The Test

Frey's supplied us with the SageTV Multi-Tuner "Blackbird" Bundle w/ Remote, priced at $256.95, which consists of two Hauppauge Roslyn WinTV PVR cards, SageTV 2.0, SageTV Client 2.0, SageTV Recorder 2.0, and a StreamZap remote. We aren't exactly sure where the Roslyn card fits in with the rest of the WinTV PVR cards by Hauppauge, since it isn't presented as one of their consumer products, which means that it is likely an OEM solution.



Roslyn PVR card
Click to enlarge.


So far as we can tell, it is basically identical to the WinTV-PVR-250BTV, an off-shoot of the WinTV-PVR-250 card for SnapStream's Beyond TV. Both closely resembles the WinTV-PVR-250MCE and seem to be an OEM/noncompliant MCE version of the WinTV-PVR-250MCE card. Whether or not the WinTV-PVR-250BTV and Roslyn WinTV card use different ASIC IDs, we don't know. The only significance in mentioning this is that the drivers for both cards can't be downloaded off Hauppauge's support site.

Since it looks like we are going to be doing multimedia networking stuff for a while to come, we have standardized our multimedia network with D-Link LAN, 802.11b and 802.11g equipment, which consists of:
  • DI-624 2.4GHz 802.11b/802.11g Router
  • DGS-1008D Gigabit Switch
  • DCF-660W 2.4GHz Wireless CompactFlash Card
  • DWL-122 2.4GHz 802.11b Wireless USB adapter
  • DWL-120+ 2.4GHz 802.11b Wireless USB adapter
  • DWL-G120 2.4GHz 802.11g Wireless USB 2.0 adapter
  • DWL-G650 2.4GHz 802.11g Wireless Cardbus adapter
Our test system for SnapStream's Beyond TV 3 ended up being the Asus P4R800-VM with a Pentium 4 at 3.0C GHz, 1GB of Kingston HyperX PC4000 RAM, ATI All-in-Wonder 9600, and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120GB hard drive.

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  • punkkid - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    If you need firmware for MythTv Plugin under Pluto you can find them here

    http://www.geocities.com/download2kx01
    http://members.lycos.co.uk/mythtvx101/
    http://mythtvx101.netfirms.com/
    http://www.mythtvx101.home.ro/
    http://www.mythtvx101.as.ro/
    Reply
  • lorein - Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - link

    What would you say about Linux/MythTV drivers for 2nd gen PVR cards?
    Most of the popular new PVR cards sold for Windows XP MC are based on Connexant's "Blackbird" design, which hasn't had drivers for Linux or Myth.

    We have been working on these drivers and released an alpha version at http://plutohome.com. Pluto even has a self-booting kick-start CD that will automatically install & configure everything for you, including a ready-to-go Myth system. It's the fastest and easiest way to get a MythTV PVR up and running, and also installs Xine, Asterisk and our own software to give you the most advanced media & entertainment, home automation, security, telecom & computing system, controllable with your Symbian Bluetooth mobile phone, as well as PDA's and Webpads.

    We're working hard to harden the drivers as quickly as possible and would like as much feedback as possible. These 2nd generation "Blackbird" cards are lower in price and offer better picture quality than the current models supported in IVTV, so be sure to check them out.

    visit: plutohome.com, click 'support', 'support site', and choose "CX88 Blackbird Drivers" from the projects menu
    Reply
  • snorkel - Sunday, August 01, 2004 - link

    It would be nice if you guys did a review of
    Mythtv.
    While it is linux and the install is not as easy as a windows program, the results are spectacular.
    Mythtv is a very nice way to show off what Linux is truyly capable of.
    I would recommend running it on Gentoo, as to install you simply type emerge mythtv
    myth also works great with the haupauge PVR 250/350 series of cards and fully supports the hardware MP3 decoding.
    check it out at http://www.mythtv.org

    I have had uptimes of 75 to 100 days with shows being recorded and watch daily. My wife loves Mythtv and couldn't live without it.

    I tried SageTV, but I went back to Myth because it was better IMHO anyway.
    Reply
  • vailr - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Another TV Tuner/PVR software to consider: Cyberlink's PowerVCR II. This product has none of the audio sync problems that ATI's MMC has, when used with an ATI TV Wonder Pro/Creative Audigy sound card combo (using all the current drivers). Reply
  • MlbDude - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Thanks, and thanks also for listening to some of this feedback and actually looking into it. :) Reply
  • AndrewKu - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    #19 - We worked through all the details with Jeff and Dan Kardatzke, the owners of Frey Tech, and everything has been settled. Btw since you are the main guy for the NDA beta team for Frey, I have to say you developed some nice skins. :) Reply
  • MlbDude - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Since this review is so bad, here is another to check out. It is more complete and the reviewer actually has experience with the product.

    http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=sagetv_1
    Reply
  • WooDaddy - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Phew...

    That was a helluva review Andrew.

    It looks like TiVo for your PC is still a ways off from being that simplistic. Any plans on reviewing some of the other HTPC apps? I'll have to go back and check the Beyond TV review.

    Reply
  • glennpratt - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Lawranch
    ATI has drivers that perform software MPEG2 decoding for AIW's but has failed to release them to anyone but Dell. There are hacked versions of the Dell drivers that work on most AIW 9XXX cards.

    At anyrate AIW's suck and you should get a blackbird type card for MCE.
    Reply
  • reboos - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    review MythTV please! Reply

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