[mythtv-users] Can a laptop be used as a combined FE/BE with external tuners?

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Sat Mar 28 17:03:55 UTC 2009

On Saturday 28 March 2009 10:47:45 tech lists wrote:
> Using for example an HDHomeRun?

Sure, why not. A laptop is just a computer in another form factor.

Laptops tend to be slower, and have less storage, than desktop PCs, so you 
will need a fast machine, with sufficient storage (or available network 
storage). Laptop video hardware tends to be more lightweight, so VDPAU is out 
of the question except in rare cases.

HD will be more of a challenge for the hardware, especially on playback. Note 
that "HDHR" does not mean "HD", as a lot of SD material is transmitted 
digitally. "Digital" does not mean "High Definition", in spite of confusing 

You might also be able to use USB type tuners, like the Plextor PX-TV-402U and 
some recent Hauppauge units, as well as the HDHR. I suspect that few laptops 
would be able to play back the h264 that the HD-PVR produces, except perhaps 
at very low bitrates.

Make sure you have a laptop with a hardwire (RJ-45) network port, using WiFi 
for video can be problematic.

So, while not the best choice, a high-end laptop should work. Most people who 
use laptops with Myth use them as frontends only.

Most backends run 24/7, unless you have set up some wakeup method, again, 
possibly a problem with laptops. If you do run a laptop 24/7 make sure it has 
plenty of airflow for cooling.

Laptops present several challenges for Myth systems. You might want to try and 
gain some experience with Myth on desktop hardware before attempting to use a 

beww at beww.org

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list