Buying a TV Capture card (pinnacle, hauppauge: wincast, pvr, etc)

Mario Sergio Fujikawa Ferreira lioux-list at
Tue Dec 6 07:45:16 PST 2005


	I am considering acquiring a tv capture card in order to
build a personal PVR system. Besides helping me test the video
capture support of some ports I maintain.

	Well, some info on my system

$ uname -a
FreeBSD 5.4-STABLE FreeBSD 5.4-STABLE #3: Sun Nov 27 16:31:18 BRST 2005     lioux at exxodus:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/LIOUX  i386

CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2500+ (1925.01-MHz 686-class CPU)
  Origin = "AuthenticAMD"  Id = 0x6a0  Stepping = 0
  AMD Features=0xc0400000<AMIE,DSP,3DNow!>

$ mplayer -V 
MPlayer 1.0pre7try2-3.4.5 (C) 2000-2005 MPlayer Team

$ ls /var/db/pkg|grep mplayer-gtk

	I currently own the following card which has a suboptimal
video capture quality (read VHS heavily used old tape quality).

bktr0: <BrookTree 878> mem 0xfd9fe000-0xfd9fefff irq 19 at device 7.0 on pci0
smbus0: <System Management Bus> on bktr0
smb0: <SMBus generic I/O> on smbus0
iicbb0: <I2C bit-banging driver> on bktr0
iicbus0: <Philips I2C bus> on iicbb0 master-only
iicsmb0: <SMBus over I2C bridge> on iicbus0
smbus1: <System Management Bus> on iicsmb0
smb1: <SMBus generic I/O> on smbus1
bktr0: Hauppauge Model 44001 C110
bktr0: Hauppauge WinCast/TV

	A sample of my current setup can be seen at

$ mencoder -tv driver=bsdbt848:width=768:height=576:norm=ntsc \
	-ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=3800:vratetol=1000:vhq:v4mv:keyint=250 \
	-oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=128 \
	-vf crop=744:558,pp=lb/dr,scale=512:384 -sws 2 \
	-o samplehq.avi tv:// -tv input=0 -endpos 900

$ mencoder -tv driver=bsdbt848:noaudio:width=768:height=576:input=0:norm=ntsc tv:// \
        -cache 131072 \
        -o output.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=3800:vratetol=1000:vhq:v4mv:keyint=250 \
        -force-avi-aspect 1.333333333333

	The things I want to improve from the above samples: remove
the image stuttering and reduce (even remove) the image noise.
Hopefully achieving good enough quality that they look as crisp as
the quality I have watching tv. I have SKY sattelite cable and I
am using SVideo. Crisp quality will allow me to judge whether the
ports I maintain are doing fine.

	It would seem that I have plenty of processor available
(load 0 just before testing) and the HD I am using for the trials
is an ATA133 dedicated for the purpose. I intend to use the capture
board exclusively under FreeBSD.

	I am wondering from the range of available bktr working
cards, which one I should buy if I want quality. Of course, within
an acceptable price range. Keep in mind that I do not know the
differences amongst the cards listed below so I'll defer to your
better judgement.

	From Hauppauge, I get

- Hauppauge WinTV-GO-Plus

- Hauppauge WinTV-PVR150

- Hauppauge WinTV-PVR250

- Hauppauge WinTV-PVR350

- Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-USB2 (I guess USB won't work heheh :)

	Well, which one should I look for? Does the hardware mpeg
encoding work? Is it worth it even with the amount of available
processor power for software encoding? Does the USB one work?
I gather that the list is ordered from cheaper to most expensive.
Therefore, which ones should I consider?


Mario S F Ferreira - DF - Brazil - "I guess this is a signature."
feature, n: a documented bug | bug, n: an undocumented feature
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