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What type of hardware do I need?
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 1:34 pm Reply with quote
GammaPoint
 
Joined: 10 May 2008
Posts: 3




Hi, so I've got a couple pretty noobish questions.I'm building my first computer and would like to connect it to the new HDTV that I bought. I've never done this before and so if I could get some advice on the hardware I need that'd be great.

I'd like to run MythTV with Ubuntu. I was thinking about buying the pchd-5500 PVR card. This allows me to capture HD signals from the wall correct? But unless I'm really mistaken I still need to buy a video card to output movies on my computer's HD to the TV? Assuming this is the case, is there anything in specific that I should look for in a video card? (Note: I've never bought a video card either, my last computer had integrated graphics).

Also, is there any other hardware that I might want to buy?

Thanks for all your help!
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Re: What type of hardware do I need?
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 7:47 am Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299




GammaPoint wrote:
I was thinking about buying the pchd-5500 PVR card. This allows me to capture HD signals from the wall correct?

I'm not sure what you mean by "from the wall". If it means that you want to capture HD from a cable company's hook up, then forget it. Stop right there!

Almost all cable channels are encrypted, except for the local channels. And then they sometimes encrypt these too, illegally. The quality of cable channels is usually less, because they compress the signal so that they can cram more channels through the cable. The over-the-air (OTA) picture quality is usually superior, but may require the use of an outdoor antenna.

As for hardware. Keep in mind that this may be in your living space, and running 24/7. You would want to keep the fan noise down to the minimum. For video cards, nVidia is by far the best supported in Linux. Anything in the GeForce 6xxx range should be good, 7xxx series is OK too. I see NewEgg.com has several fanless models pretty cheap. I am using two fanless 5xxx and a 6600GT (w/fan). The more advanced features of the more expensive cards are not supported in Linux, and therefore a waste of money. One common method is to get a mother board with onboard nVidia graphics. I know that the nVidia 6150 graphics chip works great.

If you get a fanless card, maybe also look for a quiet way to cool the CPU. I don't have any knowledge on this subject, though.

Since you will need a way to remove the heat from inside of the case, I would look for a case with large fans. Using 120mm fans instead of 80mm is good. The 120mm fans are also quieter.

That'll give you some choices to mull over. If you don't need quiet, then it will be easier. If it will be dual boot with Windows, then a better (more expensive) card may be a good investment.

_________________
Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
Air2PC PCI
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 10:44 am Reply with quote
GammaPoint
 
Joined: 10 May 2008
Posts: 3




Thanks for the response waterhead.

Yes, from "the wall" I meant from the cable hookup, sorry about that. So on the video card, is there anything in particular that I should look for in terms of features? I just need a HDTV or DVI out correct? And it seems like most video cards have this anyway?


I've already bought my motherboard, CPU, power supply, and case. So I'm just trying to fill in the rest. I've got 120 mm fans on my case and on my power supply because, as you said, they are quieter.

So if I can't capture HD from the cable hookup, what is the PCHD-5500 card good for? It still captures non-HD signal perfectly well correct? And it will allow me to pause and rewind live TV?
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 12:32 pm Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299




Your best bet is to scan for cable channels, and see what you get. You may get lucky and find some unencrypted channels worth recording off of. Here is a link on setting up cable channels in MythTV:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Adding_Digital_Cable_Channels_%28For_ATSC/QAM_Tuner_Cards_--_USA/Canada%29

You can use the analog side of the card to record SD shows off of the cable box. You would use the analog outputs of the cable box, and the analog inputs of the HD5500. This would mean that you would be unable to use the digital tuner while the analog side is in use. To be honest, there are cheaper cards that will do a better job of this.

I would recommend using the HD5500 with MythTV for OTA digital/HDTV viewing and recording. The quality is stunning, when you get everything configured. NVidia cards can be difficult to get set up, here is a link on setting it up for MythTV:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/XvMC

As for video output, you can use almost anything. I used a ATI All-in Wonder on a frontend only PC. It only has VGA and S-video outputs, yet I was able to view everything using a lower resolution. I'd go with DVI or HDMI, if you want to output to a HDTV. Most (all) HDTV's don't have a DVI input. They do have HDMI and maybe component inputs. You can get a DVI to HDMI or DVI to component converter for cheap.

Also, you may have noticed that there is very little traffic on this forum. I think it is pitiful. The manufacturers of the pcHDTV cards seem to take little or no interest in helping their customers. This is still a good place for specific questions about the pcHDTV line of cards. But, for more general information about using Linux for HDTV, I recommend the Linux HTPC section of the AVS forums

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=76

_________________
Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
Air2PC PCI
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 7:47 pm Reply with quote
GammaPoint
 
Joined: 10 May 2008
Posts: 3




Thanks for all the info waterhead, I appreciate it. I'll go over and check the AVS forum if I have any more questions. I was suprised to have you answer this thread so quickly because of the lack of traffic through here.
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Re: What type of hardware do I need?
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 3:34 pm Reply with quote
rjp
 
Joined: 27 Feb 2008
Posts: 9




waterhead wrote:
One common method is to get a mother board with onboard nVidia graphics. I know that the nVidia 6150 graphics chip works great.


Be careful if you go this route, though. I have an XFX nForce 630i motherboard with an onboard 7150. The video works great, as long as I use DVI or VGA, and not the HDMI port. If I use HDMI, I get an overscan problem that I cannot correct.

A much worse problem isn't related to the video - this particular motherboard has an integrated Marvell 88E8056 gigabit NIC, which is absolutely abysmal on Ubuntu (Gutsy or Hardy). I can reliably lock up the system HARD by just using FTP or NFS on the LAN! My workaround was to drop an Intel PRO/1000 PT card into the PCIe X1 slot.

Regarding cases, the Antec Fusion case is quite nice - my Core 2 Duo E8400 and the hard drives stay quite cool, and the case is very quiet.

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What type of hardware do I need?
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