[mythtv-users] MythArchive -- why I've given up

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Sat Jun 16 18:11:33 UTC 2007

Marc Barrett wrote:
> I recently posted a question about recording VHS movies to MythTV.  Several people then
> assumed that my real intention is to use MythTV as a "dubbing station" for transferring videos 
> to DVD.  That is honestly not my intention.  I've completely given up on MythArchive, because I
> just cannot get it to work.  So my real intention is to transfer a few VHS movies to my hard
> drive and keep them there.  
> Anyway, I thought I'd ask about MythArchive, and maybe offer a few suggestions.  There are
> two real problems with MythArchive for me: it is too complicated, and takes far too long to 
> run.  There are a lot of settings for this and that, and every test of a setting or a combination
> of settings takes FOUR HOURS to run.  So far I've just ended up with discs where the audio 
> was subtly but noticeably out of sync with the video, or discs with some kind of "fringes" 
> around movements in the video, and so on.  Something or other ends up going wrong
> every time I've tried.  If each test took, say, five minutes, I could figure it out, but with  each 
> one taking hours, I gave up.
> My suggestion would be for a way to record a show in a format such that it would be 
> ready to dump to a DVD in a fashion that takes much less time.  The show would be 
> stored on the hard drive so that no further transcoding would be necessary, and the 
> show could be dumped to a DVD in minutes.  Something like this appears to already
> be there (I've seen settings for transcoding after recording in the setups), but every time
> I've tried MythArchive some further transcoding always seems to be required.

There are units that will record in a DVD compatible format. The Plextor
PX-TV402U is one. In fact it will record directly, via H/W compression,
in several DVD formats. Unfortunately, at least as of 0.19, MythTV would
only handle the MEPG4 format of this device, though both Windows and Mac
software is available that works with all of them.

I don't use MythArchive, as it didn't exist when I set up mt 0.19
system. I use MythBurn from the MythWeb interface and it works quite
well for me. I'm using a AMD64 single-core 3700 CPU, and thte time it
takes to create a DVD seems acceptable to me, certainly a LOT less than
4 hours. I do try and not run a burn when I know recordings are going to
happen. Of course I now realize that not everyone has multiple computers
and a decent network connecting them.

As much as MythTV can do, it is NOT a Universal solution for everything
Video, and many things that it can do can be done much faster and more
simply with different equipment. MythTV is, after all, a "hobbyist"
project, and not a commercial product, and it's hard for me to envision
it as the sole piece of video gear in a "hobbyist" environment.

Certainly spending perhaps $60 for a DVD recorder will save a LOT of
time trying to get MythTV to do something that is not its main purpose
in life. If you want to archive a VHS tape I'd think you would want to
put it on a DVD anyway, and not trust a hard drive that WILL fail
sometime. Once you have the content on a DVD, getting it to the hard
drive for convenient access is quite simple. You could probably even
sell the DVD recorder, or perhaps lend or give it to a friend or
relative, after you had archived all your VHS tape.

I guess everyone has different needs and expectations, MythTV fills a
lot of mine quite nicely, but certainly not all of them.

Just my $0.02.


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