[mythtv-users] TV Tuners, backend PC, etc

Diego Rivera diego.rivera.cr at gmail.com
Fri Dec 23 16:05:32 UTC 2011

Hello, all!  First off, sorry for the double-post - had some trouble
with the first e-mail going out.

I'd like to configure my home setup to have a rather beefy Backend PC
with LOTS and LOTS of storage for the media (music, videos, movies, etc,
you know the drill...), and several smaller front-end PC's, each with
HDMI, each connected to its own TV.  Naturally, the front-end PC's
wouldn't need to be as powerful as the backend since they wouldn't
handle any encoding/transcoding, only playback.

I'm hoping to equip the backend system with a Ceton tuner (the 4-channel
variant, for encrypted QAM), and a couple of Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250
dual-tuners (for clear QAM and Analog).  This is tentative and the
equipment count may vary, but what won't change is the use case that I
want to achieve.

I'd like to be able to freely tune each TV set (via its frontend PC)
independently to a live TV stream (obviously coming from any of the
available TV tuners, on the *backend* PC).  If possible, I'd like to be
able to independently initiate recording on the stream being watched
from the frontend box (i.e. to be recorded/encoded in the backend). 
Additionally, for instance, if I wanted to use a laptop as a viewing
station, the same features would be available.

It's my understanding that all of this is possible, but I'm unclear
whether the "watching live TV over the network" would be feasible and
moreso whether it would be user-friendly (i.e. as opposed to actually
having to select the tuner, etc).  For instance, ideally one would
simply select to view "channel 7" in the UI and the backend/frontend
would decide which tuner that can support that channel is available, and
produce that stream for the user's viewing pleasure.

For videos and whatnot (call it "buffered" content) I know this works
perfectly, which is why I'm not asking about that :)

Can you MythTV experts make any recommendations as to strategies to
follow?  Would MythTV be deployed on all tiers (backend and frontends)?
Is there any documentation you recommend I read on how this could/should
be best accomplished?  What about (recent) hardware guides? I know
there's a (monthly?) HTPC construction guide being produced, but I was
unable to re-find the link... any pointers here will also be very much

For now, budget isn't an issue - I'm not rich by any standard, but I
want to draw the plans and diagrams that will give me the functionality
I want, and THEN decide what functionality to cut in order to reduce the
budget to where I want it to be.

You should assume that any network connectivity will either be 802.11n
wireless (2.4Ghz most likely, possibly 5Ghz as well), or 100Mbps
ethernet (if necessary).  The key feature is that I want the frontend
PC's to simply be playback stations - their only input is whatever the
backend PC makes available as output streams.

Thanks!  And happy holidays!

/*Diego Rivera*/
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