this is from /var/log/messages
it seems to have trouble assigning the IRQ to the card.

Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost Linux video capture interface: v1.00
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv: driver version 0.9.16 loaded
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv: using 8 buffers with 2080k (520 pages)
each for capture
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv: Bt8xx card found (0).
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv0: Bt878 (rev 17) at 0000:00:0c.0, irq:
16, latency: 32, mmio: 0xe6000000
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv0: using: *** UNKNOWN/GENERIC ***
[card=0,autodetected]
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv0: can't get IRQ 16
Oct 21 17:20:16 localhost bttv: probe of 0000:00:0c.0 failed with error -38

here's a little background info:

Gentoo Linux
kernel: 2.6.14-rc5
bttv chip: Conexant Fusion 878A
NorthBridge: VIA KT600

any help appreciated,
--Xero