PCI TV card progressBy Chris Williams. Published: 20th Feb 2004, 15:39:03 | Permalink | Printable
Where the heck is it?Cast your mind back to July last year and you may recall the news of Simon Wilson's PCI TV card project. It's now February 2004 and while there's been no official release of the telly card software, there's been a lot of progress and a lot of beta testers singing praises of Simon's work.
The project's aim is to develop "a driver and TV viewing application for RISC OS, bringing television and frame capture to the desktop". PCI TV cards, like the recommended Pinnacle PCTV Rave, cost around 30 quid these days and Simon is licensing his driver under the GPL.
We caught up with young Simon recently and armed ourselves with a number of questions whose answers would hopefully quash our fears that his project would turn out into another Cineroma case.
"PCITV is now in beta, and about a third of my alpha testers have a copy of this new beta version. I still have one large problem to fix the behaviour of the software is currently undefined if no channels are found after a channel scan," explained Simon. "Some users may just want the ability to view directly-connected video sources instead of TV, so it's important to fix this problem before release."
Simon also blames other commitments for delaying his PCI TV card work, including helping out high school students with a robotics project. Another set back was due to Pinnacle changing the tuner chip used in their Rave and Pro cards twice.
Speaking of the future, Simon revealed: "Another feature I'm working on is proper frame capture. I've listed it as a feature that PCITV supports, but that was left on there from when the BASIC version of software was around. The current C version doesn't support frame capture, but it will very soon."
Overlooking the fact that the software is GPL'ed, meaning anyone can distribute copies provided they comply with the terms of the license, we asked Simon if anyone could be a tester. In response, he confirmed: "Yes, anyone with a TV card can be a tester. I've delayed releasing the very latest version of my software to all the alpha testers as I couldn't cope with the sheer number of bug reports it would produce.
"Most people have a version of PCITV (0.02d) with an external BASIC application, written by someone else, to change channels (!Remote). The very latest version of the software (beta) is with fewer people and can do the channel changing and tuner detection itself.
"The distinction I've made between alpha and beta is to do with the numbers of features. The beta version is roughly feature-complete (with the exception of frame capture) and certainly has enough features for a proper release."
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