[linux-dvb] Pinnacle PCTV Sat HDTV Pro USB (452e) packet loss

John Goacher linuxdvb at johngoacher.co.uk
Thu Dec 13 12:55:33 CET 2007

Although this device is not yet officially supported, I've been trying to get it working following success reported by others in an earlier thread. I've followed the instructions in the DVB wiki entry for this device, and have succeeded in tuning the device using the patched version of szap, and recording a transport stream (using cat /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0 > recording.ts).

However, the transport stream shows up discontinuity errors which manifest as glitches in the playback. From the stats produced by TS Reader the rate of loss is typically around 1 packet in 700, though it varies from run to run. 

I realise the simplest explanation for this would be a poor quality signal. However, the device performs flawlessly under Windows XP in exactly the same hardware configuration (same computer, dish, and sat feed) when tuned to the same channels. This seems to rule out signal quality as a cause unless the linux driver does not configure the device's error correction properly. Is there any possibility this could be the case ?

I've also tried running the linux configuration on two different computers - an AMD X2 4600 with Asus M2NPV-VM mobo, and a Via EPIA5000 system (with a PCI 5-port USB2.0 card). The same problem occurs on both systems.

I'm using kernel version 2.6.18-2. I also have two DVB-T USB adapters which work with the same software configuration with no packet loss.

The channels I've tried are BBC 1 London and BBC HD. Obviously, the data rate is much higher on the HD channel. I've cross-checked with the XP configuration to make sure that the frequencies, polarity, etc. are correct in the channels.conf file.

Note that during the BBC HD trial from Crystal Palace I was able to record this channel from a DVB-T adapter without packet loss even on the EPIA5000 (533 MHz Via Eden processor).

I'm unable to determine at what point in the processing chain the packets are being lost. I temporarily inserted some checks for continuity errors on a specific pid in the 'dvb_dmxdev_ts_callback' function in dmxdev.c. This showed packets had already gone missing at this point in the driver. I don't know my way around the code well enough to be able to pursue it further. In particular, I can't tell whether the packets are being discarded somewhere in the driver, or within the device itself. The only kind of errors which I detect are continuity errors. Does the device filter out all packets in error or does it pass them through to the driver with the appropriate error flags set in the packet header ?

Has anybody succeeded in getting an error free transport stream from this device ? If not, are there any ideas about where the problem might be ?

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