MythTV — Like TiVO w/no subscription!

I had heard about this thing called MythTV a couple of times when looking at posts on Slashdot, mostly when issues regarding TiVO came up, but I had never looked into it until recently. Then my wife mentioned that she kinda wanted a TiVO and that got me started with a more in depth look. From what I could tell, the easiest thing to do was through a Hauppauge WinTV PVR 350 into a semi-decent computer, install linux, then install MythTV. Easy, right?

So I used Froogle to find the cheapest price on a WinTV 350 card that I could. Once it arrived, I followed Jarod Wilson’s giude to installing MythTV on Fedora Core 4. Over the course of the next two days (a lot of the time was spent on waiting for installs and downloads) I got MythTV 90% of the way there. I couldn’t seem to get the sound to work. So I emailed the MythTV users list and discovered that I missed an option in the setup to use the PVR 350 for video out and for sound. Oops.

So now I have a working MythTV installation that allows me to pause live TV and time-shift my viewing. I also have it set up so I can log in from anywhere on the Internet and set the box to record a show. So if I’m at my parent’s house and realize that if I stay any longer I’m gonna miss some show I’ve been wanting to watch, I can just log into my Myth box and set it to record!

I still have a couple of little issues with Myth, but overall I love it. My current issues are (off the top of my head):

  • Channel changing is really slow
  • The fonts in the on screen guide are so small they’re pretty much useless
  • I still need to figure out how to make channel icons work – solved
  • My wireless network card is unreliable (it’s an older 802.11b card that sometimes loses connection)
  • The On Screen Display and the setup menus often place things off the screen where they aren’t really visible
  • The sound output from the PVR 350 can only be used for TV sound. Other things that require sound (such as MP3 playback, games, etc) don’t work without a real sound card
  • I only have a 20GB drive for my /video mount so that limits how much stuff I can record
  • It may be that I just haven’t found the module for it, but there’s an FM tuner in the PVR 350 that I don’t seem to have any support for in MythTV

Some of these are obviously thing I have to solve while others are issues with MythTV and/or the ivtv drivers.

UPDATE 26-Nov-2005: Solved the first problem – got my channel icons!

2 Replies to “MythTV — Like TiVO w/no subscription!”

  1. Yeah, I’ve got it. I set it up last year after Christmas. It took a couple months of tinkering to get it running real good. Then, last weekend I bought a second encoder card so that it can record two channels at once. Now, its back to tinkering for a while.

    I’ve got a PVR-350 and now a PVR-150. It looks like my P3 500 Mhz processor will be able to handle it. Those encoder cards are real workhorses.

    I don’t use the live TV because of the channel changing speed. Instead I just watch live TV with my TV. I just read that changing the file system might improve channel changing.

    I use the Knoppmyth distribution.
    The really nice thing about this is the forum and wiki, which have tons of advice and very helpful people. The setup in Jarod’s guide is close to what most of the developers have so it helps sometimes.

    Anyways, there was a change to the auto-expire system a while ago and it caused the auto-expire to fail and prevent new recordings if the files got corrupted. I fixed that bug.

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