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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.

Current Setup

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


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 for now)

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

Leveraging off of my VERY successful Proof of Concept, I've decided to build a hybrid (between PoC and dream) to run my home system. I plan on having this box live in a month or two.

I'm going to take both my spare machines, put the 200Gb of disks into one of them, and make it a dedicated backend. I'll then take the other one (exisitng PoC machine) and make it a diskless frontend.

Backend Specs

  • P4 2.X Ghz 1Gb RAM
  • 180 - 200Gb disk
  • Video Capture Cards
    • Hauppauge_PVR-500 ($135 + Shipping) *** Purchased!
    • Firewire to Comcast Box (Need an extra one to not use DVR) *** Will be here Tuesday to "install"
    • Video Capture (HD): HDHomeRun ($169) *** Purchased

Frontend Specs

  • P4 2.X Ghz 512Mb RAM
  • Geforce 4 Ti 4600 -- flaky card with invalid pciid, but I can hack the kernel to fix (need ot make fix a binary == would make life easier)
  • IR Receiver bought off of e-bay for $7

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.
  • 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