Thursday, May 04, 2006


MythTV is now running for almost a week.

Stuff I have working:
- Debian 3.1 Testing base install
- wintv pvr-500 with dual tuners recording hardware encoded mpeg2 streams using the ivtv drivers
- computer in nice case (Antec Overture) and hooked up to TV
- mythvideo, so I can play back German TV segments downloaded from shiftTV using mplayer
- automatic login and start of mythfrontend
- manual commercial skipping (well, ok, that's a mythtv feature, but it's cool. Not as cool as the automatic skip of ReplayTV, though)

Basically, the whole system is usable. Decent video quality, too (especially considering that I'm feeding this via composite TVout to a 10 year old 26" TV). I'm excited!

Stuff I need to work on:

- no remote, still using keyboard
Patricia won't use this unless there is a remote. It is asking a bit much to remember all the relevant key strokes (although, she is getting curious ... slowly). I'm planning to build or buy a cheapo IR receiver for the serial port and re-use one of the dozen IR remotes I have laying around. The ReplayTV one is particularly interesting ("Commercial Skip" button is already properly labeled...)

- TVout borders/overscan
The Nvidia TVout signal leaves an ugly border around the picture. I didn't bother yet with experimenting how to get rid of this, aside from enabling the TV overscan setting in xorg.conf which had zero effect. Maybe need a special ModeLine? Or investigate

- cooling issues
The Antec Overture is a *very* nice case, given the footprint. 3U, so regular expansion cards fit without the need for riser cards. The case is huge, but the case doesn't look bulky. 380W True Power power supply, temperature regulated 9cm fan in the back. The only catch is that the PVR-500, the FX5200 and the CPU generate quite a bit of heat and the airflow is not optimal so that the fan can get the hot air out of the case. It runs at full speed, but the inside of the case still gets very hot. Actually, the case around the PVR-500 feels warm from the outside...
I turned around the airflow of the case fan, so it blows air into the case straight on the hard drive, and installed another fan on the inside that blows air over the PVR-500 and the video card out through the PCI slot holes. Doesn't help much, though. For now, I opened the front expansion slots, so that warm air exits the case through the front.

- scheduled shutdown/boot to save power
Yet another computer sucking up power in the house. MythTV supports putting the computer to sleep after recordings are done and waking it up before the next recording. Need to see what my motherboard supports and how this is all configured.

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