[mythtv-users] Low end hardware/software recommendations

Ben Rudiak-Gould benrudiak at googlemail.com
Mon Nov 14 07:03:07 UTC 2011

My parents live in the US (California). They have a decent 32"
standard-def CRT TV with S-video and RCA inputs, and no particular
interest in getting a new TV. They watch broadcast TV (via a
government-subsidized decoder box) and record it on a VHS VCR, they
rent DVDs and play them on a standalone DVD player, and they
occasionally hook up a laptop to watch online streaming videos and
locally stored photos and videos. They're thinking about getting
Netflix streaming as well. The goal is a quiet low-power computer that
can replace this hodgepodge of devices.

Currently I'm considering the following:

 ASUS AT3IONT-I (Atom 330, NVIDIA ION) ($130)
 2 GB RAM ($15)
 2.5" hard drive ($0, already have a spare)
 DVD-ROM drive ($0, have a spare)
 Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 ($50)
 Sewell SW-23000 PC-to-TV converter ($35)
 Mythbuntu and/or MythTV on Windows ($0, I have several spare Windows licenses)

My questions include:

 0. Is there a totally different setup at a comparable price that I
should consider instead?

 1. How stupid is it to use a standard-def TV through an S-Video
converter box instead of blowing $350 on a new 32" TV? My parents
really don't care about video quality, but readability could be an

 2. Is it worth spending a few extra bucks for two 1GB sticks instead
of one 2GB stick? Is it worth spending a few more bucks for 4GB
instead of 2GB?

 3. The Asus motherboard and the Hauppage tuner both come with
remotes. Is either of those going to work with Mythbuntu?

 4. I guess Netflix streaming isn't currently supported on Linux. One
solution I've seen is to run Windows/IE in VMware Player. Would the
Windows VM be able to use the ION's hardware video decoding or would
it fall back on doing everything on the CPU? If the latter, is the CPU
fast enough for that? Would I need 4GB RAM for that setup?

 5. What about MythTV (and IE) on Windows? Would it support the
remote(s)? Would it support the HVR-1250? I gather the answer to the
second question is no? Should I give up and use Windows Media Center?

Any help greatly appreciated.

-- Ben

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list