[mythtv-users] Small Front End?

Rich West Rich.West at wesmo.com
Tue Nov 21 17:44:43 UTC 2006

I'm trying to come up with a "standard" for my in-house front-end
systems as I build things out.  I currently have a FE/BE setup mainly as
a proof-of-concep and, with great surprise, it passed the 'wife' test. :)

So.. I figure, for one, that I can take my nice FE/BE setup and move it
to the computer rack in the nice & cool closet in the basement.  Then, I
o Built three front-ends.
o Buy two additional capture cards and put them in the BE.
o Move the Set-Top-Boxes (STB's) in to the computer closet and connect
them to the respective cards on the BE.

However, for the front end setup, I am trying to find something:
o Small
o relatively quiet & cool (I say "relatively" because it will be mostly
hidden away)
o 64-bit based (basically, something that will last and not require
constant hardware upgrades!).
o Running Linux (FC5 / FC6)
o Video.. something that can supply either s-video out, VGA, or
component video out.
o Something that I can use for all three of our TV's (older 27-inch
s-video CRT, new LCD TV with oodles of inputs, and a 8yr old rear
projection with composite, component, and s-video inputs)
o Ability to do either analog stereo audio (for the CRT and LCD setups
since neither are set up for surround sound) or digital audio (for the
projection, which is the main home theater with surround)
o Something that can have an IR receiver (of some sort) on it (supported
by Linux)

I've thought about miniITX, but, man, the price begins to skyrocket
quickly just for a base system and case.

My current BE/FE is a "franken-pc".. basically it is cobbled together
from the spare parts I had around, plus the purchase of a capture card
and a small (microfly) case.

I came across the Mac Mini (let's say, a used one off of ebay) which can
be gotten rather cheaply.  They are *small*, *quiet*, and basically fit
the bill, but I don't know how it will fly. :)  I've read that the mini
can do DVI, s-video, or composite, but there are difficulties doing
component.  Using
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Transit-main.html, surround would
be done via optical audio, so that's do-able..

I also don't know how well this setup would work under Linux with Myth
solely as a front-end.  I could probably swing the two systems (the CRT
and LCD setup) since they are the most simplistic, but the projection
with component would pose the biggest problem...

Thoughts?  Ideas?


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