[mythtv-users] Newbie Myth TV questions

myth at petedavis.net myth at petedavis.net
Tue Jun 15 23:46:25 EDT 2004

I'm going to be building a system for MythTV and I wanted to ask some
questions about hardware and software.

Basically, I will have two uses for the MythTV box. To be a PVR and to be a
very low-duty file server (for one or two people).

I'm more concerned with the PVR aspect though, as that's the priority for
the box.

First of all, I'm moving to a new place and I have the choice of Cox Cable
or Direct TV. Will MythTV work with either? I'm planning on using the
Hauppauge cards (see below). Will these deal with all the channels of both?

Second, I would like to be able to record one channel and watch another. How
is this done? Do I need two decoding boxes? Do I need decoding boxes at all?

Third, the Hauppauge PVR 250 & 350 seem to be quite popular. For the setup I
want, should I get one of each? Are there any issues I need to be aware of?
Should I forgo the 350 and get a separate video card for TV out? What will
serve me best?

Fourth, and maybe this isn't the right place to ask, maybe it is. I'm
getting a Denon 1804 AVR for a receiver. It's got 6.1 surround and I want an
audio card that I can hook directly into the Denon and will give me quality
sound for movies. If I don't need top of the line, tell me. I want to take
advantage of the Denon, but I don't want to buy a card with features I don't
need. Any suggestions?

Fifth, since the Hauppauges do all the encoding, everything I've read says
that the CPU is practically idle during this work. Does this still apply
when recording and watching separate channels? Will a 2GHZ Intel machine be
enough for that? Again, I don't want to buy a lot more than I need. I don't
want to buy a 3.2GHZ machine only to find I never peak past 5% of the CPU.

Sixth and final, I'm trying to decide between Mandrake and Gentoo. I don't
want to start a religious war. I just want the distro that's going to give
me the easiest setup and preferably be totally compatible with MythTV. Are
there any issues with one vs. the other that I should be aware of?

I use an old Red Hat box as my internet router/firewall, and that's been my
main experience with Linux. I've done some other stuff with it, but I'm
mainly a windows guy (programmer for 15+ years). I've done some Solaris work
in the past and I'm pretty comfortable with Red Hat, so that's basically my

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. I'm excited about getting this
system put together.


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