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Mythtv: my experiences

A good place to get help on mythtv is the mythtv wiki. I've used it quite frequently. The info below mainly comes from my user page on the wiki, as I haven't had much time to add much else to this page in the way of howto's yet. However, I've listed my system specs below. If you have any of the same hardware, you can ask me for help if you're having trouble with a particular piece.

I've used mythtv since mid 2005. During that time my configuration has changed several times, mainly during the quest for a silent system. The most recent change involved an upgrade to make HDTV watchable without xvmc. Currently I record ATSC OTA, NTSC analog, and digital cable. Since July of 2007, Myth has been a set-it-and-forget-it box for me, requiring no maintenance at all, adding a new tuner notwithstanding.

In the left pane is a link to how I got mythtv working in Ubuntu Hardy. There are also some miscillaneous tips for linux there.

current config: backend/frontend combo
  • Distro: Ubuntu Hardy (8.04)
  • myth version: 0.21
  • cpu: AMD Athlon X2 3800+
  • mobo: Asrock 939 dual sata2
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR400
  • video: Nvidia FX5200 (fanless); using VGA output
  • sound: onboard realtek AC97
  • NIC: Sis900 PCI ethernet card
  • storage: WD 640GB + Maxtor 80GB drives
  • tuner1: Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro USB Stick (usb tuner)
  • tuner2: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-950 (usb tuner, not in use)
  • tuner3: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 (PCIe tuner)
  • tuner4: Hauppauge PVR-150 (PCI tuner)
  • case: Antec Sonata 2
  • remote: Sony universal learning remote with IR keyboard receiver

current frontend only box

  • Distro: Ubuntu Hardy (8.04)
  • myth version: 0.21
  • cpu: AMD athlon XP 2400+
  • mobo: some old EPOX VIA KT266A chipset board
  • RAM: 1024MB DDR333
  • video: Nvidia FX5200 (fanless); using VGA output
  • sound: sound blaster live value
  • NIC: on board 10/100
  • remote: Hauppauge remote with LIRC

tuners used

  • ATI TV Wonder Pro
  • Hauppage PVR-150 x2
  • Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick
  • Hauppage HVR-950
  • Hauppauge HVR-1250

None of the above tuners were plug and play (the ATI card was closest) at the time I installed them, so I have experience with the general drudgery of getting them to work. After installing the Pinnacle tuner, the HVR-950 was plug and play since it uses the same drivers. Luckily, now all of the tuners above are plug and play with current linux kernels (2.6.24 and later).

The remote I'm using now is a Sony learning remote. I taught it keys from my IR keyboard. I used to use a Phillips learning remote along with a home-made serial IR receiver along with LIRC. Once I bought the IR keyboard I no longer needed the serial receiver or LIRC.

My mythtv setup is currently outputting to a Vizio VW42L. This was very easy to get working with mythtv since I use VGA input and the TV has some nifty autoscaling features. I've also used an older Philips LCD screen with HDMI. This was much harder to get working properly due to the TV's finicky modeline acceptance. I'll post info on how that worked out soon.