Finding Hardware That Doesn’t Suck

I’m sure I’m not the first one to have this complaint, but I really wish there was a list somewhere of the Best (x) that Just Works under GNU/Linux, where (x) is a device or card. Right now, I just want a good analog video capture card (for editing and converting VHS home videos to DVD). I keep coming across webpages that say, “I’ve gotten this to work under kernel 2.2…”

I’d just like for every hardware buying experience to not be a four or five hour expedition. Just tell me what I want, and I’ll find just choose the lowest price from pricewatch and call it a day.

And, hey, while I’m complaining: does anyone have any idea why tcextract locks up vim for several seconds at a time even when run at nice 19?

Update: I should clarify if anyone actually wants to answer my video capture question that it is for a laptop, so it either needs to be a USB2, Firewire, or PCMCIA device.


  1. Josh Triplett Jan 28

    Alrighty; you want the Hauppauge WinTV PVR-250, which will cost you less than $150. It does high-quality hardware encoding to MPEG-2, which is exactly what DVDs use. It uses the ivtv driver, which works under 2.4 and 2.6, and is now apparently quite stable (just don’t get the development branch, which last I heard was missing some little features, like actual video capture :) ). And it comes with an RF remote (no line of sight required) and TV tuner, so after you finish your work with VHS tapes, you can easily build a PVR. :)

    You may also run across the PVR-350 (same thing plus video-out and a hardware decoder), or the PVR-150 (same thing minus the remote, for Windows Media Center users who already have one), or the PVR-500 (two, two, two tuners in one; ivtv partly supports this at the moment, but success with these cards seems to vary). Go with the 250.

    Also note that a quick search on pricewatch shows that some of the cheapest vendors listed are that cheap because they *don’t include the remote*, just the card.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Josh Triplett Jan 28

    Followup: apparently the ivtv development branch has progressed to being the stable branch now, so disregard the comment about missing video capture in the development branch. :)

  3. tapeworm Jan 28

    i don’t know of any pcmcia solution, but every firewire device should be compatible (i mean those converter box with analog input and firewire output). they usually are not as cheap as the usb2 converters, but at least they are “standard”… on the plus side the digital video they output is easily editable with kino, unlike mpeg or mjpeg.

    the usb2 scene is much more depressing, the only one i can think about with official drivers is the plextor one:

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