[mythtv-users] Building a new MythTV box for the living room

Brett Kosinski fancypantalons at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 20:26:16 UTC 2007

> Reqs:
> - min 100 Mbit Ethernet card (built in)
> - Dual monitors...
>   + 32" CRT TV (scart/s-video)
>   + 7" LCD Monitor (VGA)
> - Sound...
>   + SPDIF to Logitech 5.1 system
>   + RCA to CRT TV
> - Playing...
>   + DVDs
>   + Music (MP3 from server)
>   + Movies (AVI/ISO/.. from server)
> - Recordings (on the server via Samba/NFS)
> I have not decided if I want the MythTV backend on the server (available)
> or the backend on the client.
> * I have looked at VIA EPIA MII12000, would that be a good choice or do
> you recommend other (what do you have)?

I have an EPIA EN10000EG, and it works just fine as a Myth frontend, playing
back DVDs and recorded video with XvMC, as well as downloaded content in
MPEG4 and other formats.  Granted, I've never run both VGA and svideo out at
the same time.

*However*, I would highly recommend you double check that the video chipset
on that board is compatible with the OpenChrome drivers (I had a heck of a
time getting my board up and running).  I also have no idea about support
for SPDIF (my system is far too primitive for that :).  Again, the web can
probably help you out, there.

* Would that be able to run both frontend/backend?

If possible, I'd split them.  Depending on how you do things, you probably
want your frontend to be small and quiet.  Meanwhile, your backend should be
at list marginally expandable, fair bit of storage, one or more capture
cards, etc.  These two requirements are typically at odds, so your best
experience will be had with a separate backend server, IMHO.

In addition, the I/O load on the backend server can be... formidable,
particularly during guide data updates.  And the EPIA boards aren't what I
would call top performers (my board supports UDMA-2, tops), so putting that
load on a separate machine is generally a good idea.

* Is it compatible with Kubuntu/MythTV?
> * Would you recommend CompactFlash or harddrive if a frontend only box?

No idea about Kubuntu.  I used Fedora on my machines (though I wish I
hadn't... upgrading Fedora releases can be... a pain), and both the BE and
FE worked well, though the OpenChrome video drivers, which I had to build
manually, took quite a bit of tweaking to get working well.

As for CF or HD, that's a matter of taste.  If you split the FE/BE, then CF
is a very good option... quiet, low power requirements, etc.  If you build a
combined system, you may find the performance of CF isn't sufficient, not to
mention limited in storage capacity.

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