Is their a way to use a computer as a receiver with Bell ExpressVu - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-07, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6
So after doing quite a bit of research today, I think I will get the HD-PVR device and install Ubuntu on my computer. This is not my favorite OS but for multimedia and new hardware, FreeBSD can be quite limited sometimes...

Anyway, I tried playing the 13.5Mbps test clip from with non-threaded mplayer on my home computer and it is very choppy and uses 100% of one of the two cores on my CPU (Pentium D 2.8 GHz). My video card is not very great (fanless Nvidia 6600 with 128MB of RAM) and does not support H.264 hardware decoding. I am thinking of getting a Gigabyte Nvidia 9600 fanless card with 512MB of RAM ( Do you think this combined with my current hardware (Pentium D 2.8 GHz, Asus P5WD2 that does not have PCI-E 2.0 slots) would be sufficient to smoothly play HD videos?

Last edited by pldrouin; 2009-04-08 at 08:59 AM.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-08, 12:05 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: near Ashton, ON.
Posts: 111
A few quick comments/suggestions off the top:
  • There have been very positive reports regarding the VDPAU feature in recent Nvidia drivers for HD playback, reducing CPU load to only a few percent. However, VDPAU is not available on any AGP-based cards. (PCI-E only). (Haven't looked up your motherboard -- does it support earlier versions of PCI-E? -- your reference to the Gigabyte card infers that it does.)
  • I think VDPAU support is only available in the MythTV development stream so far, but there are versions of mplayer and other software that can handle it.
  • For user reports regarding HD performance with various hardware combinations, see
  • BellTV are currently downconverting all of their HD content to 720P, so you would be best to record in that format (for now) on the HD PVR, avoiding an extra conversion back to 1080i in your STB. Maybe when they have more bandwidth (mpeg4?) this might change, but I think quantity will probably continue to win out over quality.
My current MythTV box has been running 24/7 for nearly 5 years now, and is due for replacement soon (power supply getting flakey, etc.). There is new hardware coming in the next few months that looks very promising for a low-power (AC-wise), small form factor replacement, so I am watching developements.

Last edited by ashtonp; 2009-04-08 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Added comment regarding pldrouin's motherboard
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 2009-04-08, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Yes, my current motherboard has a PCI-E slot, but it is not 2.0. I have read that 2.0 was 100% backward compatible with 1.0, so I guess this should be fine. I had VDPAU in mind when I asked the question. So I guess it would be worth getting only that card or some fanless ASUS 9600GT I have seen on NCIX and give it a try to see how much a difference it makes. The video I was testing was 720p... Would it be worth getting a 1G card for this purpose or is it too much? What kind of new hardware are you referring too exactly?
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