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

tech lists techinfolists at gmail.com
Sat Mar 28 18:03:51 UTC 2009

On 3/28/09, Brian Wood <beww at beww.org> wrote:
> 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).

It's a temporary plan until a separate backend is built.  The laptop
has a 7200 rpm drive and a 2.66 GHz core duo.  Storage isn't an issue
for now.

> Laptop video hardware tends to be more lightweight, so VDPAU is
> out of the question except in rare cases.

The laptop comes with a NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GT card and a 1080
capable screen (plan to use it as a front end later).  VDPAU was
planned on being used, if this is a problem with this nvidia card then
maybe I'll go with a cheaper laptop and stick with lower resolutions.
I thought that nvidia cards above 9000x handled VDPAU under most
cases.  Is this incorrect?

> HD will be more of a challenge for the hardware, especially on playback.

cpu will hopefully handle it if VDPAU doesn't work.  At least 720 should work.

> 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
> advertising.

Aware of this.

> You might also be able to use USB type tuners, like the Plextor PX-TV-402U

I actually have this unit but didn't understand all the steps to get
it to work with mythtv the last time I looked (quite a while ago).

> 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.

That'll be a job for my FE/BE and other desktop front ends..

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

I'm wired for fire  ;-)  No wireless here or at work.

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

My longer term plan.

> 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.

Been running a laptop 24/7 for two years now.  Agree with the cooling advice.

> 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 laptop.

Not an option right now as the laptop is first on the list, the
HDHomeRun is already sitting on a shelf and the Plextor has been
sitting on a shelf for a long time now.  Maybe I'll figure out how to
get it working with mythtv after I get the HDHomeRun working.

> --
> beww
> beww at beww.org

Thanks for your detailed response.

(sorry if I broke the discussion thread, I'm not used to gmail and
don't know where all the knobs are yet)

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