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MythTV

The Mythical device that combines all your home media / home entertainment stuff.

Google

What is MythTV

Basically, is is a linux implementation of Media Centre, but goes much further
A common simple use is a HTPC connected to your TV, and used to record TV programmes, pause Live TV, schedule recodings, etc etc.
MythTV wiki - Show me the HVR-3000 stuff

My MythTV

Ok, so it is not yet up & running, but here's the story so far...

Around mid 2007, I decided to build a HTPC. I spent a while googling for info on what sort of spec of PC was required, and I bought parts from suppliers like Quiet PC and Komplett.ie. I assembled all the parts, but the PC would not boot. Turned out to be a dud processor so I returned that & got a replacement. That took almost 5 weeks to get sorted out. When I got the replacement processor, I tried again to fire up the shiny new PC, but it would not work. After some unsuccessful fiddling, I put it all away for another day.

Then, around December 2007, I decided I needed to upgrade the graphics on my games PC, as it was quite a bit out of date and was getting a bit slow.

I started shopping for AGP graphics cards, and came across some cheap AGP cards with TV out. So, I had an inspriation, and instead of buying a high end AGP card for gaming, I bought a cheap AGP card for TV out and also a high-end PCIe card :)

Yes, you guessed it. I robbed all the new parts I had for a HTPC : Intel C2 Duo E6750, Abit IP35 motherboard, 2GB Kit of OCZ Platinum PC6400 DDR2 Ram, one of the two Samsung spinpoint 500GB HDDs, and I added the PCIe graphics card, to make my new games machine. Sorted. Happy Days. :)

Recently I decided I'd resurrect my HTPC project, and I assembled all the components from my old games machine.. 3.4Ghz P4EE, Abit IC7-G Motherboard, 1GB Ram, together with the Hauppauge HVR-3000 Tuner card, Samsung Spinpoint 500GB HDD, and the new quiet Akasa fans, and Scythe mini-ninja cpu cooler I had bought.

I had a bit of trouble reconfiguring the BIOS, as I had previously been using 2 Western Digital Raptor drives in RAID0 (striping), and had lost the manual for the motherboard, so that took a bit of trial & error to get the onboard IDE working together with the SATA HDDs.

I got that sorted, and decided I'd try a MythBuntu install, and see how I got on.

I did that, and got MythTV installed, but not much luck with my choice of Tuner Card. :(

The Hauppauge WinTV HVR-3000 card was not directly supported, so that took a lot of googling and reading up on various MythTV and LinuxTV forums.

It is still not working correctly, but I'm hoping the latest v4l-dvb with Steve Toth's DVB-S2 updates will sort that out.

Some links I found useful ...

http://mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Installing_MythTV_on_Debian_Etch
http://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/Hauppauge_WinTV-HVR-3000

After a lot of messing around, I finally managed to get my HVR-3000 up & running for DVB-S.

basically, what I did was as follows :

  • Install Debian Etch, base system only
  • Using apt-get , install the etchnhalf linux kernel & etchnhalf headers
  • restart and ensure you boot using the etchnhalf kernel
  • download, compile & install the latest S2-mfe stuff from here: http://linuxtv.org/hg/~stoth/s2-mfe/archive/tip.tar.gz
... and voila, your HVR-3000 will be available for DVB-S :)
(I believe the MFE means multiple front-end, as the card is both DVB-T and DVB-S capable, but I'm only interested in DVB-S).

Now, you can scan for channels, and tune a specific channel using szap, and record it to an mpg as simply as:

cat /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0 >recordedvideo.mpg
			

You can then watch the recording using mplayer (after stopping the cat command above)

		mplayer recordedvideo.mpg
		

With MythTV, I had a problem after all my messing around with configurations, where the mythtv frontend would simply jump to a blank screen and not even show the main menu.
I removed mythtv, mythtv-backend, mythtv-frontend, mythtv-common, etc etc, but even when I installed them again, it was still the same.

In the end, after advice from the mythtv users mailing list, I removed the mythconverg database, which solved my problem.
As at October 2008, I now have a "sort of" working mythtv setup. I can watch & pause live TV, and tune to any of the available channels.

The picture is still not 100%, but it is watchable. I believe this is simply down to a configuration of the mythTV frontend.

The next step on my list is to get the TV Guide working. The XMLTV included a grabber (tv_grab_uk_rt) which will fetch a tv guide from the Radio Times website, for the next 14 days, and provide this data as the on-screen EPG in mythtv. With this data, you can schedule recordings of individual programmes or entire series.

My problem seems to be the conversion of the channel names that my DVB-S knows about, compared to the differetn channel names listed in the Radio Times guide. Have to read up some more on that, but it seems to be easily overcome.

TV OUT

My video card is an XFX GeForce 6200A, which has VGA, S-Video, and DVI connectors. I got this card so I could use the S-Video output, and take the audio output via the optical SPDIF connector on the motherboard.

Some info here on the NVidia TVOut stuff
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/NvidiaTVOut

Some info on the ALSA and the Intel audio output:
http://alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Module-intel8x0#Native_devices

More to follow, as I progress...

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