User:Codemonkey

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Dave's MythTV Page

I'm currently in the process of trying to decide what to do MythTV wise. This is a place for my ramblings, and planning.

Update: IT IS DONE! We be Myth'in!

I'm top posting here, so that I can outline my working setup, and what I'm planning to do with it. You can scroll down below to see old information.

Dave's MythTV Setup

I found out in my PoC (Proof of Concept) that I should separate my FrontEnd and BackEnd early. And, since I have just too much hardware lying around . . .

Backend

My backend has four standard definition (SD) tuners, two high definition (HD) tuners, and one svideo cable to a Comcast DCT 6200 set top box(STB) that does both SD and HD. So, that gives me 6 tuners. (Yes, I can record 5 shows at once, if the need arises) It's running MythWeb too, so I can schedule recordings while the wifey is watching TV (or when I'm *supposed* to be working)

Backend Specs

  • Dual Xeon 2.4Ghz 1.0Gb RAM (Yes -- overkill, but I had a spare server)
  • 280Gb of storage -- Server has 5 70Gb drives, on a raid controller, so, I separated them out into 5 drives. 70Gb for OS, and 4 disks for recordings.
  • Video Capture Cards
    • 2 x Hauppauge_PVR-500 All four tuners working great! They are both connected to Comcast Atlanta's analog feed, and the 1st tuner on the 2nd card is connected to a comcast STB. I change channels on the STB via firewire, but, I'll be droping down to a normal STB soon and using my new IR Blaster.
    • Video Capture (HD): HDHomeRun This is an awesome device. I may buy another! I have one tuner connected to an OTA antenna, and one connected to my cable feed. The cable numbering is strange, but it carries some channels that I can't get clearly OTA.

Upgrades Needed: I could always use more disk

Living Room Frontend

This is my second generation Frontend. The Bedroom frontend below is my old living room frontend.

I bought a motherboard with DVI out onboard. Works great. Had to disable apic though -- some prebuffering issue in svn.

I'm using a Logitech Harmony 880 remote, but I plan on downgrading to a different one (now that I have much fewer devices to control)

My frontend does a PXE boot to a ubuntu distribution. No disk -- only ethernet!.

Frontend Specs

  • Athlon X2 4600+
  • 1Gb Ram minus VGA buffer
  • Nvidia 7500 onboard
  • Nice Antec Silverstone case with VFD
  • No Keyboard
  • Winamp Multimedia Remote (lirc receiver)


Bed Room Frontend

My frontend took me a while to get tweaked. I tried a Nvidia FX5200 with VGA out (My TV has a VGA input), but things were just flaky. It seemed to spend a lot of CPU time displaying video. I changed over to using a Geforce 4 TI 4600 with DVI out, and now it's much happier.

My frontend does a PXE boot to a ubuntu distribution. No disk -- only ethernet!.

Frontend Specs

  • P4 2.4 Ghz 512Mb RAM (Bought 2Gb for it, but it doesn't seem to work.)
  • Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600 using DVI out and *not* using XvMC -- couldn't get that working right
  • Wireless IR keyboard
  • Winamp Multimedia Remote & Receiver (lirc receiver)
  • Thermaltake Mozart case with fake VFDish window



Old Stuff

Old stuff follows here


Dream System

  • Backend in Basement (probably on existing file server) --UPDATE -- fileserver is too old (P-III, 1Ghz) -- I'm going to use a regular rack-mount PC case.
    • First Deployment Backend is already up to spec, except for disks. I need to buy more space, and possibly RAID it.
  • Front End in Living Room
    • Really nice case w/nice LCD & IR Receiver (~200)
  • Front End in Bed Room
    • Hauppage MediaMVP (< $100)

Old Setup

My old setup was a Comcast Dual HD Tuner DVR. It sucked. I've owned a Tivo Series2, and a DirecTV Hughes DVR40 (DirecTivo). They sucked much less. Actually, my Series2 rocked, and was nicely haxxored.

Problem

I like my Digital Channels (like HBO, etc) in HD. But, unfortunately, it seems there is no way to capture premium (encrypted) HD signals. The only recourse is to convert them to analog, then back to digital -- but there is no device out there (yet) to do that. So -- it seems I am going to lose HD versions of my premiums. (I'll have to use a set top box (STB) to capture the digital signals, then just record the analog versions). If I can do that, then I should be able to lose the DVR, and settle for just one (or two) STBs for digital channel recording.

For now, I'm going to try to drop a MythTV box by my TV, and get my wife hooked on it. If I'm successful, then I will be able to make it "better" (though, still no premium HD :()


Proof of Concept System: Combo Frontend/Backend (Total ~$200)

I think the system below should be enough to hook my wife on MythTV. All this would be alongside my comcast DVR -- just pulling in the same cable signal. I'll move all my non-HD recordings over to it (assuming there are no time conflicts (the Comcast DVR has two tuners)

  • Already Owned: P4-2Ghz with 80Gb disk (and probably 512mb -- I can probably dig up a Gig)
  • Decent Video Card: GeForce 4 Ti 4600 -- overkill but fine for now
  • Video Capture: Firewire -- works for *all* channels.

Proof of Concept Results

The Proof of Concept was an overwhelming success. I'm going to be doing Myth. At a minimum, it is replacing my DVD player, DVD Recorder, and Media Receiver thingie.

Plays my tunes (I need to make some playlists) and my stored videos -- some didn't work, but most did.

Firewire capture works, but grabbing the signal can be flaky. I assume this will work better with a dedicated backend. Also, HD was sometimes choppy -- I'm also assuming this will go away when a single box isn't doing both the storage and decoding.

Running VGA port from the computer into my HDTV -- need to find a modeline for its native resolution of 1366x768.

First Deployment System FE / BE Model with regular Cases

My First Deployment System is kindof running. I have some issues with HD video displaying on my frontend -- and the backend is woefully in need of some more disk space . . . see below:


Backend Specs

  • P4 2.4Ghz 512Mb RAM
  • 140Gb of storage
  • Video Capture Cards
    • Hauppauge PVR-500 Both tuners working great! Have made several recordings!
    • Video Capture (HD): HDHomeRun Both tuners *seem* to be working, but I can't display HD video -- I'm not sure why -- working on it.
    • Firewire to Comcast Box (Need an extra one to not use DVR) *** Will be here Tuesday to "install"

Upgrades Needed: More disk. I want 2-3 500Gb disks. Preferably Seagate (5 yr warranty)

Frontend Specs

  • P4 2.4 Ghz 512Mb RAM (Will upgrade to 2Gb in a few days)
  • Nvidia FX 5200 -- I hope to get XvMC working -- right now it's fubared: http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users/264994
  • Wireless IR keyboard
  • I programmed my Harmony to send keyboard signals -- it's a little slow, but it works -- I need to work on the speed.

Upgrades Needed: May need to buy a new CPU / Motherboard / Memory ($$$)


Dream System

  • Backend in Basement (probably on existing file server) --UPDATE -- fileserver is too old (P-III, 1Ghz) -- I'm going to use a regular rack-mount PC case.
    • First Deployment Backend is already up to spec, except for disks. I need to buy more space, and possibly RAID it.
  • Front End in Living Room
    • Really nice case w/nice LCD & IR Receiver (~200)
  • Front End in Bed Room
    • Hauppage MediaMVP (< $100)

More coming soon -- Codemonkey