[mythtv-users] Laptop Diskless Front End

Steve MythTV at celeris-software.com
Tue Apr 17 23:45:59 UTC 2007

On 4/17/07, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:
> On Apr 17, 2007, at 10:32 AM, Steve wrote:
> >
> > Thanks for the feedback Peter and Steff and Brian, I like the idea of
> > trying  KnoppMyth to start with.
> >
> > CPU power was also my concern, the laptop that I would like to use to
> > start is an old Dell Inspiron 7500, 600MHz P3 with a whopping 192Mb
> > RAM!
> Dell stopped putting hardware MPEG-2 decoders into their Inspirons
> about the time the CPUs hit 500/600 Mhz., at that point the processor
> could handle DVD playback. I wouldn't even think about HD though, and
> it is unlikely that you have any sort of video chipset that could do
> XvMC, so things are going to be a bit marginal.

Yep, HD is out of the question, seems like the key point will be
getting the SVideo TV out to work on the GFX card.

> >
> > I was hoping to use wireless for connectivity but is this is
> > problematic as you suggest Brian I will skip this to start and hard
> > wire the network. (Exactly the kind of tip I was looking for thanks!)
> Wireless can be done, especially for SD. One problem might be that
> some of the Linux drivers for older PCMCIA wireless adapters take up
> significant CPU, which you really do not have to spare.
> 802.11b is plenty fast enough for a single SD stream, given good
> signal level. I was mainly concerned that you were going to try and
> send HD to both laptops at the same time over a wireless link, in
> which case you would definitely be disappointed.

I think Ill keep things simple and start with hardwiring it, and once
(if) its a success then move on the challenge of wireless. I'll also
then be able to compare the difference in performance.

> >
> > Both laptops have had their HD's fail and I have never replaced then,
> > I may have a semi-functional 3.5" HD lying around somewhere I can use
> > if necessary although I like the idea of not using one as if its sure
> > to be prone to failure not being new..
> You can certainly boot from a CD.
> >
> > Thanks for the suggestion of the Hauppauge Media MVP, are you
> > suggesting that this be used as a MythTV Front end or just to be used
> > 'As is' ?
> There is firmware you can blow into the MVP that makes it a decent
> little SD frontend. Using it "as-is" would require a (shudder)
> Windows server I think.

I'd rather eat my eyeballs.

> >
> > I Plan to eventually invest in a HD plasma display and to possibly
> > build my own HTPV, thus I want to experiment with MythTV and get a
> > feel for what it can do with my current hardware (i.e. old laptops ->
> > non HD TV) before investing in any new Hardware and deciding on how to
> > architect my home system(s).
> >
> > Also putting otherwise useless laptops to some use would make me a
> > happy chappy!
> I have an Inspiron that sounds identical to yours , save I put 256MB
> of RAM into it. I've been trying to figure out what to do with it for
> years, as it is a really well-made unit with a beautiful display. You
> may be able to just barely get it to play MPEG2 files, but it's
> pretty marginal. The problem is that just the cost of a RAM upgrade
> would buy an MVP.

Yep, this is the main reason I want to put mine to use.  It has been
through a major car wreck, and traveled about 8000 miles around the
world with me, and the only probs are 2 dead keys on the keyboard and
the HD which only died once I pulled it and used it as a portable.  I
agree the display is very nice, mine has the xtra large 15" display
which is another reason for me wanting to put it to use.

If you cant find a use for yours can I have your RAM ;)

Thanks for your great advice Brian


> But as I said, do you want a frontend or a hobby?

Def a Hobby / learning exercise...
> Brian Wood
> beww at beww.org
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