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OTA Forum Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been following the MythTV 0.22 thread all along and it seems to me that many or most of the problems I've seen there are things that Ubuntu users deal with. I have not faced anywhere near as much difficulty using Mandriva Linux 2010 as the base OS using a variety of different OTA hardware.

So, here is what I recommend for an easy Mythtv installation & setup:
  1. prepare your PC for installation by connecting all DTV cards & devices, powered on
  2. install Mandriva 2010 (I use the 64-bit PowerPack version - do not use a Beta or testing version of Mandriva)
  3. keep in mind that Ubuntu is only one type of Linux distribution with its own ways of doing things, and so is Mandriva, so take it slow to get things right
  4. during software selection do not select any of the listed MythTV apps for install yet
  5. after system installation completes, login for the first time and add all of the Penguin Liberation Front software media to the system as described here
  6. after you've done that, open the Configure Your Computer tool (you'll need the root password)
  7. run a full software update using the Update Your Computer tool so that all the latest versions of everything are installed
  8. open the Install & Remove Software tool and in the search field enter "myth" to see all the MythTV stuff you'll want
  9. PLF versions are always better to have than the standard Mandriva versions, so select accordingly
  10. all required and dependent software programs will be automatically installed too
  11. after all the software has been added, commence setting up MythTV according to numerous FAQs and HOWTOs on the mythtv.org site and on the web
If all goes well like it always seems to for me, you should end up with everything working perfectly right out of the box.

If it doesn't, post here for help. :)
 

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I've been following the MythTV 0.22 thread all along and it seems to me that many or most of the problems I've seen there are things that Ubuntu users deal with.
Err, no. But thanks for playing! :)

People using Mythbuntu can simply skip the first 10 of your 11 steps above. :)

The problems are with the mythtv software itself (step 11 above), which is more or less identical regardless of the Linux distro used underneath.

And with the kernel device drivers used to manage the tuner cards. Again, the kernel is mostly the same (versions do vary, though) across distros of similar vintage.

Installing a mythtv distro is trivial.
Getting it running is usually not too bad.
But configuring it so that everything works properly is the final 10% that takes 99% of the time.

Cheers
 

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OTA Forum Moderator
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Discussion Starter #3
And you've used the PLF-built MythTV software on Mandriva how many times? :)

I must be the luckiest guy on earth. :)
 

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So.. how's the analog reception on your 950Q tuners?
And how about that 4x5 grid on your EPG screen?
Does RightArrow play the currently selected recording?
Does LeftArrow exit from the "Watch Recordings" menu?
How many times has your HVR-1600 lost the audio track -- oh, wait, you don't have one of those for analog use.

Nothing there is affected by what distro one is using -- it's all mythtv software and the v4l2-dvb kernel drivers.
 

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To claim that in general people's issues with MythTV are only due to the distribution they are using or are only due to the MythTV software is a gross generalization. There are actually four groups of software (and therefore potential sources for problems):

1. Linux software not specific to MythTV or any particular distribution.
2. Software specific to the distribution, including the package manager, package repositories and the packages themselves.
3. MythTV software not specific to any distribution.
4. Distribution specific MythTV software; mostly the installer, but also configuration assistants and maybe things like remote control interfaces.

The problem is most people don't distinguish between the various groups of software, often referring to any problem as a problem with MythTV.

My experience so far has been with MythBuntu 9.10 (MythTV 0.22) creating a MBE, using the LiveCD for a FE and an OSX FE. See my post for the issues I ran into.

The fact there are many different distributions is a strong indication that each has strengths and weaknesses. And although it is probably possible to install MythTV on a given distribution, using Mythbuntu (or LinHES, or MythDora) provides a simplified install process and the addition of the distribution specific MythTV software. (However, this simplification often means less control, customization, and hardware options.)
 

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OTA Forum Moderator
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Discussion Starter #6
Easy does it there - I'm showing people an alternative way to install and setup MythTV. I'm glad to do it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
PLF apps

mlord I was just looking through that list you made and most of it either doesn't apply or doesn't matter to me.

I'm clarifying here that I'm showing people how to do an easy job of installing and setting up MythTV on Mandriva with the benefit of PLF-built apps, which are terrific. :)
 

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I'm clarifying here that I'm showing people how to do an easy job of installing and setting up MythTV on Mandriva with the benefit of PLF-built apps, which are terrific. :)
That would have been a much better way to introduce this thread instead of saying that this will fix all of the problems in the MythTV 0.22 thread. Sounds like this won't fix any of the problems. If I ever want to play with PLF-built apps, I will give Mandriva a try. For now I am just trying to get everything working the way I want it to. I am having lots of fun with it, but it is hard to do a couple minutes at a time, as when at home I often have a baby in one of my arms and thus can't type too easily (thanks Mark for getting the remote to work so at least I can hold the remote with one hand).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I never said it would fix all the problems, but that many or most of the problems with installing and setting up MythTV were to do with Ubuntu, so Mandriva and PLF are a great option.

The items that mlord mentioned are not to do with installing and setting up MythTV per se. They are fixes for specific problems or needs based on ones' hardware or user preferences.

I seem to have tweaked some noses here, which was not my intent.
 

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Stampeder,


Thanks for your post - I wish it was a few days earlier as I spend most of last weekend trying to get MythTV to work for me.

I got it installed but the video would stop when changing channels and I would receive a buffer overload error. I even tried the MythDora version of the install - same thing.

It might be my hardware - not sure but for the hell of it I then tried Windows 7 Media Center and was blown away. I love the interface and the ability to use my Xbox 360 as a media extender.

Best of all it just works..... I'll post my full setup with pictures as soon as all is in place this weekend.

But I for one will not criticize your efforts to help others as I could have used it last weekend.

Cheers
 

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OTA Forum Moderator
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Discussion Starter #11
I'm always delighted when people get the reception that they desire even if its not with my recommended methods, so its great that you found a solution. I can't help you with W7MC in this thread though. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
My OTA PVR system

I run a separate mythbackend machine that carries all the tuners, stores the recordings internally, and streams the programming over my Gigabit Ethernet home network or Wireless B/G wlan. In today's configuration I'm using the following gear on it:
  • AMD X64 2-core CPU on MSI mobo with 4GB ram and 3TB dedicated recording storage space on separate raid from 500GB OS & miscelaneous use system disk, all running on Mandriva Linux 2010 with PLF software
  • runs on command line (init runlevel 3) but can go into GUI mode if I ever need
  • I run regular system and mythconverg database backups to an eSATA external hard drive
  • 1 pcHDTV 5500 PCI card for DTV
  • 1 Hauppauge 950Q USB device for DTV
  • 1 Hauppauge 950Q USB device for Clear QAM cable TV
  • 1 Hauppauge 950 USB device for DTV
  • 1 Hauppauge 150 PCI card for NTSC analogue OTA
  • 1 Hauppauge 150 PCI card for NTSC basic analogue cable TV
  • DVD burner, multi-card reader, USB 2.0, Firewire, and eSATA connectivity
Before anyone cries "heresy" about the OTA Forum Moderator using cable tv I have the basic cable connection because I use Delta Cable High Speed Internet as my ISP. Delta Cable often has Clear QAM channels. ;)

Of all the DTV tuner devices I've tried over the years, my favourite is the pcHDTV 5500. It works perfectly, it has excellent command line diagnostic tools, and the DTV performance is top notch in my experience. If I had another PCI slot available I'd swap in my second pcHDTV 5500 for one of the USB devices in an instant. The analogue side of the pcHDTV 5500 is good too, but I prefer my old Hauppauge 150s for that. ;)

My main mythfrontend machine is part of my Home Theatre apparatus feeding into my Onkyo AVR and Sony 60" HDTV via HDMI. I've configured it as a high performance multimedia, Internet, and office desktop PC running on Mandriva Linux 2010 with PLF software. It runs an AMD 4-core CPU on an ASUS mobo with 8GB ram and 2TB of storage on a separate raid from the OS disk. The video card is an Nvidia GT220, which fully uses the excellent vdpau functionality. It has separate DVD and Blu-ray burners, a multi-card reader, USB 2.0, Firewire, Bluetooth, IR, and eSATA connectivity. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse to watch MythTV programming. I used to run a fully featured Hauppauge remote control and then trained my Harmony remote to control it instead, but I got tired of playing with it when the keyboard does everything I want so I don't spend much time on that anymore.

I found that for my personal uses and old habits, scripts, programs, settings, etc. it was much easier to install MythTV over a full Linux distro than to use the dedicated MythTV distros (MythDora or Mythbuntu) which required me to do a lot of fiddling around to get the above personal preferences ready for my use.

With Mandriva the list of available software (particularly the wonderful PLF stuff) is a much better fit for my needs, and I've been using it since the late 1990s so I'm quite familiar with their way of doing things.
 

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My main mythfrontend machine is part of my Home Theatre apparatus feeding into my Onkyo AVR and Sony 60" HDTV via HDMI. I've configured it as a high performance multimedia, Internet, and office desktop PC. It runs an AMD 4-core CPU on an ASUS mobo with 8GB ram and 2TB of storage on a separate raid from the OS disk.
Why do you need such a high end machine for your frontend? Isn't most of the work being done by the video card? Thought most people tried to use a small, quiet machine.

I used to run a fully featured Hauppauge remote control and then trained my Harmony remote to control it
If it is only a frontend and doesn't have a tuner, how did you receive the IR commands from the Hauppauge remote?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Why do you need such a high end machine for your frontend?
As I say, I've configured it as a high performance multimedia, Internet, and office desktop PC that is used for a variety of things other than just watching TV. I edit/burn videos and music, surf the 'net, read/write documents, etc. and I used to fly WWII combat flight sims on it (using WINE) with a force-feedback joystick. I once built a completely stripped down mythfrontend box for one of my other HDTVs but we seldom use it so it just sits there.
If it is only a frontend and doesn't have a tuner, how did you receive the IR commands from the Hauppauge remote?
The mythfrontend has a dedicated USB 2.0 IR Receiver that came with the remote. I configured LIRC on the mythfrontend so that when the remote control commands it to do something, it passes along any server-side requirements that it doesn't handle on to the mythbackend.
 

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I never said it would fix all the problems, but that many or most of the problems with installing and setting up MythTV were to do with Ubuntu
And that assertion is patently false, that's all. :)

Most / all of the problems in the 0.22 thread are due to drivers and MythTV itself; very few, if any, are due to the underlying distribution.

Now.. back to your setup.. it's probably the second most elaborate one on these boards! ;)
 

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The analogue side of the pcHDTV 5500 is good too
Except you don't use it, which according to google search results is also wise. I looked into that card as a possible HVR-1600 alternative, but found numerous analog complaints for it too.

There doesn't seem to be a 100% working dual-mode tuner card (or USB stick) out there for MythTV. What a shame.

All of my DTV tuners "work perfectly". As does the analog-only PVR-250 here. It's only the dual-mode ones that have issues, and always with the analog side.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
PCI Card Advice

Unfortunately the days of common availability of mobos with 4 or 5 PCI slots seem to be over. :eek: Nowadays some mobos have none, some only one, with the rest being PCI-E.

My advice is that if a person has 2 or more open PCI slots a good mixed-mode system that is 100% bulletproof on MythTV would have pcHDTV 5500s for ATSC and Hauppauge 150s for NTSC in order to avoid any of the driver issues.

Even though the pcHDTV 5500 sports the older Generation 5 ATSC chipset I find that the sensitivity is superior to any of the other DTV tuners I've ever owned. The 950 and the 950Qs just don't match the pcHDTV 5500's ability to lock onto stations. The Hauppauge 150s are clearly superior in analogue NTSC reception and performance to any of those dual-modulation devices.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
mlord said:
back to your setup.. it's probably the second most elaborate one on these boards
Well, actually... ;)

My mythbackend machine has all sorts of eggs in one basket so is UPSed. It is a firewall, LAN and WLAN router, network traffic analyzer/detector, caching Squid web proxy, caching DNS server, and a DHCP, NTP, NFS, SMB, (etc. etc.) server too. If anyone wants to set up a superbox like mine I can guide you through it.

The great thing is that in my testing, with all services running and with 3 simultaneous ATSC HD streams recording while playing back another on one of the mythfrontends, no performance issue was seen even when I submitted a 3MB print job from a Mac.

Just to be clear for everyone, most people would be fine with a single MythTV box that is both backend and frontend.
 

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My mythbackend machine has all sorts of eggs in one basket so is UPSed.
I actually want to put a UPS on my MythTV box for several reasons. First of all power glitches can be hard on a PC so it is a small investment to protect my hardware. It would also be nice to keep recording through small power interruptions (though you might temporarily loose signal if you have a signal amplifier).

For these reasons, it would be nice if there was a MythTV plugin for a UPS. Although most activities could be covered with software such as Apcupsd, but I can think of several Myth related activities that would be nice to do in the case of a power failure.

First of all, assuming you don't have your TV battery backed up (it would probably draw too much power), it would be nice if it automatically paused and bookmarked the program you are watching. In the case of Live TV, it could archive the recording so you can continue watching later if you want (if you don't loose signal).

Secondly, things like the video card could be shutdown to conserve power (though this could probably be done with Apcupsd). Similarly, you could tell it to exit the frontend if the power is off for more than a specified amount of time.

For the backend, the shutdown behavour could be modified based on what it is doing. If it is idle, it could shutdown after a relatively short amount of time with a request to power up in time for the next recording to conserve the battery. If it is recording a program, it could keep the power on as long as possible in hopes that it can finish the recording and only shutdown when the battery is almost completely exhausted (or the recording is complete). Also, non-essential processes (such as commercial tagging, transcoding and even mythfilldatabase) could be postponed to minimize the load on the CPU so that it can run at a lower power level to conserve battery power.

I have done a bit of looking, but haven't found anything like this. Has anyone else found something? Do you think it could be useful?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I don't know of a "power management" plugin but I like what you're proposing as long as the machine is purely for MythTV use.
 
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