dTV and Pinnacle PCTV Sat ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,
has anyone used dTV and the Pinnacle PCTV Sat card for digital tv reception (DVB-S for Europe) with success ? Or can anyone comment on possible success ?
The hardware is as follows :
Video compression/PCI-controller-chip : Conexant CN878
Digital TV/radio/data tuner : Conexant HM1811
The CN878 is said to be equivalent to the BT878.
S-Video Input.
Can dTV work with this hardware, if only for the s-video input?

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Wolfgang

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post #2 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 01:07 PM
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Wolfgang: that's an interesting setup. Perhaps it is similar to the WinTV-D card for ATSC, i.e., it uses the 878 sometimes as a decoder, sometimes as a PCI bridge.

Do you know what reference design this uses? Perhaps it is a modified Fujitsu/Siemens reference design? Do you have a further list of chips that are contained on the board (I don't think there are too many)?

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Dan

[This message has been edited by dschmelzer (edited 04-29-2001).]

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post #3 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Dan,

this is what I found on the Pinnacle web site :

Video compression/PCI-controller-chip : Conexant CN878
Digital TV/radio/data tuner : Conexant HM1811
Demodulator : Conexant HM1211
Aerial input : F-Connector Sat mid freq.
Video inputs : S-Video (Hosiden socket)
Composite video (RCA socket)
Aerial output : F-Connector Sat mid freq.
Hardware deliverables : PCTV Sat PCI board / IR remote control set

I would not believe Pinnacle to use a Siemens design, might be reference design by Conexant.
My idea was that I can at least use dTV with the s-video input, for viewing of my valued laser discs, and watch tv with the pinnacle application.


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post #4 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 02:11 PM
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I think it would be a "crap shoot"--might work, might not. Make sure the shop has a good return policy. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

Good luck on your decision.

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Dan

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Dan,

some more info from Conexant regarding the 'Fusion 878' PCI Video Decoder chip :
--------------------
DStreamATSC (TM) Reference Design

The DStreamATSC reference design is built upon the Fusion 878A, which has a proven track record of compatibility with graphics controllers and core-logic chipsets. Capable of receiving both ATSC (American Television Standards Committee) and NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) TV broadcasts and using the host processor to perform the HDTV processing, the DStreamATSC reference design is the most advanced HDTV solution available for the PC. Combine the DstreamATSC reference design with a 3rd party MPEG-2 soft decoder and splitter to create a low cost HDTV all format receiver card.
--------------------

The Fusion878 shall be functionally equivalent to the BT878.

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post #6 of 15 Old 04-29-2001, 02:20 PM
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The 878 and Fusion 878A aren't the same chip, although perhaps those differences are slightly less important on DVB (I think many of the mods for the Fusion had to do with the digital bandwidth). Further, the DStream is at least a slightly different design, including a different tuner (Philips) and demodulator (NxtWave for VSB).

I don't think there is any open source code out there on the Conexant tuner and demodulator, although it might not be extremely difficult to add full digital suport, given the correct documentation, and software components (inlcuding an MPEG-2 decoder).

If you're a gambling man, you might as well try it, if just for fun.

------------------
Dan

[This message has been edited by dschmelzer (edited 04-29-2001).]

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post #7 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 10:05 AM
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The PCTV-Sat from Pinnacle is indeed based upon the DStreamDBS reference design. I haven't tried it but the analog inputs (S-Vid, CVBS) should work fine in dTV. Maybe I can check it out this week and point you to which HW to 'select' on the dropdown in dTV. Don't expect any channel tuning to work. The front end is nothing like terrestrial tuning.
878A is newer version of 878 but functionally all the same. BT or CN are prefix changes following the migration of our company name from Brooktree to Conexant over the last few years.
Wolfgang, how do you like the PCTV-Sat?
Cheers,
Tim Wilhelm, Conexant Systems
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 10:18 AM
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TimW -

Do you know if the Fusion 878A is speeded up any? I think I read in one of the older datasheets that the BT chips couldn't capture more than 240 lines / field (NTSC, 480i).

Is is possible to capture 480p using the Fusion? Or is the limitation still the same? I'm actually thinking about cards like the WinTV-d here, that use the PCI bridge on the decoded data.

- Tom

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post #9 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 12:26 PM
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The analog decoder and DMA-ing performance are the same on 878 and 878A.

There was a speed up applied to the digital I/O however...the GPIO parr and ser modes. As for 480p, there is no prob if it is still compressed/encoded in a transport stream (that would be less than 20mbps, 2.5MB/s,... slow) but I assume you know that and are asking about decoded 480p60 (~50MB/s) to an overlay. I haven't tried that and since its such a leap over normal (~20MB/s) 480i I'd hesitate to say yes before actually attempting it. I have burst through 80MB/s on an 878A but not with video so I dont have a feel for how video into a VGA frame buffer would look or behave. I'd be worried about the various VGA_frame_buffers systemic speed and the PCI_bus losing its sense of humor on some older mobo's/chipsets. Maybe no prob, but still would need to test out alot.

To find out if decoded 480p60 is even avail on a WinTV-D card you would need to ask Haup.

Cheers, Tim
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 01:15 PM
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Tim: thanks for your clarification and add'l info. Is there a list of the dStreamDBS cards currently available, so that I could reference them on the dTV web site? Of course, dTV couldn't add full support w/o a software MPEG-2 decoder, but it would be nice to note that at least the s-video works.

Re the WinTV-D, it uses a 480i hardware MPEG-2 decoder, so we couldn't do 480p60 on it. However, I know of at least one new card project that could use 480p60 or 480p30 capabilities, so would be interested in finding out if it is possible.

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Dan

[This message has been edited by dschmelzer (edited 05-06-2001).]

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post #11 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 01:21 PM
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Tim -

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">but I assume you know that and are asking about decoded 480p60 (~50MB/s) to an overlay. I haven't tried that and since its such a leap over normal (~20MB/s) 480i I'd hesitate to say yes before actually attempting it. I have burst through 80MB/s on an 878A but not with video so I dont have a feel for how video into a VGA frame buffer would look or behave. I'd be worried about the various VGA_frame_buffers systemic speed and the PCI_bus losing its sense of humor on some older mobo's/chipsets. Maybe no prob, but still would need to test out alot.</font>

Thanks.

Yeah, I was talking about decoded data and the Fusion chip possible limitations. Just wondering if it would be possible to tweak one of these WinTV-d's for 480p, since machines are faster now than when they were designed. (is multimedia time faster than internet time? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif )

Unfortunately, I don't think Hauppage has ever release hardly any technical info on the WinTV-d card. It's up to us to puzzle it out.

BTW, the dTV software for instance happily transfers over 40 MBS to the overlay buffer, just in software, not to mention the other incoming 20 MBS being DMA'd to system memory by the BT chip.

- Tom

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[This message has been edited by trbarry (edited 05-06-2001).]

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post #12 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 01:29 PM
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Never mind. Question answered.

[This message has been edited by dschmelzer (edited 05-06-2001).]

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post #13 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Tim,

thanks for your information, it's greatly appreciated.
I do not own a PCTV-Sat yet, but to my knowledge it was the first DVB card to appear here in Germany that has a (s-)video input and a BT878 compatible chip set. That was exactly what I was waiting for. I will give it a try in a week or so and post my findings.


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Wolfgang

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post #14 of 15 Old 05-06-2001, 05:41 PM
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Dan,
The Pinnacle PCTV-Sat is the first that I know of to be on the market. Either Wolfgang or I will post back once we try dTV on it.

Tom,
Tom Wrote:
"BTW, the dTV software for instance happily transfers over 40 MBS to the overlay buffer, just in software, not to mention the other incoming 20 MBS being DMA'd to system memory by the BT chip."
Aye, but the 40+MB/s to overlay is over AGP. My worry would be sending 50MB/s down the PCI bus and if it was a PCI VGA could the IO/frame buffer handle it. Probably not a problem (in theory) on both counts, but it deserves pessimism and try-out b4 giving it a hearty nod.

Wolfgang,
I hear it is a good product, hw & sw. I played with an early version. I think it even has TiVo like pause for sat streams? Let us know what you think.

Cheers, Tim
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-09-2001, 12:14 PM
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Dan and Wolfgang,

I checked out dTV 2.12 on our DStreamDBS and last I checked the PCTV-sat used the same S-vid and CVBS inputs to 878A. So, PCTV-sat should work fine. Board can be "Unknown 878" or "Conexant Foghorns" but both with "no tuner". There are probably lots of other board selections that work also.

Cheers, TimW
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