[mythtv-users] New to Myth, comments/questions (Mac FE, distributed setup w/ servers and FE machines)

Seth Hettich sjh at zorak.net
Thu Jan 4 21:55:20 UTC 2007

Hi all,

I'm working on building out a new media system for my house, based on
a big PC server out in the garage and clients in the house.  For the
server I'm using a PC running ubuntu w/ a pc3000 HD tuner card and
(planned) 2 PVR-150's for my satellite boxes.  (this is all to replace
my series 1 tivo).  In the "final" setup  I plan to get myself a nice
1080p LCD to replace my current NTSC TV.

So, first, the good:  The install went very very smoothly.  Definitely
better then I see for other Linux packages of comparable complexity
(I've been managing UNIX systems for ~10 years now, and have seen some
pretty poorly written software :)

I got up and running with the pc300, a mac mini intel (1.5Ghz) and my
NTSC TV very quickly and painlessly.

But, I have noticed a few things...

The auto-zooming does not seem to work right.  When I watch a 4:3
video (again, displayed via the mini on a 4:3 NTSC TV) I get a
significant black border on all 4 sides of the video (this is not
counting the bit of border  I get from the raw mac output due to
overscan stuff).  When I rotate through the different modes (ie 4:3,
16:9, streach, fill, etc) nothing changes.  The only thing that works
is manual zoom mode, but that I have to do for each show, and it's
slightly different depending on the exact recording.

Also, the video quality seems to be a fair bit worse then the tivo.
Right now I'm not doing an apples to apples comparison (since the Tivo
source is a satellite box and the myth input is the pc3000).  But is
that expected?  What kind of video quality should I expect with a mac
mini doing output via s-video?  Will output via DVI be much better
(for NTSC video)?

The mini seems to struggle to deal with playing HD content, I imagine
this is just the 1.5Ghz cpu being under powered, does anyone else have
any hints on how much cpu you need to decode an HD stream?

When I start to watch a show (ie select it from the recorded shows) I
get about 10-15 sec of a black screen before the playback starts.  Is
that normal?

In general, does my plan (big server w/ 3 tuners, mac minis as FE
machines, etc) seem like a realistic plan to get a nice easy to use
home AV system?


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