[mythtv-users] Cheap Possible Frontend - performance problem

Ben Dash ben_dash at yahoo.com
Fri May 12 08:32:26 EDT 2006

--- Clyde Stubbs <clyde at htsoft.com> wrote:
> Ok, inspired by these messages, I bought a Compaq
> Deskpro EN from eBay,
> paid the expected $80 (but Aussie $, so even
> better). I have installed
> Mythdora on it (and upgraded my backend to .19) and
> it's all working, but
> playback is a little jerky. CPU usage is running at
> about 72%, so I suspect
> that it's dropping frames.

I got my Wife a Compaq Deskpro EN, 1Ghz with 512MB
RAM, a few months (maybe a year) ago and it's working
great.  I use Gentoo on all my boxes though so what
little power the machine has is being utilised.  Not
related to Myth, my only issue with it is that when I
try to play the Ruby On Rails blog demo Quicktime
mPlayer hangs because Xorg doesn't have enough
resources for the large size video;  something to do
with the overlay.

The point is that the hardware is capable of smooth
video;  you've got a software issue.

I thought I'd mention my other experiences as we're
talking about cheap frontends...

I've been using xBoxes as frontends.  They seemed
great.  Note the past tense and the plural there ;-)

So far I've had 2 xBoxes die, the exact same way, each
only living for about 3 - 4 months.

My wife gave me an ultimatum:

"Next time it breaks we're getting a Tivo"

So, I got myself a Dell Dude.  Specifically an
Optiplex GX240, 1.7Ghz 512MB 40GB, and a GrandTec
Ultimate XP VGA to TV converter for $250 and $80
respectively.  The only difference as far as features
go is that the xBox had a remote control, however, I'm
just going to get on of those RS232 IR receivers for
$12 and set LIRC up as per the xBox and keep using my
existing universal remote.

The VGA to TV converter is great.  I'm using composite
now but it also has s-video AND component if I ever
get HD and can do up to 1600x1200 resolution although
I'm only going to use 640x480 for Myth.  The TV
picture is better than the xBox because the converter
has overscan, image size, position, and colour
adjustment available through an OSD and a remote
control.  I was never able to get the xBox picture to
not be keystoned but I solved that with this converter
simply by overscanning a little bit.

I decided that the xBox was always going to be like
craming a square peg through a round hole.  Not only
was it not desigend for running Linux but it was
specifically designed not to run Linux.  I was able to
cram that square peg through the round hole but at the
end of the day, the peg only seemed to last 4 months
before becomming a brick ;-) and a modded xBox with
128MB RAM costs about the same as the Dell anyway.

I'll probably get another xBox of eBay one day.  As
much as I hate to admit it I actually started liking
playing Halo and Forza with my dual booting setup.

The Dell is emerging Gentoo now and my backend is busy
upgrading itself from 18.1 to 19, but I don't expect
there to be any big issues with either of them.


|    o                                              |
| _ /<_                                             |
|(_)>(_)                                            |
|Ben Dash                                           |
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