[mythtv-users] Group advice sought on setup please.

Christopher Flynn flynnguy at gmail.com
Mon Oct 4 12:56:05 EDT 2004

On Mon,  4 Oct 2004 09:59:44 -0600, mark at onnow.net <mark at onnow.net> wrote:
> I am starting from scratch and purchasing hardware just for this, so I am
> looking for the easiest, most standard, supported hardware.

Good luck!
> Hardware questions:
> 1) TV card.  I have seen allot on the PVR-350.  They are $250 here.  Is this a
> good, fully supported, feature rich card?  Or should I be using a cheaper card?

The PVR-350 is popular because it has both hardware encoding and
decoding. Therefore you can use it to output directly to your TV. This
has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it uses very
little CPU. The disadvantage from what I understand is that watching
something other than an mpeg2 steam isn't the greatest. (Someone who
has one please correct me if I'm wrong) If you decide to get a video
card then I would opt for the PVR-250 which has the encoding. I went
for the PVR-250MCE and It was a bit of a headache to get working but I
went with a 2.6 kernel. I eventually got it working using the cvs
version of ivtv. (ivtv are the modules you will need for the PVR-X50

> 2) How many TV cards?  Record and watch a different channel would be great.  So
> two?  Two 350's?

I've found I don't use the live-tv function much anymore. Instead I
just record a bunch of stuff so whenever I want to watch tv I have
something already recorded. I currently only have one but I plan on
getting a second at some point. I figure 2-3 cards should be nice. (It
all depends on your tv watching habits I guess)

> 3) S-Video.  Should I use the S-Video on the PVR-350?  Or get a graphics card
> with TV-OUT too? I want to be able to watch DVD's on this too if that makes a
> difference.  Can I watch a DVD on this box using the S-Video out on a PRV-350?
> I have read some that say not.

I can't say because I don't have the PVR-350 but my svideo out on my
geforce card works well. I also have a DVI out on my video card for a
possible future HDTV.

> 4) What processor speed do I need?  I want great performance.

I'm running a 1.2Ghz Athlon because it was a computer that I was using
as a web server but decided I'd rather have a mythbox. Eventually I
will upgrade the motherboard/processor and get back my web server but
I'm currently buying a house so funds are slightly limited.

> 5) Motherboard.  Built in sound / video?  Got any experience with a specific
> board that works well?  Recommendations?

I am using a Soundblaster AWE 64 for my sound output because I had
one. I've heard some bad things about onboard sound and some good
things. I would make sure it has S/PDIF output and 6 channel sound
rather than just a generic output. (Not as much of an issue if you are
just using it for TV but nice for watching DVDs)

> Software/OS:
> 1) I am a RedHat fan.  However, I will use what ever works best.  KnoppMyth?
> Again, looking for ease of install/use, but still want full featured.  What
> RedHat version is most supported?  FC2?  I have also read some howto's on SuSE
> 9.1.  That would be an easy install if MythTV was happy there too.

Any version of linux *should* work. A lot of people use knopmyth,
FC1/2, gentoo or Debian. I myself use Debian. If you are used to FC,
then go with that. There is a nice tutorial over at:
http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/ which goes over the install on FC.

> Once I am done, I am going to write up a how to and make sure that it is
> idiot-proof and includes an easy working method including hardware etc......
> This product is looking great so I would like to promote it's use with a how-to.

Another source of good information is http://www.mythtv.info/ (mythtv
wiki) Whenever you get your tutorial done, you may want to post it
over there.

One other point: Make sure you get the biggest hard drive you can
afford. The Seagate 200GB is a popular one because it is quiet. (If
you plan on putting this in the livingroom next to your TV, the
quieter the better.) There is also a lot of info in these threads,
http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/ is a good searchable

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

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