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162 posts

Master Geek

# 75529 19-Jan-2011 22:38
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I have been looking at PVR's lately, and this week my NAS has died (has been buggy since I bought it).

What I am now looking at doing, is building a custom NAS system from scratch, with PVR support (hopefully).

Is there any way I can do this. I would also love if I could run this on a Linux distro.

I'm not overly worried about performance, but want to have each HDD mirrored in RAID. Not worried about striping for speed, however I would like to beat the 3.0MBps transfer the current NAS gives me.

Also, ideally it needs to be able to be operated from an interface on the TV for PVR functions.

Hopefully I can do this, otherwise I will use it as an NAS and look into other options for the PVR.

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  # 429026 19-Jan-2011 23:17
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It's possible but I believe it's still a lot of work/config/mucking around to get Linux working with NZ's FreeviewHD (H.264 and HE.AAC) last time I checked.

What you want to search for is MythTV, MythBuntu and XBMC for the tv/recording/media features.  Basic software raid can be configured in any linux OS fairly easily using mdam.

Someone else might be able to offer more advice on recent developments and improvements.

If you want to consider a Microsoft option:

- Windows 7, note: Pro will give you software raid in the OS similar to linux, Home Premium won't but you can use home premium if you have basic hardware raid on the motherboard (which many motherboards do have).

- Windows Media Center 7 (comes free with any Windows 7 edition)

- Big Screen EPG or Guide Hound (turns xmltv data in WMC7 format amoung other things)

- EPGCollector (free) reads the EPG data out of the FreeviewHD transmission and converts it to xmltv.

162 posts

Master Geek

  # 429030 19-Jan-2011 23:23
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Ok, in that case can I use WMC7 at the same time as win7 on my desktop? Or do I need a separate license for each? I can't really stretch to purchasing my software. I'm not particularly familiar with Linux, which is a problem.


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  # 429032 19-Jan-2011 23:26
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cjmack: ... (has been buggy since I bought it)...
...the 3.0MBps transfer the current NAS gives me.

Sounds just like my Welland ME-747ANS. I already had it replaced because the fan died after 1 month, but that didn't resolve the issue with my Wireless AP locking up (only when NAS drive is switched on).

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Master Geek

  # 429142 20-Jan-2011 11:45
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Skolink: Sounds just like my Welland ME-747ANS. I already had it replaced because the fan died after 1 month, but that didn't resolve the issue with my Wireless AP locking up (only when NAS drive is switched on).

I was looking at replacing mine with one of those, but I decided to go for something reliable. At least with a PC based system, expansion is just about endless.

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  # 429150 20-Jan-2011 12:02
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I'm running mythtv with FreeviewHD and its not that hard to get setup. Mythtv supports H.264 and HE.AAC no problems. The only tricky bit is getting the guide data but there is tutorials out there for most things so it not so bad if you know how to use google.

At the end of the day it depends on if it suits your needs and if you are keen to learn something new.

162 posts

Master Geek

  # 429155 20-Jan-2011 12:15
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Ok, so below is a list of the parts I have found. I have tried to find ones suitable for the job. If you think I need to upgrade something, or I can downgrade without destroying performance, let me know!

case $178.02
psu $274.90
mobo $176.46
cpu $142.95
ram $176.46
DVB-S $131.51
total $1,080.30

That is without hard drives, as I already have a couple to put in it. Once I save up more I will buy pairs and put them into RAID.

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  # 429202 20-Jan-2011 14:25
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Install Ubuntu on your PC, then:

sudo apt-get install mythbuntu xbmc

Freeview setup is where it gets hairy.

EDIT: Woohoo! Post #1000! 

"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." - Doc Emmet Brown


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  # 429216 20-Jan-2011 14:56
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If you are going to go Linux then i would suggest a Nvidia graphics card as they have much better driver support, a GT210 is a good cheep card that will handle Freeview HD

162 posts

Master Geek

  # 429224 20-Jan-2011 15:14
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Would anyone be able to help me with freeview PVR setup? DVB-S

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  # 429229 20-Jan-2011 15:27
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magu: EDIT: Woohoo! Post #1000! 

Well done

CPU: Intel 3770k| RAM: F3-2400C10D-16GTX G.Skill Trident X |MB:  Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB | GFX: GV-N660OC-2GD gv-n660oc-2gd GeForce GTX 660 | Monitor: Qnix 27" 2560x1440



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  # 429230 20-Jan-2011 15:31
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In Mythtv DVB-S is much easier to setup than Freeview HD (DVB-T), and to get guide data all you have to do is tick a check box, very straight forward.

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  # 429336 20-Jan-2011 20:50
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Jimmyoo0: If you are going to go Linux then i would suggest a Nvidia graphics card as they have much better driver support, a GT210 is a good cheep card that will handle Freeview HD

Very important if this machine will be used to watch high definition. ATI drivers in Linux are rubbish.

Ubuntu + SAMBA for the NAS functionality, if you are running headless and aren't super comfortable with the command line Webmin makes configuration a breeze.

Then all you need is PVR software. Have a look at tvheadend, once again has a web front end that can be used for setup and scheduling recordings etc.

Will this machine also be used for watching media? If so I highly recommend the PVR fork of XBMC.

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  # 429494 21-Jan-2011 11:56
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One thing i like about mythtv is that its one program and it handles all your pvr functionality for you rather than other solutions where you need to mix and match programs to get what you need.

Also you can just install the desktop version of ubuntu and use a standard feature to setup your file shares, also mythtv setup needs a window manager installed.

So this means you dont have to use any command line to get things setup which for me is a good thing.

162 posts

Master Geek

  # 430316 23-Jan-2011 20:30
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Yes I will be using it to watch videos, and probably play music. Ubuntu and mythtv sound good. I am going away for a week, so I will have a look at it when I get back.

162 posts

Master Geek

  # 432935 30-Jan-2011 20:22
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Really bad news!! In all the rain from Wilma, my house got flooded and there is a lot of stuff destroyed. Looks like my plans will be on hold while I purchase replacement items.

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