[mythtv-users] Some Suggestions for MythTV
blrogers at ieee.org
Fri Aug 5 00:55:06 UTC 2005
Since, for my budget, I was unable to make MythTV "wife-proof,"
as it has been called here, (actually, I was unable even to make it work at
all), I thought I would give some suggestions that will help others looking
to make a MythBox more successful. So, here it goes.
First, if you want your computer to be next to a TV, then you have a few
a) Don't care about the noise and the look of a
computer outside of your Entertainment Center (any spot in an entertainment
center with less than the front and back removed will make the computer heat
up too much.
b) Be ready to modify your entertainment center to
allow for plenty of air circulation.
c) Get a VERY cool box with VERY quiet fans with
VERY quiet hard drives. It would be very difficult to spend too much money
on quiet hardware for the Myth box.
Secondly, you should probably not try to use your Myth box for standard
a) You don't care about actually reading text. This goes for both
HDTVs and Standard Television sets. Normally, you can read the text if you
have standard out, but this is simply because the text is so big and the
resolution so bad. Keep in mind that Standard TVs only have around 525
scanlines (something like a 480 visible vertical pixel dimension). This is
probably unacceptable for most people trying to double the Myth box with
standard computing. The only way to actually get a decent resolution is to
modulate the high resolution to a NTSC signal. This can be done using a
standard RF Modulator (usually used for changing video inputs from digital
[svideo, composite, etc] to analog [coax RF]). However, if you do this, you
will not be able to read the text on screen (unless it is scaled larger like
Myth does in its frontend). With HDTV, while much sharper, many TVs only
support 720p which is also much lower resolution than most people are used
to. This lets you use the HDTV to do standard computing (like word
processing, etc), but you are very limited on screen real estate. Just
don't be surprised if you can't double the Myth box as a computing station.
b) You have something like VNC that you can use to remote into the box.
However, this requires another computer, so it kind of defeats the purpose.
c) You set up the computer, connect it to a Monitor (Variable sync
rates) and keyboard and make the primary setup be used for standard
computing. You can still hook up your cable or antenna to it and use it to
record video. The recorded video / live tv could then be watched on the
monitor or over a network to a computer that can be hooked up to a TV.
With that said, if you are dedicating the box to be *just* a Myth box (and
nothing else), you'll probably be alright, but be prepared for some work.
If you aren't using KnoppMyth, or something similar (which is curious,
because KnoppMyth didn't set up the pcHDTV 3000 card correctly either), then
expect some work ahead of you. Most of the hardware that I got seemed to
work well and without problems. I did struggle with the Chaintech AV-710
7.1 Surround Sound card, but most people on this list seemed to have an easy
time with it. Also, I was using the pcHDTV card to capture TV. A few
suggestions. Fedora Core 3 compiled and loaded the pcHDTV V4L drivers
without a problem. This was also true for Suse 9.2 and Suse 9.3. However,
for whatever reason, while I could record video with the bundled command
line utility for the pcHDTV, I could not get MythTV to recognize the device
correctly. With Fedora Core 4, the DVB drivers were included with the
distro and were much easier to get working the the V4L drivers, mostly due
to the fact that MythTV actually recognized them. Also, I was using the
ndiswrapper package with a D-LINK Extreme G PCI Wireless card (and the
latest D-LINK driver) and I was able to 108 Mbps wireless. This was great,
because I could basically watch LiveTV, DVD, even some HDTV over the
wireless network (but not in Myth).
Anyway, my plans for my Myth box is still to keep Myth running but set it up
as a standard computer that runs the Myth backend so that video can record,
but if I want to watch Live TV it will have to be on the monitor not my 32"
HDTV. If I want to watch a recorded video, I can watch it on the monitor,
or I can copy the recording to a USB 2.0 external harddrive (2.5"), plug it
in to my laptop, connect my laptop to the HDTV and be ready to watch. So,
while I am not decommissioning my Myth box, I am changing it's place in the
house. away from the entertainment center and into the office.
Sorry about the long email, but I've seen a number of people asking about
building Myth boxen lately and I thought that these suggestions would be
helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.
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