[mythtv-users] Potential hardware - or underpowered ?

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Sun May 16 17:44:21 UTC 2010

On Sunday 16 May 2010 11:18:42 am Simon Hobson wrote:
> At the local LUG yesterday, someone was showing
> around his latest toy - a GuruPlug Server :
> http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/p-32-guruplug-server-plus.aspx
> 86/$129
> They also have the Standard unit :
> http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/p-31-guruplug-server-standard.aspx
> 67/$99
> And one with a display (HDMI) port on it :
> http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/p-33-guruplug-display.aspx
> (no price yet)
> At first I was thinking one of these would run a
> backend as long as your requirements weren't too
> demanding - but when I think a bit more, by the
> time you've added a hard disk and power supply,
> then it quickly becomes rather less attractive as
> the cable count goes up.
> But would the display version have enough power
> to run as a frontend ? It's a 1.2G ARM based
> processor, with a TDA9989 HDMI interface (spec
> sheet says it supports 1080p) and no GPU. I'm
> guessing this wouldn't be a high performance
> setup !
> Pity, I doubt you'd get a smaller and neater frontend.

SheevaPlug, GuruPlug, PogoPlug, it's a Plugging Mess.

None of the "Plugs" are intended for A/V use, and it's unlikely you could get 
a full Myth back or front end running on them, at least not easily. They lack 
the I/O for backend use, and don't have the horsepower to do software video 
decoding, nor do they have specialized decoding chips in them. I'm not sure 
what the "display" version of the GuruPlug has in it, but it's almost 
certainly some sort of hardware decoder, a 1.2Ghz. ARM does not have the oomph 
to decode HD without help.

The "Networked media Tanks" like the Popcorn Hour and the Myka, are 
specifically designed to output audio and video, though their usefulness for 
Myth systems may be limited to use as UPnP renderers. They utilize proprietary 
hardware to decode video (Sigma chips and similar), but are otherwise just 
small computers.

The Broadcom CrystalHD can give hardware decoding capability to anything with 
a mini PCIExpress slot, making many machines capable of running as a Myth 

So far the Revo 1600 seems to me to be the closest to a turn-key HD-capable 
Myth frontend that I'm aware of, but it's pricey compared to the "Plug" type 

The "Plugs" seem to be beefed-up versions of the ubiquitous "Slug" (Linksys 
NSLU2), that has been hacked to perform many useful tasks, but not drive HD 

But keep posting anything you see that has potential for Myth systems, we'll 
get there, some time.

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