[mythtv-users] Several General Questions

Lane Schwartz dowobeha at gmail.com
Thu Dec 2 22:32:16 UTC 2004

On Thu, 02 Dec 2004 04:48:10 -0500, Brian Pilnick <bpilnick at cmu.edu> wrote:
> I've been researching HTPC's for a while and I think I'm ready to build
> a dedicated box for my parents.  (It's this or buying a tivo.)  I have a
> few questions first though, just to make sure I'm not overlooking anything.
> First off, I was thinking of using this barebones system to build off of
> http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=56-110-024&depa=0
> All of the on-board hardware looks to be supported, but does the fact
> that the video card and sound card are built on matter?
> Video quality is of course very important so will the on-board s-video
> out be good enough quality?  I've seen some reports of video card's
> s-video output being sub-par but nothing definite.  If this isn't good
> enough, I'd step up one of the two planned PVR250's to a PVR350 to use
> the output on that card if thats possible.
> This may be a stupid question, but how stable and 'transparent' is
> mythTV?  Stability is big issue as I won't be around to fix it if
> something breaks.  What I mean by transparent is how intuitive it is I
> guess.  My mom (not a techie) will be the primary user and it needs to
> be usable for her.
> Just for estimation purposes, about how big are the compressed files
> myth makes?  I'd like to be using 720x480 in DVD format (mpeg-2 correct?).
> I can't remember what its called at the moment, but I've seen a DVD
> burning module for myth.  Has anyone used this?  How well does it work?
> How easy is it to use?
> One thing I haven't really been able to find is how leaving it on
> works.  I'd assume the machine has to be on 24/7 in order to record
> shows and have the MythWeb client available etc, is this correct?
> I think thats all my questions for now.  Thanks in advance for any answers.

First off - you pointed to an Asus Pundit on newegg. Based on comments
I've seen on this list, I think that a decent number of people here
use the Pundit for Myth. The ones I've talked to seem pretty satisfied
with it.

In my experience, it usually takes a decent amount of time and effort
to get Linux, the TV tuner drivers (ivtv), the remote control, and
MythTV installed and configured properly.

That said, once Myth is properly set up and configured, it is one of
the easiest-to-use, most user-friendly programs I have ever used. And
in my experience, it is very stable.

Lots of people (including me) can and probably will tell you horror
stories of how their Myth box got screwed up. But most of those
problems happened when the person tried to mess with something - they
did a system upgrade, or a driver upgrade, or added a new piece of
hardware, or something like that.

I would say that once a Myth box is properly set up, there should be
no problem with your mom or other non-Linux-savvy person using it.

Offhand I don't remember how big the recording files are, but for
reference I can usually got 9 half-hour episodes of That '70s Show
onto a DVD. Those have the commercials cut, and they were recorded
using my PVR-250. I can get 3 commercial-cut episodes of Enterprise on
a DVD.

And speaking of DVDs... Here's where Myth isn't fully mature. I can
burn DVDs from my Myth recordings, you probably could too. But my wife
can't, and your mom probably can't. There is no integrated DVD-burning
module in Myth yet. Hopefully there will be in the not-too-distant
future. But right now you have to use external tools like nuvexport,
DVDStyler, and k3b.

Hope that helps. Don't let the other posts discourage you from going
the Myth route. It's harder to set up initially, but once you have it
set up it's a breeze to use and it's very stable. Plus, there's way
more functionality and flexibility than you'll ever get from Tivo.

Here's some of the extra stuff you can do with Myth that you can't with Tivo:

- see the current weather including radar and forecast, play DVDs
- rip your DVD collection to the hard drive and play them back later
- view photo slideshows
- play mp3s
- read current news bytes
- play games via an emulator
- play native games like Tuxracer
- store and browse cooking recipes


"No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11."
-- George W. Bush, 17 Sept 2003

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