[ubuntu-uk] Suggest a ubuntu compatible TV-CARD

Darren Mansell darren at vcoc.co.uk
Wed Oct 15 11:45:59 BST 2008

On Wed, 15 Oct 2008 10:17:41 +0100, Rob Beard <rob at esdelle.co.uk> wrote:
> Well it depends exactly what you want to do.
> To give you an idea... I have put a TV card in my kids PC after their TV 
> blew up.  The original idea was to install MythTV and use a Freeview TV 
> card so they could record their favourite programmes.  However the 
> actual Freeview card would only pick up a handful of channels.  So in 
> the end I just put in an analogue TV card (Pinnacle PCI PC TV Card) and 
> plugged in a Freeview box.  I decided to just use TV Time to view the 
> output from the Freeview box and their games consoles on the monitor.
> So I'd say if you want to just watch TV on the PC, a basic analogue card 
> will probably do the job.  Just get a SCART to Phono cable so you can 
> plug the Virgin box into the PC.  You'll also probably need something 
> for audio (some boxes have stereo photo outputs on the back, others 
> don't so you'll need a 3.5mm to 2 x Photo cable and optionally a dual 
> phono to phono coupler if you don't have audio output on the box, so you 
> can connect the audio from the phonos on the SCART cable to the line in 
> on your PC sound card).  I haven't had a Virgin Media box in a while so 
> I can't remember what outputs it has.  Another alternative if your box 
> supports it is to use an S-Video cable from the Virgin box to the PC. 
> That'll give a better quality picture.
> Or.... you could get a Freeview card and use MythTV.  That way MythTV 
> will be able to record the Freeview channels to your hard drive.  With 
> multiple Freeview sticks/cards you'll be able to record more than one 
> channel, or watch one channel while recording another but you'll need an 
> aerial connection as a minimum, and possibly depending on your setup, a 
> Freeview aerial on the roof (you may be lucky and get away without this).
> Rob

I'm currently setting up a MythTV network at my house and I've been trying
out various technologies and angles of attack to get the best possible
performance and widest choice at the lowest cost.

I started with Freeview as thats the easiest route hardware wise. A decent
DVB-T TV card from a decent aerial and thats pretty much it. However the
digital reception in my area isn't very good and I had to have a 16 ft pole
extended fully on a TNK bracket at the highest point of my house to get all
the muxes and even then Ch.4 was poor in some atmospheric conditions.
Reality dawned that DVB-T wasn't going to be the best solution. Plus I was
worried about aeroplanes hitting it.

At about the same time Freesat starting hitting the headlines so I started
looking into that. It's basically Sky's FTA channels rebranded because
whoever is driving the digital switchover has started to realise there's no
way we can all switch over in 2012 using only DVB-T. Quick deal with the
devil later and they can save face. 

So my next plan involved buying a quad output LNB for my Sky dish and a
DVB-S USB tuner eBay special. I fitted the LNB, fed a cable to my server
and plugged the USB DVB-s tuner in. Ubuntu Hardy wouldn't recognise it as a
video device and neither would MythTV. There's nothing about that
particular device on the V4L or MythTV site so I've given up with that.

My latest venture involved getting a 2nd hand Sky box (£3 off eBay :-) )
and hooking it up via composite to a Hauppauge PVR150, going down the well
beaten track. Just waiting for the PVR150 to arrive.

Finally the Freeview thing isn't quite Sky's FTA channels like many claim.
If you look at which channels on Sky are actually FTA there aren't many.
All the BBCs and ITV's are unencrypted as is Ch4, but not Ch5. Almost
everything else is encrypted. You need to buy a card from Sky to receive
all the Freesat extra channels which costs £20 and so far I'm not having
much luck getting them to sell me one.

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