Installing the OS and Drivers

As a forewarning, this is not a replacement for the excellent MythTV documentation. We have only included our installation for completeness.

SuSE 9.1 has a blindly simple installation, so we won't really go over that here. We used all default options while installing; everything went very smoothly. Although you may run YAST now for the online update, remember to re-run it again later if you install any RPMs. This is particularly true if you install the kernel-source RPM after you have already updated your kernel to a different version. For the remainder of our article, we will use the 2.6.5-7.104-default kernel.

Unfortunately - as we had somewhat expected - SuSE does not have very good support for Hauppauge hardware encoding PVRs. SuSE knows it's there; it just doesn't know what to do with it.

For us, the most painful part of the installation came when installing IvyTv, the open Linux drivers for iTVC15 found on the Hauppauge PVR-250. IvyTV (commonly called "ivtv") has a simple download page, and we opted for the 0.1.9 release found here. Since we will be compiling some kernel modules, we need to install the kernel-source package from YAST or via RPM. YAST solves all the dependency issues for us, so that is what we generally use.

Back in the ivtv driver directory, we go ahead and run make. If the Linux kernel source is installed correctly, within a few seconds, we should have working PVR kernel modules. We can attempt to load the card right now using the commands below:

# modprobe i2c-core
# modprobe i2c-algo-bit
# modprobe tuner type=2
# modprobe msp3400
# modprobe videodev
# modprobe saa7115
# modprobe ivtv

Getting Started IvyTV (continued)
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  • NullSpin - Saturday, September 4, 2004 - link

    I can't tell you how long I have been waiting for this article. I have been waiting to buy components for almost a year but did not want to wade into this project with no idea of what hardware was reccomended. I'm also really interested in seeing the process of adding an nfs server into the mix for additional storage.
    Maybe you could price out a 'quiet' system and the various form factors for htpc's.
    Can't wait for part deux.
  • sisyphus - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    I have just one thing to say about MythTV:

    Save yourself some time and grief!

    Use KnoppMyth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Nnyan - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Just had another thought, how does MythTV compare to other applications like Freevo?
  • griffy - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Great job, thanks.
    In your next article, could you let us know a little more why you chose the hardware you did, and maybe what you think the minimum might be?
  • archcommus87 - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Wow, goes to show me that there are still topics out there I know NOTHING about. Most of this article was over my head. Is that because I'm not familiar with Linux or something else?

    Just the whole part about getting the card setup, the commands to run, the Myth database, etc. WHOOSH.
  • Resh - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Thanks for replying Kris, but your reply makes me cry. My Hitachi doesn't have a DVI or VGA-in so unless I can get the TV-out on the vid card to work under Linux, I'm dead in the water.

    If anyone has seen any good directions on making Suse, Fedora, or Mandrake work with the TV-out on currently available nVidia card or Radeon 8500, please let me know! llama at rogers dot com

    Kris, if you can cover this in the next, or a third, I'd have your children (although my wife might object). ;-)

  • Nnyan - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Cool article. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have read which distros DID work well with MythTV and perphaps the PVR-250. Perphaps in part 2?

    Thanks to skeptic for the mention of KnoppMyth distro.
  • JoeNiner - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Please please please include a KnoppMyth install in a follow up!
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Resh: We only used a PVR-250, so there is no passthrough. We just hooked the DVI out on our GeForce card up to the TV :)

  • meksta - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    mythTV is perhaps the most versatile piece of software I have come across. You can build a system for cheaper if you want. I am running myth on a XP2500+ cpu and Chaintech 7nif2 mobo (built-in s-video out). I also run two el-cheapo tv tuner cards for some simultaneous recordings.

    With a PVR250, that does hardware encoding, you really don't need a kick ass cpu at all.

    I agree it takes a while to set up. But once I had it up and's been happily stable since.

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