Skip to main content

Under $200 ATSC HDTV Card Available for Linux

With lower-cost DTV capable tuners appearing on the market, finding an inexpensive way to decode the ATSC MPEG-2 data stream becomes more important. Utah-based pcHDTV may have the answer. pcHDTV announced a limited release of its HD-2000 HDTV pci card for only $189. Designed specifically for the Linux market, the HD-2000 card uses the open source video player software Xine to decode the ATSC data stream.

Since the decoding is done in software, the card requires a system with a Pentium processor operating at 1,200 MHz or more and an Nvidia card with IDCT acceleration is required. Other video cards can be used if the CPU operates at 2 GHz or more. A 2.4 GHz CPU is recommended to allow the greatest flexibility in the choice of video cards. A sound card with S/PDIF support is also needed. RAM requirements are modest at 256 MB.

The card uses the OR51211 8-VSB decoder chip from Oren Semiconductor. While details on this chip were not available on the Oren Web site, the Oren OR51122 included full 576-tap equalization and a "real-time" adjustable equalization range of -6 to +44 microseconds.

In my Sept. 6, 2003 TV Technology RF Column I have a report on the GNU radio project, which includes a complete HDTV receiver based on a Microtune tuner, a high-speed A/D converter and a conventional PC running Linux.