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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 04-12-2008, 01:59 PM   #1
slackhack
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mythtv: which computer?


I was going to add some mythtv capabilities to my network for some light use, but I'm not sure what would be the best way to install it with my particular hardware. The two computers I am considering using as the backend both have their flaws for this. For the card, I was just going to go basic with the hauppage pvr 150, which seems to get good linux compatability reviews here and on newegg.

Computer 1 is my desktop machine, with AMD64 3200+, 1GB ram, with 80GB and 160GB hard drives, but partitioned into smaller units, most half full, etc.

Computer 2 is a headless debian LAMP/bittorrent server, with an XP 1600+, 768MB, and a 250GB hdb drive that I could use for the captures. I have the drive NFS-ed to my other computers for sharing of torrents, etc.

Since comp 2 already has mysql and is kind of my defacto file server anyway (planning an IDE card and adding more drives), I'd really like to set up the backend there. The cpu speed, though, seems like it would be too slow, and there's no X (if that is needed for setting it up?).

Comp 1 has the better CPU and memory, but I'd have to install and run a second mysql (hate that redundancy :P), and probably write and transcode to networked drives. Maybe that wouldn't be a problem? Something about the idea of doing all that over the network makes me a little wary, though. So I guess the question is 1600+/786mb enough? Or is there a way to install on comp 1, but use the database already on comp2? that I guess would be a cool way to go, if it's possible. :?:
 
Old 04-12-2008, 02:46 PM   #2
lazlow
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You might be able to side step some of this(assuming you can use digital TV) by using the HDHomerun. It is a dual digital tuner that runs over Ethernet(newegg just started carrying it). It is very well supported on MythTV(and most other PVR software). That way you can access the tuner from any computer on your network. The signal is transmitted as a stream from the HDHomerun, you can (if you like) watch live tv using VLC.

The big thing with PVRs is drive speed. I ran a 1ghz PIII (1gb ram) with a Raid0 setup that did great, so any "modern" cpu can handle the load. The amount of cpu you need will also depend on the resolution you are recording at. 624X352 is pretty popular and will be ok with a normal cpu, but if you want to record at full HD then you will need more cpu (and even faster disks).

As far as the network goes, remember that 100 Ethernet generally only transmits 9megs/s (roughly). When I setup my system I noticed that it was just not enough bandwidth (playing files via nfs with vlc). I was seeing pauses and other problems. I switched up to GigE and everything cleared up.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 05:08 PM   #3
slackhack
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no digital. But reading more of the newegg reviews, it seems like the hardware encoding on most of these cards is good enough where you don't really need a lot of CPU power. A lot of the HTPC web tutorials were talking about like P4 2.x-3ghz, etc. but it seems like that is not really necessary, and more useful in fact to have more CPU on the front end.

So I think you're right that the HD is going to be the limiting factor. The drive I plan to use is the master on the second channel, and I'm converting the partition to XFS, so that's about the best I can do with HD speed for now. When I add more drives I guess I'll LVM them, not sure about the performance in that case. But I think it should be fine for what I plan to do. I have had no problem streaming video over the network at all, even over wireless to my laptop, so as long as the HD can handle it, I think I am good to go with the card in the 1600+ box. thanks for your pointers, appreciate it.

Last edited by slackhack; 04-12-2008 at 05:09 PM.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
lazlow
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The LVM just allows you to span drives. It will not help with performance. Converting to XFS may by you a 10% (if you are lucky) speed boost, but that is about all. My old PVR card did NOT have hardware encoding.

On the digital TV thing: What country are you in?
 
Old 04-12-2008, 06:14 PM   #5
slackhack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazlow View Post
The LVM just allows you to span drives. It will not help with performance. Converting to XFS may by you a 10% (if you are lucky) speed boost, but that is about all. My old PVR card did NOT have hardware encoding.

On the digital TV thing: What country are you in?
I'm in the US, but I don't have digital cable, just analog.

which PVR card did you have? most of even the older hauppauge 150s seem to have hardware encoding. was it some AIW card?


>> oh btw - I don't need X on the backend, do I?

edit2: d@mn, I guess I do. hmm, X on the server box, or mysql on the desktop - tough choice.

Last edited by slackhack; 04-12-2008 at 06:46 PM.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 06:55 PM   #6
lazlow
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All of the basic channels are sent in both digital and analog on almost all cable systems. There is a big fight right now where cable companies want to stop sending the analog signals when OTA (over the air) signals go to all digital (Feb 09). They will probably get this done because each analog channel eats up 6(?) channels worth of bandwidth. As long as you are not using a convert box, you will get the same channels you now get with the HDHomerun.

It was the generation 1 Asus tv card circa 1994(?).
 
Old 04-13-2008, 09:35 AM   #7
slackhack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazlow View Post
All of the basic channels are sent in both digital and analog on almost all cable systems. There is a big fight right now where cable companies want to stop sending the analog signals when OTA (over the air) signals go to all digital (Feb 09). They will probably get this done because each analog channel eats up 6(?) channels worth of bandwidth. As long as you are not using a convert box, you will get the same channels you now get with the HDHomerun.
So iow, if all analog goes to digital, the PVR cards will be obsolete in less than a year? My understanding was that only the over the air signals wouldn't be accessible with analog gear anymore, and the move to digital wouldn't affect regular cable. I can't imagine they would make everything almost everyone is using obsolete overnight, and require all kinds of new cable boxes, etc. would they? It seems like they would phase in analog -> digital more gradually.
 
Old 04-13-2008, 01:33 PM   #8
lazlow
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Almost all the cable boxes now are digital. Almost all the TVs sold in the last few years can receive digital over cable. The cable companies are trying to avoid updating their systems as much as possible. If they can get the FCC to go along, they can add the HD channels they need to have in order to compete with satellite(and others) without taking up any more bandwidth. It will also free up bandwidth for phone and HSI. Right now the cable companies are only required to transmit the local basic channels in analog. Some cable companies are already dropping all the analog channels they can (and still stay within the rules).
 
  


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