[mythtv-users] HTPC Configuration for first MythTV box

Stephen Tait tait at digitallaw.co.uk
Thu Sep 9 15:55:27 EDT 2004

At 19:28 09/09/2004, you wrote:
>I'm new to mythTV and am trying to assemble a cheap
>functional box to replace my old DVD player. (Cheap is
>the opertive word!) I started out looking for
>something to work with my TV and AV system, but now
>have gotten greedy and want PVR capability also!
>Your response the posting seemed the most resonable
>that I have seen so far, so I thought I'd ask your
>opinion about the kind of system to build.
>1. You suggest a backend in the closet and a front end
>under the TV. That is what I would like to do, to keep
>the living room pretty! How do you achieve that? Do
>you run a long cable from the closet to the TV
>carrying the video signal? How does the remote work in
>that case? Wouldnt you have to point it to the closet

Like a great deal of UNIX software, MythTV is pretty much network 
transparent. The general concept is...

Your hard drives and your TV cards all sit in the box in the cupboard, 
which runs the mythtv backend server and database
Your purdy lil' box under the TV runs the mythfrontend software, along with 
the remote control, DVD drive and all the rest of it
When you ask your frontend to display TV, it sends a message to the backend 
server over your network/ethernet
The backend then pipes the TV stream down the network, which your frontend 
box decodes and displays
When you want to record something, the backend kicks in and saves it all to 
the local hard drives, from which you can call it up and watch it on your 
frontend later

It's also possible to have multiple backends linked together, giving you 
essentially unlimited numbers of TV cards and hard drive space, etc etc

>2. If I dont use the PVR-350's TV out, but a PVR-250
>instead, like you suggest; how would I get the video
>signal out of the box? Through another vedio card?
>That would add to my cost, so I was wondering if I
>could work with just the more expensive 350, and not
>have to get a fancy video card with a TV out.

Use an nVidia card's TV-Out. The Myth list and docs and nVidia's website 
are full of helpful tips on how to get TV-Out working correctly. nVidia's 
drivers are generally highly solid and easy to install/use, ATI's less so. 
Although lots of people report very good performance from their Radeon 
9200's using the open source drivers. If your TV is progressive-scan 
capable and has a VGA input, you're laughing.

Although the TV out from the PVR-350 is of superb quality, it isn't really 
designed as a video card, in that it can't really handle anything other 
than MPEG2 TV output perfectly (think it handles DVD's fine though). Hence 
if you want to use your mythbox to watch XviD (or whatever) videos or to 
play games or to watch nice trippy-assed visualisations in mythmusic, 
you'll find the 350's performance rather lacking in comparison to even a 
cheap nVidia with accelerated driver. The 350 is also slightly harder to 
install compared with the 250, as well as harder to find. If you do go the 
gfx card route, make sure it supports Xv extensions. (all of nVidia's are 
from the TNT2 up if you use their drivers).

>3. With a DVD drive, will I get the sound and video
>quality of any off the shelf progressive scan DVD
>player? 5.1 sound and a good image? Or will there be
>any compromises?

Personally, I find the DVD player output from Xine to be of exceptional 
quality, but then I display on a 19" monitor, so it's difficult to be 
objective. As before, if your TV accepts VGA input, quality will be almost 
as good as you get from a monitor. Xine also gives you the option of 
applying alot of postprocessing filters which can enhance the quality 
further. I don't have much experience with DVD players; I've used my 
computer for all my multimedia needs since I started using them. Before 
that I didn't really have any multimedia.
As far as sound goes, if you get yourself a decent 5.1 capable soundcard 
(either an M-Audio or an Audigy I expect, or any SPDIF capable soundcard 
supported in Linux which you can passthrough to your amp) then sound 
quality will be superb. I'm currently only using Myth in 2.1 via some 
Creative speakers on a cheap as chips Audigy card, and it sounds excellent, 
although I'm no audiophile.

>Thanks in advance.


More information about the mythtv-users mailing list