Comparing tvtime and XawTV / 2007-11-30

2007-11-30 Comparing tvtime and XawTV
Some time ago I had time to really try tvtime. I've had a Linux system with a simple Win-TV card (brooktree 848 based) since 'forever' and I think I always used XawTV (maybe there was some predecessor I used in the beginning). After some really positive remarks about it from people I decided to give it a try.

The system I tried this on is a Dell Optiplex GX110 with a PIII-667 cpu named Turing. The tv-card is seen as:

0000:01:08.0 Multimedia video controller: Brooktree Corporation Bt848 Video Capture (rev 12)
        Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 10
        Memory at fafff000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
From the kernel messages:
Linux video capture interface: v1.00
i2c-core.o: i2c core module version 2.6.1 (20010830)
i2c-algo-bit.o: i2c bit algorithm module
bttv: driver version 0.7.108 loaded
bttv: using 4 buffers with 2080k (8320k total) for capture
bttv: Bt8xx card found (0).
PCI: Found IRQ 10 for device 01:08.0
PCI: Sharing IRQ 10 with 00:1f.3
PCI: Sharing IRQ 10 with 00:1f.5
bttv0: Bt848 (rev 18) at 01:08.0, irq: 10, latency: 64, mmio: 0xfafff000
bttv0: using: MIRO PCTV [card=1,insmod option]
i2c-algo-bit.o: Adapter: bt848 #0 scl: 1  sda: 1 -- testing...
i2c-algo-bit.o:1 scl: 1  sda: 0 
i2c-algo-bit.o:2 scl: 1  sda: 1 
i2c-algo-bit.o:3 scl: 0  sda: 1 
i2c-algo-bit.o:4 scl: 1  sda: 1 
i2c-algo-bit.o: bt848 #0 passed test.
i2c-core.o: adapter bt848 #0 registered as adapter 0.
bttv0: i2c: checking for MSP34xx @ 0x80... not found
bttv0: miro: id=1 tuner=0 radio=no stereo=no
bttv0: using tuner=0
bttv0: i2c: checking for MSP34xx @ 0x80... not found
bttv0: i2c: checking for TDA9875 @ 0xb0... not found
bttv0: i2c: checking for TDA7432 @ 0x8a... not found
tvaudio: TV audio decoder + audio/video mux driver
tvaudio: known chips: tda9840,tda9873h,tda9874h/a,tda9850,tda9855,tea6300,tea6420,tda8425,pic16c54 (PV951),ta8874z
i2c-core.o: driver generic i2c audio driver registered.
i2c-core.o: driver i2c TV tuner driver registered.
tuner: chip found @ 0xc0
tuner(bttv): type forced to 0 (Temic PAL (4002 FH5)) [insmod]
tuner: type already set (0)
i2c-core.o: client [Temic PAL (4002 FH5)] registered to adapter [bt848 #0](pos. 0).
bttv0: registered device video0
bttv0: registered device vbi0
With a simple channel scan tvtime found all channels. And promptly put them on presets according to a channel numbering I couldn't understand. Casema Utrecht is ofcourse using PAL with a western European channel numbering, but I couldn't figure out the channel numbering. For example RTL-4 is on UHF channel 28 (Overview of channels on the Casema website in Dutch), tvtime calls this channel (and therefore preset) 99 and does not show UHF channel 28 anywhere in the userinterface. I was able to move the channels around using the userinterface of tvtime but it was a lot of work. This felt 'American' to me: programmable presets aren't used as much there as we are used to, so a station can advertise being on channel 99 and it will be on channel 99 on most of the television sets. In the Netherlands a TV station has hard work convincing their viewers that they need to be on a certain preset (preferrably below 10 so it's a single button press).

To change names of TV stations (now I had RTL-4 in position 4 but it was still named '99') I had to quit tvtime and directly edit the stationlist.xml file.

The other thing I really noticed is that with the default settings tvtime uses up all cpu on the PIII-667. By changing the deinterlacing settings I was able to fix this. But: 'no deinterlacing' was not an option, I just had to find out which one uses less cpu. I used XawTV before on a pentium-90 with cycles to spare.

Comparing the two


+ neat userinterface, all on-screen
+ scriptable, I can send messages to the screen from other applications
- 'american' way of channel numbering
- having to edit an xml file to name stations
- deinterlacing uses a lot of cpu and can't be disabled


+ 'original' channel numbers visible in the userinterface
+ light on the cpu
- no deinterlacing, which gets very visible in fullscreen mode

My final conclusion

None yet: at the moment there is no TV-cable up to a PC so I don't use tv-watching on a PC. I'm not sure which software would see regular use.

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