[mythtv-users] How many Tuners/Server? How do I arrange all this stuff?

Josh White jaw1959 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 24 18:19:56 UTC 2008

Hi all,

 I just made a few additions to my myth system, and I have a few questions.
To give a brief overview of my setup, I have a single Master Backend running
on a older P4 2.8ghz machine with a 400mzh FSB, 1GB rambus memmory, and 3x
ATA133 hard drives (a 120gb for recording, 40gb for the OS, and a 60gb I use
for other things).  It currently has a PVR-250 and a PVR-500. This machine
is running Ubuntu 7.10 i386.  I also have a 500gb drive with my DVD rips,
music, etc which is shared via NFS on my main desktop machine (also running
Ubuntu 7.10 i386). Obviously, I use this for SD only.  My feed is my local
Time Warner Cable, and it costs me $10/month on top of my Roadrunner account
for this access. My main question here is what to do now that I'm
expanding.  I just got my hands on a couple of eMacs (800mhz, 2nd edition)
which seem to work well as frontends when running a stripped down copy of OS
X 10.4.11 (and they even look like a TV).  I use these in addition to my
main front end (in my living room), which is running on a P4 1.7ghz IBM
netvista desktop machine, with a 5200FX with tv-out, on Mythbuntu.  I have
this all connected via 100mbit lan.  I should also mention that I have a
wife that likes to watch live TV.

So now that I have all these frontends, a situation arose where I needed
another tuner last night.  My wife couldn't watch project runway while
recording her other shows while I recorded scrubs.  To resolve this, I just
bought another PVR-500 so I will have 5 tuners in total.  My question
regards how to arrange all of this.

I'm already using my main desktop to serve my movies, music, etc (since my
main system can't handle a SATA drive without adding a card).  I also use my
Main Backend as a frontend when I'm using my desktop machine, and I'd rather
not lose that ability.  I'm out of PCI slots in that machine, so if I add
another tuner to that machine, I'll lose my sound card.  Also, the machine
only has USB 1.1, so a USB tuner seems out of the question (and I already
bought my third PCI tuner)

So what I'm proposing is that I could turn my desktop machine into a
secondary backend, install my new tuner in that machine, so I'll only have 3
and 2 tuners per machine.  My question is where the recordings will be
held.  I'd prefer that my recordings were all on the same drive, regardless
of the tuners used to record them.  So would I be able to record on my
desktop machine, and save the recordings on my main backend?  What would
happen if my desktop machine were shut down, how well does Myth handle
secondary servers going on/off-line?  I realize this will be a bit of an I/O
nightmare, will I be any better off using my desktop to host a tuner but
recording on the Main Backend anyway?  Should I just ditch the sound card in
the backend and set my desktop machine to run with dual heads, and run
mythfrontend on one of those?  Should I setup a LVM and combine my 120GB
drive and my 60GB drive in a JBOD style setup?  Would this offer any
advantage in I/O terms?

I hope this makes sense, please let me know if I need to clarify something.
And again, I'm just looking for suggestions on how to arrange this hardware
while I wait for my new tuner to arrive in the next week or so.  I'm sure
some of you out there have faced similar dilemmas.  The only thing I'm sure
of is that I'm keeping my main desktop my main desktop (which is a Pentium
D, Sata, 3GB of ram...much more powerful system) Any advice would be

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