[mythtv-users] Newbie - General question

Nick knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Wed Sep 27 04:03:19 UTC 2006

On 26/09/06, Geoffrey Clements <geoff at electron.me.uk> wrote:
> Hello,

> I am trying to replace my current television set-up which is:
>  - a wide screen CRT television
>  - a terrestrial digital decoder set-top box (UK)
>  - a hard-drive DVD recorder (region free)
> I'd like to build a quiet, low power box controlled by an infra-red controller
> and connected to a wide-screen display (will a standard LCD monitor do for
> this?) Preferably this should operated with ease by my SO!
> I want to receive terrestrial digital signals (I'm not bothered about
> analogue).  I'd like to watch live tv and record at the same time and I'd
> like to set up timed recordings.
> Is this even possible (it seems to be)?  Any suggestions / pitfalls are
> welcome.

Perfectly possible. To record digital terrestrial (DVB-T), you'll need
one/several PCI or USB DVB-T card(s). Sticking to digital makes setup
of MythTV quite a bit quicker (you can scan for DVB channels from
within setup) than throwing analogue into the mix, although this too
is perfectly possible. I run a multi-system setup with 4 DVB-T cards,
2 PVR-x50 cards, and 3 frontends, recording DVB-T and ntl digital. On
my slave backend/frontend machine I actually use a 19" Acer widescreen
monitor, which performs very well and simplifies setup.

Quiet and low-power tends to mean (in my experience) more expensive
and having less upgrade potential, but the great thing about MythTV's
client/server design is you can always add another backend machine
(that does the recording/stores media etc) in the future. You can also
configure you machine to shutdown when not required and wakeup (if the
machine supports this) for scheduled recordings, which can help to
save additional power.

Note you can also separate the frontend machine (watching your
TV/media/interfacing with the backend machine) from the backend
(recording/scheduling) - many people will build a bigger, noisier
backend machine and hide it somewhere else, and have a small, quiet
frontend machine in the lounge or wherever you watch your media.

For the UK (no HDTV yet) you do not need a terrifically fast machine
(I've used a Celeron 1.3GHz as a combined backend/frontend with no
problems) - although if you want to routinely convert your recordings
to other formats, or use CPU intensive music visualisations, it
certainly helps. You can use almost any remote control you want, as
long as you have a IR receiver that supports it (I use a Sky+
Navigator with concealed keyboard, and my wife has no problems at all
using MythTV).

MythTV has very advanced scheduling capabilities which leave other
solutions in the shade - whether you want to record a single program
or want to record something whenever it's on (any channel), you are
well catered for.

Some initial questions to think about include:

i) how much TV you realistically want to be able to record and have
available at a time
ii) how many tuners you want (watching LiveTV and recording another
channel uses 2 tuners obviously, but note if you are watching LiveTV,
it is also being recorded at the same time and does not have to be
deleted when you stop watching.)
iii) whether the box will be a dedicated MythTV machine or a multipurpose box.
iv) if you want to store other media on the box, e.g. ripped
DVDs/music/photos - make sure you factor in enough disk space.


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