[mythtv-users] Seeking advice on new F/E for mythtv.

john blue rwc at bestpond.com
Thu Nov 22 08:59:36 UTC 2007

I have been getting ready to setup a new front end  which will sit in the main living area with a Metz TV , the TV already has a set top box that receives Free To Air Digital TV (Standard Definition) and I am looking to replace the set top box with Mythtv to get HDTV. 

Subject, very much, to a successful install that meets the w.a.f.

I hope you can bear with me as this is a bit long.

We are based in Australia and TV transmission uses PAL.

When I started with Mythtv, I setup a system using my existing office machine which connects to the home network, simply so I could try Mythtv. I use OpenSuSE  on all our machines and at the time I installed mythtv I was running  v.10.2 the PC is in a CM Stacker 810:
AM2  X2 5200+
4Gb Ram
GigaByte MB M55SLI-S4
Seagate Barracuda Sata II 320Gb
Onboard sound Realtek
Onboard Network (Marvel 10/100/1000Mbit)

I installed two Leadtek Winfast DTV1000T DVB-T cards (which also had remotes included)

I then successfully installed and setup the Shepherd Australian TV guide grabber and that is working quite well. 

After doing a lot of searching, reading, and some fiddling I have not really persevered to get a remote control working, so I am using mythtv on this office PC with  a keyboard ( and not always so successfully).

I have  now upgraded this machine to OpenSuSE v.10.3 and am running mythtv 20.2 and all seems generally  OK. I have been using TV, recording and playing back programmes and playing music which is about all I need to do now.

I am now ready to start building a separate front end and will base it on a spare ATX  AM2 motherboard I have (GigaByte M57-SLI-S4) 

I would appreciate comments on the following components:
I have available a Kingston 2Gb RAM DDR2 (667) kit to use

Considering another AM2 X2 4200+  or   AM2 X2 5200+ 2M

Has onboard LAN

Will onboard 8 channel sound be OK or needed? Or separate sound card preferred?

Is onboard Nvidia video OK, or should I get a PCI-e Nvidia card?  

I will put in 1 Seagate Barracuda Sata II HDD (min. 320Gb based on current price) maybe add a second later, but more drives will be available on backend.

1 x Pioneer DVD  Reader/Writer (IDE or Sata II)

Overall I want to be able to utilize at least 3 DVB-T TV cards, and maybe 4 in the future. There are two in the Office system and I want to keep that as the master backend, so I need to add 1 or 2 two PCI cards to the new front end?

I have read up on dual channel PCI cards and it seems that there are still a few issues, eg. the recently new  Dvico dual channel card still has remote issues (or requires some changes to Lirc that may be a bit ahead of my experience). My experience with the winfast cards has been that they work OK and are cheap, the problem is the remote.

So perhaps my question should be can I use just one remote to run Mythtv?

Related to this question is the matter of a suitable case, and I have been considering various HTPC silver cases,  Silverstone have quite a few and I was wondering If I select one with the VFD & remote whether the remotes will work OK out of the box, irrespective of TV cards in use? 

Or should I get a separate remote such as the streamzap to best use Mythtv? 

I am just trying to get my mind around all this before I commit the dollars, or end up going down a path to the black hole!!

Any suggestions or comments very much  welcome and appreciated.

In Australia
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