[mythtv-users] DirecTV (and MythTV)

Brian Guilfoos mythtv at guilfoos.com
Mon Mar 5 17:00:24 UTC 2007

Benjamin Podoll wrote:
> I will preface my question with this: I am a DirecTV customer that has
> three DirecTV Tivo Series 2 R10 systems. I have been using these
> systems for a few years and have also upgraded them (they each have
> dual 300 GB disks). So, as of now, I am happy with DirecTV and with my
> DVRs, they have plenty of space and I am able to record 2 shows at
> once on each of the 3 systems. But... I want more.

I have a DirecTiVo Series 1 for years, and I loved it.  However, I too,
found it lacking in a few areas.  For starters, two tuners occasionally
meant I had to make choices about what I would and wouldn't record.
This was especially problematic when it came to sporting events - so
much so that I got a D11 to use to watch sports live when necessary.
Despite adding a larger drive and CacheCard, I felt constrained since
the system wasn't open - a hardware failure, and I was sunk.  I was also
limited since I had no control over when (and if) software upgrades were
pushed.  Every time one was, all my hacks (TiVoWeb, etc) were wiped out
and required disassembly of the box to push them back on.

So I built a MythTV box.

> But my problem now is finding info on how I can stay with DirecTV and
> also build a MythTV system that works reliably. I run Ubuntu Linux on
> a few machines at home and have found "howtos" on Ubuntu and MythTV
> which is great.

Mine is great.  I got two Avermedia A180 cards to record OTA HDTV (I
would probably get a HDHomeRun if I were building this system today),
and a PVR-500 to record from my sat box(es).  I hooked my D11 up to that
(serial control to change channels, S-Video to the PVR-500).  Once I got
the serial settings worked out (and issues between my ancient
motherboard and the IVTV drivers on the backend machine), channel
changing is rock solid.

I had originally planned on adding a 2nd D11 once I got my MythTV system
installed and operational, but I've found that since most time-sensitive
recordings are on broadcast TV (ie, cable channels repeat programs, and
often, while broadcast does not) having just one sat tuner is not a big
problem - MythTV can resolve virtually all of the scheduling conflicts.
 The jump to three tuners solved all of my scheduling problems on the TiVo.

My biggest remaining problem are the infrequent kernel panics on my file
server (not the backend, but a 1.5TB RAID array that also serves as my
mail, http, and MySQL servers), usually under very heavy disk IO.

I went with Fedora Core 5 for a number of reasons - not the least of
which was Wilson's excellent guide.  Given my experiences with MythTV,
improvements to the software, etc, there are a number of things I might
do differently during future upgrades (Gentoo?  No RAID?), but generally
speaking I'm very happy with it.

My wife is a bit conservative when it comes to changing, well, anything,
so her adoption of MythTV has been slow.  She's very intolerant of stuff
that doesn't "just work", so little glitches in HDTV playback and other
similar things that I'm still working out don't fly.  Plus, she watches
lots of LiveTV, so the TiVo is still in service, despite the fact that
I've pretty much abandoned it.  Not that I didn't love TiVo - I still
think it's a great product, but I had outgrown it.  I suspect that when
we finally get an HDTV, that'll be the death knell for the old TiVo box.

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