On using a HTPC in NZ

Of MythTV and Women

, posted: 16-Jul-2008 14:47

Now that demostrates the dangers on saved passwords on a computer your significant other can access! I will leave the postposterity, or at least temporary posterity Tongue out. I was going to make a post here about my experience with mythtv but first a bit on WAF.

As I'm sure anyone who has run a Media-Center as the primary TV watching device in a household has noticed the importance of Women Acceptance Factor, the need for your significant other to be able to use the device and for it to work reliably. Having had a difficult start with my media-center (it spent a lot of the time originally operating without a case, before going through multiple re-installs to get a stable, working system) I definitely understand it! And this is where I come to myth, I have personally found it better on the WAF than MediaPortal. Yes, it took longer to get setup as I had to figure out getting a working remote and guide (after initially wasting time with xmlTVNZ 2.5), and as I was working on the setup Mythbuntu 8.04/mythtv0.21 was released and I really had to move up with all the new features.

Coming back to my point abouts myth's reliability, here are some reasons why I prefer MythMythTV screenshotTV to MediaPortal:

- Advanced scheduler, which has more features and better conflict resolution than MP and doesn't create random manual recordings
- Mythweb, a well written easily activated web app for remote control of the myth box (guide, recordings, status etc)
- I often find MP starts to 'lag' badly in menu's remote commands take 3-4 seconds to work. Myth doesn't do this.
- Myth's Recorded TV screen is much better than MP's, I don't have to switch to 'Icons' to see the EPG, I have a choose of seeing all shows or folders with each show rather than MP's annoying folders
- Ability to SSH into the box to make changes, not to mention he general flexibility of Linux
- Built-in MythCommFlag (commercial skipping program), which works on digital TV

Thats the main stuff, I will add more as I think of it. Now of course it also has it disadvantages, general driver support (for sound, graphics, TV cards etc) being a major, but I will get into that later when I talk about MediaPortal. However as soon as our DVB-T is fully supported in myth is will be going back for the reasons above. What suprises me the most is the apparent lack of uses/knowledge in this, a geek, forumn. An example is the  comment I saw recently stating that MediaPortal is the only PVR software which supports multi-rec (multiple channels on the same mux off one tuner), mythtv has from the most recent release. In fact I can't understand why people use other software such as VMC or GBPVR knowing they are missing out on this, unless there recording habits are fairly limited (which I can understand, there isn't often THAT much decent TV on at once).

Anyway I think I have pretty much made my point. I like both MythTV and MediaPortal, they are both free and open source to begin with, I just prefer myth more (or would if it supported DVB-T, the driver/codec issue again). Some of it also comes from the base OS's, Linux has much to offer over Windows for this application but then I don't have to spend weeks trying to get surround sound working in Windows! I would love to hear what others hear think on his, plus my most popular post so far was done by my partner so comment and lets get this blog back on track Cool

Update: As of a few hours after this post my point was again proven, the remote stopped responding. Twice. The receiver flashed but nothing, could mouse through menu's. Both times pulled and plugged back in and eventually away again.

Other related posts:
New wiki for setting up guide data in NZ
Final MythTV report
It works - 1080i with a 5200X2 in mythtv

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Comment by allstarnz, on 16-Jul-2008 16:09

have a 'stable' windows setup using GB-PVR, so used the cool multiboot feature to try Myth, so far not good, but will play more today.

Like anything hardware support for TV tuners under Linux, is still not great, the hybrid (HVR) cards still seem a little hit and miss as to what works and what doesn't.

Author's note by amphibem, on 16-Jul-2008 16:14

Yes as mentioned, I have no doubt that due to the lack of official drivers and the need for the community to roll their own, driver support does lack in Linux. And given how good some the new HVR cards are this is pretty annoying. But if you can clear the driver hurdles it is definitely worth it, from my short play with the GBPVR interface and options I found it lacking in comparison (YMMV of course).

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Andrew Richards
New Zealand

My Current Setup

CPU: A64 5200 X2 (2.6GHz) Memory: 2GB Graphics: Onboard 6100 Hard drive: WD 640GB Optical: DVD-ROM Remote: Microsoft MCE USB2 Tuners: Hauppauge Nova T 500 & PVR150 Display: Toshiba 20" LCD Audio: Genius 5.1 bookshelf speakers

OS: Windows Vista Premium SP1 PVR: MediaPortal RC3 Codecs: Built in MPEG1&2 codecs, PowerDVD8 for H.264 EPG: nice.net.nz feed (from satellite feed)

Useful Links

MediaPortal Homepage
NZ Thread in MP Forumns
NZ MediaPortal Wiki page
MythTV Homepage
NZ Mythtv page
Mythbuntu Forumns
EPG Setup Guide