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The Mini-ITX Linux PVR Project

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the stuff-to-hack-on dept.

223

An anonymous reader writes "Home theater PCs have taken many shapes and forms, perhaps none more interesting than this Mini-ITX PVR. In part three of its Mini-ITX project, XYZ Computing has turned its Mini-ITX box into a Linux PVR, using Ubuntu and MythTV. This is a lot of computer in a very small package and designing it, putting it together, and then getting it to work was an interesting process. The article is a great guide for people who are interested in their own Mini-ITX Linux PVR, but also goes over the problems and pitfalls of a build like this."

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223 comments

One line summary (4, Interesting)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972402)

It works, it's cool, just kind of a pain to build and more expensive than he wanted, but the DIY attraction and avoidance of fees make this an overall posititve experience for him. I'm still waiting for a distro that "just works" with a default PC you can buy, after throwing in a Haupage TV card. Plug in, boot from cdrom, try it out, like it, install it on HD...done. Is there such a thing yet, or should I wait for PVRuntu?

Re:One line summary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972457)

Knoppmyth.

Bootable Knoppix live CD with most of the goodies pre-installed and auto-configured.

One word reply to you ;-) (5, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972462)

Is there such a thing yet, or should I wait for PVRuntu?

Knopmyth [mysettopbox.tv]

Re:One word reply to you ;-) (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972512)

That looks perfect! Why hadn't I heard of this earlier? With those constant Dell 399$ desktop specials (and you could sell the flat panel later to recoupe even more) and a WinTV-dbx, model 401 (~72$ via Froogle) you can be all set! Hmmm...must think about this, thanks for the link!

Re:One word reply to you ;-) (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972727)

I don't know about that card but nearly any Hauppauge PVR x50 card will work. Currently I'm working on getting it to use the firewire connection to my Motorola 62xx DVR, it will tune but the osd is in black and white and it has some other little issues. Coming along nicely otherwise. If I tune over analog cable it's perfect.

Re:One word reply to you ;-) (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972941)

Dell is currently selling a computer for $249 Canadian, sans monitor, but you you trouble finding a refurb that cheap in this country.

Re:One line summary (1, Redundant)

TobyWong (168498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972465)

KnoppMyth gets pretty close to what you are describing:

http://mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html [mysettopbox.tv]

It's not perfect but it's close to out-of-the-box.

It helps if you are careful when selecting your hardware to make sure it is well supported ahead of time (hauppauge is a good call).

Re:One line summary (1)

killeena (794394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972475)

Knoppmyth [mysettopbox.tv] is pretty decent, in that most of what you need is already there, including all the modules like MythMusic, MythWeb, etc.... The only major issue is having to set up the ivtv drivers for the PVR-350 (if that is what you have).

Re:One line summary (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972608)

only major issue is having to set up the ivtv drivers for the PVR-350 (if that is what you have).

so using the 72$ 401 that I mention above solves this then?

Re:One line summary (1)

MRoharr (243317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973084)

I recommend MythDora, from the web site http://g-ding.tv/ [g-ding.tv] :
"MythDora is a Fedora Core and MythTV "All-In-One" CD. The CD will load a preconfigured Fedora Core 4 installation on your computer as well as install and configure MythTV-0.19"

Re:One line summary (1)

thoth (7907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973175)

You can try KnoppMyth, which others have suggested, but be aware it isn't quite the silver bullet. Check out LWN's recent brief write up on MythTV and KnoppMyth in their March 9th weekly [lwn.net].

It is fair to note he also had the HD3000 card working as well. Ultimately, he went with Fedora Core 4 because of the great documentation.

Re:One line summary (1)

dan the person (93490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973394)

As mentioned there is Knoppmyth.

Personally, i installed ubuntu on a VIA EPIA mini-ITX board, and grabbed the precompiled .deb packages linked from the myth site.

I had a Kworld DVB TV card [ebuyer.com] the cheapest i could find, and it just worked. zero setup for the card, just had to get myth to scan for channels (just like when you get a new TV).

Presumably knopmyth does more than save you 5mins selecting and installing the myth .debs?

NEWSFLASH: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972420)

Linux fucking sucks. It's hardly acceptable for a toy desktop system, let alone a PVR.

Re:NEWSFLASH: (0, Offtopic)

tmbailey123 (230145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972451)

A good musician doesn't blame the instrument 8-)

Re:NEWSFLASH: (0, Offtopic)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972498)

A good musician doesn't blame the instrument 8-)

A good musician also buys the best one that he or she can afford (or has one provided, in the case of world-class string instruments.)

Re:NEWSFLASH: (0, Offtopic)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972604)

And a really good musician quickly learns how to work around the flaws of a cheap instrument to make it sound good.

Re:NEWSFLASH: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973171)

A truly great musician can make a $200 cello and make it sound like the best $200 cello on the planet, but it still won't sound like a Stradivarius. A bad musician, however, can take a Stradivarius and make it sound like a $200 pressboard cello.

That said, Linux is more like a mid-range instrument. The beginner can still make it sound like $200, the expert can make it sound wonderful, given enough effort, but still not quite as good as something designed for a particular purpose.

Re:NEWSFLASH: (1, Funny)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972514)

NEWSFLASH:

Nobody cares. Now go back to watching TV on your DRM crippled system that crashes twice per week.

Re:NEWSFLASH: (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973196)

I got rid of the DVR because it was unstable. even with a tuner box, I have to reboot it once a month, or I can't access Video on Demand .

bloody windows embedded.

all the bugs of windows and no way to upgrade it.

Re:NEWSFLASH: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973008)

Hey DeVry boy, FYI most of us hope drooling fucktards, like yourself, stay with MS and keep your "should I put the CD in face up or face down" questions nicely bogged down in their helpline queues. You stupid git.

How loud is the dvd drive? (4, Interesting)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972445)

My girlfriend's got a mac mini that's utterly silent... until you put a CD or DVD in. Then the motors whir up and the laser jumps around and it's almost obnoxious! Since the article only talks about "quiet" in a general sense, it doesn't seem like he paid much attention to the use of disc media -- rather, he focused on HDD noise and fan noise. While important, I know plenty of people will use such a device to rip CDs to, watch DVDs on, and so on. Myself included.

Otherwise it's a pretty neat little thing, and seems to work well w/o much hassle. I'm still skeptical of those slimline DVD drives in media computers, though...

Re:How loud is the dvd drive? (2, Informative)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972557)

You have 2 alternatives for avoiding media noise on a Mac mini (or a G5 tower, which also makes a racket when spinning up disks), and neither is perfect:

1. Archive all DVD's on hard drives in another room. (That's what I do, not just to avoid the noise... Having my media library archived like this is pretty sweet in general.) On OS X, Mac the Ripper is probably the best tool. (Make sure to get a hold of the version 3 beta to get around newer DVD copy protection schemes.)

2. Plug a big external DVD drive, like the one from LaCie into the firewire port. Yeah, it's an extra box, but the mini + the DVD case still add up to less space than a typical component system DVD player.

Re:How loud is the dvd drive? (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972780)

I know how you feel - mine is also loud as hell when it starts spinning up. I don't remember the programs name, but I do remember a utility that was made to limit CD-drives to 24x (I think that was the speed at which the disc's started to shake), which made them almost silent.

Just limit the dvd-speed to something similar - if you're just watching a dvd movie you don't really need it to read at 16x - 2x is plenty fast.

Re:How loud is the dvd drive? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973183)

Rip, and then you don't need to worry about the drive when you're actually watching/playing. Or stream over the network from the drive upstairs.

Alternative (2, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972450)

MythTV is very impressive, but not everybody wants to spend their weekend building a box from scratch and installing an OS on it.

Here's a (slightly more expensive) alternative for non-geeks:

1. Buy a Mac Mini

2. Plug a USB2 or Firewire tuner and the Keyspan USB remote sensor into it.

3. Install EyeTV software & Keyspan remote software (both included with the hardware.)

4. Set up your universal remote (your TV and/or receiver remote might be a programmable one. Otherwise there are plenty out there to choose from for about twenty bucks) to control both the TV tuner and all your Mac media apps.

Done.

Re:Alternative (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972681)

Sorry to be somewhat offtopic, but I'm looking to use a Thinkpad A20 as a media extender in my family room. My main computer is upstairs and has a lot of videos on it, and the laptop is on the same network. I have a Harmony 659 programmable remote and the laptop has an IR port. The only thing I don't know how to set up is the software.

Is this something that's possible or am I just confused?

Re:Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972863)

I am doing something like similar using, except I'm using a slower Thinkpad (T20).

The IR aspect might be troublesome. LIRC (and WinLIRC) DO NOT support the IrDA / IR interface built into your laptop (or most laptops for that matter). You can build an IR reciever (hooked to the serial port) using the schematics from the LIRC page or buy a compatible USB unit.

On the software side, do you just want to watch movies, or do you want to build a PVR? If you just want to watch movies, MPlayer (MPUI on Windows or Linux with a suitable GUI-frontend like KPlayer) will work really well. MythTV will be overkill since you don't have any TV tuners per-se. 802.11g ("54Mbps") will have enough bandwidth to stream videos (payload rate ~ 20 MBps) from another computer provided you have good signal strength.

If you want a PVR then you'll need some computer that has a TV tuner, etc. If you want to do everything using the laptop, Hauppauge and Plextor make USB2.0 TV tuners *WITH* MPEG-2 encoders. The Plextor even does MPEG-4, but oddly does not handle MPEG audio compression in hardware. The Hauppauge PVRUSB2 is supported through Mike Isley's driver but according to Mike the newer PVRUSB2 units aren't yet working with the driver. The Plextor unit has full Linux support though, so that might be a quicker route to success.

It all depends on how complicated of a setup you want...

Re:Alternative (1, Flamebait)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972708)


1. Buy a Mac Mini

2. Plug a USB2 or Firewire tuner and the Keyspan USB remote sensor into it.

3. Install EyeTV software & Keyspan remote software (both included with the hardware.)

4. Set up your universal remote (your TV and/or receiver remote might be a programmable one. Otherwise there are plenty out there to choose from for about twenty bucks) to control both the TV tuner and all your Mac media apps.


5. Watch as your new HiDef movies run incredibly slow and jumpy, with dialogue out of sync with the picture, taking you back to the early days of video on desktop PCs, because of the Mac Mini's pokey 1.5Ghz processor and paltry 667 Mhz FSB. Oh, and the DVD drive is VERY loud.

No, thanks.

Re:Alternative (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972735)

Here's a (slightly more expensive) alternative for non-geeks:

1. Buy a Mac Mini


Sorry - your 'alternative' is a solution looking for a problem.

1) Your solution is a good deal more expensive then your post makes out - for instance if you want to burn to CD/DVD using EyeTv you have to purchase [elgato.com] roxio toast (and that is not the only hidden cost)

2) MythTV gives you Mame, VOIP, Weather, Web, Gallery & music player all-in-one. Mac Mini solution does not.

3) If you really want an easy solution, rather then a look-my-mac-is-as-good-as-linux solution, just buy a dedicated PVR (with a similar set of features to eyetv) & plug it in. Lots of cable companies give them away for free now - otherwise you can pick them up for less then $100.

If you want a full featured PVR, do what this guy did (but please use knopmyth to make your life easier).

If you allready own a mini, great, buy eyeTV & assoicated peripherals.

If you just want a basic PVR, don't follow the advice above - you end up with a relatively expensive computer masquerading as $89.95 PVR.

Re:Alternative (1)

nickrooster (796216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972930)

Knoppmyth alternative instructions: 1) Buy a PC 2) Buy a tuner card (Hauppauge preferred) 3) Install Knoppmyth Done! Not only does Myth do a lot more than just PVR functionality, but Knoppmyth automatically sets everything up for you. All you have to do is point a remote at it and it works.

Re:Alternative (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973031)

USB tuners suck. The quality just isn't there. The simple method (and cheaper than a mac) is to use your PC and BeyondMedia/BeyondTV. Besides that the remote is cool because it isn't locked to line-of-site like IR remotes and no DRM like MCE. It took me about 2 hours to set it up with my PVR250 tuner from scratch.

Re:Alternative (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973742)

I love BeyondTV, but it should be noted that it is resource hungry--at least if you make the mistake of buying a piece of crap ATI All-in-Wonder card that doesn't do MPEG enconding on the hardware :-(... ATI's even crappier Media Center records using less resources than BeyondTV, but the features aren't there and the recording quality is considerably crappier than BeyondTV. BeyondTV is full featured, easy to use, easy to set up, and very sleek.

Oh, it would also be nice if they had an option so it doesn't record a temporary version of a show you're currently watching (as that will stop it from eating up my CPU)--especially since I hardly ever feel like rewinding a show I wasn't already planning to record myself.

Re:Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973260)

Or plan b, even cheaper...

Buy a Lifetime subbed Tivo on ebay and $300ish later you're set with a solution that just works.

Impressive, but not really an all-in-one solution (0, Offtopic)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972486)

The 1Ghz processor in the mini ITX board would not be able to handle one large aspect of what makes mythtv better than Tivo - Games.

The choice of the Epia mainboard was a good choice. These make really nice myth frontends because they have VLD XvMC via the open source unichrome video drivers. This means that the box should easily handle HD with the proper HD card, even with only 1Ghz processor power on the mainboard.

Re:Impressive, but not really an all-in-one soluti (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972547)

The openchrome driver - the other one does not do accelerated video. VIA has drivers and a hacked xine too but they, well... they suck...

Re:Impressive, but not really an all-in-one soluti (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972670)

"The 1Ghz processor in the mini ITX board would not be able to handle one large aspect of what makes mythtv better than Tivo - Games."

Why not? Many games can run just fine on a 1Ghz Processor. Maybe not the latest and greatest FPS but throw Mame, an NES emulator, SNES emulator, a Sega Emulator, a Commodore 64 Emulator and maybe an Amiga Emulator and you have a LOT of very fun casual games that you can play.

Site is dying. First page: and my thoughts (3, Informative)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972489)

" Mini-ITX Part III

Wednesday, 22 March 2006
Page 1 of 7

By: Sal Cangeloso

For the past few months I have been spending a lot of time using my Mini-ITX computer. This was originally a project system which I put together so that I would have something small and silent for my living room, on which I could do a few very basic tasks, like check my email and get on the internet. The first part of the project featured a system which booted Puppy Linux off of a flash USB drive, a solution which was simple and quiet, but not very powerful. In the second part of the project the system was given a new case, improved cooling, and it booted off of a LiveCD and could save to a CF card. As I used the system more I decided the best course of action would be to make a few more changes and increase the system's functionality, despite the impact that this could have on its silent operation.

This time I had some big plans in store for the Mini-ITX box. The plans were, roughly, to install a hard drive, move to a more powerful Linux distribution, and add PVR capabilites to the system. Because the computer was already situated in my living room, making it into a personal video recorder was an obvious choice, though doing this on a Mini-ITX Linux system would surely take a bit of finesse. "
-----

I wish that they said what "ITX" means.

    PVR is Personal Video Recorder which describes a digital device like a TIVO or MythTV software for a computer system with TV input.
I've used an All In Wonder 8500DV to record TV onto my computer, but my biggest roadblock has been poor ATI drivers for Windows that disabled Hibernation, crashes XP, and fails to work well in Linux even as a video card never mind as a TV system.

Re:Site is dying. First page: and my thoughts (1)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972559)

I've used an All In Wonder 8500DV to record TV onto my computer, but my biggest roadblock has been poor ATI drivers for Windows that disabled Hibernation, crashes XP, and fails to work well in Linux even as a video card never mind as a TV system.

I wouldn't recommend ATI on linux at all at this point. The drivers are barely even useable, let alone give good performance.

My bit of advice, if you're buying a video card for a linux PVR, stay far, far away from ATI. You'll thank me for saving you from countless hours of trying to get a good picture in vain.

Re:Site is dying. First page: and my thoughts (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973124)

I wouldn't recommend ATI on linux at all at this point. The drivers are barely even useable, let alone give good performance.

My bit of advice, if you're buying a video card for a linux PVR, stay far, far away from ATI. You'll thank me for saving you from countless hours of trying to get a good picture in vain.


Why oh why do so many people act like crack addicted junkies and think that ATI is the only option they have? Hauppauge cards work just fine on Linux. Although the parent doesn't say what he uses instead of ATI, I'd bet it's Hauppauge. The guy who wrote the original article obviously didn't do his research and just assumed he could get ATI to work for him. HA HA HA HA HA!

Re:Site is dying. First page: and my thoughts (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972677)

I wish that they said what "ITX" means.

ITX is nothing more than a form factor. Usually the form factors dictate how the board mounts the chassis, how things get cooled, and how it gets power. Lots of standards - btx, at, etc... this is juts another.

Take an ATX case, look at the four mounting holes and you have how the board screws into the case - more or less ITX in a nutshell. ITX is just a bit larger than a square built out of RAM sticks. Bog standard ATX power supply, keyboard, mouse, and other ports in the same position as ATX, and does not make any assumptions about the power source being able to direct air to where the CPU should lay out. The rest of the bits are optional - some have floppy connectors, some don't.

Re:Site is dying. First page: and my thoughts (1)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972691)

"I wish that they said what "ITX" means."

ITX is a form-factor just like ATX is a form-factor. It simply determines the size of the board and where mounting holes should be etc... This way case manufacturers can make a case for ITX boards that should (theoretically) fit all ITX sized boards.

General Problem with this approach (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972492)

The only real problem I have with this approach is simply the cost. Even if you can factor out the cost of software by going FOSS, the hardware costs are still pretty high. Right now I can get a used 80GB Tivo for $40. I plug it in and it works, no muss no fuss. Now there is the monthly subscription fee, but the price differential could mean that I can absorb a few years worth of subscription fees before it made a difference. Now, if you also need/want a full featured computer as well as PVR functions, then that makes sense. But if you're just looking to record an hour of the WB every night, turnkey solutions like Tivo still make a lot more sense.

Re:General Problem with this approach (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972589)

Tivo equivalents here cost a third of the price of a mini-itx system with 160 Gig HD and a DVD-RW. They don't stream to other PCs in the house either for that price.

Re:General Problem with this approach (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972785)

You're right, Mythtv may be overkill for some people that only want a PVR. However, Mythtv does MUCH more.

  Rip dvds, rip cd's, display pictures (with a variety of OpenGL wipes and fades), play music (with a variety of visualizations), play VCDs, get your local weather reports with satellite map imagery, surf the web, talk on a SIP videophone, add stuff to your Netflix queue, the list just goes on and on.

Re:General Problem with this approach (1)

voidstin (51561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973428)

You can get a tivo with a DVD burner built it (or attach one) or transfer the videos to your (windows-only) laptop, and do many of the other net things you're describing (weather, photos, music, netflix, etc). The only real differences are SIP videophone, visualizations, and full web browser. Are those different enough to be worth the extra money and time?

Plus, the series 3 is shipping this fall with dual HD cablecard tuners...

tivo apps: http://www.tivo.com/4.9.11.asp [tivo.com]

Re:General Problem with this approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972898)

If you're a good scrounge you can hold the costs down. The biggest expense becomes the tuner. I have a pair of PVR-150's in an old dual PIII 500, works just fine. Volume spanning lets you stuff a bunch of old drives in to get plenty of storage. Dual CPU let's me run the commercial flagging without huge lag in the front end jumping around menu's.

For the front end, track down an Nvidia based laptop with video out (or another supported TV out card) with a smashed LCD. I can almost guarantee any decent sized IT group has several laptops around that the sales dweebs dropped/stepped on/etc that aren't worth repairing.

Price (1)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972495)

I was reading the article but couldn't find a price before it got slashdotted.

But I think this will cost at least a few hunderd. Then why not just use a provider who offers video on demand, you might need to pay a euro per show but that would be hunders of shows before you spend the same amount. Maybe if you watch several recorded shows a day it might be usefull but I think most people (me atleast) dont watch that much.

On Demand (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972775)

On demand is pretty cool on its own, but is not really equivalent for a number of reasons. Currently, not everything is 'On Demand', meaning that if yu don't watch a show when you see it on the list, you may not see it again. With a PVR, you get to store it indefinitely. I also haven't seen HD shows on demand yet, but that may just be a limitation in my area.

I may be mistaken... (1, Insightful)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972503)

...but aren't Mini-ITX boxes the usual form factor for MythTV implementations? If you're (typically) going to have a PVR in your living room, you'll want something that's low-power, quiet and preferably quite small.

Don't get me wrong, the article's a good one, but it seems like the focus of the summary is "They have MythTV on MiniITX now" - haven't we been doing this for months, if not years?

Re:I may be mistaken... (1)

Wonko (15033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972655)

...but aren't Mini-ITX boxes the usual form factor for MythTV implementations? If you're (typically) going to have a PVR in your living room, you'll want something that's low-power, quiet and preferably quite small.

I completely understand why quiet is important, but I don't really understand why it needs to be small. Most people that I know have quite a bit of room in the entertainment centers. Even if you don't, you might even be able to hide the box away behind the TV. The only thing that needs to be in plain sight is the IR receiver and probably the DVD driver. There is no reason not to just go USB or firewire for that.

If I were going to build a MythTV box today, I would probably start with a used 500-1000 mhz machine. Add a reasonably sized hard drive, a PVR 150 card, and possibly replace the video card. You certainly don't need a fancy video card, any old 2D card with a supported svideo output will do the trick. You could definitely do this for under 300 bucks, possibly even under $200.

I do not know how much a remote control and reciever will cost. :)

Cables, cables, cables (2, Informative)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972507)

If you want to cool a small case you need to get rid of those flat IDE cables that restrict air flow.

P.S. VDR is a much better solution than Myth in countries with DVB-S and DVB-T.

Re:Cables, cables, cables (1)

shippo (166521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972653)

I tried Myth TV with a DVB-T card around a year ago. I got it working, but had to kludge together a system to grab automatic updates to the EPG that gets broadcast as part of the data stream in the UK and insert that into the main EPG database periodically.

The main problems were that the picture quality sent to a TV was no where near as good as a standard DVB-T decoder, that there was no support for the MHEG teletext system used exclusively in the UK, and the noise made by the machine was unbearably loud. I was also unable to schedule it to record radio streams.

In the end I just purchased a cheap Sagem PVR. The firmware on that was buggy at first, but they've started to iron out most of them. I still can't record radio, though!

Re:Cables, cables, cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972915)

I agree. I used mythtv and a DVB-S card to get dishnetwork, but channel changing was slow, and while grabing the EPG from the satellit it would just make the computer hang.
Now VDR worked perfect. Nice GUI can even use the hollywood plus mpeg decoders for SD.

pre-emptive coracl cache (3, Informative)

thelost (808451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972520)

can already feel the site crawling so made a pre-emtive corach cache [nyud.net]. Use that if you can!

Re:pre-emptive coracl cache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972856)

doh, i made two different spelling mistakes of the same word in one post. what a dolt! well i guess you guys know what i mean anyhow

Go LAN young man. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972551)

IMHO all these "multimedia" devices have it wrong. All the heavy lifting should be elsewere, and the "results" should be in front of you. The secret? Fast networking. Note that doesn't necessarily imply TCP/IP. Just a LAN that's fast enough to get the job done. The advantages is that all the "disadvantages" are out of sight, and hearing and you don't have to bend over backwards to solve all the present problems.

Re:Go LAN young man. (5, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972855)

Bingo. This is what I have set up in my house.

The cute little box that serves as my MythTV front-end is real quiet because there is no:
  a) Hard drive
  b) Fan
  c) Optical drive

It *does* have a GbE connection to a noisier box in a closet. This one has room for lots of large hard drives and a DVD-RW. The little box boots via PXE (only because I wanted the experience), but has a 1 Gb USB 2.0 thumb drive for "local" storage or caching, just in case.

The down side? The little box is almost useless without the network connection to the big box. This can be fixed by booting from the USB flash drive, if you want.

The up side? I have over 300 DVDs and 100 CDs all ripped to the big box. Movies, recorded TV and music is all available at any PC in the house. I have room for a couple hundred more movies and CDs before having to buy more hard drives. It is super-silent since there are no moving parts.

[Note to the MPAA/RIAA: I have the originals of ALL of those DVDs and CDs boxed away nicely, in storage, to avoid scratches and deterioration.]

Re:Go LAN young man. (1)

Kevin DeGraaf (220791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973609)

The cute little box that serves as my MythTV front-end is real quiet

Could you elaborate on your hardware setup? My EPIA M10000 has a very noisy 40mm CPU fan (been meaning to replace that) and the case has a pair of noisy 40mm fans that I haven't had the balls to remove/undervolt yet. :-)

Re:Go LAN young man. (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973513)

All the heavy lifting should be elsewere, and the "results" should be in front of you.

That depends if you are a starving student living in a dorm room or cramped apartment, or if you are looking for the ultimate media system to hook into your 7.1 surround system and gigantic hi-def screen that you just had installed in the home theatre room of your upscale house. If it is the former then you probably don't have room to spare for the "heavy lifting" machine, nor the money to purchas the extra hardware. Even if you did find somewhere to put it, the big back-end box with all the whirring drives and fans would probably be audible from every part of your small pad. If it is the latter then I'm sure you have a large attic, basement utility room or spare closet you could wire up and soundproof, as well as the money to get scads of hard drive storage and computing power--so in that case your suggestion is the best one.

The secret? Fast networking. Note that doesn't necessarily imply TCP/IP. Just a LAN that's fast enough to get the job done.

The newest generation of EIPA Mini-ITX boards (C7/"Luke" based) are equipped with gigabit ethernet onboard so they'll meet your needs nicely. You can already buy limited quantities of the first model (so they are not vapourware as some VIA detractors have said, despite VIA's delivery track record being nearly as spotty as Microsoft's).

and you don't have to bend over backwards to solve all the present problems

I don't think that there are really any problems solved by your suggestion personally--if you have a LAN based solution you probably have to do more work to get it to operate to your satisfaction. I suppose it depends on the problems you are trying to solve--if you have 100 movies and thousands of songs and want enough spare drive space to record another 100 hours of TV then you have problems that can only be solved by haveing a media server hidden away somewhere. If you are just looking for a TiVO-like PVR that is hack-friendly and doesn't require paying huge monthly fees for your cable company's "on-demand" digital package, then you have no problems to solve--just get a Mini-ITX board, fill the RAM slots and stuff it in a cute little box with a laptop hard drive of reasonable size and the bulk of your time will be software configuration.

PVR-350 - Bad Choice for this application (5, Informative)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972567)


The major difference between the PVR-350 and the PVR-250/150 is that the 350 has video output (MPEG2 decompression). Seeing as the board he selected has video out built in (and a processor that is plenty-capable enough), the PVR-350 was an unnecessary added expense. Also, the PVR-350 is slow at outputting X-menus, cannot do OpenGL or any acceleration except for MPEG2, DVD decoding is slow, games won't work, etc. Basically, the PVR-350 is useful ONLY for MPEG2 TV output.

ALSO - the current stable version of MythTV (0.19) has a bug where fast forwarding and rewinding greater than 3X don't work properly. There is no timeframe for fixing the bug, as not all that many people are using the 350.

A better choice would have been to get a PVR-500 to get dual-tuners, or at least a MCE version of the 150 (take up less space in the teeny case) and use the onboard SVideo out (or VGA out converted).

Re:PVR-350 - Bad Choice for this application (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973072)

I thought that was an odd choice, considering that the EPIA MII 10000 already has on-board video with MPEG-2 acceleration which is fairly well supported under X. Considering that the 350 costs roughly twice as much as the 150, with buying decisions like that it's no wonder that he went way over budget.

Re:PVR-350 - Bad Choice for this application (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973474)

ALSO - the current stable version of MythTV (0.19) has a bug where fast forwarding and rewinding greater than 3X don't work properly. There is no timeframe for fixing the bug, as not all that many people are using the 350.

Please, if that was the only bug....

There are much more serious things, such as audio/video synchronization, which is quite awful on an old machine. I run the frontend on a dual P3-866 with a GeFroce 6600, and 0.19 does much worse than 0.18. The sync code must be really bad, since when I have it pipe the AC3 audio stream to an external decoder the audio gets extra choppy, while I was hoping it would get better with the audio processing offloaded.

Long story short - I gave up on the frontend, and instead access the MPEG2 files on the backend via an SMB share, and I use Xine to play them. Now that is a wonderful player - audio is never choppy, and even video playback is much smoother (granted, I still have some frame drops, as it is an old machine).

I may have lost the ease of use of the frontend (along with the commercial flagging), but that is a small price to pay for not going insane when the audio breaks at least one time per second.

For the windows farts like me (5, Informative)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972569)

I've been meaning to build the mythtv/ubuntu combo like the article says but because im a windows fart, its taking me a lot of time to simply build the box and understand it enough to fine tune it.

So what i did in the meanwhile is installing my hauppauge 350 on my own PC, a winxp box, with GB_PVR) http://www.gbpvr.com/ [gbpvr.com]. Its free, its windows-based (.net) and it works great. As far as i understand from it, its the closest thing to mythTv on the win platform.

in fact, it work so nicely that i dont even feel the rush of building my ubuntu pvr.

Re:For the windows farts like me (1)

dvdsmith (892766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972649)

Same here. I built built a PVR around a hauppauge 150 and at first went the MythTV route. After futzing around trying to get the remote to work as it should, I tried Windows and GBPVR. First off, Hauppauge's windows drivers just seemed more mature and stable, IMO. Second, the remote just worked. Linux/Myth zealots, flame me if you wish ;)

Re:For the windows farts like me (1)

dvdsmith (892766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972882)

For the frugal, I thought I'd include the specs my own "silent" PVR. This is also a great if you want to recycle any old hardware.

PIII 933Mhz CPU
2 x 256MB PC133 DIMMs
TNT2 32MB video card
Hauppauge PVR-150 with remote
20GB HDD for OS and Applications
100GB HDD for videos

The only fan is in the mini-ATX power supply directly over the CPU, and its undetectable from a few feet away. While it will never win a race, it does fine running GBPVR on top of Win XP. The captured video is just as good quality as when I had the PVR card in my P4 system. At some point I'll replace the video card, as it does have issues with OSD text. Other than that, I'm perfectly happy with it.

GBPVR (1)

Broiler (804077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972741)

GBPVR allows me to only have one box to support. I use a Hauppauge MVP ($40) for my front-end, it is noiseless and makes for a nice living room experience. Pluggins for everything you can imagine and if you can imagine it better you can write your own.

MiniITX is not worth it (3, Informative)

zerojoker (812874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972582)

I've tried to build exactly such a system. However my experience was not that positive.

As it is already mentioned in the article, you pay a decent premium for the small size. But that's not the main issue. The biggest problem is cooling. Sure the EPIA processors are quite tolerant, but for a media center silence is the main issue. The cooling fan, 40x40mm is non-standard as is the whole cooling unit. So you can't buy one of the many excellent standard silent coolers.
He replaced it with a custom 40mm fan, but I personally highly doubt that it is really silent with 3000rpm. Plus one has also to consider the airflow compared to the original fan. When I built my system, I was unable to find a similar fan with the same airflow, even considering Papst and Verax.
Another thing is, that the 1GHz CPU is really slow. I ran into problem when playing DivX or XVid movies. Then under Linux (at least at the time I was building the system, dunno where they are at this point) there were no drivers for the Hardware-MPEG2 accelerator, so DVD playbay wasn't possible.


My conculsion is: If you go for MicroATX instead, you'll have just a slightly bigger case, however Standard components. There are zillion of cheap, reliable and silent CPU coolers, Power Supplies etc. Plus any decent CPU, even a Pentium III 1 GHz is faster than this VIA processor.

Re:MiniITX is not worth it (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972638)

You can have a heatpipe cooled CPU - no fans at all. mpeg2 acceleration permits 15% CPU on an M10000.

Re:MiniITX is not worth it (1)

Wonko (15033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972742)

Another thing is, that the 1GHz CPU is really slow. I ran into problem when playing DivX or XVid movies.

My 933 Crusoe based laptop has been able to play 640x480 mpeg4 videos fullscreen under Linux for the 3+ years I have had it. I regularly watch 640x272(ish) videos on my laptop streamed over ssh (using the sshfs FUSE module) over my 802.11b network. That gives me a double encryption wammy, since my wireless driver does WEP in software.

My girlfriend's P3 700 laptop can do the same just fine. She also has a MythTV box, and she has no problem watching videos from the front end on her laptop over 802.11g.

If you go for MicroATX instead, you'll have just a slightly bigger case, however Standard components. There are zillion of cheap, reliable and silent CPU coolers, Power Supplies etc.

I don't really understand why size is a factor. Are people building $600 mini itx MythTV boxes to hook up to 20 inch TVs? :p

Plus any decent CPU, even a Pentium III 1 GHz is faster than this VIA processor.

Aren't the current Via processors a decendant of the old Cyrix processors? They are probably just have a poor FPU. I would be very surprised if it is so poor that a P3 700 could beat it, though.

Re:MiniITX is not worth it (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973134)

Another thing is, that the 1GHz CPU is really slow. I ran into problem when playing DivX or XVid movies. Then under Linux (at least at the time I was building the system, dunno where they are at this point) there were no drivers for the Hardware-MPEG2 accelerator, so DVD playbay wasn't possible.

Strange... my EPIA MII, 1 GHz Nehemiah plays DivX, Xvid, DVD, you name it, just fine without using the MPEG2 acceleration. The only hardware acceleration is XVideo for fullscreen scaling. It probably helps that I use MPlayer on Gentoo.

I agree that the system is generally slow, for example my 1.6 GHz Centrino laptop is much faster. Something like 5 times faster in some cases, rather than just 1.6. But the EPIA machine is perfectly adequate for a media box.

priced it out, but ... (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972591)

I priced out one of these systems, but it was cheaper to buy a Dish Network PVR508 off E*Bay ($180). Its disk is a little small, but unlike newer PVRs from Dish, there are no monthly fees. Plus, it's nicely integrated into the Dish channel guide.

PVRs Dead? (2, Interesting)

u16084 (832406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972679)

With Digital Cable - Dominating in my area, all these PVRs are "useless" (for the typical home user) . TWC in my area mirrors EVERY single analog channel on to their digital tier. Channel 4 - 804 Channel 9 - 809 etc etc. They are also limiting HBO (no longer available on ANALOG) - they require you to get a dig box. So Untill CableCard support is implemented, its just a waste of time, no?. (Again TWC in my area Leases CableCards for 1.95/month each. (if i recall corretly). I DONT work for them. They also offer a DUAL Tunner DVR for $9 (cheaper then tivo - digital support etc) ITS NOT A TIVO... not even close, but it works great for your DVR functions. Ofcourse if you want to start throwing in the aspect of DRM,Ripping,and streaming correct, its not possible... But its a dvr. Records 2 Channels while playing back a 3rd.

For Discussion sake, when Analog goes away, so do these homebrew pvrs? As on the MINI's theres no ROOM to stick a CableCard reader?

Again, Just my 2 cents... Worth the investment for 1/2 TV? (no dig) - You can Loop it through your DIG box, but you loose some cool aspects of direct feeds, slow channel turning etc etc. no?

Re:PVRs Dead? (1)

leoc (4746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972942)

I use MythTV with my satellite tuner. I just have an IR blaster to change the channels and a USB video capture device to save the video. Works great.

Re:PVRs Dead? (1)

crow (16139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973019)

It's not a big deal for SDTV. You just use the analog ouput of the cable box and digitize it just like you would with analog cable. You have to use a serial cable or IR blaster to control the cable box, which can be a pain, and it means you have to have multiple cable boxes to record multiple digital cable channels.

It is a big deal for HDTV. You can use a QAM tuner to record the raw bitstream off of digital cable, but they generally encrypt everything except the broadcast channels. Comcast even encrypts the public access channels. That's where the cable card would be really nice. Or a way to break the encryption.

Re:PVRs Dead? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973705)

My myth box controls my digital cable box via a serial cable. You can also do it via USB (so I've heard) or via IR.

Nothing new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972683)

This doesn't seem particularly newsworthy, there's plenty of fantastic guides out there to building a MythTV box and using Mini-ITX is generally a given if you want it for your living room rather than a great big PC. I used VIA EPIA kit to ensure it's silent too, it works a treat.

EPIA, MythTV and Mini-ITX feel like they're made for each other. It's not a long process to build a MythTV box either provided you buy a well supported card like a Happauge Nova-T. I rebuilt mine the other week on Ubuntu and the whole process took around 4 hours, no longer than it takes to build a Windows box with the basic software you'll want on it like office, maybe an IRC/FTP client and such. It takes a little longer the first time, the hardest part figuring out how to fill in the settings for your transmission mast but it's hardly that difficult.

Mini-ITX? Not for the backend, IMHO (5, Informative)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972747)

Unless you're not going to be very demanding on the system (i.e. actually use the best features), I wouldn't recommend using a Mini-ITX board for the main system.

One of the big advantages of Myth is its support for transcoding the recordings after they're done, removing commercials automatically, and archiving them to, say, DivX or XviD format. You're not going to be doing that with a 1 GHZ processor on a Mini ITX board.

Much better to get a real box for the backend, which does the recording, and network it to the Mini ITX box to use as the frontend, which runs the user interface.

Personally, I got sick of seeing my 2.8 GHZ P4 Hyperthreaded Sony desktop being used as the family web browser/email machine (such a waste!) so I replaced it with a nice little 2.4 GHZ Compaq EVO from Ebay and am building Myth 0.19 on Ubuntu on the Sony. It's big, it has space for two hard drives, it has a DVD burner and a CDROM drive built in, and it's SILENT, even when running 3+ hour video reencoding jobs at 100% CPU. Got a 300 GB Samsung drive for it, with room for another before I need to go external.

Today my PVR-350 comes, so that'll get me really going on the build. I'll try and use its video output, but I'm starting to see a lot of limitations with that, as the author mentions. I may get a cheap NVidea card with TV out instead. But the PVR-350's are the same price, if not cheaper, as the 250's right now, so why not get one?

Next thing to check out is getting a cable box with Firewire output from Comcast to record some HDTV on, even though I only have a standard TV. Supposedly they're required by the FCC to give me a box with Firewire that outputs at least all "must carry" (read: local broadcast) stations unencrypted, we'll see.

I currently have a Panasonic Showstopper (also known as a ReplayTV first generation) which has worked well for going on five years, but the Myth user interface simply blows it out of the water - killer searching and recording options, a remote REAL-TIME web interface (Replay has one, but the box only dials up once a night - wanna record something now when you're at work, you're out of luck). Plus weather, RSS, and a general video storage area that will also mean I can move my XBox running XBox Media Center to another room.

Once this is all happy, I may look into getting some Mini-ITX boxes with monitors for the kids' rooms and load Ubuntu on them - voila, web surfing and email that I can control and monitor, and Myth frontend machines for them to watch shows on, which I can also monitor.

Geek family nirvana!

Re:Mini-ITX? Not for the backend, IMHO (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973458)

One of the big advantages of Myth is its support for transcoding the recordings after they're done, removing commercials automatically, and archiving them to, say, DivX or XviD format. You're not going to be doing that with a 1 GHZ processor on a Mini ITX board.

Is that really one of the big advantages? Because I've wanted to do that and it's the main reason I started messing around with MythTV years ago, but I've never found any clear documentation on how to do it and I haven't had any luck getting it to work.

Commercial detection in MythTV seems too bad to be usable. It's very unclear from the documentation how transcoding is supposed to work. When I did some experimenting with it all I got were unplayable recordings that look awful.

It might be my hardware. The PVR350 seems really limited. I have to access the UI over a VNC session because I can't get it to display the UI on the TV and I can't get lirc working. All the various howtos seem very specific to particular Linux distributions and I think they also skip key steps.

IR Blaster complex? Bah! (3, Informative)

BoldAndBusted (679561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972756)

From the article:
Using an IR Blaster will enable the PVR to control the set top box, but this is an extra, and complex, installation.

Nah, just get this: http://www.mytvstore.com/product_id_004.html [mytvstore.com]. The MyBlaster/Serial eliminates needing LIRC for the IR Blaster (which the article's author could then leave for just his PVR-350's remote, as I have). Use the excellent Perl script that is found here: http://www.mytvstore.com/mythtv_linux.html [mytvstore.com], set the device smack in front of your cable/sat boxes IR reciever (I find a small patch of double sided tape lasts for over a year, at least ;) ), and you're all set. No muss, no fuss.

And did I say that this requires *no* LIRC fiddling? OK, just making sure.

Video signal distance limits (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972777)

I was thinking of running a MythTV in my office to my TV in another room altogether. What is the distance limits for the vidao output?

Re:Video signal distance limits (1)

Broiler (804077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972853)

What is the distance limits for the vidao output?

1 - 100 meters over CAT5 if you build a front-end

2- 2 meters for video extension

How did they solve the DRQ problem? (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972812)

Ubuntu + EPIA = [4295473.283000] hdb: timeout waiting for DMA [4295473.283000] hdb: drive not ready for command [4295473.386000] hdb: no DRQ after issuing MULTWRITE_EXT

Search for this combination of errors on Google and it turns up half a million posts from people pleading for help, in all cases I have seen, it is Debian-derivative + EPIA, and met with "Dude, your HDD is bad".

I've used multiple HDDs, of different brands, models, generations, and multiple motherboards, and multiple Linux distros. All of the HDDs plus ubuntu plus EPIA give this problem. Change the distro to Slackware and the problem goes away. Change to Fedora, the problem goes away. Change to Debian or Knoppix, it remains.

So, how did they fix this? I need to know

Re:How did they solve the DRQ problem? (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973313)

Maybe because you insist on being a ubuntu fag^Wfanboy. Choose a real distro.

The real potential for this would be skipping... (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972815)

.. not just adverts, mind, but any rubbish in shows. Take CSI - you could program it to not record the boring flash-cut science bits in which the characters pretend they're doing real-world science work, when in fact they're using technology that doesn't actually exist. Cutting the fat off shows could get them down to half an hour of proper watchable footage.

Myth frontend vs. backend (1)

lividdr (775594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973090)

A better way to do a MythTV PVR on an ITX is to make the "set top" box a front-end only with TV-out connected to your TV. Plug the cable into a noisy server with disk/etc in another room and have it handle all the recording/archiving duties. You could then eliminate the HD from the ITX box and run a LiveCD setup like KnoppMyth.

At home I use a laptop as a frontend to stream live/recorded TV anywhere in the house via 802.11g, which works great for everything except "perfect" quality DVD rips.

Re:Myth frontend vs. backend (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973459)

Yes - I do this. And if you use BitTorrent you don't even need the TV card. There's not enough decent stuff on UK TV to justify a separate TV card. Anything decent that you missed can be found in the "usual" places".

And surely everyone has a stand-alone DVD player, so an optical drive in this Mini-ITX setup might be overkill for some. Keep it slim and it keeps the noise down.

Re:Myth frontend vs. backend (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973706)

Could you tell a little bit more about your setup? I want a media center system, but I don't want any live TV at all. I just want to have all my media stored on my Linux server, accessed over 802.11g, using a remote and a simple interface that even my room mate can use without any problems. I was hoping to use an X-Box, but I killed mine while trying to mod it, so now I'm looking at a PC/Linux solution...

My HD MythTV system (1)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973107)

I've thrice [slashdot.org] previously [slashdot.org] posted [slashdot.org] on Slashdot regarding my MythTV experiences. This comment should be read in context. (The main changes are that 0.19 has indeed fixed the OSD and the skipping-tuner issues. Everything else, both good and bad, I mentioned still hold true today. I *think* the newest KnoppMyth release actually now supports SATA drives, although I'll bet USB keyboards and mice are still considered suspect. I still disagree with the Pavlovian suggestion of MythTV--as we've once again seen in this thread--without appropriate caveats to anyone asking for an easy-to-use MythTV setup.)

Since the most-recent posting focused on the negative, I'll focus on the positive today. Thanks to MythTV and about $1100 in parts (not including $2150 for a 2TB NAS [infrant.com]), I have a more-or-less reliable, elegant-looking (both hardware- and interfacewise) video recorder that:

* Simultaneously records from two cable boxes and one over-the-air tuner card, all in HDTV.
* Gives me easy access to my recorded programs in alphabetic and record-date form, with multiple sort and grouping options (all the "How I Met Your Mother" episodes get grouped under that heading, for example), and due to a well-designed MySQL backend, no slowdowns no matter how big my library gets. (Any TiVo owner knows just how stupendously slow their boxes can get with a few hundred hours' worth of storage.)
* Gives me easy access to my AVI library in nicely-organized form based on the directory tree.
* Premarks programs recorded on non commercial-free channels with appropriate cues so that I can manually (or automatically) skip whole ad blocks with one button. (Tip: For North American viewers, "Logo Detection" alone is probably the best choice for commercial detection. It's faster and has fewer false positives than "All.")

My job requires long hours. I often fall asleep exhausted on the sofa soon after arriving home while trying to relax by watching the TV. But when I'm awake, it's nice to know that at any time I have about 200 programs or about 340 hours' worth of Hollywood movies, dramas, and comedies [gossamer-threads.com], almost all in HD, to enjoy. That's worth the money and setup time in my book.

Free dishnetwork with DVB-s and mythtv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973137)

Get a DVB-s card + Mythtv point your satellite dish to a dishnetwork satellite. Install the magic software softcam software, and you get your self a magic black box that gets all the dishnetwork programs for free. it just graws the mpeg file from the satellite feed with 5.1 surround sound and all.

http://www.happysat.org/ [happysat.org] check linux section.

Welcome to the club - or: What else is new? (1)

haraldm (643017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973226)

Man, I did this 4 years ago with a Via Epia-5000 board, a Morex Cubid case, a 2.5" harddisk and a rev 1.3 full featured card. The system ran on a SUSE 9 distro with vdr and dvb compiled locally.

Since somebody was asking for an out-of-the-box-distro: SUSE 9.3 and later does the trick. LinVDR as well. Duh.

Dealing with Satellite TV ? (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973299)

I would love a PVR that can deal with Satellite TV. I have a Sky subscription, and I hardly use it, mainly because most of what I want to watch is on at inconvenient times for me.

Sky+ is Ok, but I don't want a solution that turns into a brick and won't let me access any of the stuff that I've recorded when I stop subscribing to them. I'd also like to be able to archive stuff off to DVD / elsewhere at times.

Too many bullshit ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973601)

Is it possible to block the adlinks bullshit so we don't have any of those
ridiculous ads?

Simplist - Where it is hosted (0, Offtopic)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973718)

The simplist method is to charge the rules for where the site is based from. This is the Internet, I can access a website from anywhere in the world (assuming no filters) so to make some website in say NY suffer the penalties of another state (or for say another country) is insane. There is no way anything could get done. Not to mention, the Internet is generally accessed in the privacy of someone's home or work. It doesn't matter if the community in an area views porn as wrong, a person is allowed to view porn in the privacy of their own home (at work is subject to office protocal). Or let us say a person was not allowed to view porn, in their own home (assuming Alabama) then that person is responsible for breaking the law, not the website....the website provider did not break the law.

If I had a porn website hosted in Alabama, and Alabama forbade those kinds of sites - then I should be held liable.

There is precedent for this, btw. If you are from Pennsylvania, and someone gets into a car accident with you in NY (fault does not matter) then you have to go to NY court to settle. So I do not know why they are making such a big deal of this case.
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