[mythtv-users] Some questions from beginner user of MythTV!

Ivan Kowalenko ivan.kowalenko at gmail.com
Mon Nov 27 16:32:10 UTC 2006

Hash: SHA1

On Nov 27, 2006, at 11.06, Mike Dent wrote:

> Hi,
> I attempted to setup a couple of MythTV boxes some time ago but ran  
> in to some
> problems, mainly lack of time!
> Anyway I'm back again after a while away! I'm still looking at a
> system to replace
> my UK Tivo. I considered Windows Media centre but really would prefer
> not to use that if I can help it!
> I have some questions/concerns and would really appreciate any input
> on the following please......
> I want a system which is pretty reliable and easy for the wife to
> use!? Yes 'wife acceptance' is probably a major item!

I'm still using version 0.19-fixes, and the part of my family that  
could stand to learn to work a new remote had no problem with this.  
Make sure you create some sort of script to restart MythFrontend when  
it crashes, and no problem.

> Both our kids have version 1 Xboxes in their rooms, so the ability for
> them to receive content would be good.? (these Xbox have mod chips
> installed).

I actually happen to have a softmodded XBox that I was using for a  
front-end for the longest time. There are pre-made XBox disk images  
somewhere out there on the internet, they measure about 1 GB in size  
for the primary partition, and 256 MB for the Swap drive. Finding a  
gig and a quarter shouldn't be too hard. The biggest problem with the  
XBox front-end is that the limited RAM makes it a little slow,  
transitioning from menu to menu to playback. However, if your kids  
are patient enough to sit through a half second delay, they should be  
patient enough to work the menus.

My only concern is that you're probably likely to use 0.20 (is there  
newer? Like I say, I've been out of the loop for some time), which  
utilizes OpenGL painters, something the XBox can't take advantage of.  
There's still options for non-OpenGL painters, but I'm not sure how  
they work, or what the performance hit will be.

> My idea was to have a frontend box in the lounge, a quiet PC is
> obviously a must for this

The XBox is actually quite quiet if you can get its fan down to about  
80% power. That'll keep the temperature stable, and the machine very  

> and we have UK Sky (not Plus) here too, so I'd like to be able to  
> record from that and control its channel changing from Myth?

Last I checked (admittedly, that was a while ago), we have Sky  
modules and such, but assuming you need your Sky box, you're going to  
have to make sure you have an IR blaster. Some Hauppauge PVR cards  
come with them, and even if you don't get one, they're quite cheap.

> I have a Nemiah 1.0Ghz - EPIA 5000 tiny PC, is this CPU man enough  
> for a front end with a WinTV PVR-250 card which I have?

My machine is a Celeron 600 MHz machine with a PVR-150. This machine  
can play back, record, and delinterlace simultaneously. Yours should  
be just fine.

> A larger more beefy PC at the backend with big disks and possibly  
> two digital TV (freeview) inputs would be installed in the loft.

I'm assuming we're talking DVB-T or DVB-S here? There's plenty of  
support for DVB-T, not sure about S though.

> Will the USB types work well?

I've heard that some receivers work well, but you'll have to do some  
research to find out which.

> This box would do some other stuff, possibly run my security  
> cameras which have their own PC at the moment in the loft running  
> Zoneminder, an approximate spec of PC required for this would be  
> welcome? (currently a 1.4Ghz P4 with 512mb for zoneminder)

More RAM, maybe more CPU. It depends on how much CPU ZoneMinder eats.  
That is, assuming you still plan to use ZoneMinder. No less than 256  
MB of RAM for Myth alone, but with ZoneMinder, maybe a Gig to be  
safe. Since this is a multi-purpose box, a Dual-Core CPU would  
actually be quite beneficial to you in this case, especially  
considering the fact that commercial flagging takes quite a while on  
a bogged down system.

> I'm also not sure how the backend is controlled from the frontend  
> or more specifically the user interaction of programming and  
> viewing content? Does the user need to have knowledge of the setup  
> of the system or is this mainly seamless?

The front-end reads the data from the back-end's database and  
interprets it, depending on its use (Electronic Program Guide,  
recording lists, program searches, etc.). That's all done on the  
front-end. No knowledge of the system or its architecture is required  
to understand how to make the system function. The Back-end just  
records and manages data, the front-end handles all user interaction  
and playback.

> Many thanks!

No problem.

> Mike
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