[mythtv-users] Where to start?

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Tue Jan 9 02:34:05 UTC 2007

On Jan 8, 2007, at 7:10 PM, Damian Surr wrote:

> Hello all,
> I'm new to MythTV and based in the UK. I've been reading around it for
> the last couple of weeks, but have a lot of questions. I'll list my
> hardware first, then what I'm trying to achieve.
> I have my old PC:
> AMD Athlon 120MHz processor

120Mhz ??? Do you perhaps mean 1200 or is that machine *really* old?  
Since you say it has DIMMs I'm assuming you mean 1200Mhz.

> 512 DIMM memory
> KT7-Raid motherboard
> USB2 additional ports card
> ATI All in Wonder 128 Pro graphics card (I read somewhere that this
> can't be used with Myth. Not sure if that just meant as a tuner, or as
> neither a tuner or TV out)
> Here's what I would like to achieve if possible:
> -Media Centre (obviously)
> -Freeview (UK) TV channels - I've not currently got Freeview, just the
> normal 5 channels.
> -Would like to be able to plan and record at the same time, but one  
> at a
> time would be fine for now if it's relatively painless to add an extra
> tuner down the line.
> -I want to use this with a Projector (don't have one yet .. not sure
> what to get yet. Thought I'd wait until the box was doing what I  
> wanted
> first)
> -I don't think I need HD, as the projector will just be in our front
> room. Only 8-10 feet away.
> -I would like the entire system to be run in the one box and probably
> based around Ubuntu (KnoppMyth doesn't like my hard drive being
> connected to the raid port on my motherboard)
> -I'd like this PC to be the family PC, so ideally email and web  
> browsing
> should be pleasant to use. I guess this would just mean using Ubuntu
> with the projector? Should I/Could I use a higher resolution for email
> etc on the big screen. I've seen friends projectors (running window)
> have very small type.
> Ok, that should do for my list of demand :-)
> Now for the questions.
> I'm really quite lost when it comes to TV tuners, and the output.
> I've been reading lots saying that the Hauppauge PVR 150, 350, 500  
> cards
> are great. But then I read (here
> http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/pages/products/compare_products.html) that
> they are analogue. Does that mean those cards are no good if I want
> freeview and are only good for the 5 main channels? Doesn't sound too
> great, but maybe they make more sense for the American system?

The PVR cards will not help you with the reception any digital TV in  
the UK. You could perhaps use the MPEG decoder output of a PVR-350  
but that would be a waste of money as the nVidia cards are much  
cheaper, and the 350s output is no longer being actively developed  
and won't do the OpenGL stuff or HD. The tuners would be useless but  
the encoders could be used with composite SD material if you had some  
sort of STB that output that sort of signal.

> Also, the output.
> Can my ATI All in Wonder Pro do the output? What kind of output do I
> need? Is it different if I use a projector? Different if I'd like  
> higher
> res graphics when emailing etc using the projector?

The nVidia 5200s are pretty much the baseline for Myth systems. You  
don't mention if you have an AGP slot - if you don't you'll have to  
try and get a PCI card, but if you *really* have a 120Mhz. system you  
may need an ISA or VESA video card.

Some folks are using ATI cards but they seem to have a lot of trouble  
with them. I don't think you can use XvMC with them, which you may  
well need on a slow machine.

The output required depends on your monitor/projector. VGA or DVI  
work, S-Video and composite will only work at SD resolutions. If your  
display device needs a SCART cable/connector you will have to get  
some sort of adapter, you'll have to talk to the EU resident folks  
about that, I live in the land of the stupid president.
> Phew,
> Sorry that's such a lot, but that's all of my ponderings over the last
> few weeks condensed into one email.
> I'm basically just trying to get my shopping list ready so that I can
> start playing.
> Oh yes, is my system going to be up to the task is the other thing?  
> I'd
> really rather not have to upgrade it all. I'll rethink if this is all
> such a good idea at the moment if that's the case. I'm happy to buy a
> couple of tuners and whatever TV/Projector out I need.

You don't mention how much disk storage you have, you'll want plenty.

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