MythTV is dead, long live Dreambox!

This week I was fed up with the recurring issues I have with my MythTV setup. We got used to the long channel changes and accepted that the remote control (actually LircD) acted up on a frequent basis. Yet after having had a lot of issues with my ATI card, I switched to nvidia. This week I did an upgrade to get Lirc more stable, which caused my video to lag… I suppose that some MythTV internal changed as updating/downgrading my nvidia drivers didn’t work.

As the WAF was completely ruined and each “downtime” caused my lifetime to shorten with a few years, I decided to go with my initial hunch to buy a dreambox. Two days later the box arrived and after a bit of googling I flashed the device with the PLI image and I was AMAZED!!! I repeat myself: AMAZED!!!

  • Fast channel changes… WOW
  • Very good remote control… WOW
  • Easy plugin/update system… WOW
  • TV & Radio channesl seperated… NICE
  • Low Power Usage… YEAH
  • And so SMALL!!! The remote is about the same size as the device.

It’s a linux device underneath the hood, so I can simply manage connectivity to other devices. So it instantly became a small nas server for my other media devices too… Which brings me to another point; what will I do with my old MythTV hardware? 😉

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How much energy does my HTPC consume?

After check the power usage of my HTPC setup I can conclude that:

  • HTPC : Uses between 71 & 76 watt (3 watt when turned off)
    (100+ watt on bootup when the Cool’n’Quiet isn’t active yet)
  • TV : This on uses ~117 watt when turned on (0 watt when turned off)
  • TUNER : This one uses 5 to 7 watt when turned on, and 3 watt when turned off.

To put it in a nice table for easy comparision:

The HTPC uses about 50% of a normal pc, but it uses 10 times as much as my previous tuner. A CRT (+ speaker) would need the same amount of energy as my current TV, but an LCD would be cheaper (in energy usage).

References
Thanks to Stijn Bosse for lending me his power (wattage) meter.
Other readings were assumed by the following data.

MythTV & XBOX Integration

XBMC offers native MythTV support from Revision 12173. It’s still pretty beta, but (in my eyes) it’s still working better than the python scripts.

The HOWTO
Add MythTV as a Video Source

  • 1. Once XBMC is installed and running on your Xbox go to “Videos” and select “Add Source”
  • 2. In the “Enter the paths or browse for the media locations.” field you will need to enter the properly formatted username, password, and IP information for your mythconverg database. This information should be prefixed with “myth://” and follow standard linux network access formatting of: “username:password@ipaddress”. For example, if your mythconverg database is located on a machine whose ip address is 192.168.1.116 and uses the username “mythtv” and the password “mythtv” you should enter the following:

    myth://mythtv:mythtv@192.168.1.116

  • 3. Input a name for this source in the “Enter a name for this Media Source” field. This name is what will appear in the “Videos” list of XBMC.
  • 4. Click on “OK” to add this source to the “Videos” list.

The ISSUE
The issue that I had was that my XBOX froze after selecting a channel. It was caused because my MythTV backend returned it’s hostname to the XBOX, which was unable to resolve (DNS) it. So I gave my backend a fully qualified dns name, which was resolvable and the issue was fixed. From now on, I reused my old XBOX (which was turning into a dust collector).

References
MythTV: Xbox Frontend
XBMC Forums

Running back to the right mediacenter for my needs (part two)

MythTV addictAfter thrashing MythTV in an earlier post of mine, I came to fall back to it… One of the main requirements I had was to be able to stream TV to multiple clients across my home, yet the TV-Server component of Team Mediaportal proved unstable as hell to me. I was unable to view channels I was capable of viewing in the standalone version. I switched to SageTV for a few days, where I must say that this software proved that installing a media center can be “easy”. Yet it lacked some smaller features, required licenses for the base & every extender… which became a big “turnoff”. 😉

So I switched back to MythTV, and… Continue reading “Running back to the right mediacenter for my needs (part two)”

Finding the right mediacenter for my needs

Introduction
xbmc logoCombine all the media one

    has (television, pictures, movies, sound fragments,…), and think about the number of devices one needs to have. A computer for viewing those foto’s, where some media fragments and pictures are located. Then we have our hifi set for our cd’s & dvd’s, maybe even a tuner for the satellite connection. In the old days there was even a VCR involved… In my mind WAY TOO MANY devices! So I went looking.

    The first move I made in this area was to transform my old XBOX to a media center. The software I used for this was XBMC (Xbox Media Center). But this setup turned out to have two disadvantages:

  • Legal : Microsoft isn’t too fond of the project, and it balances on the line between legal & illegal. Therefor the software isn’t easy to obtain, as one needs (read: should) to compile it theirselves.
  • TV : There is no direct TV option in XBMC. One would be able to create an integration using uPNP, but then again… it wouldn’t be “native”.

So I had my tv tuner & my xbox for all my media needs… But being human, I still wasn’t fully satisfied. 😉

Continue reading “Finding the right mediacenter for my needs”

The unofficial guide to getting your TV-out working on an ATI X1250

Introduction
MythTV SetupFor a long time I used an old XBOX with the homebrew mediacenter for my media purposes. Being the Open Source enthusiast, I didn’t want to have a proprietary vendor lock-in by the market leaders in Belgium (Belgamcom TV & Telenet). So I joined the only decent alternative (being TV Vlaanderen : satellite provider)), as they allow the use of own hardware.
At a given point my girlfriend wanted to record her favorite show when she wasn’t at home, and I wanted a cheap alternative to stream the tv across the home. MythTV came on top after checking out different alternatives. Freevo didn’t seem to convince me, VDR looked decent, but in the end MythTV had the upperhand on marketshare & documentation.
Anyways… I bought my self the hardware to setup my box, which included an ASUS M2A-VM HDMI motherboard. But how could I forget to check this… the chipset it used an ATI chipset for it’s integrated video (being the X1250). After setup in the MythTV box with MythBuntu everything worked like a charm, except the “LiveTV”. It was “laggy”, “choppy”, … a tad to slow to get passed the “WAF”-test (Wife Annoyance Factor).
Continue reading “The unofficial guide to getting your TV-out working on an ATI X1250”