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On Thr 18 Jan 2007, MerriLUG was proud to host Jared Wilson, who presented on MythTV. This page is an attempt to collect some of the notes about the presentation.

The MythTV home page is:

Jared's home page is , which includes a section on Fedora Myth(TV)ology.

How it works

The MythTV system downloads it's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) data from, via an XML export feature. Zap2It requires free registration for this. Zap2It's motivation is apparently to avoid tons of screen scrapers hammering their web servers. Zap2It is operated by Tribune (incidentally, TiVo uses the same company for their EPG data). EPG is available 12 days ahead of airdate.

If you have multiple MythTV boxes, you really should try and make sure they all have the same version. Compatability between versions is not good.

Tuner/Capture Hardware

Any card needs to be Video4Linux (V4L) compatible. There are dozens of compatible cards. Check the MythTV website for information on what works and what does not.

The Hauppauge WinTV PVR line is popular. Some notes on models:

  • PVR-250 is a good started. The IR receiver (for remote control) is not the best.
  • The hardware decoder on the PVR-350 is of limited use.
  • The PVR-500 is a dual-tuner card, and functions just like having two PVR-250 cards.

One bit of hardware that Jared recommended was the HD Home Run, from SiliconDust. It is basically an Ethernet-to-TV bridge. You plug coax into one side, Ethernet into the other, and you're in business. It contains everything you need to tune, capture, encode, and stream a TV signal over the 'net. It can be used with MythTV and other software as a capture device. This lets you put your TV input hardware in a different location than your MythTV backend storage hardware.

Per FCC rule, any modern (within the past few years) digital cable box must have a FireWire port, which will provide the (possibly encrypted) digital video stream. Thus, if you have such a cable box and a FireWire port on your PC, you don't need a tuner/capture card.

Other Hardware

Jared recommended NVidia video display hardware, with the binary-only, closed-source driver. He also recommended the use of the a config tweak in the X server configuration file: Set "=UseEvents True=". He said the ATI cards can sometimes be made to work, but sometimes not, and all require too much effort.

Lots and lots of disk storage. The more, the better. Standard definition recordings consume about 2.5 gigabytes/hour. High definition recordings consume from 6 to 12 gigabytes/hour.

MythTV has an archving plugin for archiving to DVD.

Any LIRC device (IR remote control) will work.

For playback, a 600 MHz PIII is minimum for std def. High def needs a lot more, perhaps a 2 to 3 GHz P4 or similar. There are a lot of things you can do in the area of performance tuning.

Network streaming (i.e., a recording stored on one box, playing on a different box, over the network) is possible. MythTV uses its own protocol, or you can use NFS/etc. Std def needs about 3 megabits/second. High def can use up to 17 megabits/second. Avoid wireless (802.11) -- even if nominal throughput is there, contention and packet loss will kill you.

Other resources

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Provided AS IS. Use information here strictly AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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Topic revision: r2 - 2007-01-22 - BenScott

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