Once in a while, we get so excited about writing an article that we completely lose focus and end up with a 10,000 word epic instead of a concise little review. This two-part Linux TiVo article ended up being one of those articles. Of course, we aren't really building a Linux TiVo, but rather something as close as we can come, with some rudimentary hardware and free software - such as Linux and MythTV.

Considering the cost of a TiVo, service runs anywhere from $100 to $600 per year depending on what DVR and subscription you buy. Building a moderate MythTV machine for around $500 actually saves us money in the long run. Building our own device also allows us to upgrade hardware easily and reconfigure the software at our will.

Ultimately, we would like our machine comparable to a TiVo device; but in actuality, we really would like it to perform as well or better than a machine based on the same hardware running the newest Windows Media Center (Anand wrote a small MCE introduction 18 months ago). Recently, we obtained a new whitebox Media Center device with similar hardware found in this Part I of our Linux TiVo experiment. Our goal for Part I of the article is to get Linux, MythTV and all the trimmings working successfully so that we can square both machines off against each other; and then compare encoding, image quality and functionality. We are publishing Part I: The Installation today, but expect Part II: The Comparison in just a few days.

If all goes well, we will probably follow up with a Part III some weeks later, dissecting Freevo, GeexBox, etc.

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  • shiftomnimega - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Looking forward to part 2.
  • Brazen - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    No win32 distribution for MythTV :(
  • skeptic - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Try the Knoppmyth distribution. IMHO it is the best and easiest to use. Total install time for me was around 20 minutes and I had previously unsuccessfully fumbled around with mythtv on red hat.

    My setup uses the Huappauge PVR 350 card which has a whole set of issues when attempting to get the tv-out on the card to work, but man the quality was actually better than on my TIVO. One month after I had it working I called up TIVO and cancelled - it felt so good. I have been running knoppmyth for over 6 months now and its fantastic.
  • reboos - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Thank you for the article.
  • Aquila76 - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    From Page 2: "Originally, we had scheduled to run all of our testes with the Hauppage WinTV Go card"

    Let me know how your testes run after that! ;>)

    Seriously though, great article. Interesting that there's only a $60 savings (up front) for the Linux PVR over the WinMCE box. Tells you the cost of WinMCE is actually pretty cheap! If only they'd make it available for purchase, but they probably won't because of DMCA or something.
  • Kishkumen - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Nice article. I've been a fan of MythTV for quite some time and have enjoyed experimenting with it. The biggest detriment to my full time usage has been a lack of viable Linux HDTV drivers for my particular card based upon the Teralogic TL880 chipset. However, I look forward to becoming more involved with it as more HDTV capture cards with good Linux support become available.
  • Adul - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    Kris, nice article. I am glad you wrote it. Now I want to build my own :D
  • Resh - Friday, September 3, 2004 - link

    It's late. I was about to go to bed when I saw this article. I leapt with glee! After a quick skim, I can't say that I saw any discussion of how SuSE dealt with the TV-Out. Did it work? Were you using TV-out during this whole process. Some explanation in this area would be great, either as an update, or as the opening to Part II.

    Looking foward to reading it, and the follow-up, in detail.

    I love AT! :)

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