[mythtv-users] Very Low Cost Frontend

Jim Abernathy jfabernathy at gmail.com
Fri Dec 27 01:10:21 UTC 2019

On 12/26/19 4:57 PM, Ken Mandelberg wrote:
> My 10 year old Macmini/HDHR running Ubuntu Myth front/backend is 
> having issues. I'm looking for a very low cost replacement. I build 
> the trunk frequently, and want the standard frontend not Kodi. The Mac 
> has an old Nvida GPU which worked well for years, and I really want 
> something with a GPU that Myth supports.
> From what I read there is no GPU support on the PI4, which other than 
> would be a nice price point.
> I know a NUC would work, but they start getting pricey once 
> configured, and its not clear to me what the cheapest one without 
> media format limitations is. I know there are other boxes in similar 
> form factor, but don't know if there is a better value than a NUC.
> Storage is not an issue, I already use a large USB disk for both root 
> and the media on the mini.
> It seems like even cheap phone/tablet SOCs have better GPUs than the 
> old Nvidia.
I've done a lot of testing recently. The RPi4 is an excellent backend 
with HDHR Quatro as a networked tuner. That gives you 4 tuners and the 
CPU horsepower to handle the recording using a USB3 SATA SSD or even 
hard drive.

The good news is the RPi4 can also handle 4 recordings and do the 
mythtv-frontend at the same time. For me that's 4 OTA mpeg2 programs 
while displaying a previously recorded program. The quality is quite 
good for the video playback.

However a separate FE is slightly better. I've tested a RP3B+ running 
LibreELEC (KODI) with the kodi-pvr-mythtv addon. I've also tested the 
FireTV Stick 4K running the Mythtv-frontend and the Mythtv-leanfront.  
Both are excellent.

So for cheapest do a Combo RPi4 FE/BE with a 1TB USB3 SATA SSD using an 
adapter.  For best leave the RPi4 as a backend only and use the FireTV 
stick 4K as the frontend.

That's the cheapest I've found. Since storage is the same for any 
solution, the comes down to $25 for the FireTV stick 4K and $100 for a 
RPi4 4GB DRAM kit.

I'm parallel testing both my Core i7 Sandybridge backend with hard 
drives again the RPi4 backend. Using the FireTV stick 4K and a Shield TV 
frontend on both. No difference in quality of recordings or playback.

Jim A

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