Latest Via Boards

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jlp_engineer
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Latest Via Boards

Post by jlp_engineer » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:26 pm

I see that there are some posts concerning the VB8000 class of Via hardware that was introduced a little over a year ago. The VB8002-16 or the VB8003-16 both look like excellent choices for a MiniMyth front end. Both boards seem to have different chipsets and one even talks of S3 graphics. My question is if the MPEG decoder portion of any of these boards are supported by MiniMyth or Linux at any level or whether that is still a work in progress?

Also, if these boards are not fully supported yet, what Via board would anyone recommend? The Via solutions are attractive, due to their small size and power requirements, but there are reports that HDTV works or only sort of works. My situation is that the I have two back ends on a Gigabit network, and I am getting ready to purchase equipment for the multiple front ends that I will use to connect to the network. The front ends will be used to watch recorded shows from five PVR-150's, and I have a local RAID array on one of the back ends that will store all the shows and live TV. All the videos and archived shows will be transferred to the slave back end which has a NAS connected via NFS. I would like all the front ends to be able to view all the recorded shows and ripped DVD's in the form of ISO's, and perhaps play DVD's locally, but that is not a firm requirement. I will have one tuner recording some local HD content, but right now there is not much available without going through a set top box and something like the HD PVR from Hauppauge.

Am I barking up the wrong tree with the Via solutions for the front ends, or will I need something with a little more power.

Thanks!

Pablo
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Re: Latest Via Boards

Post by Pablo » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:11 pm

Personally, I would stay away from VIA hardware.

Their support for Open Source video driver development so underwhelming that development on the Open Source drivers that support hardware video acceleration (openChrome) has largely stalled.

Their support for Linux's modern hardware video acceleration APIs (VDPAU and VAAPI) is nowhere to be found.

At this time, I would say that your best bet is an Intel Atom CPU paired with NVIDIA ION GPU. I have such a platform (Acer Aspire R1610). During HDTV playback it consumes 24W. During idle, it consumes 21W. During S3 suspend, it consumes >3W. It relies on VDPAU, which is supported by FFmpeg, MPlayer, VLC, Xine (the 1.2 development branch) and MythTV.

If you can wait for VAAPI support in Intel's Open Source drivers as well as applications (I believe their will be "beta" support in MythTV 0.24), then consider waiting and adopting an Intel Atom CPU with integrated GPU solution. Assuming that the VAAPI support works well, then the advantage of this solution over the Intel Atom CPU with NVIDIA ION GPU is likely to be both tangible (lower power in both idle and video playback) and intangible (a completely Open Source software solution).
MiniMyth running on an Acer ApireRevo 3610 and a Zotac ZBOX-ID80-U. Find out more at my MythTV page.

jlp_engineer
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Re: Latest Via Boards

Post by jlp_engineer » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:19 pm

Thank you for your reply.

I had a feeling that the Intel Atom solution would be the easiest to use. I am very interested in setting up MiniMyth on this solution, and it is good to know that the support is there in the software for this hardware. The lower power requirements are attractive, but the waste heat and noise are my biggest concerns. Fortunately, these are things that can be controlled with careful consideration on the case and cooling solutions.

Looks like an Intel Atom with the nVidia graphics solution will be on my Christmas list this year. I can then spend the holidays setting up MiniMyth and the remote boot software for my home network.

Thank you for your support of MythTV and the Linux community.

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