[mythtv-users] Some questions before I breakout the Mastercard
Kevin D. Snodgrass
kds.mythtv at cox.net
Wed Mar 17 02:35:50 EST 2004
I've been reading this list and various other sources of
info for quite a while, went to a presentation on MythTV put
on by OLUG (Omaha Linux User Group), read hardware websites,
and now I'm at a point where I'm not getting any more
answers. Guess it's time to buy some hardware and try this
thing out. I have several questions on several issues.
First, here is what I would like to do. I'm planning on
building one new machine to replace my 4 VCRs (plus 1 that
is currently non-functional). I would like to do this with
a single computer (but might do the frontend/backend
arrangement), and this computer will be used exclusively (or
nearly so) for this purpose. Here is a quicky schematic,
hope this looks right. :-) (In gedit, monospace font it
| signal amp |
| | | |
|------<----| | | |----->----->----->----->------|
| | | |
| |----<---| |--->---| |
| | | |
v |---v---| |---<----|--->---| v
| |Digital| |->--|| | ||---->---->----| |
| | Cable | | || | || | |
v | Box | ^ |--vv--------v-------v^------------| | |
| |--v--v-| | |PVR-250 PVR-250 PVR-350 Future | v v
| | | | | HD-TV? | | |
|-----| | | | | MythTV Computer Capture | | |
|Cable| | | ^ | Card? | | |
|Modem| | | | |----------------------------------| v v
|-----| v |->-| | |
| | |
| |-----<-----<-----<-----<-----<-----<----| |
| | |-----<-----<-----<-----<-----<-----<-|
| | |
| Stereo & |
| TV Setup |
1 computer, 2 PVR-250s for capture, 1 PVR-350 for both
capture and playback, maybe an HD-TV capture card in the
future. I have no WAF stuff to worry about, just my inner
geek. :-) One of the PVR-250s will get a feed from the
cable box AND an analog feed.
Questions: (If you can only answer one or two, go ahead. I
don't expect anyone to know the answers to everthing I ask.)
1) On a PVR-250, can I have two inputs, one coax cable and
the other S-Video or composite? The pics look like it, but
the online docs don't answer diffinitively.
2) Would I be better off using a video card for playback?
2a) If so, what video card(s) will give me the highest
2a1) And, if so to that, do embedded graphics systems have
decent playback? My laptop with a Rage Mobility 128 does
fairly well (to the laptop LCD) so I assume ATX systems with
a modern graphics chip will also. (Assuming driver issues
don't bite me...)
3) Which Linux distro would be a good choice? I see several
people using Fedora, but am dubious about using Fedora
because of the short lifespan. I have been using Red Hat
since RH 4.x, so I might spring for Red Hat's workstation
distro. Suse 9, Debian unstable, KnoppMyth (is it
installable?) and Gentoo are also up for consideration.
4) I have read there may be issues with MythTV (or ivtv or
??) and kernel versions 2.6.x. Are these resolved? I would
very much like to use kernel 2.6.x for built in SATA and
better chipset support.
5) Speaking of chipset support, which chipset should I get?
NForce 2 (AMD), 875P (P4) or ATI's (P4)? VIA and SIS just
seem to have too many problems. The new ATI chipset looks
very intersting, but is there support for it in Linux?
NForce 2 has issues also, but they seem to be less of a
problem if using the closed source NForce drivers from
NVidia. Onboard LAN must work.
6) From what I read the PVR-50 cards embed the sound in
the MPEG2 stream, so if I use a 350 for playback I don't
need a soundcard, correct? If I do, onboard would be nice,
if it can reproduce good surround sound quality output. I
realize if I use a video card for playback I will have to
use either a soundcard or onboard solution. PCI slots are
going to be scarce.
7) If I use a PVR-350 for playback I would like to locate
this machine in a different room. What output formats does
it provide? I think I have read that it has S-Video and
composite outputs. What is the max distance for these?
8) Anything else I should consider?
My plan is to get at least a 3GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 2
large SATA disks and a DVD burner. Might even go with SATA
RAID 5, if I can get 4 disks attached. (Do any motherboards
have 4 SATA headers?) I'm not afraid to spend money to get
what I want, but I really don't want to waste money on
something that doesn't work well. Bottom line is it must
work very reliably. I'll be near Reindeer Lake, Manitoba
Canada fishing for lake trout in early June, right in the
middle of the hockey playoffs. No cable TV up there, and no
Internet connection to ssh into the system and deal with
anything that gets borked. That gives me about 2.5 months
to get this thing built and working. Plenty of time, but I
also my be buying a business at any time, and that will
seriously cut down on time for tweaking.
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