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Television Media

HDTV Reception Now Available on Linux 166

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the build-your-own-pvr dept.
-tji writes "A new company, www.pchdtv.com, has just released the first digital TV receiver card for Linux. Along with the Linux drivers, they have also modified xine to support HD playback and add XvMC support for MPEG2 hardware acceleration with some video cards. This has great potential for integration into PVR apps, like freevo and mythtv. There is also another project to reverse engineer drivers for the Teralogic TL880 based DTV cards. The one active developer has done a great job, but could use some help."
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HDTV Reception Now Available on Linux

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  • kill -9 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2003 @11:47AM (#6777690)
    There's no greater pleasure in life than being able to

    kill -9 JerrySpringer

    when those irritating twats show up every morning.

    • Heh. Very good. I'd have used a lot more words:

      Now if they could only supply some good programmings ...

      A couple of years back, my wife got herself a present of a nice big screen to go with the DVD player, so she can watch all the old movies that she likes.

      Then, about a month ago, she got herself a new Powerook G4, the one with the "superdrive" that does CD and DVD. She hasn't turned on the TV since then. She just takes the powerbook into the bedroom lies down, pops in the DVD, and she's happy. Sh
      • by Andy Dodd (701)
        Given that the CSI DVD releases are 4:3 (and a shitty low-bitrate MPEG encoding job to boot), the ONLY way to watch CSI is in its full HD glory.

        Yes, CSI is originally filmed in widescreen, and the HDTV film transfer broadcast by CBS (Well, at least on WCBS-DT out of New York City) is absolutely amazing. The DVDs can't even come close to touching it.

        So yes, there is some good HD programming on TV. My MyHD card was worth it just for the drool factor of CSI in HD alone...
  • cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wolrahnaes (632574) <sean@seanharloFREEBSDw.info minus bsd> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @11:56AM (#6777733) Homepage Journal
    Now if we get support for the HDTV outputs on the Radeon 9800, I will have the perfect DVR to go with my 61" HDTV!

    Site's already slow....
    Probably won't survive the /.ing...
    • actually, your Radeon9800 will output to your HDTV card because HDTV can't be sent over the PCI bus... too little bandwidth. The MyHD card takes input from your graphics card and then overlays the HD signal output to your monitor
      • Since MPEG video uses a YUV colorspace which usually contains only one "color" pixel for every four or so "real" pixels. (Luminance is a 1:1 mapping, chrominance is usually 4:1 or so), the bandwidth needed for a 1920x1080i signal is reduced.

        It is further reduced with many video cards that perform the IDCT and motion compensation in the video card and not on the host CPU.

        That said, with an AGP vid card, even without hardware MoComp and IDCT, a P4-2.5 can (just barely) decode 1080i in realtime. With a car
  • Cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kcb93x (562075)
    This is really interesting- I know I'll be buying one within a year or two, to go along with my wonderful new LCD screens and system. Linux-compatible from the ground up. Got RH 9 on it right now (Mandrake choked on it last time for some odd reason- never did figure that out)

    Now...just to find a cheap big lcd screen... ...and mucho more HD space...no, not for pr0n, but for timeshifting the shows...let's see you beat that, RIAA. *Wonders if a lawsuit could ensue for people trying to timeshift, but not be
  • Outstanding! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YetAnotherName (168064) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:01PM (#6777751) Homepage
    I tell you, it's darn difficult watching things in standard definition once you've gotten used to Jennifer Gartner on Alias in her glorious 1920 by 1080 pixels with a full color gamut.

    Timeshifting her is the hard part. For that, I've resorted to the MyHD [digitalconnection.com] card with its Windows drivers sitting on a system with an IDE-based RAID array. Yes, it works. But it's Windows. Need I say more to a Slashdot crowd? ;-)
    • Alias is only 1280x720p as are all HDTV shows on ABC.
    • Re:Outstanding! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by steve_bryan (2671) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:49PM (#6777950)
      Since Alias is on ABC doesn't that make it 1280 x 720? Still plenty of Garner pixels but they are all honest progressively scanned pixels. What may surprise many is how good even 480i and 480p programming is compared to NTSC. The local FOX affiliate was showing episodes of Fastlane in upconverted 720p widescreen (presumably from 480p source) and the picture was amazing (not as good as real 720p or 1080i if you did a screen capture, but still remarkable).

      If you enjoy any program on OTA (over the air) TV this sort of product will enhance it immensely. I don't know for sure that this board supports it (the site is properly slashdotted) but the other significant enhancement is 5.1 surround sound. Let's not forget the other advantage is that the programming involves no monthly bill and with the right software it can be recorded to your hard disk (about 9 gig per hour).
    • Jennifer Gartner on Alias . . . glorious . . . But it's Windows
      In Soviet Russia, Windows makes Gartner look good!
      BTW, She does not have a T in her name. (Garner)
  • Great news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tzanger (1575) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:03PM (#6777758) Homepage

    But does anyone know what the status of v4l is in the 2.6 series? I went from 2.4.21 to 2.6.0-test3 (and now test4) as the HPT370 controller is iffy on Linux with APIC (this is an Epox EP-D3VA)... 2.6.0 completely solved all the APIC and SMP issues, but now V4L's not quite there. :-)

    Ahh, the bleeding edge...

  • by edwardd (127355) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:06PM (#6777768) Journal
    This is the first card specifically for HDTV, but:

    For a while now, DVB cards have been available with software for Linux that have been able to recieve and process HDTV satalite signals. The 'other' PVR app that doesn't seem to catch on in the US is VDR, located at http://www.cadsoft.de/vdr This is a full featured, open source PVR application that does work with DVB cards to show HDTV.

    • There are only a handfull of HDTV channels on direct-broadcast satellite feeds. DirecTV has HDNET, Discovery, ESPN, HBO and SHO in HD. The Dish lineup is similar. There is just not that much Satellite HD content available.

      The DVB system that you pointed to is a nice setup, but there are no PC add-in cards that I know of that allow access to DirecTV or Dish digital feeds whether SD or HD. The one exception might be via DirecTivos which can be hacked to allow extraction of the video feeds, but this is as
    • Here down under, we've been watching HDTV via DVB-T (terrestrial) card for a couple of months - there are a few [digitalnow.com.au] cards [dpanda.com.au] available [avermedia.com], even with good Linux support.

      Since the cards are basically just a tuner with a PCI bridge, all they do is receive the digital signal and dump it to your machine. The rest is software, and if you have the codecs (and the grunt), you can watch/record/timeshift an HDTV signal just as easily as SDTV.

      I use mine under Windows (yeah, sorry), but I have a friend who's building a multi

      • I didnt know anyone was broadcasting hdtv on DVB. What resolutions are being broadcast? Will any old DVB card work with hd (as it is just a larger mpeg stream - presumably you just get fewer channels in the slot).

        I certainly have not come across any hd dvb in Europe. Would have thought the bbc might have trialled it.
  • 90 day warranty? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Torp (199297) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#6777816)
    http://www.pchdtv.com/faq.php#faq0000007

    Isn't that a bit low for the average piece of hardware in a PC? I bought an ancient (used) ISA sound card for an even more ancient PC and I still got 180 days of warranty for it...
  • by Felinoid (16872) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:20PM (#6777818) Homepage Journal
    1. Users will continually update drivers and eventually absorb them into vareous Linux projects taking support off your hands permenently.
    2. Free advertsing on Freshmeat as your drivers are announced then again as projects absorb your drivers.
    3. Free adveritsing on Slashdot.
    4. Slimmer marketshare means greater sales amoung Linux users.

    Reasons to NOT provide offical Linux drivers
    1. If your suffering on the Windows side a quick throw in to support Linux will not save you.

    2. It'll piss off Microsoft.

    3. Your website will be slashdotted.

    4. There is a lose lose factor on your drivers. If your drivers are too good users may not improve them if they suck to much users won't buy your product.

    Your best bet is to always supply unoffical drivers directly into open source projects so that users will always look to the open source projects for support and not you while at the same time the open source projects give you free advertsing and they get slashdotted not you.
    • by Nucleon500 (628631) <tcfelker@example.com> on Sunday August 24, 2003 @01:05PM (#6778047) Homepage
      Of course, the most important thing is completely open standards, without which any third party drivers are bound to suck, if they work at all. And why not, anyway? I've heard two reasons.

      First, for "Win-" hardware, like controllerless modems and printers, companies are afraid if their driver was open-source, it would be simple for their competitors to use, reducing their software development costs. Two solutions: one, the company could GPL it, so at least they'd get any improvements. Or (more likely), someone should make a GPL driver core, which could be attached to similar dumb hardware, even of different brands. Then, with open specs, it would be easy to bind the hardware to the core to the kernel, and the company may even find it cheaper to adapt the open version for all OSs. (Aside: would Microsoft sign drivers with GPL cores?)

      The other problem is that companies fear open-source drivers won't honor the evil bit, for example, WiFi cards with hacked drivers operating on forbidden frequencies, or video cards not honoring MacroVision signals. For starters, it's almost as easy to hack binary drivers, so it's no protection. Another solution is to make the hardware only accept register sets signed by the manufacturer's private key. This was proposed for WiFi cards, is better protection anyway, and can be used by open-source projects.

  • Not the first (Score:4, Informative)

    by mocm (141920) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:22PM (#6777824) Homepage
    There have been digital TV cards with open source Linux support for years. This may be the first card for the ATSC standard and doesn't even have an MPEG decoder, or why would the need xine.
    Do they support the Linux DVB API, or at least the parts that are common in ATSC and DVB?
    Are the drivers open source?

    For more information on linux and digital TV see
    LinuxTV [linuxtv.org]
    Metzlerbros [metzlerbros.org]
    and links on those sites.
    • Re:Not the first (Score:3, Informative)

      by mocm (141920)
      Just had a look at the drivers. They just modified the bttv drivers a little and added a tuner driver with big chunks of firmware. No frontend device no demux device, just a TS dump.
      They should have taken a look at the DVB API and its history, which also started with a slightly modified v4l API, but has matured quite a lot over the past few years.
      They could have used the software demuxer which is already in the 2.6er test kernels.
  • Timeshifting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NaveWeiss (567082)
    I've read a lot here about the possible recording limitations. Does this (slashdotted) company mean no more timeshifting problems?
  • by k-s (162183) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:39PM (#6777879) Homepage
    Hello,

    I'm a core Freevo developer and I have something to say:

    Hardware makers:
    PLEASE SEND YOUR PRODUCTS TO PROJECTS DEVELOPERS! We don't have money/machine to buy every HW on the earth, so if you want to be supported, please provide at least one board to the project!

    Recently we won an Epia and Hauppage PVR-250 and they will be better supported than others, just because we can test it.

    If you like the idea and want to be supported, contact us via developers list (freevo: freevo-devel@lists.sourceforge.net [mailto])

    Thanks, Gustavo
  • by justinstreufert (459931) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:53PM (#6777972) Homepage
    Is there a windows version of the drivers?
    Not at this time.

    GOD, that's nice to see for once!!
    Justin

  • Digital Cable Card (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TornSheetMetal (411584) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @12:55PM (#6777989)
    Do any cards exist that can decode digital cable tv without having to go through the digital cable tv box? I'm not looking to get channels I'm not paying for. I just want a PVR that can act like my VCR did when I had analog cable. I used to be able to easily record shows on different channels. Tivo solves the problem by changing the channel on the Digital Cable TV box which isn't the optimal solution and prevents me from watching one show and recording another.
    • Why not get a DirecTivo and DirecTV?

      Mark
      • by adpowers (153922) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @01:24PM (#6778152)
        Because he wants Digital Cable, not DirecTV.

        I looked around the DirecTV website and din't find a digital video recorder that supports HDTV.

        If you did get a Tivo one, you are limited by what they let you do. They can remove 30 second skip at well or make you watch advertisements. Stuff like MythTV has lots of features with no advertisements and it doesn't track what you record (and send it to some master database at HQ). Plus, MythTV-like programs allow you to do a bunch of other stuff like play ROMs, DVDs, look at your pictures of the network, listen to mp3s, check your weather, etc.
        • Just a clarification when using a direct Tivo no phone connection is needed the Tivo gets all it's info from the bird. The only thing the phone line needs to be connected for is to charge back for pay per view. Granted it will bitch every now and then but no features are lost.

          As an asside MythTV is a good looking application that needs a hardware platform to run on a PC in your living room is general not acceptable nor are long runs of cable to remote the PC (I counted a minimum of 4 cables to get it rig
    • by PatJensen (170806) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @01:53PM (#6778299) Homepage
      Here's a solution for you.

      Don't use the IR blaster on your TiVo. Upgrade to a Series 2 standalone with OS 4.0 and use a serial cable to connect your digital cable box. This gets rid of the slow channel change delays and pop-ups that come up when you change channels.

      Despite what some say, you have to have a Series 2 to use serial channel change support. There is a port on Series 1, but it won't work - and you will just be sending IR without a blaster.

      If you are on Comcast/AT&T, quite a few of the Motorola boxes support serial with the latest firmware. Check out the TiVo forum on AVS (www.avsforum.com) for more information.

      Pat

      • I've been doing direct serial control of the Motorola boxes with my series 1 for years...

        The internet is your friend, the instructions on how to set it up are out there... its a ten line TCL script you have to run once to set things up for it.
    • by diatonic (318560)
      If you want to watch one show and record another, use the analog cable signal that should co-exist on the coax with the digital signal. Run your digital cable box to a S-Video or Composite in on your TV-tuner card, and use a serial cable to change channels on the external tuner. Then you should be able to use the tuner to watch the 70-80 channels offered on the analog cable signal. Or you could always go for 2 digital cable recievers. .:diatonic:.
  • by pyite69 (463042) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @01:24PM (#6778151)

    I have one of these and it is basically as
    advertised. I use it to capture streams on Linux,
    though I still play them back on my Windows-based
    card which has component video support.

    However, the xine patches work OK.

    It is still a hacker's delight, though, and will
    continue to be until all of the modifications
    make it into the xine and v4l trees; and into at
    least the Debian Unstable package system. The
    software works, but takes some effort to get
    installed and running.

    I am quite satisfied with my purchase!!! Everyone
    who supports Linux should buy one, if only to
    support the business model.

    Mark
  • Cool, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Glendale2x (210533)
    This is pretty neat, but it appears to fall short of being able to just capture the ATSC stream and play it back unmodified to the TV.

    Not everyone needs mad power hardware or cards to decode the MPEG2 stream and output it. Some HD tuners, like those included in the Mitsubishi HD sets [mitsubishi-tv.com], have FireWire jacks that are capable of feeding the transport stream to something (typically a D-VHS deck) and accepting a transport stream back from a device.

    Apple has released a sample application with their FireWire SDK f
    • Yeah but it requires you buy a HDTV tuner with Firewire output. So you are essentially purchasing the same thing as a ATSC tuner board and plugging it into a PC with firewire output. You can do all you describe on a PC with windows already. So that's nothing new. What is new is the broadcast protection flag and how it will be finally implemented. I personally wouldn't spend a whole lot of cash on hardware HD tuners with digital interfaces - one might find them not to be 'HDTV Ready' when the specs are fin
  • by konfoo (677366)
    Now I can *finally* add support for my ATSC datacasting product [nds.com] to Linux. If you're in San Diego (KPBS), Washington DC (WETA), Kentucky (KET), or Michigan (Station name escapes me), you should be able to pick up this emergency information / weather imaging data feed.
  • Too bad the FCC's balls are in the broadcasters' purse.

    Simply put, many people can't receieve a HD signal period. Where I live only one station is transmitting HD and they are 65 miles away, so no over-the-air (UHF).

    Until the FCC requires full power DTV transmission along with must-carry on cable systems and a requirement to pass the highest definition signal available from a network the masses just don't have enough access to HD, period.

  • pcHDTV card (Score:5, Informative)

    by brandon (16150) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @03:03PM (#6778627)
    Pre-orders have begun for the pcHDTV HD-2000 card and the cards will start to ship this week. Several lucky people who have contacted me (or pcHDTV) already have the card and have been enjoying HDTV on Linux. My part is HDTV/Linux that I have been working on support for the card in MythTV for the last month, but due to my very busy schedule all features are not complete (seeking and handling low HDTV signals). I invite anyone who is interested in HDTV and MythTV to come by #mythtv on the freenode irc network and talk with me (bbeattie). The largest problem right now is obtaining a HDTV program schedule as xmltv does not provide this.

    Also, I have written a Linux HTPC how-to that talks about the card and other Linux HTPC like issues at www.sllug.org/how-to/linux-htpc/introduction.html . It will be very useful for anyone wanting to do HDTV or HTPC like features with Linux.

  • HDTV tuners are expensive. A quick look at Buy.com finds them listing for $400-$800. This card is only $190, and since it's integrated with a PC, turning it into a PVR is just a matter of software. Perhaps HDTV tuners will be the killer app that puts PCs in the entertainment center.
    • I'm not so sure.
      I recently bought both a new video card for my Linux PC with TV-OUT, and a Dreambox DM-7000S DVB-S receiver (which runs Linux as its OS).
      The Dreambox is a perfectly usable product, giving top-quality picture to the TV set it is directly connected to using RGB (can also do YPrPb).
      The PC can only output CVBS or S-Video (anyone seen a PC Video card that outputs component video?), and even then the driver manufacturer decided that I should not use the whole screen area. If I would want, I would
  • YESSSSS! (Score:5, Funny)

    by flacco (324089) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @03:58PM (#6778877)
    I'm going to buy one for this FAQ entry alone:
    Is there a windows version of the drivers?
    Not at this time.
  • Doh. Several European cards have the QAM love going. Why can't a North American card? Heck. I'd buy a card that supported QAM if I had to buy a Mac with it!
  • by i_am_nitrogen (524475) on Sunday August 24, 2003 @06:08PM (#6779527) Homepage Journal
    Hello, I'm the developer of that TL880 driver linked to in the story. It would be really nice if everyone who owns such a card (MyHD, HiPix, WinTV-HD, AccessDTV) came on over and subscribed to the mailing list, and played with some of the software for a few minutes. The latest effort is to map the card's registers. A preliminary map that has nearly every register listed, but only detailed descriptions for enough registers to get the card displaying color bars, is located here [sourceforge.net]. Also, as -tji mentioned in another post, ATI's set top box division is unwilling to provide any help to anyone not buying a minimum $25000 annual volume. So, if everyone who owns such a card could e-mail their card's manufacturer (i.e. Hauppauge, Telemann, MIT), as suggested on the How To Help [sourceforge.net] page, asking them to try to arrange for help with the I2C-connected chips on the card, it would be great.

    Thanks.

    As for the PCHDTV, I just ordered an upgrade for my sytem from an Athlon XP1800+ to 2600+ with 333MHz FSB, and a Geforce FX 5200 for motion compensation, and I'll probably be ordering the PCHDTV soon. The useful parts of the code for the TL880 driver are the Oren VSB demodulator interface and the modified tuner.c which includes support for the dual input Philips NTSC/ATSC tuner. It's really annoying that the tuner and msp3400 modules in the kernel only attach to bttv drivers, rather than providing a generic interface that any new driver can hook to.

    • You should have a look at the Linux DVB API and try to integrate your driver in this scheme. There are many DVB cards using the same chips for PCI bridges as the ATSC cards do, so the only new thing is to write the tuner drivers. E.g. there already was a driver for DVB cards using the bt878 chipset, so that there was no need to reinvent the patches for the bttv driver. (Maybe they already new about that, because the pchdtv patches to the bttv drivers look eerily similar to the early ones for pctv cards wit
  • There have been DVB-T PC receivers for a while now, and recently cards have been shipping with HDTV support. I recently reviewed one of the first to hit Australia (since that is one of the VERY few countries outside the US that broadcasts digital HDTV).

Programmers do it bit by bit.

Working...