[mythtv-users] Raspberry Pi suitability for MythFrontend

Gary Dawes gary.dawes at gmail.com
Sun Sep 2 22:24:45 UTC 2012

On 2 September 2012 22:51, Michael Watson <michael at thewatsonfamily.id.au>wrote:

> On 3/09/2012 7:38 AM, Joseph Fry wrote:
>>         Some us do not transcode, nor record or watch blueray or HD
>>         and run
>>         quite happily on low end Atom stuff.
>>     The term "low end" is very much relative. Your average 1.6-1.8GHz
>>     dual core Atom is nearly an order of magnitude higher performance
>>     than the 700MHz ARM11 in the RPi. That's not including the
>>     performance penalty hit when you start swapping on a machine with
>>     ~200MB of memory, compared to an Atom which will more likely have
>>     1-2GB.
>>     I was using that as a point of reference, showing performance
>>     complaints on an Atom when opening a large library in Watch
>>     Recordings, to point out potential problems on a yet significantly
>>     lower end system.
>>         I acknowledge it may not run much but I hope it might run a
>>         low end
>>         front end, so please let's not write it off just yet.
>>     I'm not writing it off. I'm just explaining the hurdles to go
>>     through in using it, and that the addition of hardware MPEG2
>>     support, rather than just H264, makes no real difference.
>> I wonder how lite mythtv could be as it stands today with just changes to
>> settings, theme, and OS.
>>  There are some guys on openelec forum working on running MythFrontend as
> an app addon for OpenElec/XBMC
> http://openelec.tv/forum/12-**guides-tips-and-tricks/31170-**
> mythtv-025-addon-for-openelec-**r10534?limit=20&start=20<http://openelec.tv/forum/12-guides-tips-and-tricks/31170-mythtv-025-addon-for-openelec-r10534?limit=20&start=20>
> There are now two distro's of xbmc available for the Pi, OpenElec and
> RaspBMC.  Which you can then add Mitch Cappers version of MythBOX (which
> will run against a Myth 0.25 Backend) for access to MythTV.
> I almost tempted to purchase a Pi, just to see how well xbmc runs on it,
> and test it as a suitable frontend device, if it fails, I guess it could
> always be used as a low power NAS for some USB HDD's
> I have a Pi, with the Raspbmc distribution installed on a 4gB class 4 SD
card.Not installed the mpeg2 decoding library yet.

All my movies, TV series, and music is on a NAS providing SMB, NFS, and
UPNP shares. I also have a Mythtv system, which pulls the movies, TV, and
music from the same shared. Only Tv recordings are stored locally on Myth.

 The Pi does like to do one thing at a time - If it is scanning the media
shares, and pulling down metadata, the menus get very sluggish.

Playback is perfect for media which it can decode in hardware - most of my
videos are mkv containers with the content encoded in H264 at 720P with a
handful in 1080P - all stream and playback brilliantly, and I expect the
mpeg2 content to do so when I purchase the library.

HDMI-CEC works out of the box with the one TV I have in the house which
supports it (an LG).

The on-demand content addons available in the UK for XBMC (iplayer,
itvplayer, 4od) also work very well, with almost no installation or
fiddling necessary.

XBMC is a little bit fiddly to setup in a shared environment with shared
metadata etc., but the blame for that cannot be laid at the Pi's door - The
one issue which does relate is that all the XBMC versions need to match.
Out of necessity at the moment, The version on Raspbmc is bleeding edge, so
installing a pckage on a PC wont work - you need to grab the same build
from git and compile yourself - This will settle down though as everything
gets more stable and mature.

The big plus for me with all of this is that it is a small unit which can
be velcroed to the back of the TV, and powered from the USB ports on the TV
with nothing else needed.

It has already replaced the Mythfrontend in my daughter's room as she
virtually never watched any content recorded by Myth - it's all ripped
movies and TV shows. The catchup services are also there if there is
anything she's missed.

Recording, scheduling and multiuser/frontend access are still the jewels in
the Mythtv crown.

Once I get the mpeg2 licence, I am going to try a build of the frontend on
the Pi to see what it is like with something like the mythcenter-wide theme
which is light compared with some of the others. I had 0.24 running on a
Nokia N900 mobile phone.

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