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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On Apr 15, 2006, at 9:12 PM, Sam Varshavchik wrote:

> Brian Wood writes:
>
>> It's a configuration option, and since they won't give out the
>> config file they used to compile their kernel they made it harder
>> than it needed to be to straighten out.
>
> That's not true. Everything you need to rebuild their kernel is in
> the .src.rpm
>
> I've done it. Everything is there.

OK, I was just going by the following statement in their docs:

"Fedora Core 5 does not include the kernel-source package provided by
older versions, instead, configured sources are available as
described..."

They go on to describe a nine-step process complete with 3 black-box
warnings.

Why is is so complicated, it used to be just install one package, one
step, and the package was included. What was wrong with that, unless
for some reason they just want to make it difficult.

Anyway, if somebody can tell me what video card to purchase that will
run the software I want to run (which is all open source BTW), with
an open-source driver, I will order it tomorrow.

And let's end this thread, it's got way too OT :-)


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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
Brian Wood writes:

>
> On Apr 15, 2006, at 9:12 PM, Sam Varshavchik wrote:
>
>> Brian Wood writes:
>>
>>> It's a configuration option, and since they won't give out the
>>> config file they used to compile their kernel they made it harder
>>> than it needed to be to straighten out.
>>
>> That's not true. Everything you need to rebuild their kernel is in
>> the .src.rpm
>>
>> I've done it. Everything is there.
>
> OK, I was just going by the following statement in their docs:
>
> "Fedora Core 5 does not include the kernel-source package provided by
> older versions, instead, configured sources are available as
> described..."
>
> They go on to describe a nine-step process complete with 3 black-box
> warnings.
>
> Why is is so complicated, it used to be just install one package, one
> step, and the package was included. What was wrong with that, unless
> for some reason they just want to make it difficult.

The answer you got was the correct one. The size of the full, uncompressed
kernel source has violently exploded in the space of a few short years. It's
really mind boggling. I don't like it any more than you do. The kernel has
gotten completely out of hand, and it's got more problems than ever. One of
my machines can't boot anything newer than 2.6.13. Some kind of a bug
gotten into the interrupt handler of the Adaptec SCSI module, that
apparently gets triggered on certain hardware configurations. So I've been
sitting since last year, with my thumb stuck up my ass, waiting for someone
to fix it. Still waiting.

About four years ago -- I forget whether it was Red Hat 5.0 or 6.0 that I
upgraded to -- something similar happened -- the new kernel was croaking on
me. I noticed that "noapic" worked around the bug, and, having the last
working kernel as a reference, I was actually able to figure out what stupid
thing someone did to ioapic.c, and I was able to actually fix it. That
surprised me, more than anyone else. But that was then. This is now. I
can't do this any more. The kernel can no longer be hacked unless you want
to make a career of it.

Now, throw into the mix a binary black box blob, that who knows what it
really does, and it just DOES NOT WORK. Not at least unless someone's
paying you for this. I haven't really checked, but I'm pretty sure that
RHAS is more binary-friendly, and ships with some binary-only stuff. That's
because Red Hat gets paid for distributing it. And they don't get paid for
distributing Fedora. That's the key difference.

The full-blown source package is really only needed by someone who's more
likely to grab a tarball off kernel.org anyway. Really, very few, few
people ever need to look at the whole thing. The current kernel source
package is a reasonable compromise. It contains everything that should be
needed to build external kernel modules. I was able to build new versions
of ALSA, lirc, and ivtv using it, and that's more than most people really
need to do with it.ever do with it.

> Anyway, if somebody can tell me what video card to purchase that will
> run the software I want to run (which is all open source BTW), with
> an open-source driver, I will order it tomorrow.

Same here.
Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> In this post: <http://mythtv.org/pipermail/mythtv-users/2006-April/132083.html>
> Jeff Simpson states "Don't buy a PVR-350 for any purpose."
> Jeff, if you are reading this, can you elaborate?

Everybody says the PVR-350 is great. It is. It's just not worth it
anymore. If I could go back and do it again I'd buy a 150 and an
NVidia card with TV Out (if anybody wants to trade, I'd love to)

The PVR-350 is the same as a 150 or 250, but includes "TV Out"

This TV Out comes in two types, MPEG decoding and framebuffer

MPEG decoding works great, so long as you only want to watch mpeg2,
and you only want to watch it from start to finish. If you want to do
things like fast forward, rewind, or other myth-like features, you
can't use the MPEG decoder. In face, the mpeg decoder only barely
works at the moment in 0.19, and there is no plan to support it in the
future, everyone is expected to go to using the framebuffer in the
future.

The framebuffer is a different beast altogether. If you are going to
be only using the framebuffer X output, you can compare that output to
an Nvidia output as follows:

PVR-150 + Nvidia card = $cheap
PVR-350 = $expensive

Nvidia = OpenGL, Hardware Acceleration, simple installation, higher resolution
PVR-350: PITA to set up, only supports XV scaling, no other accelerations.

Nvidia: fast
PVR-350 framebuffer: slow

Nvidia: doesn't use cpu
PVR-350 framebuffer: eats cpu

NVidia: can display the console, bios, and bootup of the machine
PVR-350: can't do anything until X loads

With the PVR-350 you can't:
- use mythgame (emulators all need hardware support to go fullscreen)
- use mythmusic GL visualizations
- use StepMania (which would be really cool in Myth, in my opinion)
- fast forward or rewind using the mpeg decoder

Oh, also - there's an outstanding bug at the moment where if you use
XV the output jitters if the PVR card is also encoding something at
the same time.

Also - Myth may be going to OpenGL for the menus in the near future.
That means that Myth will be going off in a new direction and leaving
the PVR-350 behind, since the 350 will never support OpenGL.

I'll admit I didn't read through the entire thread here, but that
basically sums up the PVR-350. If you ONLY want to use myth to watch
mpeg2 recordings, you can get away with using a PVR-350. If you want
to use the other features of the wonderful Mythical Convergence box,
use a more multi-purpose output, like an nVidia card.

All that being said, I've done a lot of work to try to make the
PVR-350 easier to set up and use, and I've posted a lot about fixing
"the green screen" problem, as well as how to compile the XV driver.
I've gotten non-mpeg2 videos and dvds to play with much hassle, but
these are all things that just work out of the box with an nvidia
card.

- Jeff
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> Support for the MPEG decoder is getting dropped? This alarms me. I am
> currently using my 350's S-video output for all the video to my TV. Is
> this going to quit working?
>
> I don't care if the change is transparent and the net effect is that the
> 350 works the same but uses a different mechanism to provide its
> output... but can you spare a minute to clarify what dropping the MPEG
> decoder support will mean in practical terms?

In practical terms:

Go into the setup and un-check the box labelled "Use PVR-350 MPEG
Decoder". Now watch a recording / TV / etc. If it works fine, all is
well, that is what it will be like if you don't use the MPEG decoder.

If it looks jumpy, jittery, laggy, eats up cpu, and crashes, that's
also what you have to look forward to. Some people get different
results.

- Jeff
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> That's wrong. My PVR-350 works splendidly here, with Myth TV 0.19, and I
> see no reason why the PVR-350 would stop working in the future, since the
> only difference between this model, and the others, is the TV-Out plug.

Try fast forwarding. Try mythmusic GL visualizations. Try MythGame,
MythVideo, MythDVD.

The PVR-350 will still *work* in the future, but the MPEG decoding
won't be supported in Myth. SO sure, the card will still work, but
without the entire reason for picking a 350 over a 150. If you have a
PVR-350, by all means, continue using it, but I wouldn't want somebody
to shell out the extra $$ to buy one new when they should be buying a
150 or 500 and an nVidia card instead.

> There's been some misinformation floating around the PVR-350, lately. There
> are two ways of sending the TV-Out signal out of the PVR-350. One, is using
> the native MPEG decoder in the PVR-350, the other is through the PVR-350's
> framebuffer.

Not misinformation, unless it's from somebody mis-interpreting correct
information. There are two ways to do TV-Out with the 350, and both of
them are severely limited for what Myth needs.

> The only thing that's happening is that the support for the MPEG decoder is
> getting dropped. Which nobody really cares about, because it's always been
> clunky. The PVR-350's framebuffer will continue to work, and it's actually
> the better option of the two.

The mpeg decoding is the one that works correctly, the framebuffer is
the one that's clunky for most people. The only time mpeg decoding
fails is when you need to throw something that isn't an mpeg at it (or
change the speed/location of the currently playing mpeg. It's just a
decoder, not a player). framebuffer borks on anything that isn't plain
old 2D and slow-motion. Oh, and it takes out your console when it
goes, too.

> I also like the IR receiver that's bundled with the PVR-350. It makes
> things much, much easier. Saves you whole bit of trouble trying to hack
> together an IR receiver of your own.

Don't the other PVR cards have that same IR receiver?

- Jeff
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Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 14:21:21 -0600
From: Brian Wood <beww@beww.org>

A 250 is more or less moot, since you can't buy them new anymore
AFAIK, but you might find one used someplace, whether it's worth
buying would depend o the price.

A pricegrabber.com search for "pvr-250" lists 26 vendors. Sorted by
"bottomline price," the very first one (Provantage) claims they have
193 of the WinTV-PVR 250 PCI (Hauppauge 980) in stock. Presumably
vendors are selling out their stock, but many at least claim to still
have them. Roughly $130. (Despite recent support for closed-captioning
on the 150/500's [without which they are complete non-starters for my
application], I've heard of enough other people fiddling around with
getting things to work that I may just get another couple 250's for
now even though they're more expensive, because I -know- they'll work
in my configuration, before I upgrade to possibly-less-stable ivtv &
kernel versions, etc. I'd rather burn some money and save my time.)

[.ivtv reports my current 250's as "model = 32032" during boot, and my
sales slips report -those- as model 980's, so presumably they're the
same things.]

Whoa! And Provantage is -also- claiming they have 313 -350's- in
stock, and they're charging $4 less ($122 vs $126) for them. That's
interesting, too... [Type 990.] Maybe I should get 350's 'cause,
hey, why not, they're cheaper & functionally equivalent to 250's if
you're just capturing video. [.Though they don't have composite
video-in unless you add one of the additional composite/S-video input
cable set, and -those- require a version of ivtv > 0.4.0 and hence a
newish kernel (looks like 0.6.0, judging from mail to ivtv-users but
missing from the changelog---I'll file a docbug on that). My
application will probably require composite-in, but OTOH it'll be
running on another machine from the current backends I'm running, so I
could use it to test the stability of recent ivtv's for my needs, and
I already -have- 3 of the expansion thingies I'm not using and wish I
could either use or sell to someone... Decisions, decisions.]

[.Everyone but Dell claims "in stock" in pricegrabber's listing;
I haven't gone to any other individual websites to see how many,
for those that say.]
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Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 16:44:51 -0400
> From: "Michael T. Dean" <mtdean@thirdcontact.com>

> On 04/15/2006 03:51 PM, Sam Varshavchik wrote:
> > Scott Karlin writes:
> >> In this post:
> >> <http://mythtv.org/pipermail/mythtv-users/2006-April/132083.html>
> >> Jeff Simpson states "Don't buy a PVR-350 for any purpose."
> >> Jeff, if you are reading this, can you elaborate?
> >
> > That's wrong. My PVR-350 works splendidly here, with Myth TV 0.19,
> > and I see no reason why the PVR-350 would stop working in the future,
> > since the only difference between this model, and the others, is the
> > TV-Out plug.

> The PVR-350 is a PVR-250 with a hardware decoder that can /only/ be used
> if using the PVR-350's TV out. (And, BTW, the PVR-150 is a newer,
> smaller, better, cheaper version of the PVR-250.) So, buying a PVR-350
> = buying a PVR-{1,2}50 and paying extra for a hardware decoder and TV out.

See my previous mail; at least one vendor is now selling the 350 for
-less- than the 250, interestingly enough, and both have come down in price.

Also, several months ago, someone posted a URL comparing image quality
and the 150 had a much softer look to it than the 250/350---a look I
personally found objectionable. It would be nice if someone could
repeat the experiment, since for all we know ivtv had a hand in it,
too, and ivtv's changed a whole lot since then. (I could -probably-
dig up the URL if required.) This quality difference (and many
reports of instability from the tuner-of-the-week approach Hauppauge
is taking wrt the 150 and 500's, and the 500's FM-radio interference
issues, and the CC issues below) is why I'm holding off on 150/500's,
though they've been fine for many users---but some users just can't
get them to work reliably. There have been many reports of "first
tuner can't tune lowband video" which are quite probably FM issues,
and reports of "one of the two tuners is DOA", and things like that.

[.The rapidity with which Hauppauge keeps introducing new tuner types
makes me quite willing to spend an extra $40-60 per card and not roll
the dice that I'll get a card that ivtv doesn't even support yet, and
I believe that many of the newer tuner types are only supported in
0.6.0, which means you need kernel 2.6.16 or newer.]

Btw, I'm seeing ranges from $60-80 for various types of PVR-150
via pricegrabber, so depending on what you want, it might not be a $60
card you're comparing against.]

Also, I believe that 150/500's have -much- more finicky RF front-ends
and will give horrible results on weak signals, compared to the 250/350
series---or so I recall from list traffic.

Also, if you need NTSC closed-captioning support, it's patched into
ivtv for the 150/500 but (I -think-) hasn't actually been released
yet except perhaps in the SVN versions. This will presumably be a
very short-term issue.

> So, the question becomes, why would I pay $110 extra for a PVR-350 to
> get less capability than I can get from a $40 video card (like an NVIDIA
> GF5200). Then, I can take the extra $70 I saved an get a second PVR-150...

Yes, yes, you have buyer's remorse over your 350 and have mentioned
this -every- time someone's mentioned that card... :)
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Apr 16, 2006 at 02:29:35AM -0400, f-myth-users@media.mit.edu wrote:
>
> Also, several months ago, someone posted a URL comparing image quality
> and the 150 had a much softer look to it than the 250/350---a look I
> personally found objectionable. It would be nice if someone could
> repeat the experiment, since for all we know ivtv had a hand in it,
> too, and ivtv's changed a whole lot since then. (I could -probably-
> dig up the URL if required.) This quality difference (and many
> reports of instability from the tuner-of-the-week approach Hauppauge
> is taking wrt the 150 and 500's, and the 500's FM-radio interference
> issues, and the CC issues below) is why I'm holding off on 150/500's,
> though they've been fine for many users---but some users just can't
> get them to work reliably. There have been many reports of "first
> tuner can't tune lowband video" which are quite probably FM issues,
> and reports of "one of the two tuners is DOA", and things like that.
>
> [.The rapidity with which Hauppauge keeps introducing new tuner types
> makes me quite willing to spend an extra $40-60 per card and not roll
> the dice that I'll get a card that ivtv doesn't even support yet, and
> I believe that many of the newer tuner types are only supported in
> 0.6.0, which means you need kernel 2.6.16 or newer.]
>
> Btw, I'm seeing ranges from $60-80 for various types of PVR-150
> via pricegrabber, so depending on what you want, it might not be a $60
> card you're comparing against.]
>
> Also, I believe that 150/500's have -much- more finicky RF front-ends
> and will give horrible results on weak signals, compared to the 250/350
> series---or so I recall from list traffic.

My take on this is that the 250/350 boards *may* have better video
quality over the 150/500. Also, assuming I don't bother with the
TV-out on the 350, the video capture functionality is the same
across the line. The product differences (relavant to Linux) seem
along the lines of (1) baseband audio connector type, (2) IR jack
present or not, (3) remote included or not, (4) single/dual tuner,
and (5) cost.

Thanks to all who have responded on this thread, it's been very
informative.

Scott

http://www.appliedmiscellany.com
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
Jeff Simpson writes:

>> In this post: <http://mythtv.org/pipermail/mythtv-users/2006-April/132083.html>
>> Jeff Simpson states "Don't buy a PVR-350 for any purpose."
>> Jeff, if you are reading this, can you elaborate?
>
> Everybody says the PVR-350 is great. It is. It's just not worth it
> anymore. If I could go back and do it again I'd buy a 150 and an
> NVidia card with TV Out (if anybody wants to trade, I'd love to)

When Nvidia's hardware is supported by free software, I'll buy this myself.

> The framebuffer is a different beast altogether. If you are going to
> be only using the framebuffer X output, you can compare that output to
> an Nvidia output as follows:
>
> PVR-150 + Nvidia card = $cheap
> PVR-350 = $expensive

PVR-350 = free software drivers that will continue to work as long as anyone
is willing to hack at it.

PVR-150 + Nvidia card = if Nvidia ever decides to stop releasing their
binary drivers for some business reason, you'll have a very nice doorstop on
your hands.
Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
Jeff Simpson writes:

>> That's wrong. My PVR-350 works splendidly here, with Myth TV 0.19, and I
>> see no reason why the PVR-350 would stop working in the future, since the
>> only difference between this model, and the others, is the TV-Out plug.
>
> Try fast forwarding. Try mythmusic GL visualizations. Try MythGame,
> MythVideo, MythDVD.
>
> The PVR-350 will still *work* in the future, but the MPEG decoding
> won't be supported in Myth. SO sure, the card will still work, but
> without the entire reason for picking a 350 over a 150.

No, Mpeg decoding is not the entire reason for picking a 350 over the 150.
There's also TV-Out, which seems to work fine from my limited testing --
and that includes fastforwarding.

> change the speed/location of the currently playing mpeg. It's just a
> decoder, not a player). framebuffer borks on anything that isn't plain
> old 2D and slow-motion. Oh, and it takes out your console when it
> goes, too.

No it doesn't. :-)

The trick is to boot with the VESA framebuffer. Then, ivtv-fb ends up
grabbing /dev/fb1, and your system framebuffer continues to chug along at
/dev/fb0. ivtv-fb takes out the console only if it grabs /dev/fb0.

I'll be hacking at this in the coming weeks, but so far I see nothing that
might prevent me from running my normal X desktop on the system video card,
and a second instance of X running off PVR-350's framebuffer, that uses the
IR receiver as input, and runs _ONLY_ myth.

My goal is to get X kicked off on the framebuffer early during boot, running
myth as the client, with the rest of the boot continuing normally into gdm,
and my normal desktop.

The tricky thing here is squaring away the X inputs. Even if I do not set
up any InputDevice, Xorg grabs the mouse using its default built-in
configuration. I don't want it to do that. The mouse, and the keyboard, is
for my main X desktop.

The apparent misconception here is that the PVR-350 is an all-or-nothing
deal. That's not true. Certainly the PVR-350's framebuffer is not a
substitute for a regular X desktop. Nobody said that it was. The only
thing you need the PVR-350's framebuffer for is to run myth off it, and so
far you don't need 3D accel for that.
Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> When Nvidia's hardware is supported by free software, I'll buy this myself.

Nvidia IS supported by free software. There is an open-source driver that works.

HOWEVER nvidia ALSO releases their own binary driver, out of the
goodness of their hearts. And it works great and supports ALL the
features of the card.

I don't see Hauppauge jumping up to release ANY drivers for their
hardware. They are all about saying "Works in Linux / MythTV", but
they won't even release register maps for their hardware to
developers, we've had to reverse engineer. The ivtv driver was written
by somebody from what I assume was reverse engineering the windows
driver and reading the specs for the various chips on the card.

Remember that company that had open-source linux drivers, Matrox?
Neither do I. They just couldn't keep up with the competition.

> PVR-350 = free software drivers that will continue to work as long as anyone
> is willing to hack at it.

It's not a driver issue, the driver for the PVR-350 works. The
hardware itself is limited, it just doesn't do everything myth needs
it to anymore.

The nvidia card will also continue to work as long as people want to
hack it. Or more likely, no hacking is needed, since they can just use
the binary driver.

> PVR-150 + Nvidia card = if Nvidia ever decides to stop releasing their
> binary drivers for some business reason, you'll have a very nice doorstop on
> your hands.

Or you still have the driver that was already working? It's not going
to just STOP working when they flip the switch.

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith with hardware.
Hardware has a life cycle, and sometimes it gets too old to support
any longer. If a company is no longer releasing binary drivers,
chances are the open-source developers would also no longer be
dedicating their time to the project. Try and find open-source support
for an old ATI Rage-based All-in-wonder card. It's just too old for
open-source developers to care about any longer.

- Jeff
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On 04/16/2006 11:43 PM, Jeff Simpson wrote:
> I don't see Hauppauge jumping up to release ANY drivers for their
> hardware. They are all about saying "Works in Linux / MythTV", but
> they won't even release register maps for their hardware to
> developers, we've had to reverse engineer. The ivtv driver was written
> by somebody from what I assume was reverse engineering the windows
> driver and reading the specs for the various chips on the card.
>

In truth, Hauppauge isn't quite as bad as this makes them sound.
They've been /very/ forthcoming with information /they own/ about their
cards. Unfortunately, they build their cards from components made by
other manufacturers whose NDA's prevent Hauppauge from releasing
information about those components and their internal workings.

Mike
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> No, Mpeg decoding is not the entire reason for picking a 350 over the 150.
> There's also TV-Out, which seems to work fine from my limited testing --
> and that includes fastforwarding.

If you're not using the mpeg decoding, you're not getting anything a
$20 nvidia card won't get you.

You may well be the only one. Read up on the multiple threads and open
tickets about fast-forwarding not working when using mpeg decode mode,
and the jittering output when encoding and playing with XV at the same
time.

> > change the speed/location of the currently playing mpeg. It's just a
> > decoder, not a player). framebuffer borks on anything that isn't plain
> > old 2D and slow-motion. Oh, and it takes out your console when it
> > goes, too.
>
> No it doesn't. :-)

Ok, I admit, it's only in rare cases, but it happens often enough to people.

> I'll be hacking at this in the coming weeks, but so far I see nothing that
> might prevent me from running my normal X desktop on the system video card,
> and a second instance of X running off PVR-350's framebuffer, that uses the
> IR receiver as input, and runs _ONLY_ myth.

That's my current setup. Here are the problems I ran into:

In xorg pre-6.9, you can only have one active output at a time. That
means that if you switch to the "normal" x session, the pvr-350
x-session stops displaying, and vice-versa. Also, when you switch to
the myth x-session, the monitors turn a cool collection of pinks and
purples (but it does work).

The good news is that the mpeg decoder still works when you switch to
the "normal" x session, so you can watch tv with the remote while
using normal X. If you want to use the framebuffer (ie, the menus),
you need to switch to that terminal.

In xorg >6.9, you can use "sharevts" to allow multiple x sessions to
be active at once. It works, it will use both sessions at the same
time, myth listens to just the remote, x listens to the keyboard and
mouse. HOWEVER: the xdriver / framebuffer eats up 99% of the CPU, with
no known resolution. I assume it has something to do with the fact
that it's a framebuffer and not a real video card.

> My goal is to get X kicked off on the framebuffer early during boot, running
> myth as the client, with the rest of the boot continuing normally into gdm,
> and my normal desktop.

> The tricky thing here is squaring away the X inputs. Even if I do not set
> up any InputDevice, Xorg grabs the mouse using its default built-in
> configuration. I don't want it to do that. The mouse, and the keyboard, is
> for my main X desktop.

-sharevts is the solution. But like I said, it doesn't yet work right.

> The apparent misconception here is that the PVR-350 is an all-or-nothing
> deal. That's not true. Certainly the PVR-350's framebuffer is not a
> substitute for a regular X desktop. Nobody said that it was. The only
> thing you need the PVR-350's framebuffer for is to run myth off it, and so
> far you don't need 3D accel for that.

My point was that a mythbox is NOT a PVR. It's a "mythical convergence
box", a box where you do anything / everything related to your
computer, media, tv, etc. If you just want to watch TV, the PVR-350
works great. There's just SO MANY other things that are great with
mythTV, why limit yourself?

And yes "so far" is the key word. I see no reason why myth wouldn't go
to 3D acceleration, and there aren't currently any myth developers who
develop for the capabilities of the PVR-350, so unless somebody jumps
up to the task, the development will continue off into the "doesn't
work on the 350" land.

and if you want multiple x-sessions at once, you can still just get
multiple video cards, that's always worked.
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
> In truth, Hauppauge isn't quite as bad as this makes them sound.
> They've been /very/ forthcoming with information /they own/ about their
> cards. Unfortunately, they build their cards from components made by
> other manufacturers whose NDA's prevent Hauppauge from releasing
> information about those components and their internal workings.
>
> Mike

Oh, ok, I take that back, then. When I was wrestling with the "my
PVR-350 output is green" problem back when I guess I was one of the
first people with the revision 991 of the card, I asked them
personally for a register map, so that I wouldn't have to randomly
poke values in there and hope that I didn't break anything. They said
"no", so I ended up having to reverse-engineer to the best of my
ability what those registers were for. It worked, but I would have
much preferred a binary driver for it all said and done.

- Jeff
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
--- Jeff Simpson <jeffsimpson@alum.wpi.edu> wrote:

> > No, Mpeg decoding is not the entire reason for
> picking a 350 over the 150.
> > There's also TV-Out, which seems to work fine from
> my limited testing --
> > and that includes fastforwarding.
>
> If you're not using the mpeg decoding, you're not
> getting anything a
> $20 nvidia card won't get you.
>
<snip>

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. The
PVR-350, (granted, in my opinion) has the best
TV-output that I've seen on a PC-based component. It
has the huge advantage of being able to automatically
de-interlace when playing back interlaced content with
an algorithm that is apparently much better than
MythTV's BOB, and also handles the vertical sync/page
flipping with accurate precision (as opposed to OpenGL
vsync, which is close, but still not perfect).

Now, as I've said before, and I'll say again, if you
have a decent CPU (to use Xv support), and all you
intend to do is watch content, then the PVR-350 is the
best card to get. For anything else though (though, I
will say, there are some people that don't use
MythGame or MythMusic, etc.), I prefer a GeForce
5200FX.

Of course, with OpenGL making it's way into the SVN
builds, it will require an even faster CPU to make the
PVR-350 to work.

-- Joe

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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On Apr 16, 2006, at 9:50 PM, Michael T. Dean wrote:

> On 04/16/2006 11:43 PM, Jeff Simpson wrote:
>> I don't see Hauppauge jumping up to release ANY drivers for their
>> hardware. They are all about saying "Works in Linux / MythTV", but
>> they won't even release register maps for their hardware to
>> developers, we've had to reverse engineer. The ivtv driver was
>> written
>> by somebody from what I assume was reverse engineering the windows
>> driver and reading the specs for the various chips on the card.
>>
>
> In truth, Hauppauge isn't quite as bad as this makes them sound.
> They've been /very/ forthcoming with information /they own/ about
> their
> cards. Unfortunately, they build their cards from components made by
> other manufacturers whose NDA's prevent Hauppauge from releasing
> information about those components and their internal workings.


I agree, Hauppauge has been as forthcoming as they can be and should
be commended.

What I don't understand is why nVidia behaves the way they do. They
certainly *do* own the information about how their devices work, and
I really don't see how releasing the information could hurt them, and
although increased sales to the oopen software community might be
minor, any sale is a good sale.

In order for any normal user to make any use of the information they
have to have purchased their hardware. Are they worried about the
competition (ATI?) learning something that might give them a
competitive edge? I frankly doubt that would happen.

This is nothing new with graphics cards, I recall having to purchase
an X server from X-Inside or Metro-X in order to get full support for
a Mach-64 card under Linux, under slakware with a 1.2 kernel IIRC.
(BTW, Happy Birthday Patrick Volkerding recently).

Is there a logical reason for all this secrecy, or is it just the
same thing that drives the military to classify the recipe for
creamed-chipped-beef?
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Apr 16, 2006 at 10:02:04PM -0600, Brian Wood wrote:
> Is there a logical reason for all this secrecy, or is it just the
> same thing that drives the military to classify the recipe for
> creamed-chipped-beef?

My favorite non-answer is "we're violating someone else's patents, and if we
released that information, they'd be able to tell."

Cheers,
-- jra
--
Jay R. Ashworth jra@baylink.com
Designer Baylink RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates The Things I Think '87 e24
St Petersburg FL USA http://baylink.pitas.com +1 727 647 1274

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet and in e-mail?
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
--- Brian Wood <beww@beww.org> wrote:

>
> On Apr 16, 2006, at 9:50 PM, Michael T. Dean wrote:
>
> > On 04/16/2006 11:43 PM, Jeff Simpson wrote:
> >> I don't see Hauppauge jumping up to release ANY
> drivers for their
> >> hardware. They are all about saying "Works in
> Linux / MythTV", but
> >> they won't even release register maps for their
> hardware to
> >> developers, we've had to reverse engineer. The
> ivtv driver was
> >> written
> >> by somebody from what I assume was reverse
> engineering the windows
> >> driver and reading the specs for the various
> chips on the card.
> >>
> >
> > In truth, Hauppauge isn't quite as bad as this
> makes them sound.
> > They've been /very/ forthcoming with information
> /they own/ about
> > their
> > cards. Unfortunately, they build their cards from
> components made by
> > other manufacturers whose NDA's prevent Hauppauge
> from releasing
> > information about those components and their
> internal workings.
>
>
> I agree, Hauppauge has been as forthcoming as they
> can be and should
> be commended.
>
> What I don't understand is why nVidia behaves the
> way they do. They
> certainly *do* own the information about how their
> devices work, and
> I really don't see how releasing the information
> could hurt them, and
> although increased sales to the oopen software
> community might be
> minor, any sale is a good sale.
>
> In order for any normal user to make any use of the
> information they
> have to have purchased their hardware. Are they
> worried about the
> competition (ATI?) learning something that might
> give them a
> competitive edge? I frankly doubt that would happen.
>
> This is nothing new with graphics cards, I recall
> having to purchase
> an X server from X-Inside or Metro-X in order to get
> full support for
> a Mach-64 card under Linux, under slakware with a
> 1.2 kernel IIRC.
> (BTW, Happy Birthday Patrick Volkerding recently).
>
> Is there a logical reason for all this secrecy, or
> is it just the
> same thing that drives the military to classify the
> recipe for
> creamed-chipped-beef?
> _______________________________________________
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> mythtv-users@mythtv.org
>
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>

Unfortunately, nVidia doesn't have the rights to
distribute information about all of the components in
their video cards/drivers. There are parts of code
and hardware that they license from other people. A
good example of this would be the TV-out chips before
they started making their own (at one point, they used
to use Brooktree/Conexant TV-out chips).

Some of the technology is patented, some of it is
trade secrets.

Believe me, their competition could learn a great deal
from just their drivers, since drivers are an
interface to the hardware. As an example, the
competition might see in the driver some great way to
shrink down a transfer of data implemented in the
driver (which exposes how the hardware works), and
decide to then add that logic to their next graphics
chip.

I'm not saying that I like the binary drivers (I would
rather have open-source drivers that can do the
frills, like hardware accelerated OpenGL), but they're
better than nothing. The way I see it, it's just like
Windows, except that typically Microsoft doesn't
change the API on a whim within the same kernel
revision (which leads to problems of itself, but
that's a different discussion). :)

-- Joe

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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On 04/16/2006 11:59 PM, Joe Votour wrote:
> I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. The
> PVR-350, (granted, in my opinion) has the best
> TV-output that I've seen on a PC-based component. It
> has the huge advantage of being able to automatically
> de-interlace when playing back interlaced content with
> an algorithm that is apparently much better than
> MythTV's BOB

Actually, I think it just outputs the interlaced recording without
change (because NTSC and PAL are interlaced). The video card can't
generally do this because of a plethora of scaling/refresh/mode issues.

(That being said, when properly configured, NVIDIA TV out on a good
NVIDIA-based card can look really good and doesn't have to be
expensive. I paid less than $40 for my Chaintech GF4MX440 and it has
very good TV out.)

See also http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/197854#197854 .

Mike
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On 04/17/2006 12:11 AM, Joe Votour wrote:
> Believe me, their competition could learn a great deal
> from just their drivers, since drivers are an
> interface to the hardware. As an example, the
> competition might see in the driver some great way to
> shrink down a transfer of data implemented in the
> driver (which exposes how the hardware works), and
> decide to then add that logic to their next graphics
> chip.

I really think this argument is like the argument that software
copy-protection schemes prevent piracy. Generally, they only stop the
people that aren't the problem (end users) instead of stopping those
with the time/interest/equipment/money (large-scale pirates, or the
competition).

In other words, good luck trying to convince me that ATI isn't paying a
team of developers to reverse engineer NVIDIA's drivers /and/ hardware
(and vice versa). After all, look how closely capabilities and even
designs have been tracking over the years. I don't think that's
completely the "free market" effect ensuring the people get what they want.

And, as a matter of fact, binary-only drivers aren't even stopping end
users from (at least partially) reverse engineering the
drivers--reference the Windows Omega Drivers (
http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) and other similar projects.

Mike
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
--- "Michael T. Dean" <mtdean@thirdcontact.com> wrote:

> On 04/17/2006 12:11 AM, Joe Votour wrote:
> > Believe me, their competition could learn a great
> deal
> > from just their drivers, since drivers are an
> > interface to the hardware. As an example, the
> > competition might see in the driver some great way
> to
> > shrink down a transfer of data implemented in the
> > driver (which exposes how the hardware works), and
> > decide to then add that logic to their next
> graphics
> > chip.
>
> I really think this argument is like the argument
> that software
> copy-protection schemes prevent piracy. Generally,
> they only stop the
> people that aren't the problem (end users) instead
> of stopping those
> with the time/interest/equipment/money (large-scale
> pirates, or the
> competition).
>

Wow, we're now w-a-y off-topic. :)

I agree. Copy protection doesn't stop the determined
pirate. I'll admit to having cracked a couple of old
Commodore 64 games that I bought because the darned
blue on maroon code pages really annoyed me.

> In other words, good luck trying to convince me that
> ATI isn't paying a
> team of developers to reverse engineer NVIDIA's
> drivers /and/ hardware
> (and vice versa). After all, look how closely
> capabilities and even
> designs have been tracking over the years. I don't
> think that's
> completely the "free market" effect ensuring the
> people get what they want.
>

I wouldn't even try to convince you. But, I would
counter by saying that the committees who make
decisions on what features are to be included in the
newest versions of DirectX and OpenGL mainly determine
the capabilities (which in turn, drive the designs).
And, they probably are paying teams to
reverse-engineer the drivers.

> And, as a matter of fact, binary-only drivers aren't
> even stopping end
> users from (at least partially) reverse engineering
> the
> drivers--reference the Windows Omega Drivers (
> http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) and other similar
> projects.
>

No, binary drivers aren't stopping them. Back when I
was in my teenage years, I used to
disassemble/reverse-engineer quite a few programs
written in 6510 assembly language to figure out what
they do (and how they do it). However, that's trivial
compared trying to reverse-engineer something written
in C/C++ nowadays. The key is to be able to keep the
competition out long enough to bridge them to the next
design (which has some newer code to go with it).

I don't like the binary-only drivers situation a whole
lot myself. But, I can understand the business
perspective - as a software developer in a startup, I
know that I'd be pretty pissed if my company gave away
our "intellectual property", even to customers who
bought our hardware, without taking steps to ensure
that it wasn't properly locked up.

-- Joe

> Mike
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
I'm jumping in on this late but figured I'd add a few things.

> My take on this is that the 250/350 boards *may* have better video
> quality over the 150/500.
At the moment perhaps due to drivers. The video capture chip in
the 150/500 has the potential for higher resolution than the 250/350. The
250/350 chip has no comb filter so Y/C separation on composite input is
poorer than the cxx chip on the 150/500.

Also, assuming I don't bother with the
> TV-out on the 350,
That's been my argument all along. It's got the potential to be
high quality for what it does, but the mpeg decoding isn't really
necessary with a reasonable CPU. The twitchiness of the driver, lack of
Xv in framebuffer mode, and no console until X fires up means it'll always
be a bit funky to set up.

the video capture functionality is the same
> across the line.
See above. Practically speaking however, it seems to be the case
that they're the same.

The product differences (relavant to Linux) seem
> along the lines of (1) baseband audio connector type, (2) IR jack
> present or not, (3) remote included or not, (4) single/dual tuner,
> and (5) cost.
>
True. Also the "newness" of the pcb revision. Sometimes they'll
make changes to thing (especially whichever sweatshop-produced tuner is
cheaper *this* week). That can mean some teething pains as the driver is
tweaked to include support. Older cards which haven't been produced for
awhile are much less likely to have surprises.

One other thing to consider that I haven't heard throughout this
thread is heat. The Rev1 -250 and the -350's produce a bit more heat and
have heatsinks on the MPEG chips. The Rev2 -250's, -150's, and -500's
don't even need heatsinks on those chips. For a fanless PVR, that may be
an additional concern (10W is 10W).

-Cory

--

*************************************************************************
* Cory Papenfuss, Ph.D., PPSEL-IA *
* Electrical Engineering *
* Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University *
*************************************************************************

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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On 4/17/06, Michael T. Dean <mtdean@thirdcontact.com> wrote:
> On 04/17/2006 12:11 AM, Joe Votour wrote:
> > Believe me, their competition could learn a great deal
> > from just their drivers, since drivers are an
> > interface to the hardware. As an example, the
> > competition might see in the driver some great way to
> > shrink down a transfer of data implemented in the
> > driver (which exposes how the hardware works), and
> > decide to then add that logic to their next graphics
> > chip.
>
> I really think this argument is like the argument that software
> copy-protection schemes prevent piracy. Generally, they only stop the
> people that aren't the problem (end users) instead of stopping those
> with the time/interest/equipment/money (large-scale pirates, or the
> competition).
>
> In other words, good luck trying to convince me that ATI isn't paying a
> team of developers to reverse engineer NVIDIA's drivers /and/ hardware
> (and vice versa). After all, look how closely capabilities and even
> designs have been tracking over the years. I don't think that's
> completely the "free market" effect ensuring the people get what they want.
>
> And, as a matter of fact, binary-only drivers aren't even stopping end
> users from (at least partially) reverse engineering the
> drivers--reference the Windows Omega Drivers (
> http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) and other similar projects.

NVIDIA openly admit that there is a lot of processing going on by the
drivers for 3D that they consider proprietary technology. For this
reason they won't release an open source driver and you'll probably
never see an open source driver able to support a lot of the 3D
functions of their cards.

--
Steve
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
On 4/16/06, Jeff Simpson <jeffsimpson@alum.wpi.edu> wrote:
> > When Nvidia's hardware is supported by free software, I'll buy this
> myself.
>
> Nvidia IS supported by free software. There is an open-source driver that
> works.
>
> HOWEVER nvidia ALSO releases their own binary driver, out of the
> goodness of their hearts. And it works great and supports ALL the
> features of the card.
>
> I don't see Hauppauge jumping up to release ANY drivers for their
> hardware. They are all about saying "Works in Linux / MythTV", but
> they won't even release register maps for their hardware to
> developers, we've had to reverse engineer. The ivtv driver was written
> by somebody from what I assume was reverse engineering the windows
> driver and reading the specs for the various chips on the card.
>
> Remember that company that had open-source linux drivers, Matrox?
> Neither do I. They just couldn't keep up with the competition.

I'm not sure what your point is here. Matrox still very much exists,
and they provide binary drivers in what looks like a similar manner as
Nvidia. Not sure if they have a full source driver of some sort, but
I didn't look that hard.

http://www.matrox.com/mga/support/drivers/latest/home.cfm

-Jerry
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Re: Current wisdom on PVR-150/250/350/500 [ In reply to ]
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1


On Apr 16, 2006, at 23.34, Michael T. Dean wrote:

> On 04/17/2006 12:11 AM, Joe Votour wrote:
>> Believe me, their competition could learn a great deal
>> from just their drivers, since drivers are an
>> interface to the hardware. As an example, the
>> competition might see in the driver some great way to
>> shrink down a transfer of data implemented in the
>> driver (which exposes how the hardware works), and
>> decide to then add that logic to their next graphics
>> chip.
>
> I really think this argument is like the argument that software
> copy-protection schemes prevent piracy. Generally, they only stop the
> people that aren't the problem (end users) instead of stopping those
> with the time/interest/equipment/money (large-scale pirates, or the
> competition).

Well, it helps partially. If you want to see when piracy hits a large
scale, look at the Dreamcast. True, not everyone could extract the
data themselves, but to play the games, all you needed a CD-R drive.
It helps to curb piracy, but it doesn't eliminate. At this point,
that's the best companies can hope for.

> In other words, good luck trying to convince me that ATI isn't
> paying a
> team of developers to reverse engineer NVIDIA's drivers /and/ hardware
> (and vice versa).

Yes, but there's no reason to make it easy for them! ;)

Of course, I'd love to use an open-source driver.

> After all, look how closely capabilities and even
> designs have been tracking over the years. I don't think that's
> completely the "free market" effect ensuring the people get what
> they want.

Well, we don't have a completely free market economy here. It's
closer to an ogilopoly.

> And, as a matter of fact, binary-only drivers aren't even stopping end
> users from (at least partially) reverse engineering the
> drivers--reference the Windows Omega Drivers (
> http://www.omegadrivers.net/ ) and other similar projects.

Then, in that case, why don't I have native Linux drivers for my
MA111 USB WiFi adapter? Or my XBox's video card?

My point is that the quality (and difficulty) of reverse engineering
these things is a lot harder than it seems.

>
> Mike
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