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I'm finally running MythTV for real! For a while I experimented with an Xbox (Xebian) front-end and my desktop machine as a back end, using both a Hauppauge PVR-250 for analog and a PcHDTV HD-3000 for ATSC HD digital reception. However, analog reception at my location is spotty on some channels, and the HD-3000 only has a single tuner. I came to realize that all-digital/HD was the way to go, which also meant the Xbox wasn't up to snuff. But I learned a lot about MythTV and fell in love with it, so I finally took the plunge and bought all new hardware. My new setup looks like this:

  • MSI Media Live barebones PC
  • Silicondust HDHomeRun network-connected dual ATSC tuner
  • Athlon 64 X2 (dual-core) 5600+ processor
  • 1G RAM (2x512M, dual-channel)
  • Seagate 500G SATA2 drive
  • Westinghouse 37" 1080p TV (technically a monitor, as it has no tuner), connected to the PC using HDMI
  • Big-ass outdoor antenna for over-the-air reception
  • DVB-S card waiting for me to install it and connect it to my 3-foot Ku-band dish

I decided a while ago that I was going to ditch DirecTV and not have any pay TV at all. Over-the-air HDTV is better quality than digital/"HD" cable, and free-to-air satellite is far more interesting than pay cable (ever seen the old animated Star Trek dubbed in Arabic?) I could have saved a lot of time and effort by just buying an HD Tivo, but no commercial DVR will ever compare to the feature set available to those willing to learn the ins and outs of MythTV. The automatic commercial skipping alone is worth every penny I spent on hardware.