My experience with the Air2PC, MythTV, and QAM - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 116 Old 02-15-2005, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Lemme start off by giving my system specs on my backend:

Athlon 700mhz
2 WinTV PVR250
1 Air2PC ATSC card
3 120gb hard drives in raid0 array
128mb ram
Gentoo

My main goal was to get QAM working. I found out from another member (dt_dc) that lives in my area (Northern VA - Cox) that there are a number of unencrypted channels available. So for the last couple days, I have been trying to get it to work.

I followed all the directions at:
http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/personal/...2pc-howto.html
http://www.digitalregime.com/mythdvb/setup/

The second page was created by the guy who wrote the Air2PC dvb driver.

I had some trouble getting the setup of the backend running. It wouldn't detect my card correctly and thus, couldn't scan for channels. Problem was the header files in /usr/include/linux/dvb were all old. I copied over the ones from the dvb-kernel, recompiled, and all was great. The scan worked and picked up about 4 unencrypted channels. One of them happened to be CBS-HD. As of last night, I couldn't watch it live, but it worked fine when I manual recorded it. I think the livetv issue might be that I haven't put guide data in yet. I tried recording two other channels and they both produced 0 byte recordings. Not a big deal as I wasn't interested in those channels (one was a PPV preview channel and the other one was Spanish).

I found out today that there are a couple other channels provided by my cable operator. I looked into why I wasn't getting them. Turns out, the Air2PC card can tune up to 860mhz, but the driver was written according to the specs they print which happens to be 806mhz. I changed one line in the source code and bam, 5 more channels (this is using the azap utility). I told the developer about it and he's submitting a patch with the fix. I haven't had the chance to see what these channels actually are yet.

I'm currently using xvmc since I don't have a powerful enough system (athlon-xp 2000). Xvmc looks a TON better than it did in 0.16 but it still locks up my system whenever I try to seek. Some people think it may be an issue related to the OSD.

I will report back when I try to scan for these new channels in myth.

I want to thank Taylor Jacob (wrote the Air2PC driver), and dt_dc (member of this forum who helped me find out there were more channels available than what the card was picking up).

Tom
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post #2 of 116 Old 02-17-2005, 06:19 AM
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Hi,

I am planning on installing gentoo (I did it before); and I just got a air2pc card. Could you write a mini how-to for installing the card under gentoo. What are the steps I should follow. I am very new to Linux; I played with multiple version in the past but would like to now setup a MythTV box ontop of Gentoo. QAM would be nice, but I will settle for OTA signals to start. I searched on google and only can find a guide to install the air2pc card with Fedora. I would rather use Gentoo; but I have no idea where to start. Should I install the card then gentoo; or gentoo then the card; I have never installed hardware under Linux. A step by step guide of what you did would be great.

Thank you.
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post #3 of 116 Old 02-17-2005, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Sure, I'll provide directions. I don't have it working 100% yet. It turns out the extra channels that I picked up by extending the range were just digital music channels. I'm still working on it but once I get it done I'll post something.

Tom
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post #4 of 116 Old 02-17-2005, 08:29 PM
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Hello,

I have been using MythTV for about a year now ( going on four months without a reboot for backend & frontend ). Anyway, I was considering using the Air2PC card and setting up a new backend/frontend for HDTV.

Please post your experience on setting up the Air2PC card with Myth.

Can anyone comment on the minimum hardware required to playback 720p HDTV streams ? I guess this will be affected by use of XvMC.


/// Motulal
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post #5 of 116 Old 02-17-2005, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I wouldn't consider xvmc a viable option right now. It's making a lot of progress, but there are still some problems with seeking. It's caused my machine to hard lock every time I try it. The developers recommend a P4 3.0ghz with HT as a minimum for full software decoding.

I'm still working on getting more channels. I made some modifications to the myth source to include more frequencies, but it doesn't seem to help me find anything other than music channels. A guy in my area is getting different channels with his windows card, so I'm trying to figure out why. For example he is getting Fox-hd on the same frequency as CBS-hd, but I can only pick up CBS-hd. I did however test firewire (not with Myth though) and I was able to capture a stream to my hard drive with test-mpeg2 and play it back through myth.

Tom
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post #6 of 116 Old 02-18-2005, 09:58 AM
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Make sure that you're scanning all of the sub channels as well. It may be that they're broadcasting more than one network on the same channel but different sub-channels.
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post #7 of 116 Old 02-18-2005, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, that's what I think is going on. It's weird though because with the music channels, it picks up more than one station on certain frequencies. I got some good info on how to check the frequencies with my cable box, so maybe that'll help me out.

Tom
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post #8 of 116 Old 02-20-2005, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Just a quick update here. I changed another variable in the driver and I was able to pick up a few more channels (NBC-HD most notably). I'm still not getting 2 channels on the same frequency. For example, in my area, Fox-HD and CBS-HD are on the same frequency, but the Mytv scan is only picking up CBS-HD. I'll keep working on it.

Tom
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post #9 of 116 Old 02-21-2005, 10:20 AM
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Don't forget about a quick guide on how to install air2pc with gentoo.

I tried Fedora core 3, over the weekend but when I got to the kernel compile step, I got warnings and did not know what to do. I tried a stage 3 install of gentoo with mm-sources as kernel with DVB option built into the kernel, but it did not recognize the card at boot up.

I would really like a "here is what to type" kind of guide. Maybe I 'll wait until gentoo 2005.0 livecd. But will that solve anything?

thanks
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post #10 of 116 Old 02-21-2005, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't posted any howto's yet because I don't have it working. I think there might be an issue with the scan utility in Mythtv because, as I said before, it won't pick up multiple channels on the same frequency. Once I get this resolved, I'll be ready to post a howto. Basically, I just went off of:

http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/personal/...2pc-howto.html

I compiled support for the Air2PC card in the kernel, and it was detected upon boot. I used the 2.6.10 vanilla sources from kernel.org.

Tom
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post #11 of 116 Old 02-21-2005, 09:00 PM
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Good work guys!

I've been benefitting from you progress, I guess, but am also at a wall. I'm using gentoo-dev 2.6.10 w/ CVS dvb-kernel and CVS myth. Air2PC is installed, recognized, and working well for ATSC OTA channel scans. However for QAM, I'm only picking up 5 channels, and all are "off the air" when I try to tune them in myth. According to most resources, the Phoenix area should have all of the locals available, so I'm stuck scratching my head wondering why no locals are being picked up.

I've tried scanning from a known transport (ones that get locks with azap), but myth setup just sits, updating signal strength and signal to noise ratio, but not doing anything.

I'm running the card on a slave backend, for what its worth.

Any thoughts?
Brad
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post #12 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a patch that adds the ability to get the channels over 840mhz. I'll attach it when I get home from work.

Tom
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post #13 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 04:14 PM
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Looking forward to the patch, thanks!

Brad
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post #14 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 04:52 PM
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Looks like I've got the patch with frequencies up to 860 Mhz as it pulled from dvb-kernel CVS. I'm giving it another scan now to see if my results are any different.

One thing that confuses me though is the relationship between Mhz, transport, and channel numbers. When people say "most unencrypted HDTV cable channels are above 85", how does that relate to specific transports or frequency ranges.

If I wasn't picking up channels when scanning to 806 Mhz, and my system has them on channel 85-88, is there a chance I still won't pick them up scanning to 806 Mhz?

Just so we're on the same page: you're scanning from MythTV's channel editor, right? Did you fiddle with the transports at all, or are you just using the ones Myth prepopulates?

Thanks,
Brad
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post #15 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The first driver I tried from CVS didn't go over 806mhz. I submitted a patch to supposedly go up to 860mhz, but there's an else if statement in it that prevented it from going about 840mhz. So the driver in CVS didn't pick up anything above 840mhz for me. I have a patch in case you want to try it.

Now, no matter what driver you have, Mythtv's scanner will only scan the frequencies in the us-cable section of the frequencies.c file. You can manually edit these to try more frequencies.

As I understand it, a frequency can have more than one channel. They differ from the audio and video pids. For instance, on my cable network, Fox and CBS are both on 783mhz, but Fox has a 33 video pid and 36 audio pid, while CBS has a 49 video pid and 52 audio pid.

I tried to enter my pids manually but it still won't pick both channels up on the same frequency. The azap and dvbscan utilities both pick them up, but Mythtv doesn't.

Tom
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post #16 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 06:06 PM
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Tom,

In that case I'd be interested in seeing your patch. I'm not a DVB guy and wasn't sure how to interpret those if statements!

Thanks,
Brad
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post #17 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm new to this stuff too. Here's the patch. It won't help you with Mythtv's scanning utility unless you add frequencies to the frequencies.c file in libs/libmythtv. Apply it to the root directory of dvb-kernel.

 

air2pc-over-841mhz-patch.diff.txt 0.734375k . file

Tom
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post #18 of 116 Old 02-22-2005, 08:29 PM
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Tom,

Thanks. I made the one line fix, re-scanned and still no-joy. I'm cluing into your issue where myth doesn't pick up channels with multiple subchannels. I wonder if there is a connection there. On the channels I suspect are valid QAM channels, myth's scanners 535, 553, and 571 000 000 Mhz transports. And I also confirmed that all have at least two channels per frequency. When the myth channel scanner gets to these frequencies, it behaves differently, but ultimately "times out" and goes to the next channel.

Now to play with dvbscan and azap to see what I can find there.

Thanks,
Brad
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post #19 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 06:24 AM
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Tom,

For testing with the command line apps, which channels.conf did you use with azap?

I found this channels.conf on digitalregime that was geared to QAM. Is that what you are using?

Brad

 

channels_conf-qam.txt 3.25390625k . file
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post #20 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tbdombrosky
The first driver I tried from CVS didn't go over 806mhz. I submitted a patch to supposedly go up to 860mhz, but there's an else if statement in it that prevented it from going about 840mhz. So the driver in CVS didn't pick up anything above 840mhz for me. I have a patch in case you want to try it.

Now, no matter what driver you have, Mythtv's scanner will only scan the frequencies in the us-cable section of the frequencies.c file. You can manually edit these to try more frequencies.

As I understand it, a frequency can have more than one channel. They differ from the audio and video pids. For instance, on my cable network, Fox and CBS are both on 783mhz, but Fox has a 33 video pid and 36 audio pid, while CBS has a 49 video pid and 52 audio pid.

I tried to enter my pids manually but it still won't pick both channels up on the same frequency. The azap and dvbscan utilities both pick them up, but Mythtv doesn't.
I can't get this to pick up anything with the scan here in cablevision land... I can get azap to lock but I cant get dvbscan to work... what parameters are you using to with dvbscan?
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post #21 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlan
I can't get this to pick up anything with the scan here in cablevision land... I can get azap to lock but I cant get dvbscan to work... what parameters are you using to with dvbscan?
I set the card to a known frequency with:

azap -r $CHANNEL

The I do:

dvbscan -c

and it outputs the video pid for whatever channels it finds on that frequency.

Tom
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post #22 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tbdombrosky
I set the card to a known frequency with:

azap -r $CHANNEL

The I do:

dvbscan -c

and it outputs the video pid for whatever channels it finds on that frequency.
This is the output I get from 2 different channels:

Quote:
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
WARNING: filter timeout pid 0x0011
dumping lists (8 services)
[002c] (0x002c) 00: PCR == V V 0x0029
[0016] (0x0016) 00: PCR == V V 0x003c
[0017] (0x0017) 00: PCR == V V 0x003a
[0018] (0x0018) 00: PCR == V V 0x0035
[0019] (0x0019) 00: PCR == V V 0x0032
[001a] (0x001a) 00: PCR == V V 0x002f
[0027] (0x0027) 00: PCR == V V 0x002c
[001b] (0x001b) 00: PCR == V V 0x004f
Done.
# ./dvbscan -c
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
WARNING: filter timeout pid 0x0011
dumping lists (2 services)
[0054] (0x0054) 00: PCR == V V 0x0059
[0055] (0x0055) 00: PCR == V V 0x005b
How do I use this info to add a new channel to mythtv?
I can't get myth channel scan to find any channel.
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post #23 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Myth isn't scanning the channels correctly at the moment (at least for me it isn't). I'd keep an eye out on the developers list for fixes. I'm trying to find out how to manually enter the data but it hasn't worked for me yet.

Tom
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post #24 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tbdombrosky
Myth isn't scanning the channels correctly at the moment (at least for me it isn't). I'd keep an eye out on the developers list for fixes. I'm trying to find out how to manually enter the data but it hasn't worked for me yet.
so how are you tuning and recording?
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post #25 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 01:11 PM
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I followed the steps to get the card working... but the kernel compile has errors. It sure is frustrating :(
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post #26 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlan
so how are you tuning and recording?
I'm not at the moment. I was never able to watch live tv on these channels. I could record some, but only the ones that mythtv's scanner picked up (cbs, nbc).

Tom
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post #27 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tbdombrosky
I'm new to this stuff too. Here's the patch. It won't help you with Mythtv's scanning utility unless you add frequencies to the frequencies.c file in libs/libmythtv. Apply it to the root directory of dvb-kernel.
I have now managed to scan 4 channels with mythtv and I want to apply your patch but I can't seem to find a list of QAM frequencies above channel 125 so that I can add them to frequencies.c

Do you have a list?
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post #28 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 03:54 PM
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^
Never mind I just realized that the frequency is increased by 6 MHz per channel
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post #29 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 05:28 PM
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Made some headway today!

Essentially focused on DVB tools to analyze my streams.

First, I started with info gleaned from AVS about QAM channels for my area:

Code:
76-1 KSAZ-DT (Fox 10)
76-2 KASW-DT (WB 61)
79-1 KNXV-DT (ABC 15)
79-2 KPHO-DT (CBS 5)
82-1 KPNX-DT (NBC 12)
82-2 KAET-DT-1 (PBS HDTV)
82-3 KAET-DT-2 (PBS Kids until 4pm, then simulcast of the analog KAET-TV) (SD 480i)
Then using the channels.conf I grabbed from digitalregime, I began using azap to test the channels in my range of targets:

Code:
azap C88
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
tuning to 573000000 Hz
video pid 0x0000, audio pid 0x0000
status 1f | signal f870 | snr d336 | ber 00007ff8 | unc 00000000 | FE_HAS_LOCK
status 1f | signal f7d0 | snr d074 | ber 00007ff8 | unc 00000000 | FE_HAS_LOCK
status 1f | signal f760 | snr d18e | ber 00007ff8 | unc 00000000 | FE_HAS_LOCK
After getting a lock, I'd run dvbscan -c
Code:
 dvbscan -c
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
WARNING: filter timeout pid 0x0011
dumping lists (3 services)
[0002]                   (0x0002) 00: PCR == V   V 0x0031
[0001]                   (0x0001) 00: PCR == V   V 0x0021
[0003]                   (0x0003) 00: PCR == V   V 0x0041
Done.
Mapping the hex PIDs to decimal, I got:
Code:
0x0031 == 49
0x0021 == 33
0x0041 == 65
Then I can use dvbstream to test for the valid TS streams using mplayer:

Code:
# ./dvbstream -o -l 65 -qam 256 | mplayer -
And voila! I found every stream that was promised for my area.

Then I cross referenced the channel frequencies and sure enough, myth should have picked them up in scans, but alas myth ignored them (but differently than other channels). Also, I realized my channels.conf is way off. I need to correct the channel numbers to make it match the cable frequencies.

Moving forward, my only concern is that each channel had signs of stream defects, very regular (but always different) MPEG encoding errors like found when using a bad antenna connection.

Hope my progress assists others...
Brad
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post #30 of 116 Old 02-23-2005, 07:11 PM
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I was able to find the audio channels of some streams by running:

Code:
dvbscan -c -v -v      
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
PAT
PMT 0x0030 for service 0x0001
  VIDEO     : PID 0x0031
  OTHER     : PID 0x0034 TYPE 0x81
PMT 0x0020 for service 0x0002
  VIDEO     : PID 0x0021
  OTHER     : PID 0x0024 TYPE 0x81
WARNING: filter timeout pid 0x0011
dumping lists (2 services)
[0001]                   (0x0001) 00: PCR == V   V 0x0031
[0002]                   (0x0002) 00: PCR == V   V 0x0021
Done.
Using that information, I could capture a TS file by using:
Code:
./dvbstream -o -v 33 -a 36 -qam 256 > /tmp/test.ts
This file played back in mplayer with audio. The -v and -a commands tell which video and audio streams to use.

I think mythtv is not finding the audio streams and thus skipping it during scanning, or something similar.

Still have the image corruptions, but making progress nonetheless.

Brad
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