[mythtv-users] Initial foray into Mythtv

Nick Morrott knowledgejunkie at gmail.com
Sun May 10 19:56:29 UTC 2009

On 10/05/2009, Matthew Keefe <learningtehlinux at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm not sure if I'm being a ignorant fool, but I want to try out MythTV and
> this is the hardware I have to work with:  A Pentium P4 1.8Ghz, 512 PC800
> ram (damn shame about that, that stuff is expensive to upgrade).  I am
> planning to install the following:  An MSI nVidia Geforce FX 5200 128MB
> through 4X AGP, and a FusionHDTV5 RT Gold to capture video.  I may try using
> an ssd in the tower for grins/power savings/etc., but if you guys think
> that's pointless then I'll stick with the HDD.
> My questions are these:  Will this be sufficient as a frontend/backend
> combo?  If not, will it work as either the frontend or the backend (the
> latter I hope at least)?  I have considered upgrading any and all parts of
> the computer, with seemingly downward spiral results, i.e. I end up at an
> amount where I might as well buy a new computer.  The ram especially is
> painful to my heart when I look into upgrade options.

Back in 2005, I threw together a Celeron 1.3GHz system with 512MB RAM
which I successfully used as a slave backend and SD frontend. I think
it was running Fedora Core 3 and MythTV binaries from atrpms.net.
Video display was from an ATI Radeon 9000 card (using Xv - XvMC should
not be required for SD MPEG-2), and capture was from Hauppauage
PVR/DVB-T cards. The system was fine for SDTV (UK based, so no HDTV at
that time).

> Also, I am looking into whether one of the prebuilt distros would be a good
> fit for me.  Mythbuntu and Mythdora come to mind, in that order of
> preference.  Currently I run Linux Mint 6.0 on the computer with no problems
> that I can tell.

Whichever distro route you go, be sure to stop any unrequired services
from eating into your available memory on the proposed system. Maybe
the customised distros do this already?

> I hope to capture mostly SD content I believe, though the ability to capture
> HD would not be frowned upon :)

Recording OTA SDTV and HDTV should be fine. As Brian mentioned, you
are more likely to run out of disk I/O before CPU when recording the
MPEG-2 bitstreams to disk. On my system above I could record a couple
of SDTV streams at the same time without issue. To help size a
suitable HDD for storage, SDTV material can take 2 GiB/hr, HDTV
material perhaps 7GiB/hr. It's difficult when starting out to decide
how much storage space you will want (and invariably it's never
enough); some users have multi-TiB storage arrays, others have small
<100GiB disks. But stick to HDDs.


Nick Morrott

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