MythTV and AM2 on Linux war stories, a continuing saga

As you may recall from my last entry, I exchanged my cable box from a Scientific Atlanta 8000HD to a Scientific Atlanta 8300HD. The latter, new box continues to output a signal from the cable connection even if I have it in HDTV mode. It probably also continues to output AVI and S-Video. This finally opened up a way for me to use my cable box with a MythTV box.

Thanks to a serious (and mysterious) spinal injury (I say mysterious because I haven't figured out how I did the damage), I can only work on the project for a half hour at a time, at most. I have discovered some interesting things in those short segments.

First, the cable box is outputting a digital cable signal. It may even output an HDTV digital signal, but I haven't determined that yet. I discovered it wasn't putting out an analog signal because it didn't work with my Hauppauge PVR500 card at all. The Hauppauge card looks for an analog cable signal. The Hauppauge card also has S-Video and AVI inputs, so I could probably still use it. But I wanted to confirm that the cable signal was digital, so I pulled out the Hauppauge card and and replaced it with the pcHDTV HD5500 card.

MythTV DVB support

Ubuntu 6.06 recognized the pcHDTV card and loaded the drivers. I figured I was home free, but I couldn't get a picture from this card using "tvtime" ( a simple tv-watching program that is good for testing things like this). Ubuntu doesn't seem to come with the firmware for the pcHDTV card. The pcHDTV card comes with its own drivers and firmware, but I couldn't get the pcHDTV drivers to compile with the stock Ubuntu kernel.

The fact that tvtime didn't work tells me that the drivers weren't working, but I figured I'd try MythTV anyway just in case. It didn't work, and it complained that it wasn't compiled with DVB support. I recompiled MythTV after configuring it with --enable-dvb (and another necessary switch that escapes my memory at the moment). That didn't help, but I didn't think it would. The driver was the issue.

Digital signal confirmed

I may go back to the HD5500 card at some point, but I read that Ubuntu works with the Fusion HDTV5 RT Gold card "right out of the box", and I happen to have that card. So I plugged in that card. I ran "tvtime" just to see if I could get a picture. Lo and behold, it works. The picture is terrible (too bright, washed out, not quite synced), but it's there. So I proved to myself that the cable box is putting out a digital cable signal.

That was all I could handle, given that my pain was reaching new heights by the time I finished this step. At this point, I have the option of looking into how I can fix the quality of the Fusion card, or I can install a vanilla kernel and compile the pcHDTV drivers (I've done it before with a vanilla kernel and made it work, so I know this is possible).

Regardless of the path I choose, I'm pretty sure I can use the USB-based IR receiver and blaster that came with the Hauppauge card to make the remote control change channels on the cable box instead of the card. But I want to get a card working, and working well before I even try that.

More APIC madness

I put together another socket AM2 box for someone. I've built so many boxes that I'm beginning to break records on the time it takes to assemble one. So I had it up and running before my pain level hit the breaking point. This box uses the Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 motherboard. It's a very nice motherboard and has great on-board sound. I'm a bit jealous since the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe sound borders on crappy.

Regardless, the Gigabyte board has the same problem as the ASUS board with respect to IO-APIC. Linux can't connect the timer to APIC and refuses to boot. The only way I can boot any Linux kernel, including the latest 2.6.18-rc4, is to use "noapic" as a boot parameter. I tried using apic=debug, but it didn't give me much information. It simply told me that it tried to associate APIC with two different timers, and failed on both.

To be continued...

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Re:

Arkadaslık sitesi's picture

Thanks You admin.
Arkadaslık sitesi

IO-APIC sync problem

Anonymous's picture

So. What happened to the io-apic problem in Linux? I have the same MoBo and the same problem when installing Centos5.
I tried 'linux noapic' which goes beyond the apic problem but it hangs just after the keyboard is selected. (US keyboard)

How did you go with this?

Cheers
Bill

MythTV PVR-500 and DVB possible?

Mythrocks's picture

Now that you can make the DVB card work by itself, is it possible to have both the PVR-500 and the pcHD5500 working at the same time? I have not been able to figure out what to load since you can't use the standalone ivtv drivers and the pcHDTV5500 dvb ones at the same time it seems. Ubuntu looks interesting, I'll have to try it out.

That back pain

Dr. Scott S. Jones's picture

Nick:

As a Chiropractor, I am acutely interested in this back pain you are experiencing. Have you had your back examined and/or treated yet by a competent Chiropractor?

How about X-rays or MRI studies? Any of those yet? You are too young to have this sort of pain, keeping you from the best in life.

I wish you well, my friend!

CHIROQUACKER

Anonymous's picture

Chiroquacker break my neck
Chiroquacker burn in heck (Hell)
Chiroquacker Liar Liar
Hope you burn in Satan's fire
Chiroquacker you're a QUACK
Medical knowledge is what you lack

Chiropractors do NOT fix spinal problems!

Anonymous's picture

Chiropractors do NOT fix spinal problems! They make them WORSE. do NOT see a chiroQUACKer!

Poem inspired by my chiroquacktic treatment

Anonymous's picture

Chiroquacker break my neck
Chiroquacker burn in heck (Hell)
Chiroquacker Liar Liar
Hope you burn in Satan's fire
Chiroquacker you're a QUACK
Medical knowledge is what you lack

Such a witty slur, did you come up with it on your own?

Anonymous's picture

Don't be so ignorant. You may have had a bad experience but that does not discount the value of chiropractic medicine. I had excruciating pain; my General Practicioner wanted me to have surgery and the the Neurologist concurred. My Chiropracter was able to do for less money and in less time what 'traditional medicine' said required going under the knife for fusion. It has been well over a year now without so much as a relapse.

Ignorant?

Anonymous's picture

The most IGNORANT thing I've ever done was go to a Chiropractor/Chiroquacker..!!!
Before you go to one of these QUACKS, bring up Chiropractic Malpractice and read all the information..!!! 7 years ago I was permenently damaged by a Chiropractor/Chiroquacker. I live in pain everyday because of this Jack Ass Chiroquacker's action. I had the quacker's office send my records to several Lawyers and no one wanted to take my case even though my REAL Dr. was willing to go to court with me. Later I found out that the records the lawyers received were completely fabricated. The chiroquacker had lied on my records to justify his actions. If reading this keeps even one person from going to one of these quacks, then it is worthwhile..!!!

Chiroquacker break my

Anonymous's picture

Chiroquacker break my neck
Chiroquacker burn in heck (Hell)
Chiroquacker Liar Liar
Hope you burn in Satan's fire
Chiroquacker you're a QUACK
Medical knowledge is what you lack

Minor update

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I re-compiled a newer kernel for the pcHDTV drivers. The card now receives a signal on the analog v4l setting in MythTV (/dev/video0). It produces a better picture, but it still has a minor sync problem. Or I assume it's a sync problem. There are a few scan lines at the top of the screen that are just white/black "static". This seems to be a MythTV issue. I can watch the same channel (3) in "tvtime" in a window without the white/black lines. (I haven't tried tvtime full screen yet, but I'll do that sometime today, since that will tell me if it's a full-screen issue or a MythTV issue.)

Regardless, even without the black and white fuzz at the top, the quality of the picture isn't nearly as good as it is direct from the cable box. Unless I can beef up the quality of the picture, it makes the whole idea of using MythTV rather meaningless.

It may be an overscan issue

JoeO's picture

I haven't tried MythTV yet - I'm still on Windows but plan to move my tv card to Linux this coming week - so this may not be the problem....

but, if MythTV allows you to set overscan lines, try something like 12. That may remove the scan lines at the top (actually the VBI).

AM2

Garry B-)'s picture

Please keep plugging away! This is very valuable stuff.

This is *exactly* the type of stuff that I want to know. I intend to go down a similar path for a small desktop with MythTV, but I currently feel *very* uncomfortable about combining Linux and AM2-based motherboards, especially when I would like to use TV cards and want good audio. I want to standardise on AM2, so I am very resistant to socket 939. I'd also like to support AMD rather than Intel (though it feels like AMD are doing a worse job than Intel at supporting Linux, which may force me to reconsider).

I think this hardware-orientated combination of Linux + motherboards + video + audio would make a great column *every* month in the magazine, and satisfies a real need for those of us who don't want to spend time debugging this lot (I'm happy to build the kernel, but I don't want to spend weeks of frustration randomly poking the thing with a stick, I have a life watching TV :-)

The black and white fuzz at

Anonymous's picture

The black and white fuzz at the top is the closed captioning code.

Thanks!

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Any idea how I get rid of it?

Black and white fuzz at the top of screen

Anonymous's picture

To be specific, the black and white fuzz is the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI). With NTSC, an analog picture has 525 interlaced lines of which ~480 lines has picture content. The remaining lines can contain closed caption content and Vertical Interval Test Signal (VITS) for testing video quality (e.g., depth of modulation, CTB, CSO, etc.). The VBI should not be viewable to the user.

The VBI provides another function, it ensures the scanning circuits are brought into sync, thereby assuring that the incoming signal and the receiver will start the next frame at the same time at the top of the screen. Here's a link O'reilly website on how to deal with VBI issue using MythTV.

http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/digitalmedia/2005/12/07/my...

Re:

Arkadaslık sitesi's picture

Thanks You admin.
Arkadaslık sitesi

Thanks!

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Thanks for the link! I'll check it our right now.

Any news?

Anonymous's picture

I have a 64 Bit Asus AM2 board. Ubuntu 6.0.6
One Hauppauge Go card (with IR and blaster)
One Hauppauge PVR 150 card
The 150 card has much better quality than the Go card.
Im trying to setup the IR blaster to work with my Scientific Atlanta 8300 STB, but im not having much luck. Does not look like a supported by Hauppauge.
If I can get it to work, I will purchase an HD card for the full HD signal.
Are there any updates?
faurep@agr.gc.ca

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