[ubuntu-uk] Mythubuntu: what harware?

Rob Beard rob at esdelle.co.uk
Wed Jul 13 21:10:31 UTC 2011

On 13/07/11 21:40, LeeGroups wrote:

> Rob,
> I think you're getting too hung up big graphics cards and big processors
> and loads of drives.... :)
> I've run Myth on that kind of hardware and while it works, it'll cost
> you a fortune in just electricity... remember ever watt the machine uses
> will cost you over £1/year... my old Myth box was 220w according to the
> meter, costing over £230/year in electric alone... never mind the cost
> of the machine...

It's probably costing me more in electricity at the moment, I've got a 
P4 2.8GHz with about 5 hard drives, the Athlon II Neo is a low power 
system, runs at something like 30 watts.  I was thinking of just going 
for 2 drives mirrored, and probably the 'green' drives at that, it'll be 
a saving on what I'm already running.  I'd have to go for a GeForce 8400 
or 210 as my TV doesn't have VGA input, only HDMI, so I'd need DVI out 
and the HP Microserver just has VGA out.

It would also work out cheaper than running my PS3 as a media playback 
device (and hopefully quieter too!).  So basically I'd be replacing 2 
boxes with 1.

> While Myth can do the whole client/server thing (and it's all very
> clever), it's a bit overkill for most people, especially since most TV's
> have the antenna connections right next to them, it seems to make sense
> to put a combined frontend/backend box under the TV, just like a
> Tivo/Sky/Cable box.

If I was going to go for a client server system it would be for 
convenience, the kids have a PC in their bedroom which they watch TV on, 
they could use MythTV and record episodes of Tracy Beaker etc. :-)

> My new (and by new I mean 15 months old) Myth box is a (now
> discontinued) bottom of the range (even came with Linpus Linux) Acer
> Revo 3600 (newer versions are available now). Single core 1.6GHz Atom
> processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB laptop hard drive, onboard Nvidia ION graphics
> (with HDMI out), cost £165 new. Add one MCE remote (off Ebay£15) and one
> Hauppauge WinTV NOVA-TD dual Freeview USB tuner (Amazon £50). It equals
> a really sweet setup!

I do like the look of those Revos, I may end up changing my mind and get 
the Microserver and just use it as a server and then get a Revo 
eventually.  The Microserver attracted me as it was about £130 with 

> My original big box setup used KnoppMyth (though to be fair this was
> four years ago) and took about month (several hours a night) to set
> everything up with hours of googling, a complete nightmare. When it was
> finished it worked fine, except that due to all the tweaking to get all
> that mix of hardware/software to play nice, I was stuck because I was
> too scared to upgrade for fear of breaking something...

I tried MythTV on Fedora a couple of years ago, that was a bit of a 
nightmare, didn't help that the Freeview tuner I had only picked up half 
the channels, still does, just the other half after the digital 
switchover :-)

> For the new box I used Mythbuntu. It took less than 30 mins, most of
> which was drinking tea waiting for it to install. Everything worked out
> of the box! The only issue that I had was that sound didn't work over
> the HDMI lead, a quick google pointed me at the sound app, where I had
> to activate a setting to do digital sound. Result! About a year later
> (at the time of the local digital switchover) I had glitch when the old
> USB tuner stopped working (still not sure why), so I bought the WinTV
> and it's been absolutely fine since.

Sounds promising.  Another factor I have to consider is I have an AV 
decoder which has coax and optical digital in but no HDMI, and the TV 
doesn't have any digital outputs.  I'm currently trying to find a cheap 
USB sound card with digital output that will handle streaming DTS and 
Dolby Digital over either coax or optical connections.  I've found one 
that does it on Windows but it seems that it won't do it with Alsa.

> The MythTV setup lets you record two programmes at once (although within
> limits it can record up to six at once quiet happily) while watching a
> recording, it does all the season pass/series link stuff, look out for
> programmes with favourite actors/directors/etc, it let's you watch the
> recordings on a laptop elsewhere in the house if the kids are watching
> TV, has a nice web interface for setting up recordings (can be used over
> the internet with the right router setting), the EPG data is
> continuously downloaded over the air - and programmes are automatically
> rescheduled if needed, it can also stream video from other servers/PCs
> (with minor fiddling) onto the TV, let's you keep/save TV programmes
> (pull them over to a laptop and burn to DVD), and being so tiny it
> attaches (with a homemade wooden bracket) to the back of the LCD TV
> keeping it all looking nice and tidy!

Sounds good.  We (well the wife and I) don't watch much telly, probably 
a couple of hours a week but the kids do tend to watch a bit more than 
us so maybe being able to record an entire series of shows might be 
handy to stop the kids squabbling :-)

> And as a bonus it only uses 24W... saving £200/year in electric from the
> old box, cheaper to run than a Sky box and no monthly bills from Sky...
> :) Result!

That's good.  So I guess it's pretty much £1 per watt per year?


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