Wednesday, 13 August 2014

1 year.. no updates.. eek..

So I sign in today, to be greeted by Blogspot telling me I've been awol for an entire year. Zoinks!

While I'd like to claim I was kidnapped by aliens who needed a lot of floppy disks read, the truth is sadly less impressive.. I've been kidnapped by Canadians who want to learn how to pronounce 'soldering' correctly. Well, almost, I've emigrated to Canada, which is in no small part the reason for the lack of postings.

The good news is things are now settling down here, and I'm hoping soon to get back into working on the Pi+HD PVR code, and have a play around with some new shinies acquired this side of the pond.

Expect normal infrequent blog updates to resume in the nearish future!!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Playing with the Hauppauge Colossus..

I've been using the HD PVR usb unit a lot recently with the Raspberry Pi, but I recently found a great deal on a Hauppauge Colossus, which is like the PCI-e relation to the usb unit.. higher bitrates, no oddball stability issues like the usb unit had, but also sadly not going to work with a Pi..

I've used a Colossus in my HTPC since release, so I knew what to expect, but hit an interesting snag with the latest drivers, which although adding some VERY interesting options to the format settings dialog, also seemed to remove any way to adjust the bitrate.

Thankfully, Hauppauge have been busy developing their own capture app, which does still have a bitrate control, and altering it there lets the value stick so Showbiz is able to use it. Not ideal.. but ok as a workaround for now.. I've emailed support to ask how it's supposed to work ;p

The new options dialog looks impressive, having video scaling, framerate scaling, source info, mpeg profile level, audio encoding options, and hardware info.. (I'll add a screenshot here once I've stopped my next test capture.. ).. I've not seen most of these on the dialog before, so they offer a lot more control than previously.

Why not just use the Hauppauge capture app ? because at least for me, recording 1080i with 2 channel audio meant huge audio breakups & video pausing while recording.. not great for a capture app. Plus no way to access those extra options! maybe they'll fix that later, but I get the feeling the app is aimed more at streaming captures of console gaming.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Raspberry Pi and the HD PVR.. streaming and recording, Part III

It's been a little under 2 months since I posted last, and I've been busy working on a new build of the code, with a web interface, and other such useful things. I kept meaning to post about it, but kept going back to add yet another little tweak.

So, finally, it's time to release the latest version! read on to find out how to use it..

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Raspberry Pi and the HD PVR.. streaming and recording, Part II

It's working =)

Finally got to the bottom of the drop outs / glitches.. Some were my fault in the code, some were due to a dodgy cable feeding the HD PVR from the set top box. With the replacement cable in place, I had it stream for 12 hours straight with no reported dropouts.. that's close to a record for this unit =).

With the new cable in place however, I could still make it glitch, but only when recording.. the very time you didn't want glitches ;p This was while writing data to a network share, mounted via cifs, and the glitches became more frequent if the same network share was used via another client.. all of which got me thinking...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Raspberry Pi and the HD PVR.. streaming and recording

Success! sort of...

I've finished rebuilding the C app, to read from the HDPVR and offer the data via a simple HTTP interface, and embedded a little control to toggle recording on & off. With the HDPVR running around 8mbit, I'm able to stream to about 5 clients simultaneously, which is pretty good going.

The downside is dropouts are still present.. (Update: not anymore!!) I'm hoping its just the HDPVR's fault, as these units are known to glitch occasionally & require a reopen.. even so I'm not going to call it a day yet, I'll have a bash at compiling MythTV and seeing how it's recording code gets on with the device.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Raspberry Pi and the HD PVR.. coping with dropouts..

The HD PVR is a great bit of kit, but it does have one slight drawback.. it's either lazy, or it's easily distracted ;p You request data from it.. and wheee... it comes back in nice h264 format, great you think, and go make a cup of tea, bake some cookies, etc.. and come back to find the recording just.. stopped?!!

Read on for a quick guide of what I've tried so far.. and what hasn't worked ;p

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Raspberry Pi and the HD PVR

I had a spare USB Hauppauge HD PVR, and a Raspberry Pi.. and had meant to get around to trying this for quite some time. There were even a few posts in the Hauppauge forums where people were wondering if the device would work well with the Pi.

The HD PVR is a component video capture device, good for up to 1080i, with optical or stereo audio input, it has a hardware encoder onboard, so the video is sent to the Pi already encoded as an h264 transport stream. I'm using the original HD PVR 1212 here, there are newer Gaming oriented versions, and an HD PVR2 now.. but I don't know the state of the linux drivers for those.

Once the Pi has the data, it can stream it, record it, or possibly use it as a tuner for a pvr backend.. Read on if you want to follow what I've tried so far..