[mythtv-users] Equipment setup q's from a noob.

Jeff Simpson llcooljeff at gmail.com
Tue Mar 28 19:49:34 UTC 2006

On 3/28/06, j.mcdowell at mcdowelltribe.com <j.mcdowell at mcdowelltribe.com>
>   I have some needs that MythTV may or may not be capable of, and if it
> is I am sure it will push MythTV to it's breaking point and back again.
>   So I will post what it is that I want to do, and hopefully someone
> can tell me yes, no or maybe so or if it's possible but that I will
> need to develop more.
>   I have 7 Security camera around and in my house, mainly to watch my
> babies whom are still very young. At the same time they are for
> security reasons as well.
>   I have 4 rooms that I want MythTV to run on in each room, and have
> total control over the programming viewed.
>   That programming I want controlled via a smart access card, that can
> be set for each person that has one.  No card means no TV, basically my
> kids are wasting there minds away on garbage television.  I want to be
> able to Record one program while watching another from 3 different
> locations in the house all at the same time. I also want to be able to
> veiw from and playback from 3 more locations in the house.  I also want
> all my security camera's to be recorded 24/7 leaving 1 recording
> buffered 24 hour recording at all times.

At the moment, there is no smart card access setup for myth, so you might
need to go another route, perhaps a password or user-account-based system.

7 different security cameras all recording at once, plus one live TV and one
recording for 3 locations means a total of 13 tuner inputs. To do this, you
will need 7 PVR-500 cards, and to be honest, I'm not sure that they will
physically fit in one box, let alone have the bandwidth to be recording from
all of them simultaneously.

You will more likely need more than one backend server, just to hold the
number of drives and cards you will need to support your needs. 1 hour of
recording is ~2.2 gigs, so multiply that by the 24 hours you want buffered
and the 7 cameras you want monitored and you'll get nearly 400 gigs just for
the security camera loops. Doable, but figure you'll want a lot more space
if you intend on watching TV.

  I have sensors installed on the side of my house where there is a
> camera on each side.  If someone is watching TV with a smart card that
> is set to, I want a PIP to show up on their screen if someone walks on
> the side of my house.  I want to be able to PIP any security camera at
> any time. 1 or all of them, or just bring one to full screen at any
> time.

Picture-in-Picture should work for the security cameras the same as TV
inputs. Not sure if there is any support for an all-at-once mode.

  I want to be able to place a blank dvd into my drive and record
> anything that was dropped to my mythTV box.

That's a working feature. It's not as simple as just putting the blank dvd
in and hitting record, but it's not a very involved process. It's fairly
easy to make up a DVD and even easier if you just want to copy the MPEG2
recordings to the disc as data, since most DVD players can play raw MPEG2.

I would also like to be
> able to log in VIA the web and view any of my feeds.

This one will be tough - I don't know about your internet connection, but
mine can't handle a 2.2Gig/hour stream. You need at least 54mbps wireless or
100mb wired ethernet to view live. Transcoded you might be able to stream
over a lower connection, but it wouldn't be a live feed.

  The real kicker, I want to be able to do all of this from ONE that's
> right ONE dual or quad CPU box.

It's not a CPU limit, it's a physical space and PCI slot limit (for the
backend). For frontends, you will want to have a separate PC for each. It is
POSSIBLE to combine frontends into the same box, but it gets complicated
when you want to have any kind of interface (IR Remote, keyboard, etc). You
can maybe put 2 or 3 frontends into the same box, but it's difficult.

  Is this possible?  Any help / equipment list would be very helpful,
> and if 2 boxes are needed that is ok too as long as they can all
> interact the way I want them to and they can reside in the basement in
> a "secured" room.

Master/Slave backends work together nicely, and you should have no problem
having multiple backends. The Frontends however, you will want to have close
to the viewing TVs. Video signal degrades quite a bit over long runs, so
it's best to have the frontend right next to the TV it is connected to, and
only have ethernet run back to the backend.

As far as required equipment, you are looking at a LOT of equipment. At
least two backend servers, a total of 7 dual-tuner cards (PVR-500), at least
a terabyte of disc space. You wanted to record/watch from 3 and watch from 3
more, so you need a total of 6 frontend systems. This means you'll want 6
PCs with TV-Out, 6 TVs, and 6 IR Remote setups (or wireless keyboard). You
can possibly combine them to 3 PCs, each with 2 video cards or even 2 PCs
each with 3 video cards, but the setup gets a lot more complicated.

As far as total cost goes, estimating about $150 each for the PVR-500, $1500
or so for the two backend servers, and $600 each for the frontends, you are
looking at a SERIOUS investment here. (Around $6k)

As far as the purpose goes, is this entire system just to prevent your kids
from watching TV? It seems that it would be much better to just tell them
not to watch TV and have some kind of punishment if they do. I think I would
sooner physically lock the coaxial cable input than work up a complicated
computerized television system.

 - Jeff
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