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MythTV Allows Multiple Front-Ends On Wide Range of Platforms

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-long-till-the-big-guys-realize-drm-isn't-the-answer dept.

Media 254

As the DVR becomes a much more pervasive performer in home theater setups, the level of excellence demanded by the general consumer seems to continue to rise. The open source project MythTV has been in this arena for quite a while, and now offers the ability to have multiple front-ends on your MythTV install on a wide range of different platforms. Able to run on Windows XP, Vista, Xbox, and even an Apple iPod, the new flexibility is sure to interest many consumers (and many competitors).

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254 comments

DRM'd Base? No Thanks. (3, Insightful)

GNUChop (1310629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620681)

Anyone familiar with MythTV knows that it can use multiple front ends. A port to Windows or Mac sounds good because the monopoly makes some hardware difficult to use. It's not such a great idea if you want control of your media [slashdot.org].

MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HDTV) (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620797)

Basically, with no capability to use a cablecard (much less switched digital video), MythTV is growing increasingly irrelevant in the DVR world. Sure, you could set up a complicated system using additional cable boxes from you cable company with some sort of IR channel switching, but the expense and hassle of that will keep MythTV on the far, far fringe. And if HDMI becomes the standard, MythTV is really screwed (it's able to record off of component outputs, but not HDMI).

I truly wish MythTV were practical (I hate DRM and the hassles of moving video from one form to another as much as anyone). But with an increasingly hostile cable companies (that want to lock you into THEIR DVR's), I don't think it is or will be again. It's hard enough to even get a Tivo to work on most cable systems today (with cablecards being wonky and Tivo still not able to do SDV), much less a DIY DVR.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24620867)

except your an idiot...

cable company is REQUIRED by fcc to give customers cable boxes with firewire out.

myth tv can control almost all firewire boxes just fine.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621051)

s/your/you're/

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621163)

This is true. I just set up a Mac running the 0.21 backend/frontend via FireWire on a Comcast 6200 box.

It works very well, except that I have to use the PPC backend for the time being (on Intel).

I can't tune the 5c channels, but there are only a few that matter that are encumbered.

I am testing out Plex (osxbmc) with the Myth Frontend extension currently.

The stability of this setup leaves some things to be desired (especially, coming from a TiVo background), but it is great fun to play with.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621359)

You might be able to control the box, but right now there is no way to easily record the HD content off of the box. The amount of data is just too great. HD tuner cards in a computer are perfect for capturing HD off of the feed, but now you've lost the ability to actually change/decode channels. That's why I've never gone the MythTV route. Maybe as computers get faster it'll happen, but right now it's not possible.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621399)

See the post I made above about recording on the Mac via FireWire.

HD is not a problem, records and plays back 1080i without issues.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (4, Interesting)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621401)

Let's stop the namecalling.

The firewire boxes are a special order item in my market with a significant lead time (I guess to comply with the FCC). They don't even stock them at the local office, so 99.99999% of customers don't have them. --AND-- from what i've read, the firewire output only works for unencrypted channels in my market (so you can't record any of the premium digital cable channels).

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621875)

I got new boxes in January (Charter called me) and I've been happily moving data over the firewire cable ever since.

And to the cens0r below. I record them on the Charter DVR and then move them to the computer. HD and everything.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Informative)

cens0r (655208) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621795)

The only problem is that the Cable Company is not required to let all of the channels go out unencrypted on the firewire out.

Please reconsider (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620931)

MythTV is growing increasingly irrelevant

You would be wrong about that. The same jail the media conglomerates would like to keep you in confounds all DVR dev's. That's why an IR Blaster is important. It takes care of all that for you. Yeah, there's some compromises to piping in the video from the back of the cable box, but I just want to watch it at a convenient time so a little down-scaling doesn't bother me one bit.

And if HDMI becomes the standard
Most of you have only yourselves to blame for this because the vast majority are gladly buying into HDMI. VGA works good, digital-out works best. And guess what? No drm!!

Re:Please reconsider (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621043)

Typical open-source bluster in a war that they are losing. The original poster is dead on in that HDMI is fast becoming the standard and that the IR blaster solution is far-from-ideal.

I'd love an open-source alternative, but unless 2-way CableCard becomes a workable option, then I would definitely say that MythTV will never go anywhere. Easier to just pirate shows than deal with MythTV.

Re:Please reconsider (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621281)

Hey, personally I just stopped watching telly about a decade back (hmmm, about the time Slashdot arrived, come to think of it...) I'm only just getting round to buying collected editions of some favourite shows, and some stuff that's come out in the meantime which I missed when it was broadcast, but heard about second hand - Black Books, f'rinstance.

Re:Please reconsider (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621391)

you are aware, are you not, that when you begin a post by telling us how long ago you swore off television we pretty much discount everything else you are going to say just because you sound like a stuck up elitist pig? Just saying.

$250 Cable Bills Increasingly Impractical. (0, Redundant)

GNUChop (1310629) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621007)

There's no way cable is going to win the technology race. Your pay per play DVR won't look so great when you get the bill. I'll stick to component outputs, thank you very much, until the smoke clears. When it things get too hostile, I'll ditch the cable entirely. TV broadcast spectrum used for internet access will obsolete cable by the time all the lock in is in place.

Re:$250 Cable Bills Increasingly Impractical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621385)

Twitter sockpuppet alert.

Re:$250 Cable Bills Increasingly Impractical. (2, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621493)

Now you're just being ridiculous and making up numbers. My cable bill is well under $215... not even $205. Idiot.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621067)

Calling MythTV impractical and irrelevant is overly pessimistic. In the digital cable, MythTV isn't very useful; however for those of us who use analog cable (which will be the majority of Americans for a while), MythTV does have some life left. Just like VHS isn't dead as it is being slowly phased out over the next decade. Maybe there will be some progress made in the next few years.

As for me, I don't plan on getting digital cable anytime soon because I don't plan on getting an HD TV soon. Yeah HD is great but I'm waiting until they settle on a few things. First it was 720p, then 1080i, then 1080p for the sets. The resolutions that are recorded vary between the three and some broadcasts are just upconverted and not recorded in HD at all. For port connections, there was component, then DVI, then HDMI. I'm pretty sure that some people like my parents and grandparents have not plans on getting with the HD revolution either.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Insightful)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621213)

MythTV also works fine in the non-US parts of the world where DVB-T is pretty much standard for digital terrestrial broadcasts.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621565)

Is also works great for DVB-S in N.A. takes a little tweaking but I can do a lot with myth and Dish!

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621235)

Calling MythTV impractical and irrelevant is overly pessimistic. In the digital cable, MythTV isn't very useful; however for those of us who use analog cable (which will be the majority of Americans for a while), MythTV does have some life left.

Well I guess the majority of Americans must be increasingly irrelevant... :-)

Personally I've been using digital cable for six years...

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621345)

Hey I'm not an early adopter like you but I thank you for being a guinea pig and all. :P Truth be told, my viewpoint is for people like my grandma who doesn't own a computer. I can't see her plunking down a few grand for an HD TV as she likes her 19" model just fine.

Broadcast TV (2, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621129)

Why pay for TV? With the switch to digital, over-the-air TV is now probably higher quality than cable. Combine MythTV with one or two of these [pchdtv.com] and you're all set.

Re:Broadcast TV (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621417)

Most of the good TV shows are not on free tv.

Re:Broadcast TV (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621591)

Yeah, but we'll just pirate those until they decide they want our money.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (5, Interesting)

phatmonkey (873256) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621141)

Sure for the states it might be becoming irrelevant, but over here in the UK, DRM is not a problem. Freeview/freesat has everything I'd ever want to watch, and by definition, it's free to use on whatever platform you wish!

I have a few TV cards in our home server, streaming to a silent little Apple TV running mythfrontend. It works a treat!

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (5, Informative)

jbr439 (214107) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621233)

MythTV supports firewire access to cable boxes. MythTV can do both capture and channel changing via firewire. I currently have a MythTV box hooked up to a Motorola DCT-6200, and this allows me to record HD (as well as SD) channels. Having said that, some Cable companies will encrypt "premium" channels making this solution useless for those channels. However, for my needs at least, MythTV+firewire+DCT-6200 works fine. Throw in OTA HD channels (which in my location look significantly better than their cable versions due to compression in the latter) and life is good for my simple needs.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621263)

I truly wish MythTV were practical (I hate DRM and the hassles of moving video from one form to another as much as anyone). But with an increasingly hostile cable companies (that want to lock you into THEIR DVR's), I don't think it is or will be again. It's hard enough to even get a Tivo to work on most cable systems today (with cablecards being wonky and Tivo still not able to do SDV), much less a DIY DVR.

MythTV is only irrelevant to the extent that consumers choose to bend over and accept all the blatantly anti consumer practices of pay TV. I record all free OTA on my MythTV system in absolutely stunning HD (including the Olympics sans commercials...very cool) and from where I sit it's far from irrelevant.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

whoop (194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621411)

You best get with the program mister! This is Slashdot, there can be only one of anything. DVD vs HDDVD vs BluRay .. it's BluRay only. KDE/Gnome/Other window manager .. it's Gnome. Wii/XBox360/PS3 .. it's PS3 (see BluRay above). TV, HDTV .. it's HDTV. OTA/Cable/Digital Cable .. it's Digital Cable. There can be no other.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621361)

If you already boycott cable precisely because they are not interoperative with anything, then MythTV's limitations and the cable companies are what's irrelevant.

MythTV has everything it needs, because if there's something it can't do, then I must not need that. I'm half joking (because logic errors are fun) but also half serious. My local cable company can go fuck themselves. I'm not going to do business with them, until they .. um .. work. If content producers don't take the revenue-increasing step of insisting that cable companies broadcast their content with unencrypted QAM, then I'm just going to pirate their stuff. And if I pirate their stuff instead of paying the cable company for it, then lack of cablecard support is not something I'll miss.

I hope everyone does this, until the studios who demand interoperability, are the only ones remaining in business.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

Frying Ferret (557022) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621461)

Channeling changing via Firewire or serial connections is pretty trivial to setup with Myth, additionally it now supports the hauppauge HD-PVR which records HD h.264 video from the component out of an STB, bypassing any restrictions on the firewire port that some cable companies implement. I don't have the HD-PVR but I can currently record 80%+ of the non-premium HD channels using Myth with comcast in SF.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621533)

You know what?

You are ABSOLUTELY right. So, what are you going to do about it?

Down to "brass tacks". Let's take a cable company. Say Rogers.

- 60ish analog channels. Work fine with MythTV
- Hundreds of SD (standard def) digital channels -- ALL ENCRYPTED. Even the ones that ALSO appear in analog.
- Some HD -- but see above point.

Rogers wants to push digital, but with THEIR converter. In fact, its the Rogers converter or the highway (as it were). To use this with MythTV, we need a converter per recording channel.

What do we do? Just say "fuck it all". It is EASIER for me (as a customized MythTV vendor), to supply a simply GUI front-end to EZTV with torrent downloading than to wire up the boxes with the doohickeys needed. And it doesn't look like a mess, either.

Now THAT is truly pathetic -- demand that the customer buy the package, and then ignore it, because it doesn't work, and download the TV from the Rogers cable modem instead.

Now, we have two problems. The customer is (probably) in the clear (if this whole dumb thing were ever aired in court), even though they are (technically) wrong. The big losers are the premium channels. Since the customer is downloading, who is checking for the actual subscription? Rogers doesn't care; they have made money. I would imagine the most aggrieved party (after the cutomer, of course) is HBO, Showtime, etc.

I expect further tightening, and a cable content arms race. After which, the cable company will simply give up. Because... greed gets in the way yet again. After all, the content providers want to make more money, so they distribute boxed sets of DVD/Blu-ray. At which point the content can be (easily) ripped and distributed (and will be, thanks to the aforementioned pissed-off customers).

Win? In order to win, the content must be made available, for a fee, and must be usable. USABLE! NOT FRICKIN' LOCKED IN! If I record, say, an episode of Weeds, and I want to burn it to a standard DVD, let me! I may even (gasp) give that to someone else! But, that's FREE ADVERTISING.

All I want to do is to be able to build out a MythTV box, with some customization, attach it to a cable feed and let MY CUSTOMER be happy.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621537)

CableCard? SDV? Eh. They all have to have an output **somewhere**, and it would be well worth it for me to buy one of these [mythtv.org] (in a few months, when Myth really supports them well) in order to have the flexibility to a) save my own HD recordings for as long as I like, b) move them to whatever box I like, and c) upgrade my DVR's storage array whenever I like.

(I currently do this with analog cable, and I'm a big fan. Now I just need some HD lovin'... :)

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621609)

It's not growing irrelevant in my world. Pretty much all the TV I watch is either recorded on my MythTV PVR or is something I purchased or rented on DVD.

In my world, digital cable has yet to become relevant. I suppose I could pay the cable company to let me rent two boxes and then finagle with an IR link so the PVR could change the channels on one of them, but really, I don't even have time to watch all the TV I record on basic cable. I suppose if I had the option to slap a CableCard reader in my MythTV box and then switch to digital, I probably would, but until then, the cable company is just going to have to do without the extra money.

MythTV only impractical for the deaf (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621695)

CableCard is pretty much dead at the moment, due mostly to switched video and the extensive consumer restrictions requirements it entailed. The nonexistent enforcement by the FCC on the requirement that cable operators deploy it and total the lack of consumer interest in the experiment added to it's complete failure.

MythTV can capture HD video just fine using from the cable/satellite box, it's only the closed captions which are in an inaccessible form due to encryption*. Also, MythTV only needs to use IR for Dish Network boxes, DirectTV has a serial interface (using a "USB" plug), and cable operators in the US are required to implement firewire channel changing. Of course, in Europe DVB CAM systems work just fine with MythTV, as required by law. Only the USA attempted to implement the unworkable CableCard specs instead of using the tried and true DVB CAM system for access control.

*Closed captioning advocates for the deaf lobbied for the requirement to place the captions in the encrypted video stream rather than in the unencrypted portions of the stream. The rationale apparently was that it would be less likely to get accidentally lost during remux. But making it illegal to record the closed captions is an unfortunate and predictable side effect. The LOC has denied all substantial petitions for DMCA exceptions for the deaf to date, but the next administration may appoint someone more compassionate to head the Library of Congress.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621729)

This is one place where vista works well, in the home. (At work we have NO vista machines)
In the year we have used Vista MCE, the all important WAF has been very high, and the system overall very stable and responsive, only requiring an accasional USB tuner reboot.
I considered Myth, but mountain looked steep, and my time available for home brew about nil.
The install was almost painless,and in OZ (where the is no TiVO culture) we get free guides thanks to volunteers.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (3, Informative)

drdaz (994457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621829)

I suspect the issues and devices (cablecard etc.) you're describing are US-specific. It's not becoming irrelevant in the rest of the world (at least not for any of the reasons you mention).

I'm using MythTV with 2 DVB-C cards and decoding pay channels without trouble. I'm currently using a softcam setup with a pay card (Irdeto 2 encrypted signal), but have used official Irdeto 2 and Viaccess CAM modules with success.

I've been using MythTV for the past 4-5 years, and am generally very happy with the product and the service I get from it.

Re:MythTV increasingly impractical (digital and HD (1)

tamuct01 (726718) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621871)

bah! With OTA HDTV capture cards available, those of us who don't spend a fortune every month to the cable gods get great 1080i picture with all the MythTV bells and whistles. Yes, digital cable or satellite TV makes it more difficult to use MythTV, but for those who don't have to have 200+ channels of mostly crap can do just fine with MythTV and 5-10 channels of mostly crap.

Re:DRM'd Base? No Thanks. (3, Insightful)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620873)

MythTV doesn't enforce any DRM of any kind like the broadcast flag. Anybody familiar with MythTV knows that....

Re:DRM'd Base? No Thanks. (1)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621675)

Not only that, but it's just the frontend that has a Windows port. Support for the broadcast flag would need to be implemented on the backend.

Linus on Linux (1, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620715)

I find it strange that Linus uses Windows Media Center instead of MythTV...

But I guess that is to be expected as he is known to be a pragmatic person (see Linux GPL v3 debacle).

Re:Linus on Linux (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621227)

Ok troll.. this is /.

Do you have *any* links to back that up? I did the requisite googling and found *nothing*.

Re:Linus on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621285)

The fact that you care enough to look it up says a lot.

Slashvertisement? (1, Troll)

GreenEnvy22 (1046790) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620785)

That sure reeks of a paid ad...

Re:Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621231)

A paid ad for free software? Even if it is, who cares? MythTV rocks, and it is nice to see it get more coverage on slashdot, which is increasingly being taken over by windows and apple zealots who want open source to die.

Re:Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621583)

Yep, it's just slashdot linking to their sister linux.com, to try and make some more ad revenue, or something. It's not even interesting, I've been using multiple frontends with MythTV for ages.

Re:Slashvertisement? (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621771)

Yup, that's gotta be it. Those MythTV tycoons may be giving it away for free; but by god do they ever clean up on volume! If we ignore distribution costs, the extra adwords income from the traffic boost might keep the devs in hookers and blow for 30, maybe 40, seconds!

It ain't news. (4, Interesting)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620795)

As a proud MythTV user, this has been pretty common knowledge. Nothing in the article is new.

What make me really excited is if I could use my XBox360 as a generic frontend with it. If it could function as MythTV frontend + netflix player, it'd be perfect. It's doubtful since Microsoft has already spent so much time just getting it to play well(read not requiring WMV encoding) with an PC or SMBFS network share, which is still doable but no recorded programs or other goodies MythTV does so well.

If any MythTV Dev's are reading this, thank you so much for the hard work!

Re:It ain't news. (1)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621011)

If any MythTV Dev's are reading this, thank you so much for the hard work!

I'll second that!

To me, the greatest thing about MythTV is that you can put it on a machine you build yourself. After putting 2 terabytes of storage in my Myth box, I record entire series of TV shows for later viewing, not just the most recently aired. Built-in video compression options help with that too.

And there is nothing more satisfying than being able to press a button and immediately skip all the commercials. It's almost as good as sex.

Yeah, I need to get out more.

Re:It ain't news. (1)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621047)

I don't know, but at least the summary does not read like a news story, but reads like a news release from MythTV. Which begs the question, is it a news story, or is it advertisement?

Re:It ain't news. (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621121)

Tru' dat.

I'm fine with chirping about my favorite distro, but this is not news and maybe vaguely stuff that matters. Seeing this release made me think they were getting ready to push a awesome browser player. Not simply repeating what any mythTV user already knows.

Re:It ain't news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621469)

It's just linux.com slashvertising.

Re:It ain't news. (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621065)

SMBFS network share? Are you sure about that? I know you can stream to the xbox360 VIA windows media center or something like TVersity, but I don't think these use SMB shares. They seem to use some sort of media share service that includes ID3 info and strips out all file structure.

Re:It ain't news. (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621261)

I know you can do it via a XP machine not running MCE. I remember mounting file shares last fall with it, only to be annoyed at the need for WMV conversion, which meant turning to the Media Center edition running on a virtual machine with Xbox360 converter running. The fall update removed the need for the WMV conversion, but I had moved onto MythTV by then.

Correct me if I am wrong though, which is very possible.

Re:It ain't news. (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621119)

Well, the article announces an application named something like 'Mythtvplayer' that you can install and it will save you those minutes you would have spent configuring an actual mythtv frontend. Not a good trade off I think, since the player app won't let you manage your recordings.

I think it takes maybe 5 minutes to set up a second myth frontend, so I'm not sure why someone took the time to write this.

Re:It ain't news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621459)

Posting as AC since I forgot my password and am at work.

I was able to use a script to convert myth recordings to xvid and remove the commercials. They are then saved to a samba share that I'm able to view from my xbox 360. The script runs as a post recording user job and uses the nuv-export utility for the conversion. Its actually working pretty good. Only issue that I've run into is that the samba share is on a smallish (25Gig) partition and fills up quickly. I've just bought a 500 gig drive today so that shouldn't be as big an issue.

Thank you for the product (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620811)

To the MythTV dev team. Thanks for the sweet product. It wasn't a 1 click install-setup, but it was well worth the time. MythTV makes watching tv bearable, sometimes useful. (especially now that Science channel is on basic cable)

Re:Thank you for the product (1)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621413)

Seconded. I've been using MythTV for 5 years now and love it, couldn't imagine going without it.

XBMC + MythTV (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620829)

You can get a used XBox for $100. Put in a cheap hard drive. Purchase a mod chip on the cheap, or do a soft mod. Install XBMC and MythTV, and then suddenly you've got a pretty sweet setup on the cheap. I love it.

Re:XBMC + MythTV (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24620971)

What does a MythTV front end get you that XBMC doesn't already do?

Re:XBMC + MythTV (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621045)

Control over DVR recordings. You basically use XBMC as your media player, app launcher, etc. XBMC can tie into MythTV as well.

AppleTV + Ubuntu + Freevo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621307)

I like my setup:
AppleTV+Ubuntu+Freevo.
External USB DVD player.

It's a $200-$300 unmodified box that I can play DVDs from Disc or HD, And also surf and code n stuff.

prefer freevo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24620879)

I like freevo better than mythtv. It has a pretty interface and fits my needs. For some reason MythTV requires MS TTF fonts. I know, who cares, right?
But Freevo works nicely, and seems to be a good python design with sensible plugins.

As a former MythTV User (4, Informative)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621083)

I had a Tivo - and have since moved to Windows Media Center,then to Tivo, then to a Comcast HD-PVR box, then to the Comacst HD-PVR box running Tivo firmware.

My recommendation? Tivo. Hands down! It doesn't have all the features and flexibility as the other units, but it's fast and responsive - from a usability perspective. And I can even download my shows to my PC.

Windows MCE was pretty nice - but after about a month, my filesystem got corruped, and I lost everything - including the 300 CDs I had ripped (manually) to the unit! The UI was a little slow.

Then came Myth. A royal pain to get running. The features and flexibility were very nice. The worst thing about it however was the music portion of it. (MythMusic). That was horible beyond believe - especialy in-contrast to the Windows MCE, which was very very nice. MythTV's UI was kind of slow and klunky as well. I do not miss it.

Then came the Comcast HD PVR. That was too great - limited functionality and channel guides were a pain. No music, no download capability. We only went through 2 or 3 of these boxes (due to dying) during our month we owned them - when we found out Tivo firmware was available.

The Comcast HD-DVR with Tivo firmware was the worst. We went through about 3 trips to the Comcast office, dead units, 3 or 4 technician house-calls. Lost show, etc. They eventually came out with a version of firmware which at least stablized the box. It's not too bad now - but a bit clunky - not as fast and responsive. The firmware is still kind of screwed-up - gives you the wrong sounds when clicking through things - shows disappear sometimes - a few unit freezes, etc. No music - at least not our - just the crappy Comcast music channels. Oh yea, and whatever you do - don't hit the "on-demand" button - 'cause that'll just ruin your whole evening.

So for the few things we watch in HD, we use the Comcast HD-PVR with Tivo - reluctantly.

For everything else - all the reruns, and bulk of stuff we record - and music - It's all still the Tivo Series-2. It works. It's fast. It's reliable. It's responsive. It does what I want it to when I hit a button. We've never lost a show. We're on our original unit after many many years. It's simple and streightforward. I don't want to do "development" at night - I just want to press a button and watch TV. Tivo does that, and well.

The only realy upside to MythTV was that it was free...but not anymore!

Re:As a former MythTV User (1)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621267)

MythTV in and of itself is still free. You do have to pay for listing now though through Schedules Direct. A whopping $20 a year. Not a $1.67 a month, sweet jesus monkey balls, what capitalist pigs!

Re:As a former MythTV User (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621273)

I have never used MCE nor Tivo but I have used the cable companies DVR and now I have MythTV. To be honest, it isn't easy enough yet for everyone to install but it is getting easier. If you are looking for a all-in-one setup, it is a lot easier than before with projects like MythDora [mythdora.com] and KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv]. Why I picked MythTV over a simple DVR was the fact that I have wanted a network, and I currently have 4 clients and one server with ability to record 4 shows simultaneously. I didn't look at MCE because I didn't think it had this capability. Has there been any progress in this area?

Re:As a former MythTV User (1)

jfinke (68409) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621293)

Well, MythTV is certainly free. However, there is a nominal charge for the listings, which I think is like $20 for the year? That was pretty much out of their hands, and I think that they found the best possible solution for it. It also affected more programs than just MythTV.

Re:As a former MythTV User-NO TIVO, NO TIVO... (1, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621433)

My recommendation? Tivo. Hands down! It doesn't have all the features and flexibility as the other units, but it's fast and responsive - from a usability perspective. And I can even download my shows to my PC.

The problem with Tivo is that they control the box, you don't.

When THEY want to remove functionality (e.g. 30 second instant skip) THEY just do so.

When THEY decide you can't record this particular program THEY simply prevent you from recording it.

When THEY decide that you can't keep a recorded program longer than a handful of hours THEY delete it for you.

If you feel that makes Tivo a better unit then I respectfully disagree. I find that behavior far more distasteful than a system that's a bit harder to use but works the way I want it to.

And the most interesting part of this is that you always had these rights with VCR's. Only with DVR are these freedoms being chipped away one bit at a time, and AFTER you've bought the d@mn Tivo box!

Re:As a former MythTV User-NO TIVO, NO TIVO... (2, Interesting)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621593)

I have never had TiVo refuse to record a program, or delete one without my consent.

But by the same token - I don't decide when my grass gets cut - or how low - my landscapers do.

I don't decide what cleanser my toilet gets cleaned with, my cleaning people do

When any of these become unsatisfactory, I'll get rid of them for something else.

MythTV may be good for some people - but I was tired of sitting down on the couch in front of the TV after a long day of work, to debug why something wasn't working right.

Love it or hate it, TiVo is always there. Always on. Always working. Anything I need a a second or two away from happening. And I've never had to put an ounce of thought into it.

Don't get me wrong, I wanted to love MythTV - I still do! I envisioned spending time tying it into my house lights, alarm and sprinkler, etc. etc. etc. and having all sorts of fun. It just turned out to be so much work that I never got around to the "fun" - I never got it all working correctly - (OpenGL issues, driver issues, remote control issues).

When I had it my (then) 2-3 year old son loved penguins. The KnoppMyth windows desktop (which would display in the background when the Myth front end would crash/close/disappear) show Tux sitting on a couch watching TV. My son loved seeing this! But it kind of became a joke - whenever we'd go to watch something, it would be "Oh, oh - Penguin watching T.V. again!"

(Funnyness aside) - so then what - I get a call about if from my Wife, and have to SSH in from work to re-launch the Myth front-end? It was really cool that I could do this - but quite unfortunate that I had to.

Re:As a former MythTV User-NO TIVO, NO TIVO... (2, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621793)

I get a call about if from my Wife, and have to SSH in from work to re-launch the Myth front-end? It was really cool that I could do this - but quite unfortunate that I had to.

I hooked into the ACPI power button routines to kill/restart the X server when mythtv hung up. The backend was it's own process outside of X, so it continued to run fine when this was done.

So, all non-technical wife-types had to do when mythTV hung was to press the power button and it would take care of itself. But to be fair, by the time I stopped using it (I went off-grid) it was pretty stable - perhaps once a month a frontend reset was needed.

MythTV rocks and has for a long time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621161)

I've used MythTV for about 4 years now. All that I can say is that it is phenomenal and has gotten substantially better each year. Thank you to everyone that contributed, as I am sure that most of you read /.

   

small format pc for myth? (2, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621191)

I'd like to put together a small format PC for this sort of thing. Alas, I can't use a cheap tower, it needs to be one of those small form factors that can fit in an entertainment center. I'd like to spend as little as possible but it seems like I could easily price myself into the $500 range putting one of these together. Any good guides out there?

Re:small format pc for myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621269)

My MythTV is a Sempron 2800, 1GB RAM, 250GB IDE hard drive, DVD-RW, nVidia 5200, and a Happauge Win-MCE low profile video card, in an Antec Minuet case. I get about 80 hours of recording out of this setup (not enough! lol). The current cost of all of these components might scrape the $400 range. It works great for Standard Def program recording! I love it. There are only 2 things I don't like: not enough disk space (will be rectified soon), and the fans in the Minuet are noisy.

Re:small format pc for myth? (1)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621497)

That's why you need a front end/back end system. I've got our mythtv backend on a monstrously loud machine with 4 drives for 2 Tb of storage and a couple of extra fans installed to keep the whole thing cool. It sits back in my office with the other server hardware. Our front end is a whisper quite Shuttle pc with no hard drive. If it weren't for the blue led in front we wouldn't even know it's on.

Re:small format pc for myth? (1)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621445)

I have just purchased and set up a via epia 12000 board computer (its 1.2ghz) with 512 ram and whatever it is quite nice. It plays movies, records and watches live tv, time shift live tv, record tv while watching movies etc. Also Mthtv has a great webUI so I can set it to record shows from my laptop on the comfort of the couch without messing around with remote controls. THis system is fine for SD tv, but it would choke on HDtv. Apparently though a mac mini (or even those new little Dell things) would work very will for hd stuff, get a usb dual tuner card, download mythbuntu and you're off! Mythbuntu was really easy to set up by the way. cheers to them and the mythtv team.

All we need now is an option of a very pretty UI, open GL frontend? and a better music player in there...

Re:small format pc for myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621671)

Try looking for an Asus Pundit-R. It's what my MythTV box is. I have mine in the entertainment center and it fits nicely.

Windows Media Extender? (1, Interesting)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621201)

So in other words, this works as a Windows Media Extender app, just with a different name because we all hate Windows. XBox and PS3 could care less what is actually serving the media. I use TVersity [tversity.com] myself. The concept of reencoding your videos using FlashVideo or some other video format to allow viewing from a webbrowser (on the iPhone, Wii, etc), is also nothing new.

However, I have no clue who was first, TVersity, MythTV, Nero, or Microsoft, but they all do pretty much the same thing. I just had a bit better luck with TVersity than the others on streaming media that is not supported natively by my PS3 or Xbox

Re:Windows Media Extender? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621389)

BTW, I know that Myth is a DVR program - I was refering to the ability to watch the material from another device

ah, what about the backends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621275)

Does anyone watch the output of their MythTV on anything other than their computer screen? Every time I look at MythTV, a solution for getting the video onto a TV set-- in either SD or HD is a completely unsolved, undocumented and glossed over issue. When someone solves that problem, MythTV may finally not really be a myth.

Re:ah, what about the backends? (2, Informative)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621439)

Does anyone watch the output of their MythTV on anything other than their computer screen? Every time I look at MythTV, a solution for getting the video onto a TV set-- in either SD or HD is a completely unsolved, undocumented and glossed over issue. When someone solves that problem, MythTV may finally not really be a myth.

Getting DVI output from an nVidia card to work with an HD TV isn't too difficult at all. Mine is hooked up to my 52" RP CRT (a Hitachi 51F500). About the only caveat is that, with a native 1080i display like mine, you still have to enable de-interlacing as the nVidia Linux drivers simply don't handle output of 1080i content to a native 1080i display without tearing and motion blur (unless you de-interlace the content). It appears that, rather than fix this or even admit there's a bug, nVidia has chosen to wait for the day when there are no interlcaed displays left.

Aside from that one annoyance, mythtv is quite east to get working with HD TVs.

Re:ah, what about the backends? (2, Informative)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621455)

my via board has a s-video out, which worked ootb with muthbuntu, it plays movies and tv on my normal old massive CRT television!

Re:ah, what about the backends? (1)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621541)

We watch ours on our TV. The s-video out on our video card works great under Ubuntu. Getting the video onto a TV is a video card driver issue, not a mythTV issue.

Hacking the Gibson (1)

halsver (885120) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621349)

I recently looked at using MythTV to take care of my DVR needs, but the biggest issue was the "scrambled" signal from my cable provider. I understand this is what cable boxes do is decode or demodulate (or whatever) the cable signal. Has anyone ever heard of people attempting to hack their cable boxes so they could perform the same operations on a computer?

Please excuse my ignorance on how they alter their signals. I only spent a few hours researching the subject. How difficult a problem is this? Would each channel require a separate crack? Honestly I'm surprised I haven't heard about this anywhere, maybe I'm not looking in the right places.

I like my Direct TV HD DVR (3, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621367)

a guide that fills the screen unlike the comcrap guild that looks stuck in SD with ads on each page.
Free HDMI cable
OPTICAL and COAXIAL audio
E-sata
RF and IR remote
E-net
DIRECTV on Demand
usb for the OTA tuner add on.
on line Recording with out having to run a sever.
and the GUI looks a lot like the TIVO comcast gui that comcast shows off on there web page.

I have the box in a cabinet under the TV and the remote works fine.

Re:I like my Direct TV HD DVR (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621527)

Dish Network lets me hook up an External USB drive. In fact, I can use multiple drives on this, just not at the same time, but I can hotswap (just not while the drive is in use, that would be stupid).

I have a 300 gig that I am keeping most of the Olympics on (from OTA, I got an outside Antenna that I pull my local HDs with), then a 750 gig that I store all my movies off of HBO on, then I use the internal drive to record Anthony Bordain (sp) and Robot Chicken.

Re:I like my Direct TV HD DVR (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621699)

What kind of box that Dish gave you lets you hook an external USB storage device to it? I ask simply because I haven't ever gotten cable, and get all my content off the 'net (Hulu, Netflix Watch It Now + Roku Box, or TPB).

Re:I like my Direct TV HD DVR (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621787)

VIP 622.

Its a $40 one time activation fee to activate the USB ports.

However, the HDs are formatted in ext3, and then they encode DRM into the TS streams, so it can only be used with that one box.

BTW, with Windows Media Extender devices and software (such as Nero and TVersity), you can watch all your downloaded shows on your XBox or PS3. I have the remote for the PS3, so its way more convienant than simply hooking up the TV to the comptuer and trying to mess with a wireless keyboard / mouse from across the room while laying on the sofa.

Re:I like my Direct TV HD DVR (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621845)

I too have a PS3, and would love to watch Hulu.com on it (alas, the flash in the PS3 browser is crippled). I'd also love for some software to run on my PC that grabbed TV shows via RSS, bittorrent'd them, and pushed them to my PS3.

Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

Re:I like my Direct TV HD DVR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621885)

I have to say I love my Dish Network DVR. I haven't tried the external hard drive, but sounds like I should.

FAILZORs.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621405)

the raing..we can be wasn't on Steve's Own agenda - give those uber-asshole 3leak future. In *BSD but FreeBSD

My Favorite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24621475)

An original XBOX running XBMC and using XBMSP (SMB works too). XBMC is one of my favorite open source applications ever. I have a Windows Server 2003 server running RAID5, about 1TB of space, and I have it loaded with Music, Movies, TV Shows, etc.. Some movies and TV shows I have are DVD rips, and some are downloaded (I know, I'm an asshole, but that's beside the point). Get the Microsoft High Definition AV Pack and you got optical audio and component video. I know it isn't HDMI, but it still looks fantastic.

Even better.. My next door neighbors, who are avid TV watchers (who isn't?) have 3 XBOXs in their house that I've built for them, and I have 2 in my house. To avoid having to stream over our Internet connections we have run a CAT5 cable between houses to link them up to my server. I also have an XBOX for my Brother, Dad, and Girlfriend. Unfortunately they are on shitty Comcast, but you know what's great about that? They still have 8Mbps+ downstream so I am able to stream shows to them over the Internet from my connection. Of course I have 20Mbps up/down fiber optic service (gotta love Surewest [surewest.com]), otherwise that wouldn't be possible with the typical upstream bandwidth that most providers give you. I just setup the XBMC config file to point to my hostname or IP address at home and they can browse all the media files I have.

I think it's a very nice setup that isn't that difficult to implement.

Level of effort / cost? (3, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621683)

How well does myth now deal with HD on cable providers, like comcast?

Rather than fight the system, and spend the money on tuners, backend hardware, etc, I just got comcast's HDDVR. It works well enough (the only way I can even attempt to watch the few shows I'm interested in viewing on my schedule .. otherwise the cost of cable isn't worth it).

I have my house wired with audio/video/cat5 jacks in each room. So, I really don't need to spend the money on front end systems in each of those rooms. IR receiver to IR transmitter over cat 5 to control the DVR. S-video out on the DVR downsamples to a regular TV (I'm not about to buy a bunch of flat panels while my old sets work just fine in the basement, bedroom, etc), so I can watch DVR stuff anywhere in the house, even stuff recorded on high-def channels.

The disadvantage with my setup is every room in the house can only watch one thing at a time (from the dvr...cable is fine, of course). Which is fine for me. But...if I wanted to I could connect video or cat5 to any number of sources in the future via the patch panels in the basement.

Cost was wiring (which I wanted to do for whole house audio for my soundbridge anyway), and a $50 distribution amp from radio shack. And I got to use all of my old equipment and not have to buy or build anything for a media server or multiple front ends (which have the requirement of being *silent*).

It'd be nice to have a system where I could save and organize things indefinitely, but really, I have other ways of doing some of that and it just doesn't seem like the effort to me, when the scientific atlanta box is "good enough" IOW, the consumer appliances have somewhat caught up, with the advantage of supporting HDTV and Digital channels with no effort and no tricks with IR and stuff.

Re:Level of effort / cost? (1)

cens0r (655208) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621861)

It doesn't. The only way to get Myth to work with Comcast is have two cable boxes and let mythTV control them with IR blasters (or the serial port). Then record the output. This works find for SD, but you're not going to be recording HD over component. You can record some of the channels over firewire, but Comcast can encrypt everything but the basic channels. The Comcast DVR is really the best solution. It's not a particularly great solution, and the HD Tivo might be slightly better, but more expensive.

DVD Jukebox (2, Informative)

Mondo1287 (622491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24621703)

What MythTV, or rather MythDVD does really well is function as a DVD Jukebox. There is nothing else out there right now for backing up your DVDs that is as painless as Myth, unless you want to spend thousands on the Kalidescope system. You pop your DVD in, import it as either a 1:1 iso, a perfect copy of the main title, or a compressed (xvid) copy. It will even pull the cover art and metadata from IMDB for you. I'd highly recommend Mythbunutu for those heading down this road.

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