[mythtv-users] Looking for initial advice.

Steve mythtv at birniefamily.net
Sun Jan 14 18:22:08 UTC 2007

Hello mythtv-users.

I currently do not have a mythtv system, but I am in the process of
deciding what pieces of hardware I need to create one.  I am making a
bunch of assumptions throughout here because I am VERY unfamiliar with the
technologies and terms of video and audio (MPEG-2, SDIFF, etc).

I live in the US, currently use cable service, have an HD TV, subscribe to
their HD-tier, and send the audio output through digital out into my
stereo receiver for 5.1 surround.  I'd like to be able to build a system
where I don't lose any of that functionality.  I realize that some of the
HD channels that are in the HD tier may be unavailable if it's encrypted.

(1) CPU.  I have several pc's that aren't in use right now, but I am
assuming this will be decided AFTER I pick some of the other pieces of
hardware on how beefy a CPU I will need.

(2) Video input cards.  The HOWTO lists several different HD tuner cards,
but says none of them do any encoding.  Does that mean that when it's
recording the input from the cable that it will have to encode using
software when writing to disk?

(3) Video output card.  ATI, NVIDIA?  Is one choice better than the other?
 I've read some things about drivers, etc.  Also, Do they have models that
will output to 1080i or 720p?

(4) Audio input card.  Is one needed or will the video card be all I need?
 Will the pcHDTV cards record in mono, stereo, or 5.1?

(5) Audio output card.  What cards are available that will output so I
will be able to listen to the shows that record in 5.1?

After hardware, I have a few questions regarding the general setup:
It sounds like it's a good idea to go with a 2 machine setup.  One as the
backend that records, stores, and manipulates all the shows and one that
will pipe the recordings/live-tv to the television/receiver.  Is that
correct?  Would it be better to put both video input cards on the backend
machine, or put one on the backend and one on the frontend?

To get familiar with everything, I used one of my existing PC's without any
input card.  I figure this is just throwaway work, but my hope is to get a 
better understanding of MythTV.  I found a great article for installing with 
Ubuntu, so I went that route.  I set up for a backend/frontend combo and 
installed the plugins.  I obviously couldn't add an input card during the setup,
but I was able to set up downloading of content, etc.

I can use the mythweb, but I can't figure out how to use the weather one.  
Is the mythweb the main interface to the frontend?

Lots of questions I know, and I'm sure I'll get a lot of 'it depends'
answers, but I just want to make sure I have all the information I can get
before I drop my money down on hardware.  I'd hate to buy something and
later learn it won't do what I was hoping/expecting it to.

Thanks for your opinions and suggestions.

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