[mythtv-users] Cheap Possible Frontend

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Mon May 8 23:39:52 EDT 2006

On May 8, 2006, at 9:24 PM, dick at photoclerk.com wrote:

>> On May 8, 2006, at 2:38 PM, dick at photoclerk.com wrote:
>>> Yeah, HD won't work, but 480i works great.  I've got three front-
>>> ends in
>>> my house at the moment.  The one in the living room is hooked up to
>>> my HD
>>> TV, so the resolution is 1280x1024, but I'm only playing 480i signal
>>> through it.  The visualizations for mythmusic are dreadful at
>>> 1280x1024,
>>> but it doesn't bother me much...
>>> Last time I bought these I got a lot of 10 through ebay for $800.
>>> They
>>> were actually the 1GHz boxes, same case.  I kept a couple and  
>>> sold the
>>> rest to friends/family trying to build myth boxes.  They make a  
>>> great
>>> frontend/backend for single-tuner installs.
>> But I'm still wondering if you can get decent MPEG-4 playback. That
>> requires more CPU horsepower than MPEG-2. Unless it can do MPEG-4
>> than I'll stick with my MediaMVP.
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> Sorry I didn't answer directly.  I'm no expert on what's MPEG-2 vs.  
> -4, so
> please excuse me if I say something completely wrong.
> I believe my backend records natively in MPEG-2 (I use two Hauppauge
> 250's), and then for "Low Quality", converts to MPEG-4.  I've never  
> had
> any problem playing anything back, so I think it works for both.   
> In fact,
> I think the NVidia card I have in there accelerates the MPEG  
> playback(?).
> The only thing I've had trouble playing back was some 1080p footage I
> downloaded as a test.  This played back about 1 frame per minute.

1 frame per minute huh, not bad, for a slide show perhaps :-)

It's just that MPEG-4 takes more CPU to decode than MPEG-2 and I  
didn't have a good handle on how much more, everything I tried it on  
had way more than enough and thus proved nothing.

It looks like an 800 Mhz. CPU should be able to handle MPEG-4  
however. I should have realized that if my Zaurus can handle it I  
have nothing to worry about.

You can get varying amounts of "help" from nVidia cards, but I think  
you can get more help with MPEG-2 than with MPEG-4, or perhaps MPEG-4  
just needs more help.

Since the machine I was looking at has a SiS video chipset of unknown  
characteristics I figured that if the CPU can handle the decode  
without any special help I should be OK, and any assistance from the  
video chip is just gravy. The 5200 is a known quantity, I know  
nothing about the SiS.

Given that the machine is cheap I'll give it a go, though I am not  
going to be able to beat the $115 deal, but given that I'm using old  
junk RAM and drives I will come very close.

This is what makes it a "hobby" I guess.

Thanks again.

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