the whole problem? A lack of understanding of i2c delays in or51132.c.

I hesitate to call it fixed yet, because it has proven not to be so many times before, but it looks good so far.

-ink
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building a better signal strength meter
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:30 pm Reply with quote
inkling
 
Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Posts: 342




Scott Larson wrote:
Maybe someone should add a "print minimum quality" option to dtvsignal it will show that a dropout has happened.


If you use xsig in the pchdtvr archive, you can have 360 signal samples on the screen at once as a resizable X window polar chart of strength versus time. Sure makes it a lot easier to find dropouts and repetitive interference.

Also makes a cool pattern on the weak stations, but it's truly dull if your reception is good and steady.

sig -i0 -r1 27 32 35 38

Double left click to toggle full screen/window.

[q] key to quit.

It looks like this:

http://www.nop.org/inkling/dtv/plot.gif

-ink
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Anyone honestly have a decent hd3k setup?
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