[mythtv-users] Why cant we make a STB?

Travis Tabbal travis at tabbal.net
Thu Feb 5 03:43:29 UTC 2009

On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 5:56 PM, Nick Rout <nick.rout at gmail.com> wrote:

> Perhaps what is needed is a mythtv frontend "reference design" - in
> fact it may be very similar to the ion reference design, but with a
> remote. Its something people could build with confidence, knowing its
> gonna work.
> IMHO its the backend where the true differences are, different tuners
> for different markets being the main difference, as well as different
> needs/budgets in terms of storage.

If that's all you want, it's not hard to get. Any Mini-ITX board with a
VDPAU capable GPU and a low end CPU to go in it. Add some RAM and a USB
flash drive, say 4GB, and you're good to go. I have one upstairs now,
Micro-ATX rather than Mini-ITX, but the boards exist for the smaller form
factor. I boot from the USB stick, with MythBuntu 8.10 installed on it. It
connects to the backend, and the video archive over NFS. Full frontend,
simple to setup, VDPAU running fine (mplayer only, I haven't tried the
patches for Myth itself yet). With the VDPAU patches in Myth, you shouldn't
need more than 1Ghz. Single core would probably be fine. From there, you
need a box to put it in, power supply (probably comes with the box), and an
IR sensor. My micro-ATX setup cost about $250. ITX would cost a little more,
depending on options.

The ION is cool, and if the price is right, I'll buy it. But options exist
now that aren't quite as sexy. Find a decent price on cases, and you're in
business. The damn case is the most expensive single part in my HTPCs. I'm
thinking I need to buy dead Tivos or something and put my stuff in the box.
It's easy to spend $100+ on the case and PSU alone.

For IR, I've been working with a guy on putting together an open source PIC
based design. There's also a working FTDI USB/Serial chip based design
that's probably cheaper to build. Both are supported in LIRC, though not in
the release version. So that's reasonably covered. What else do you want?
With the advent of VDPAU, building HD frontends just got a WHOLE lot easier
and cheaper. Now if we just had release quality software and drivers. But
both teams are working hard, and the current stuff works quite well from
reports on the list. So I expect we're getting close.
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