If you build a playout server for digital TV you will need an ASI card for your PC to pump out the transport stream to your modulator or hardware mux. There are several PCI cards for ASI output on the market but only few companies offer SDKs or drivers for the Linux operating system.
After nearly four years working on DVB/MPEG playout environments on Linux I would like to share my experiences. The list is not complete. Comments and questions are welcome.
[Update on Optibase-cards 2005-08-08]
This was the first card I started with. The company provided only Solaris drivers. We had to write our own. Now they claim to have Linux drivers. "Linux on Intel". Sounds like binary only. Has anyone more?
The website does not say anything about stuffing in hardware. But our card did it.
Binary only drivers. Latest is for 2.4.18. They do multiplexing and depending on the model they have ASI in. The driver needs a special patched RedHat 2.4.18-3 kernel. The supplied sample tools do not allow to stream through a pipe directly to a device node. The card does stuffing in hardware. The most expensive solution to feed your modulator.
Update: The driver for this card seems to be abondened. Why don't the release the sourcecode for the drivers? Has anyone the zip password for the 4.4.5 SDK (header files)?
[UPDATE 2005-08-08: Optibase released a new Linux driver. Sourcecode for driver seems to be included. Send me your feedback!]
A chinese newcomer. Linux drivers in sourcecode. Freezes the machine. Very strange interrupt behaviour. Comments in the sourcecode are in chinese language. No Linux support anymore because the driver developer has left the company. We try to return the cards.
Dektec now supports full source code linux drivers for 2.4 and 2.6 kernels. They have nice USB2 ASI input and output adapters. I got one very positive feedback from a person using the driver.
Computermodules DVB Master II Tx
They have GPL driver and the card works fine. Runs for two years without any hassle.
The DVB Master III supports hardware stuffing. We will evaluate this card in late November.
Update: I can only recommend this card. I deployed this card in several machines. 0% downtime because of ASI card / driver issues. The drivers are always up-to-date and the CM staff is very friendly.