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Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

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PVR/HTPC questions
Hey guys,
I'm building a linux-based PVR/HTPC for watching/recording TV, DVDs, viewing images, listening to MP3s/oggs, etc. It's gonna run mythtv on Debian Sarge 3.1 (most probably).

I have a couple of doubts - right now, I'm planning on buying a barebones small form-factor case (and buying some RAM, a CPU, and drives, of course...). Most of them come with on-board 5.1 S/PDIF output, using a Realtek ALC 650 audio controller. Does anyone know if 5.1 S/PDIF output is easily supported under linux? Buying a separate audio card is another option, but it's ~$75 I could knock off the total cost if I use the onboard audio.

2. It's going to be networked to my other computers using 802.11g, but I can't seem to find a sub-$50 PCI card that is well-supported under Linux (prism?). This site has a nice list of supported cards, but all of the ones I looked for online are $60+. I've seen 802.11g PCI cards priced at $25, but these are all probably unsupported cards. Any of you know of a cheap card that will work easily?

3. The computer will most probably use VGA to output its video to a projector. However, VGA cable lengths are kind of limited, and longer cables are very expensive. I'm probably going to rewire some (shielded?) CAT-5 to use as an extra long VGA cable (saw it done somewhere - it works well, supposedly), but I'm kind of worried about interference. It shouldn't be a problem if the cable's STP, but who knows. It's going to have to be anywhere from 15 to 30 feet in length, so I'm not sure just how well this will work. I considered DVI instead of VGA, but DVI-enabled projectors are a lot more expensive and hard to find, and I was planning to use the onboard video on the motherboard (at least until I could install a more decent video card).

4. I'm going to use a Hauppauge WinTV PVR350 as the capture/input/tuner card. It's well-supported under Linux. however, the PVR350 also has an FM radio tuner and I'd like to know if it's possible to control the tuner and listen to/record the input using Linux.

Thanks in advance.

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