[mythtv-users] Frontend requirements

Jay Summet jay at summet.com
Tue Feb 17 13:01:28 UTC 2009

> And, from what I have been able to gather, playing back those video
> formats is not very taxing on the frontend's hardware, right? What CPU,
> memory, video and sound hardware would you call appropriate for this
> task?
> Thanks for your answers and best regards. 

Actually, playback can be quite taxing, especially if you are trying to
play back HD content.

You can make it less CPU intensive by using XVMC (which requires an
NVidia graphics card). [If you are willing to run trunk/svn or apply
patches to 0.21-release-fixes you can try out this new VDPAU that
everybody is talking about to make the GPU handle even more of the heavy

I have an nVidia graphics card and an Celeron D 3.2Mhz processor, and HD
playback alone still takes 20-40% of my CPU time. (using xmvc, but not
using VDPAU).

Speaking of the backend:
If you are recording analog programs and need to transcode them to
mpeg2/4 your backend will need a strong processor. Or if you want to
commercial flag your recordings, again, a good processor will make
things go faster.

However, if you are just capturing digital signals and storing them to
disk without transcoding or commercial flagging them, (for example, by
using a HD HomeRun to capture Digital TV signals Over-The-Air) all your
backend needs is a big hard disk, and very minimal CPU usage.

So with the right set up and choices (always keeping digital recordings
as they were captured), your backend could be a small CPU with a big
hard drive, and your front-end would need to be the more powerful box.
[Storing HD signals to a hard drive and/or streaming them over the
network is a lot easier than playing them.]


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