Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Throwing in the towel

It has been five weeks since I purchased a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 for my desktop box at home. The goal I had in mind when I purchased it was to take my fledgling networked home theater to the next level: in addition to streaming music and movies from my desktop to the downstairs TV (via XBMC) and all other computers in the house, I wanted to be able to watch/record TV on the desktop (which is in my bedroom) and yes, stream my recorded programs to the rest of the network too.

However, things did not go so well once I installed the card. This is due to the fact that, unfortunately, the state of such hardware under Linux (I is not as good as it could be. As it stands now, few cards support OSes other than Windows in any official capacity -- very few indeed. My Hauppauge card was no exception. Prior to making the purchase I did a good deal of research and found that, according to many reliable sources, it would work thanks to some 3rd party drivers. Even lists the card as functional.

Unfortunately, I never was able to get the card working properly with analog signals: no matter what I did, I could not get audio. This is a deal-breaker as I have no cable box in the bedroom and don't care to pay an extra $10 to get one, thankyouverymuch. I also need analog because another plan I have is to hook up a VCR to the card and capture old home movies from VHS. I am not the only one who had issues, either. I even went so far as to compile a new mainline kernel that hadn't yet made it into Ubuntu as it includes Steven Toth's V4L-DVB drivers. Alas, no joy.

So tonight, after several weeks and countless hours spent futzing with it, I have thrown in the towel. Tomorrow the card will be shipped back to newegg and I'll begin hunting for a card with which I may have more luck.

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