On using a HTPC in NZ

Final MythTV report

, posted: 23-Oct-2008 11:59

Well I have done a lot of work since my last post - end result: running MP1.0 RC3 having tried and failed with a full-time MythTV install.

Turns out the changes made to Myth came from the main devs, not Paul's source. However soon after the changes came in mythttv-fixes he updated his source so now it is built on the latest version of myth, with the loopfilter option in the GUI. So armed with an extra gig of RAM and a new WD 640GB hard drive, I did a complete re-install to Mythbuntu 8.04.1, adding Paul's PPA and setting up FreeviewHD+Prime.

And what did a find with more prolonged testing than earlier: the machine will hard lock after a period of time (up to 12 hours, at least with me) and watching true HD (with its higher bitrate) is very very borderline on my 5200X2, in fact there is occasional skipping. And forget any sort of background commskip, made TV unwatchable.

So after spending a long time moving files over a dodgy network, changing RAM configurations it reluctantly had to conclude that the install wasn't stable enough. WAF was going to down fast, she wanted to know why we didn't have 'that blue one which worked'!

So I am back to MP, with some changes. The box now has 2GB of RAM, the faster WD hard drive, COreAVC for H.264 and RC3. These changes have meant no skipping during playback for unfathonable reasons (so far), and a generally good experience. Don't know how long CoreAVC will last though, it was installed with the KLite codec pack so unless they have done something illegal it must be a demo. This codec pack is great, gives tonnes of options for all playback, as well enabling containers such as mkv so you can play pretty much anything.

MP it is then, and I am pretty happy with how it has behaved so far (other than a random unmapping of tuners rom channels!). I have made some other changes, I now have two simple custom scripts running using Task Scheduler. One downloads and unzips the freeview-all.gz archive from pvr.geek.nz and puts it where it belongs (simpler I reckon than using mentalinc's downloader), and the other checks every 5mins for a ping to the router, and resets the network if it doesn't find it. Still haven't got 100% confirmation it works, however I will post when I am happy with it.

Of course I havn't finished with this at all, there will be big changes next year when I graduate (yay!) and move to a smaller part of the country with no DVB-T. Likely to go to a DVB-S setup with Myth, should be fun.

Other related posts:
New wiki for setting up guide data in NZ
It works - 1080i with a 5200X2 in mythtv
Freeview|HD in MythTV - still!

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Comment by Stephen, on 24-Oct-2008 12:58

Hi Andrew I've been following your thread with great interest and have a question for you. What speed is the RAM you are using? I ask because I have a 5000+ (2.6GHz with 512MB caches) and found that CPU utilisation went down when I changed from 1GB of 533MHz to 2GB of 800MHz (CAS 4, so my motherboard runs it slightly higher than 800MHz). I've been running DVB-S but have managed to get an excellent picture on TV1 DVB-T and plan to convert everything to DVB-T once support is established (not wanting to be on the bleeding edge as you have tried). Cheers Stephen

Author's note by amphibem, on 24-Oct-2008 13:17

I am running 533MHz RAM, it was 1GB now at 2GB. In my attempts to stop the hard locking I had run the machine with both 1GB and 2GB under Mythbuntu and it always crashed.

Steve from Openmedia has done some tests with an 6000 X2 which he posted on the mythtvnz list. He found that 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz doesn't quite cut it for fully smooth playback on true HD (which has higher bitrates), the ful 3.1GHs was needed.

However I could see why the faster RAM helps, especially if you are using onboard graphics. I'm sure the extra RAM didn't hurt either.

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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