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Thread: SFF machines as PVRs - anyone doing it?

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    Goat Boy
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    SFF machines as PVRs - anyone doing it?

    Just had a look at this, linked to from Slashdot...

    http://usa.asus.com/products/desktop...x/overview.HTM
    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=0...id=137&tid=188

    And it got me thinking. Are people using their SFF machines as PVRs? If so, how are they doing it, what software is used, can you get TV schedule information ahead of time for recording programs etc. etc...
    "All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so, they're stupid." - Bill Hicks

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    • directhex's system
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    linux plus mythtv (www.mythtv.org)


    or a prebuit machine with windows media center edition

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    • directhex's system
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    or freevo, another linux one (www.freevo.org)

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    I have a Shuttle SN45 that i am using to experiment with as a media box. I have WinXP and Linux (Fedora) running on it at the moment so that i can try out myHTPC and MythTV. I am yet to really get going with a PVR function as the TV card i have is a digital one so that presents many problems!

    MythTV though does seem to be VERY good as a package.

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    Goat Boy
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    Can anyone recommend some hardware that would get this done, either in Linux or Windows?

    I have a donor PC which I could use for DDR RAM, Radeon 8500, Hard disk XP1800 CD-RW etc. Basically I want to be able to play movies and record/playback/schedule TV.
    "All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so, they're stupid." - Bill Hicks

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    Registered+ Zathras's Avatar
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    USB freeview/digital TV card will let you record the MPEG2 stream direct to disc without any recoding/encoding so you get exact broadcast quality and no CPU overhead. On my shopping list for whenever I actually want to watch TV.

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    I think you need to make a decision between Linux and Windows really. Linux will be a lot harder to setup. Other than Showshifter DVB i don't think there are many apps out there that handle digital tv properly, well unless you use something like myHTPC and launch the cards software with it. MythTV should (assuming you can get it to work ) give you proper integration.

    If you wanted to have more 'choice' then go with a normal card, say the PVR-250 or PVR-350 these can be integrated into several programs easily (BeyondTV is another example, or maybe SageTV). You can then hook up a digital box and use IRMan to control that. If you wanted the full system you could have several TV cards so that you can record and watch TV at the same time

    Check out these websites:
    www.htpcnews.com
    www.myhtpc.net/forum
    www.avsforum.com
    www.avforums.com

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    Goat Boy
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    I'm pretty certain I will be running Gentoo Linux, as I need a development server for work, and it would be able to double up in this respect. I realise it would probably be pretty tricky to configure, but I have a lot of Linux experience. Maybe just taking it step by step - getting the TV-Out working first, then the Digial Receiver, and then trying to hook in the PVR software.

    When you say a "normal" card, do you mean an analogue receiver? That way I would have to have the (say) Telewest set top box tuned into whatever I wanted to record?

    How hard is MythTV to set up? I admin some linux machines as part of my job and have a lot of Linux experience, use Gentoo a lot etc etc. Would it be too hard do you think? Anyone have any experience here?
    "All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so, they're stupid." - Bill Hicks

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    Well i have MythTV going (no PVR though, just the music/videos/dvd/etc... bits) and it didn't take me to long as i just used Yum and Apt-Get to install it... i had only been using Linux a few weeks at the time, so i guess you'll be fine!

    It's getting the digital tv card to work which is a pain. I have a Hauppauge Nova-T and i can get Linux to recognise this (with the 2.6.3 kernel) however i can't scan any channels yet as i don't think it's loading the drivers properly.

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    Goat Boy
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    What distro are you running? Sounds like Debian or Knoppix?

    Seems like people have managed to get the Nebula card running under gentoo:

    http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.p...ghlight=nebula

    Check the last post.

    I may well give it a crack when I get back to Blighty in 3 months or so. It seems like the fact that the linuxTV stuff is built into the 2.6 kernel has helped things a lot.

    Is MythTV as impressive as everyone makes out?
    "All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so, they're stupid." - Bill Hicks

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    I am using Fedora, i will try again soon to get this DVB card working! Would be great if i can get it into Fedora and integrated with MythTV. The thing i've found with MythTV is that it is simple to use (once setup) so i would think with a good remote (now there's another challenge!) it would be a great setup.

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    Goat Boy
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    Does Fedora use apt? Or did you install apt as an RPM? News to me! Anyway, yeah I think the difficult areas of setup would be:

    - TV-Out from Video Card (probably fairly easy tho - just need to get hold of the right XF86Config for your card).
    - MythTV Setup (basic setup is prolly not too tricky - getting the scheduling and DVB card integrated is probably the hardest)
    - DVB Card configuration (Hard!)
    - Remote control setup - Either IRMan or something like the ATI remote wonder (Prolly not too tricky).

    I think I will definitely give it a crack in a few months. I have a donor CPU, RAM, 8500 Radeon and Hard Disk so the financial outlay would not be too bad. How loud would the Shuttle SK41G be in a living room environment?
    "All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so, they're stupid." - Bill Hicks

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