[mythtv-users] mythtv hardware plans

Brian Schott bschott at east.isi.edu
Sun Feb 4 02:57:43 UTC 2007

On Feb 3, 2007, at 11:32 AM, jason maxwell wrote:

> I will have a Comcast coax directly to the mythtv box, no set top box
> at all. I would like to have the option of watching and time shifting
> live or recorded HD content, while also recording other possibly HD
> content simultaneously.

You're going to sadly disappointed with the unencrypted offerings  
with Comcast (at least that's the case near Annapolis, MD).   
Essentially, you get over-the-air equivalents (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS)  
and a couple of the shopping/weather channels in HD.  The digital- 
only channels (BBCA, HGTV, BIOGRAPHY, etc.) are also unavailable to  
the direct tuner.

I seriously recommend that you consider getting an IR blaster to  
change channels on the cable box even if that means you only use one  
tuner. Comcast disables the serial port on the set-top boxes, so IR  
blasting is the best way to go.

> - SATA ~400GB+ hard drive
>   I will likely add more storage down the road at some point. I tend
> to be a hoarder :)

If you're going to be hoarding HD content, you'll want more disk.   
Make sure your case and motherboard support a bunch of SATA channels.

This might draw some flames, but instead of hardware RAID,I'd  
recommend you use LVM to create a concatenated partition across  
multiple drives (I believe the $/GB sweet spot is at 320GB right  
now).  You can add drives later and grow the filesystem (JFS and XFS  
support this, not sure if EXT3 does).  I've got 1.6TB (I just tell my  
girlfriend that hard drives are like shoes :-)!

> - NVidia Geforce4 4200Ti AGP graphics
>   If mobo has AGP. If not, I dont mind springing for a new PCIX card,
> but cheaper is always better if this card could work.

You can probably get some discounted AGP motherboards with 939  
socket, but not sure what is available that has SATA and AGP.

> - (2) 256MB DDR2 RAM
>   That should be plenty, right?

I'd go with 2x512MB for an HD system.

> - digital sound
>   I'd like to be able to play back the 5.1 sound from HD recordings if
> possible. Is quality sound possible with onboard audio, or should I
> plan on a decent PCI card? I think i have an old SBLive card somewhere
> I can use. would that work?

Onboard 5.1 will probably be fine unless you want to drive the  
speakers directly.  The reason the big expensive sound cards like XFI  
are so expensive is because of all of the channel muxing going on in  
games. Playing a movie is trivial.

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