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Sparky 06-16-2010 10:16 PM

What distro or software make an EASY Linux media box including TV (NTSC)?
I'm looking for the easiest way I can set up my system so that I can use my TV tuner card and Linux similar to the way I can with Microsoft's Media Center (Vista or 7). I've tried MythTV on Ubuntu 9 & 10 and even tried several different distro's devoted exclusively to MythTV (Mythbuntu, KnoppMyth, Mythdora, etc.). But it seems that either I am too stupid to understand all the gobbledeegook settings (more than half of which seem to be necessary for certain weirdo countries) or the authors are too "egg-head" to provide simple setup routines or even descent instructions. I mean, my system is used in the USA (Denver, Colorado) so this shouldn't be that hard. Should it? (WTF MythTV?!) Anyway, I have given up trying to use MythTV because it's simply too complicated (not to be punning).

Still, I desperately want to drop Windows altogether but this seeming lack of even a good Linux media application for my TV card, or even one that I can set up easily, keeps me running back to Windows every time I want to watch live TV or record a show on my computer. I mean, I only want to watch TV and maybe be able to record a few shows when I'm not around (DVR them to my hard drive, in other words). Microsoft's Media Center (Vista or 7) allows me to do this quite easily and even let me use my remote control. It's even almost dummy-proof where a near idiot can set it up too. So why isn't there something easy with Linux? Or is there and I just haven't found it yet? (I'm here to tell you MythTV is NOT easy!)

Any suggestions?


My TV card is a Hauppauge PVR-150 (NTSC / NTSC-J 26032) with the Connexant CX23416-22 MPEG-II A/V encoder chipset. It also came with an IR remote control. (I also have a ATI "HDTV Wonder" card on another machine that I can swap out if that makes the setup or compatibility issues any easier.)

My graphics card is a NVidia GForce 7900 GS (from PNY).

My Mobo is a ASUS M2NPV-VM socket AM2 (not AM2+) with an Athlon X2 dual core 64-bit 4800 CPU and 4-gig of memory. (Also there's a single 500GB SATA HD too.)

No weirdo mice or keyboards. They're driverless in other words so no worries there.

Monitor is also easy - just a simple 22-inch HP w2207 connected via DVI (native res 1680 x 1050).

I usually dual boot between Linux and Windows and have no problems wiping out my current Linux distro in favor of another distro should that become necessary. After all, rebuilding GRUB, Lilo or whatever is usually not that hard.

Currently, I have 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04 installed on my Linux side. Although I've also tried 32-bit Ubuntu and other distros too. But either way I go I simply can't get MythTV to work as a whole. Usually I can get to the MythTV back end and even run the graphical setup despite there not being a GUI to launch it (again for you MythTV guys - WTF?). However, I have yet to see a working TV when I configure/run the front end. Usually, I'm cursing and swearing by this time too.

All I really want is a good out of the box Linux distro with a good TV app or a Linux app for Ubuntu that will allow me to watch TV and maybe record a TV show on my computer - Just like Windows (7 or Vista) and Microsoft's Media Center. Being able to use my remote control would be a plus but not required if I can just find something that will work under Linux - easily.

And yes, I know there's no over the air NTSC in USA any more because it all went ATSC "digital" by mandate of the FCC a few months ago. But in case you didn't know, there are still many cable companies in the USA like Comcast who still broadcast NTSC formatted channels 2 to 99 in the VHF/UHF bands over basic cable that don't require set top boxes -- which is what I have and use.

Lastly, I know I've stressed this needs to be easy for me. But I'll even consider re-trying MythTV if I can just find some easy instructions for a poor dumb old American who could care less about PAL standards.

rweaver 06-17-2010 02:49 PM

To make much of the HTPC guides you really have to have a fair understanding of linux and most of the guides aren't concise enough missing this little step here and there. If you're patient you can make most any of them work, but if not... it's very difficult. I would suggest starting the install on one of the mythtv distributions and if you hit a snag give a us a yell before giving up.

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