[mythtv-users] New install - Backend, multiple frontends - reccomendations

Ivan Kowalenko ivan.kowalenko at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 15:37:37 UTC 2006

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On Aug 25, 2006, at 10.12, Jim Moseby wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm new to the group, and to MythTV.  I am excited about the  
> possibilities,
> but have some basic questions.
> I am in the process of building a house, and I am almost at the  
> point where
> I am installing media and network systems.  My plan is to install a  
> single
> backend server with, say, 6 TV cards in it, and put little diskless/ 
> fanless
> frontend boxes at each TV location (4 bedrooms, Family room,  
> kitchen, and
> office).

Wow. That sounds like quite a load for one box. Can you imagine  
commercial flagging several recordings simultaneously? And I'm not  
sure how lucky you're going to be, finding a box with six PCI slots.  
That is, unless, you're going SD, in which case you might not be so  
bad off with three PVR-500s (but that's still quite a load)

> Having never done this, or even seen MythTV in action, I have a TON of
> questions.  I have read the documentation, and still several  
> questions have
> arisen.

My advice: start small. Try a single box set-up, then move on to  
adding front-ends.

> First, hardware for the backend.  My plan is to use cards that do  
> hardware
> encoding, because the docs say that will relieve the CPU from a large
> portion of the work.  I have access to a Compaq quad zeon 1Ghz  
> server with a
> terabyte of SCSI RAID storage in pluggable drives that I hope to  
> use.  I
> would like this to serve as a single backend system, running the  
> database,
> storage and HDTV cards.  Sufficient?  Would you split out the  
> backend duties
> to multiple servers? (Recommendations as to which HDTV cards are  
> most stable
> and supported would be great.)

I'd farm out with multiple back-ends. I use a single Celeron 600 with  
a single SD capture, and even then, sometimes I'll have a show before  
it's been commflag'd. Plus there's the sheer number PCI slots you're  
going to need. A Quad 1 GHz Xeon might do a good job, though. I don't  
have enough experience to speak on that as far as processing power goes.

> I'm thinking the hardware for frontend systems will be based around  
> the tiny
> VIA EPIA motherboard.  With those, I can build little netboot  
> systems with
> no moving parts.  There will be 7 of those total.  Sufficient?

I've heard good things about those, but it depends on which mobo you  
go with, to make sure you get enough oomph to do HD. Plus, you'll  
have to set up the UniChrome Pro stuff to get XvMC to work.

> The network to support it all will be Gigabit at the backend, and  
> 100M to
> the frontends, switched with a Dell PowerConnect 2124 switch.  I  
> could find
> no documentation about the network requirements for a backend/frontend
> setup.  Will this be sufficient?

I tried streaming SD over a 10M line. It wasn't pleasant. If you can  
go 10G for the back-end, I'd (personally) feel a bit safer. But, then  
again, I've never dealt with HD.

> My hope is that we can have all 7 stations either watching live TV,  
> playing
> MAME games, listening to music or whatever simultaneously with no
> degradation of performance or quality.  Any input from the group  
> towards
> this end will be much appreciated.

Good luck with this.

> I do plan to document this entire project and publish the results.
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