[mythtv-users] Time for the big upgrade. Need some advice!

Jeremy Green jaggroups at brownout.com
Sat Oct 11 23:24:29 UTC 2008


I use the microsoft mce remote.   I got it here: http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/pName/microsoft-mce-remote-control-for-windows-xp-mce?osCsid=f67e27abcb4f02be86ffb4e2f978950d

(Well, I got one of them there, I have 3 (one for the backend, and I  
have two frontends).  It has two infrared emitters.  I believe they  
both work but I'm not 100% sure since I only use one of them on my  

It works pretty well and it's a pretty nice remote (though I have  
replaced one of them with a harmony which is an even nicer remote).


On Oct 11, 2008, at 6:38 PM, Nowhere wrote:

> Thanks Brett,
> I should have mentioned that if I stay with my integrated HTPC box I
> have fill all TWO of the PCI slots with the tuners.  I was looking at
> and CommandIR but was thinking it was over kill especially since it
> would be $100. But then again, I still haven't found some USB blasters
> or something. I don't have enough enough serial or PCI slots at this
> time either.
> http://www.commandir.com/
> http://support.commandir.com/
> Are there any other USB solutions?
> Eric
> Brett Kosinski wrote:
>>> Hardware:
>>> I need two IR blasters: I currently run analog cable with two  
>>> PVR150's.
>>> Just upgraded (mostly by force) to digital cable and now I have a  
>>> cable
>>> box. When I get it working I will get a second. My PVRs didn't  
>>> come with
>>> the blasters. I see wikis and such talking about Microsoft media  
>>> center
>>> remotes but I don't see much for sale. What should I get (see  
>>> software
>>> below)...
>> Well, my setup uses a pair of serial port IR blasters that I bought
>> from the guy who runs irblaster.info.  The downside is this  
>> requires a
>> serial port expansion card... 'course, assuming you have a spare PCI
>> slot available (I planned ahead and bought a board with a lot of
>> slots), a 2-port card is something like $20.
>> The only other gotcha, here, is that lirc requires some hackery.   
>> Last
>> I'd looked into this (admittedly two years ago), a given instance of
>> the lirc blaster driver module could only handle a single serial  
>> port,
>> and since the kernel doesn't let you load two modules with the same
>> name with different settings, one finds oneself in a conundrum.  The
>> answer is to compile out a regular serial lirc module, then hack the
>> code to rename the module, then compile it again.  Fortunately the  
>> web
>> is replete with recipes for accomplishing this.
>> Other than those intricacies, it works great.  I have two Motorola
>> DCT-2524's driven by serial port blasters, and they never miss a  
>> tune.
>>> Total Media Server: My system is a self contained set top HTPC  
>>> type of
>>> system with an AMD1800+ CPU and 380GB of disk. I have music on my  
>>> laptop
>>> hard drive, a desktop system, a ton on an external drive, my wife  
>>> has
>>> music on her laptop, ipod and external drive. I want to  
>>> consolidate all
>>> this.  I'm going to get a 1TB drive and need to decide if I should  
>>> go
>>> with a seperate backend server. I don't want to buy another PC so  
>>> I may
>>> try to piece one together from parts I have.
>> Do it if you can (and can afford the electricity of running a  
>> separate
>> piece of hardware (and don't mind maintaining another box)).
>> Consolidating everything into a single backend server has some very
>> nice advantages... you can pick a nice, large, possibly ugly, but
>> well-ventilated case, which is good for hard disk lifetime, not to
>> mention for expandability.  It lets you put all that noisy, bulky
>> hardware somewhere where it won't be seen or heard.  And, as you  
>> point
>> out, it keeps everything in one place where it's easily accessible.
>> That said, it does create a single point of failure.  If you can
>> afford it, I'd buy two terabyte drives and set up a RAID-1 mirror
>> ('course, that doesn't obviate the need for backups, as a PEBKAC can
>> still screw you, but it does significantly reduce the chances of
>> catastrophic disk failure destroying all your data).  Even better,  
>> set
>> up the mirror, and then throw the md device into an LVM volume group,
>> and splice off storage from there.  Then you can tack on additional
>> mirrors if you want to expand storage (this is the way my server is
>> set up... it's basically glorified RAID 10, but lvm provides some
>> management advantages).
>> Of course, this all depends on how easy it will be to wire everything
>> together.  After all, a consolidated backend isn't nearly as nice if
>> you're forced to stick it right beside the TV.  In my house, I  
>> dropped
>> cable from the livingroom to the basement, and so my backend sits  
>> down
>> there where it's nice and cool while my frontend is under the TV.   
>> And
>> for the rest of the house, for now, I'm piggybacking on the
>> pre-existing cat5e.
>>> Software:
>>> Mythdora or Mythbuntu?
>>> I run Ubuntu everywhere else in the house and laptops. I have run  
>>> Fedora
>>> for the MythBox for many years. Which is more 1 clickish install  
>>> for the
>>> IR blasters? Which one is more likely to upgrade without major
>>> problems?  I don't have a ton of time available for the install  
>>> this time.
>> Well, I can say this much:  I used Fedora for my FE and BE, and I
>> *seriously* regret it.  In my experience, Ubuntu has been *far*  
>> easier
>> to upgrade and maintain (my own laptop has gone from Feisty -> Gutsy
>> -> Hardy without incident).  And these days, with Fedora having so
>> many problems with their servers thanks to that security compromise a
>> month or so back, I *really* regret it.
>> Consequently, if I were to do it all over again, I'd go with Ubuntu,
>> no question about it.
>> But, as always, these things often come down to personal  
>> preference...
>> myself, I've always been a big Debian fan, and Ubuntu has really won
>> me over in the last six months, while Fedora continues to be a pain  
>> in
>> my personal backside.  Others I've spoken to say the exact opposite.
>> So, as always, YMMV.
>> As an aside, regarding the blasters... odds are, they'll be a pain no
>> matter what distro you go with. :)
>>> Who's using a myth server as a media server serving/storing music  
>>> for a
>>> group/family of iPod users? What packages are you using to  
>>> maintain the
>>> library (folder locations, duplicates, tagging, album covers etc)?
>> No one here owns iPods.  That said, we do stream our music to work,
>> and use Ampache for that purpose.  As for management, that's more or
>> less a manual process for me, with the help of some scripts I've
>> hacked up here and there.
>> Brett.
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