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KWorld ATSC 110 HDTV Video Capture

Thursday January 11, 2007 23:51

After endless of hacking with the ATI classic all-in-wonder(less) card and Gatos drivers, I gave up and went shopping for a replacement card.  The KWorld ATSC 110 HTDV, was as easy to get to work as a mouse.

I opened up the computer, ripped out the ATI card, (smashed the ATI card between an anvil and a large construction hammer - just kidding), plugged in the KWorld card, booted up Linux, plugged in a composite video cable from the satellite to the card, started tvtime, and bang, it just worked.  Unbelievable, not a single module-loading or kernel recompilation issue, it just worked.
The quality is really not bad at all.  When you play tv with mplayer with the unsharpening filter, it'll look just about as good as it gets.
The card does not do hardware compression, but I don't understand what the broohaha is all about, because with mencoder (comes with mplayer), I can easily stream to the harddrive with mpeg compression on my 2.8GHz P4.  Besides, with hardware compression you probably don't get all that much control over the actual compression settings and filters, so you'll want to run software compression anyway.  If you re-compress later, it'll suffer a compression quality loss twice, so why not do it all at once?  Granted that doing mpeg4 compression might not be possible in real time, and perhaps a card that does hardware mpeg4 compression might be cool, but I think a normal computer can do real time mpeg2 (or mpeg1) compression.  And as long as the size of the capture files is reasonable, and you benefit from some ungraining and sharpening filters, I think software compression is ok.

HDTV

I still have to try to hook up an antenna and try out HDTV, and I don't know yet what kind of problems I'll run in to.  I suspect that maybe it might be difficult to get the card to tune to HDTV channels instead of normal antenna/cable NTSC channels, and I suspect that it'll need some module tweaking to get that to work, but that's just speculation at this point.

Remote control

Although the box didn't indicate at all that it comes with an infrared remote control, there it was!  Happy joy, with some effort.  It didn't work out of the box, and I found out that coincidentally, today even, there were messages being exchanged on a mailing list to specifically make some kernel module changes to add support for this remote control.  The messages weren't finalized, and there was still talk about making some changes here and there.  Not wanting to wait until the next kernel release, I was able to take their patch and apply it to kernel 2.6.19.  I had to manually fix up 4 rejected files, but the code changes seemed reasonable.  After fixing 2 compiler errors, and installing an /etc/lircd.conf file, it actually worked.  Each remote control key is mapped to a keyboard key, but that can be reconfigured to connect to anything, even to external programs.  For instance, I could connect the play button to an 'mplayer -fs 1' command of sorts.

Two thumbs up for the KWorld ATSC 110 HDTV capture card.


(C) Copyright 2004-2007 Mike Pot