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Thread: Linux Home Theatre PC

  1. #1
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    Linux Home Theatre PC

    Who has a linux HTPC that works well? I'm thinking Dual DVB-T to record and watch TV connected to a NAS storage device.

    What hardware & software do you have? I'm worried about compatability with Linux and have only used Ubuntu which was actually pretty good.

    Suggestions please because I'd just like to buy some bits quickly that will play nicely together. If not Ubuntu then which linux distro do you recomend?

    I'd get a Topview PVR but I'd like to be able to browse the web on my TV.

    I hope with LCD TVs at reasonable resolutions using digital inputs both web and TV are usable. My old ATI wonder Analogue TV combination was just plain horrible.

    Finally which LCD TV 27" to 32"

    I think it's going to be an infrant ReadyNAS NV+ Xraid NAS device.

  2. #2
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    i've got a box running mythtv on debian with a pair of dvb-t tuners, which works fairly well

    mythtv is actually fully client-server, so the plan is to move all hardware such as tv cards into a big file server machine i'm in the process of building, to make a file-and-other-stuff-and-mythtv server (8 x 250gb samsung, pentium-d, ecc memory, asus p5wdg2-ws, lsi megaraid 300-8x, 2 x hauppauge wintv nova-t, technotrend t-1500 with top-up tv card). once the myth server's in place, i can replace the current large/noisy box in the living room (1.7ghz pentium-m) with something tiny & silent (mac mini). i can add more mac minis to other rooms as i see fit, or run the mythfrontend app on any of my desktop linux machines.

    ubuntu is a reasonable choice for a distro, and the next-gen kit in the Grand Plan(tm) will run ubuntu. you're generally fine with most kit, but avoid ICH-8 (high-end intel-based core2 boards) and nforce6.

    make sure you buy a tv with either vga in, or non-hdcp-friendly dvi (i.e. samsungs won't work via a dvi adapter, other brands might). pissing about with modelines may or may not be required depending on the tv - nvidia cards are better behaved than ati, or stick with intel onboard if needed.

  3. #3
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    I am running MythTV on a Fedora Core 4 server running on an Asus micro ATX motherboard with a Athlon64 3000+ cpu and a single 512MB stick of DDR2 667MHz. That motherboard seemed to have quite nice integrated video, though so far it just drives a 12" VGA CRT as the machine is predominantly the house email/file server.

    I am running a single Hauppauge freeview tuner which works fine except it seems to generate quite a lot of niterference on its output so trying to chain 2 in series doesn't work. The other card is currently in a Windows PC, but when I finally get around to moving it into the Myth box I guess I will have to put a splitter into the aerial feed to get them both working.

    Main front end is a Hauppauge MediaMVP settop box, but am tempted to get another of those motherboard/cpu setups to create a small media PC for the living room. Was looking at the Fusion chassis or possibly the cheaper version without a volume control on the front.

    I got Fedora install instructions from here and have used core 4 and core 5 with no problems with Myth.

  4. #4
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    Sounds brilliant.

    Monster Linux MythTV server & NAS storage combined making lots of heat and noise some place other than my front room. TV arial cable brought down to this box.

    2nd small silent Linux box running mythfrontend app located under my TV. Stream the recorded TV over Gigabit LAN to any room in the house.

    Do you know of any raid cards that do Xraid for easy expansion of the raid array.

  5. #5
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    • directhex's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI X99A Gaming 7
      • CPU:
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      • Memory:
      • 32GiB ADATA DDR4
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      • Graphics card(s):
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed^chigliak View Post
    Sounds brilliant.

    Monster Linux MythTV server & NAS storage combined making lots of heat and noise some place other than my front room. TV arial cable brought down to this box.

    2nd small silent Linux box running mythfrontend app located under my TV. Stream the recorded TV over Gigabit LAN to any room in the house.

    Do you know of any raid cards that do Xraid for easy expansion of the raid array.
    not AFAIK

    presumably when you talk about xraid, that's some option on some hardware to add hardware after the event to an array?

    some googling suggests it's possible, when using software raid (md), but is unpleasant

    edit: further gooling suggests some real hardware raid cards such as 3ware 9000 series can do it
    Last edited by directhex; 11-01-2007 at 02:59 PM.

  6. #6
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    • directhex's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI X99A Gaming 7
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 5280k
      • Memory:
      • 32GiB ADATA DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Corsair Neutron XT 960GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G Twin Frozr 5
      • PSU:
      • Corsair AX860i
      • Case:
      • NZXT H440
      • Operating System:
      • Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2713HM
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    hey, neat, looks like my lsi can too

    you're looking for "online capacity extension"

  7. #7
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    My main server is actually *very* quiet. The CPU has cool-n-quiet turned on, and a pair of hard drives make very little noise. The motherboard has onboard video and is passively cooled. All the noise comes from a gentle wind-rush from the Akasa PSU, and that is not audible over the wind rush from my wife's Enermax PSU

    It was sort of an accident that it ended up running Myth. We have a TiVo downstairs as the main video recorder, but that can only record one show at once and when Strictly come Dancing was on we were going to miss X-Factor unless we put in a second tuner somewhere. I started using the Hauppauge software on my workstation upstairs, but that just wasn't reliable so I ended up installing Myth on what is essentially the email server and second level firewall! Then we got bored of X-Factor and stopped watching it

    Note that freeview cards take almost no CPU time, so that athlon64 just sits there at 1GHz and almost never ramps up to full speed.

    Having a second Myth box downstairs could add an extra tuner to the Myth network, it scales quite nicely like that.

  8. #8
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    Forgetting all about raid and server stuff (I just realised how much it will all cost) how does this look for first stab at a MythTV HTPC. How's this lot looking for Linux support.

    Hardware
    TV Card: 2xHauppauge WinTV-Nova-T PCI Freeview receiver £67.66 Scan
    CPU: AMD AM2 Athlon 64 3800+ Windsor Core, Dual Core 2GHz, 2x 512KB Cache, Energy Efficient Retail £88.35 Scan
    Motherboard: ASUS M2NPV-VM , NF430, S AM2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX £54.61 Scan
    RAM: 1Gb (2X512Mb) Corsair Value Select, DDR2 PC5300 (667), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-15 £71.12 Scan
    Powersupply: 430w Seasonic S12-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0 *New Version RoHS Scan £46.87
    HDD: 2x250 Gb Samsung SP2504C SpinPoint P120, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, 9.0 ms, NCQ £96.86 Scan
    Case: ANTEC Solo Quiet Mid Tower Case £57.56
    CD/DVD:

    Software
    OS: Ubuntu 6.10
    TV: MythTV

    Total £483

  9. #9
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    • directhex's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI X99A Gaming 7
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 5280k
      • Memory:
      • 32GiB ADATA DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Corsair Neutron XT 960GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G Twin Frozr 5
      • PSU:
      • Corsair AX860i
      • Case:
      • NZXT H440
      • Operating System:
      • Ubuntu 17.10, Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2713HM
      • Internet:
      • FIOS
    nothing is setting off alarm bells in my mind

  10. #10
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    You have twice as much RAM as my current Myth box (same Corsair value stuff though) and each of your cores is faster than my single 1.8GHz one

    I use the PATA version of those hard drives, and they are excellent for the task.

    The only complaint I have seen about that motherboard is that, although it is dual head integrated graphics, the DVI connector on the back is digital only and so it cannot support 2 analogue VGA screens. Didn't bother me in the slightest, it is still an amazingly flexible board for the money.

    Looks like you have chosen the same 909 Hauppauge card I have a pair of. They have an RF pass through connector, but I can't make use of the output as it seems to have interference on it. Unless you live in a really strong signal area expect to use an aerial splitter. Apart from that, I have found them to be solid boards (better than I could say for the Hauppauge Windows based software they come with). Note that 2 of those cards use up both of the PCI connectors on the motherboard, leaving you with only PCIe slots left. Probably not a problem for you specially as the integrated sound on the motherboard seems quite good, but I have a second network interface in the other slot hence only one tuner!

    I notice the RAM and CPU are in the first section of Scan's Today Only if you are quick.

  11. #11
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    Dual core CPU for DivX & Xvid chenanigans should speed things along nicely. I'll go for a TV signal splitter as you suggest. More likely to re-use 512Mb RAM sticks in the future hence 1Gb. There seems to be more stuff around that plugs into PCI-E if I decide I need a Raid card so using both PCI slots is OK.

    Thinking about getting this TV. Seems OK but 2nd opinions always welcome.

    32" Mirai DTL-532W100 Silver/Black LCD, 1366x768, 8ms, 1000:1, 550cd/m2, Widescreen, Speakers, VESA £427.70 Scan

    1366x768 Resolution
    1 x Audio Line-In
    1 x Audio Line-Out
    1 x AV Out
    1 x D-Sub
    1 x HDMI
    2 x SCART
    1 x S-Video

  12. #12
    Agent of the System ikonia's Avatar
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    be careful with this - things to consider that have not been mentioned

    1.) video card selection important more so with xorg 7.1.1 that is in ubuntu 6.10. There are problems with newer intel chipset and some of the older 915's. The autodetect system can cause a bit of a fight.

    2.) Monitor select - touched on above, make sure your monitor runs at apporpriate rates to match your video card needs that are supported within the x-server.

    3.) your board specs mention SATA RAID - don't use it - use software raid.

    4.) what video card is on that mother board or are you planning to use a different one.
    It is Inevitable.....


  13. #13
    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    • DanceswithUnix's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus X470-PRO
      • CPU:
      • 3700X
      • Memory:
      • 16GB 3200MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1TB Linux, 1TB Games (Win 10)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus Strix RX Vega 56
      • PSU:
      • 650W Corsair TX
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Fedora 30 + Win 10 Pro 64 (yuk)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Benq XL2730Z 1440p + Samsung 2343BW 2048x1152
      • Internet:
      • Zen 80Mb/20Mb VDSL
    The motherboard is integrated NVidia 6150, basically half a 6200 card but with the core clock upped to try and compensate slightly for only having 2 pipes rather than 4. Not enough performance there for Quake4, but should be good for ppracer

    The mpeg video works fine, though you have to use the NVidia drivers to get any accelleration. Not sure about the 64 bit support for mpeg output, I have had problems with that on my workstation (also NVidia graphics, but 64 bit Fedora Core 5) though even there it only complains of lack of performance over under extreme conditions like trying to decode a corrupted TV signal.

    I guess with that TV you could run the Dsub in and pretend it is a straight VGA widescreen monitor. Always scares me to buy a TV without having seen the picture quality in person before hand, but perhaps someone on here has played with one.

  14. #14
    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    I have a Lexsor (cheap, like Mirai, although not necessarily the same panels) 32" LCD HDTV. My DVI -> HDMI cable arrived today.

    Before that I was running a VGA cable, but the hardware in the TV didn't like anything other than 4:3 aspect ratio signals.

    With HDMI I get widescreen, although I did have to generate a 1280x720 @ 50Hz progressive modeline for X.

    I run MythTV on Ubuntu Edgy Eft, FX-55, 7300LE, 2GB, 3 tuners.
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