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Old 02-25-2007, 03:48 PM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2007
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Advice regarding home media center hardware


I'm trying to build a MythTV home theatre system, but I'm knocking myself out with hardware problems. I was trying to make use of an ageing desktop (bought in 2002, Gigabyte motherboard with a GeForce 2 MX/MX400 video card) but I've had issues.

I made a bad choice of tuner card (Dvico Fusion PRO - apparently not supported) but now I've got a LeadTek WinFast DTV1000 which seems to be recognised - but I haven't configured yet.

Anyway, what I would really like to do is this outlined below, and before I waste anymore money I'd like to know if anyone has any recommendations considering these requirements:

1. I need to be able to hit the power button to hibernate to disk (currently Ubuntu 6.10 will hibernate to disk, but won't restore - I don't know how to debug this)

2. I need to be able show the display on a TV (for primary use) and also mirror that output on a CRT (for when/if I have problems) Is this considered twinview? I've tried for days to get my GeForce TV out working to no avail - the NVidia drivers seem to be working (splash screen shows but I can't get the xorg conf right to show anything on video out - its just a black screen)

3. I want sound on an optical output so I can connect to my surround sound receiver. The motherboard has a head for connecting an SPDIF bracket but where to you get one of those?

4. I'll need a wireless network connection.

5. I'll need a way to communicate with the Optus cable TV box (I assume I'll have to capture this using the analogue video in?)

6. It would be nice to be able to use Xen - so I can run a development server for web app development - but from what I've read, no video drivers (which I'll need for tv-out) support xen? Have I understood this correctly?

I guess my questions are:

1. Am I wasting my time trying to get this setup on such old hardware?
2. If I bought a new motherboard, how much of this (video card with tv-out, sound with optical out, wireless) could I get onboard?
3. If anyone has any advice, I'll gladly listen.
4. Is it asking too much to get this running with minimal special configuration or am I doomed to go through painful reinstall with many special instructions and exceptions?

ps. I am Australia based
Old 02-25-2007, 05:30 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: holland
Distribution: Gentoo / debian / suse / mint
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i'd really recommend reading this page:

this one

It's a useful guide that explains the different uses for HTPC's and their Hardware Recommendations.
Old 02-25-2007, 06:14 PM   #3
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Registered: Nov 2006
Distribution: Debian Linux 10 (Buster)
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I am just starting to do something like this. From my point of view, if you don't plan to run a PVR, then just let the TV be the TV. The fewer analog components the TV signal has to go through, the better the quality will be. If your TV has a PC port, then use that instead of the TV-out port on your video card.

Your video card, while not a gaming card, should be OK for what you want to do. As far as your motherboard, it's hard to say without knowing what it is, but I'd bet it will be fine, too.

For wireless, I strongly suggest you use a wireless card with an Atheros chipset. Madwifi has its act together and it's almost pain-free to setup an Atheros card. Some of the other chipsets are, frankly, nightmares. Avoid USB at all cost.

For your sound output, try doing an online search. Something like PCCLUB or Frys ( will probably have what you want. I prefer pcclub to Fry's. You might even be able to get it from a Best Buy or even a local PC dealer. Unfortunately, local dealers can be hard to find.

One of the moderators referred me to a package called "freevo". I haven't downloaded it yet, but I will soon. It looks like a good way to do it.

My "proof of concept" was a laptop connected via wireless through a NetGear router to my Debian Linux machine. I used InterVideo's DVD Player on Windows to play a DVD iso Samba share mounted using "Daemon" on the laptop. That's a mouthful to say, but at least it worked. Eventually, I will have my spare machine next to the TV setup to use an IR remote for playing DVDs on that machine's hard disk as well as music. The one thing that I haven't quite got scoped out is how to play music directly to the speakers, without having the Linux box perform the TV reception function. I don't know if there'd be any sound lag if I routed the sound through the Linux box while the TV was playing, but it'd be an issue to program a remote control to turn on the TV, change the channels on the cable box, but change the volume on the PC. I'm sure there's an elegant solution somewhere.


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