Swapping PCI for USB to save energy?

After discovering that Hauppauge WinTV NOVA-T PCI cards seem to draw anything up to 9 watts each when in operation, I’ve been theorising about ways and means to reduce the overall power consumption of a MythTV ‘backend’ server.

One option I considered was replacing two NOVA-T cards with a single NOVA-T 500 which has two tuners. The glaring problem with that approach is that I have no means of knowing before-hand whether the NOVA-T 500 doesn’t just draw twice as much power as a normal NOVA-T.

The other alternative I’ve considered is a NOVA-T USB Stick. It’s a really simple device involving a USB connector at one end and an aerial connector at the other. In theory, the limitations of the USB system should dictate that one of these sticks will not require more than 2.5 watts (more likely no more than 2 watts).

Hauppage NOVA-T USB stick

If so, I would be limited to one stick per USB slot but that’s no great hardship as I have at least four USB slots to play with.

There is a catch though, having done some reading out on the intertubes, it appears there is a problem with tuning on the NOVA-T sticks and the current version of Mythbuntu (which I have used to configure MythTV systems up until now)

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