MythTV

Installation

Current Setup

My current MythTV setup is as follows:

Initial Installation

I started on MythTV along while ago - after several failed attempts on a Windows platform using software such as ShowShifter, I got fed up with system instabilities, and decided to go down the Linux route.

In the beginning, I started with the TV card I tried to use for the ShowShifter installation. This was a BT878 based Hauppauge card, which worked perfectly under Linux.

The platform was running Redhat 9 on a P3-500 with 256MB of RAM, a GeForce 4 MX with TV out and an 80GB harddrive. It was capable of recording one program at a time at a resolution of 480x480 in RTJpeg format. It worked, but only just! Having said that, it proved the system, and I was hungry for more. Oh, and just to make things more interesting, the machine had to be in the loft, with cabling running into the lounge, which included the IR eye and the A/V feed.

Installation was done using the excellant MythTV RPM set provided by Axel Thimm, and Jarod Wilson''s Guide

PVR-250 Installation

After a while, the recording quality really began to annoy me, so I decided to by a PVR-250. Installation was not easy - getting the IVTV drivers working proved, well, interesting, as I initially tried doing it myself, without Jarod''s Guide. I also was not able to get the BT878 and the PVR-250 to play nicely together, so moved the BT878 to my Fileserver system.

After several attempts, the Wife Acceptance Factor had dropped to the level where I needed to get MythTV working - very quickly, so I reformatted with Fedora Core 1, and used Jarod's new Guide to get it all working.

Xbox Frontend

Even with the PVR-250 working, the quality on the main television was not great, so I decided to use a separate frontend system to remove the problem of a cheap video card, and long cables. The Xbox was the answer I seeked - cheap, quiet, and perfectly capable of running the frontend.

I purchased a new Xbox for £129.99, the Xbox DVD remote and IR eye and got myself a USB to Xbox cable and a copy of the MechAssault game to install linux. Using the Xbox MythTV Installation I managed to get it working without too much of a problem, and suddenly my MythTV experience changed - for the better.

I now run 3 MythTV Xbox's in the house, which allows us to watch MythTV in the Master Bedroom, Sam's Bedroom and the Dining room.

EPIA Frontend

The Xboxes are quiet, but not silent.  So when we moved house, I brought an EPIA ME6000 motherboard and case, and installed Fedora Core 5 on it.  This is the ultimate in quiet PC's, and when it is running, the only sound you can hear is the occasional ticking of the harddrive.

DVB-T Installation

I started with a single DVB-T card - a TechnoTrend Budget DVB-T card based in the TDA10045 chipset. This was installed in the master backend, and worked alongside the PVR-250 perfectly.

As my initial installation was done using the RPM''s, and DVB-T support was not compiled in these, I had to roll my own. Thankfully, over the period of running MythTV, life has not been plain sailing, so I knew enough about MythTV to get things working without too much hassle (or so I thought!)

I rolled my own kernel for the new version (this is pretty much a requirement for DVB-T) I obtained the dvb-kernel from linuxtv.org, and compiled the DVB kernel. One of my ex-colleagues from Empower (Martin Smith) had already been down this road, and had compiled a very good guide on how to install DVB-T on MythTV It loaded the drivers without a problem, and tuned, but the signal was lousy.

What I didn't realise (for a few months!) was that when I compiled my own kernel, I hadn't selected the correct IDE chipset for my motherboard, and had inadvertently turned off DMA support. This meant that although the DVB-T card was working fine, there was not enough bandwidth on the system bus to transfer the huge quantities of data produced, which resulted in stuttering pictures, and general corruption of the image.

Once I had that sorted, I started to record more and more on DVB-T channels - I setup 2 channel sets - 1 for Analogue, and one for DVB-T.

17th December 2004 - Full DVB-T - Removal of the Analogue Cards

(I can actually date this one, as it was only last week!) I finally got fed up with the poor quality of the signal on Analogue, and decided to shift the whole system over to DVB-T. So, I purchase 2 Hauppauge Nova-T cards (as the Technotrend cards are now out of production) Little did I realise that between me purchasing the Technotrend card, and purchasing the Nova-T's, Hauppauge had moved away from the Technotrend design!

The cards that turned up were new - they used Conexant CX8800 and Conexant CX22702 chips - not the Philips TDA10045 that I had in the previous cards.

Luckily, others had had this problem before me, and new drivers had come out. In the meantime as well, Linuxtv.org had put support for 2.4 kernels on the shelf, and were purely concentrating on the 2.6 kernels (well, this happened before I got the first card, but it didn't affect me then!)

So, I upgraded my Backend to Fedora Core 3, and tried to get the new drivers working. My notes (after several failed attempts over 4 days) are on the MythTV DVB-T and Conexant Notes page.

Richie and Gini - 2006