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Raspberry PI + Sundtek USB DVB-C stick as PVR - does this work?
#1
Hello Forum,

I am new to xbmc and video/TV things and I would like to ask for experience of other users.

Does anybody has a working setup with a Videorecorder and XBMC on a Raspberry with a Sundtek TV stick??

My first try with Openelec using tvheadend (all newest versions) worked but I had extreme bad quality, sporadically bad noise and stuttering, artefacts and interruptions. My RPI had a load level >3 ! (I tried all performance relevant settings, and I have licenses for the RPIs GPU HW support...)

The Sundtek technical support Forum mentioned in a thread that the combination RPI with XBMC is not working at all, because of the HW performance of the Raspberry !?! They only know about an RPI setup with VDR on Arch Linux.
On the other hand I found some posts where Raspberry PI and XBMC works as a video recorder.
(I want to use it for streaming mkv files from disk and record tv programmes as well)

My HW setup:
Raspberry model B
Realtec WLAN stick
Logitech wireless keyboard
Active 7-port usb hub
Sundtek MediaT Pro III USB DVB-C stick

Currently I try Raspian and compile vdr and than xbmc from source to understand how the software components work (I found only poor and confusing documentation until now).

Thanks in advance
Kallewirsch
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#2
OpenELEC with tvheadend
What's about recording tv programmes (SD-Quality / HD-Quality); does this work and what are the file formats?
Maybe the playback does not run smoothly because it is not HW-accelerated
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#3
TV Headend records in either MKV (default) or TS (passthrough). It doesn't re-encode, it records the MPEG2 (SD in the UK) and H264 (HD in the UK) streams as broadcast, so recordings are identical in quality to the live broadcast. You'll need to ensure you have de-interlacing enabled in XBMC to watch native interlaced content cleanly.

MKV files don't work nicely when the audio on HD channels switches between 2.0 and 5.1 within a single file (it doesn't cope with format switching well), so I use Passthrough (which is a TS recording and handles audio switching formats on the fly with no problems)

I don't use TVHeadend on my Pi, but do on my Acer Revo running OpenElec.
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#4
Did you get the MPEG2 license for the Pi? Because if not, that might just be the source of your performance issues, as the Pi will decode it in software, putting the CPU on it's knees, instead of using the video chip directly.
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#5
Yes, I have bought and installed the licenses.
The interesting thing:
My first try was to simply stream files from a FritzBox NAS attached disk over WLAN (without Receiver stick). It had interruptions but in general the video file was played several seconds in good quality, so I concluded that the HW capabilities are OK.
I assumed the interruptions came from the WLAN bandwith.

Now I will start to test on a labtop first to learn more.
On the PI I see the following potential sources of errors (and unfortunately combinations of them):

HW: USB, HDMI connection to TV, additional attached devices like WLAN stick and keyboard, the USB Hub
Software: xbmc config, combination of backend and frontend TV server software.
Interaction with the Sundtek driver (I looks good to me and seem to work properly.

Again, it would help a lot to hear from someone who achieved a working PVR with the Pi, because it might help aligning my own tests (I have not endless time unfortunately ;-)
Is it necessary to separate the TV streaming server from the xbmc + streaming frontend?
I would prefer to have both on the small energy saving box like the Pi .
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#6
I had OK-ish results with a Hauppauge DVB-T Dual Tuner/Diversity USB stick, and with SD DVB-T broadcasts on a PCTV 290e DVB-T2 stick. However the USB issues in the Rasp Pi kernel are still not fixed, and I got lots of continuity errors with DVB-T2 channels. The work done on the USB drivers has improved things - before the kernel improvements even DVB-T channels were unwatchable through continuity errors.

(There are known and very real issues with the Rasp Pi USB handling)
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Raspberry PI + Sundtek USB DVB-C stick as PVR - does this work?00