[mythtv-users] MythTV - Video Distribution Solution?

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Tue Jan 15 15:53:32 UTC 2008

On Monday 14 January 2008 14:07:40 MythTV wrote:
> Our goal is to have a way for teachers to access recordings in their
> classroom through a "frontend" device, that would in turn connect to a
> central server with the video storage. It sounds like MythTV would support
> this. Also, teachers would need to be able to access cable and Satellite
> through the frontend.

That's certainly using the MythTV architecture to its fullest!

Others have given good answers to most of your questions. Unfortunately, I 
can't help with the system specs question that's gone largely unanswered 
(your plan is well beyond the experience of most Myth users, I'm sure!), but 
I do have another couple of thoughts....

> We do understand that only one teacher would be able to change the channel
> for live TV at a time (or satellite). What would happen if a second user
> tried to change the channel when another person is already controlling the
> source? Can multiple people at least see, but not control, cable through
> the Front End utility?

Others have answered this to some extent; however, you might consider an 
architecture that employs one (or more, if necessary) big backends with lots 
of storage space and frontends that serve as slave backends, each with its 
own tuner and a modest amount of local storage. MythTV tends to favor local 
tuners when watching live TV, so this will minimize network use if watching 
live TV is an important feature in your environment. As others have said, 
though, the usual way with MythTV is to schedule a recording and watch it 
from that. My hunch is that live TV would be most useful if you've got a live 
video feed (say from a video camera in the classroom itself). If you mainly 
want to use the system to stream educational videos, a handful of tuners in 
one or more backends should do the job (with caveats about network and disk 

> I ask because we also have DVD players we want to add as a source (a
> single channel in the program guide) and to be available to staff. (We
> realize that remote control of the DVD players isn't possible this way.)

From a technical perspective, you could put a DVD drive in each frontend and 
then use the MythDVD plugin to play DVDs locally. This might or might not 
suit your project plans (say, if you want to keep the DVDs physically in one 
location). Note, however, that the DMCA makes it illegal to decrypt DVDs, 
most of which are encrypted, on unlicensed devices, and a MythTV system is 
definitely unlicensed. I know that there are exceptions to this part of the 
DMCA, but I don't know if your particular educational use would qualify. If 
not, you're back to using a separate DVD player. (Ripping the DVDs, as others 
have suggested, also runs afoul of the DMCA.)

Rod Smith

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