Building a Linux PVR Part I - MythTV Setup and Installby Kristopher Kubicki on September 3, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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IvyTV (continued)Supposedly, our tuner card is working correctly. We can quickly check to see if everything went OK by using the utilities included with the ivtv drivers and also by checking the /var/log/messages log. Our log reveals something like this:
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: ivtv: Found an iTVC16 based chip
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: (0) scl=1, sda=1
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: (1) scl=1, sda=0
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: (2) scl=1, sda=1
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: (3) scl=0, sda=1
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: (4) scl=1, sda=1
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: i2c-algo-bit.o: ivtv i2c driver #0 passed test.
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: tuner: chip found at addr 0xc2 i2c-bus ivtv i2c driver #0
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: tuner: type set to 2 (Philips NTSC (FI1236,FM1236 and compatibles)) by insmod option
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: msp34xx: init: chip=MSP3448W-A2 +nicam +simple +radio
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: msp3410: daemon started
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: saa7114.c: starting probe for adapter ivtv i2c driver #0 (0x10005)
Sep 2 13:31:36 linux kernel: saa7114.c: detecting saa7114 client on address 0x42
dmesg also reports success:
# dmesg | tail
ivtv: No mem on buf alloc!
ivtv: Buffer alloc failed!
ivtv: Registered v4l2 device, minor 0
ivtv: Registered v4l2 device, minor 32
ivtv: Registered v4l2 device, minor 224
ivtv: Registered v4l2 device, minor 24
Linux finally sees a v4l2 (video 4 linux) device. Note: YAST will not see the card. In order to run the utility packages from ivtv, particularly the tuner script, we needed to install perl and a few dependencies. All of these dependencies can be handled by YAST with the exception of:
perl-Video-ivtv-0.12-1.noarch.rpm (right click to download)
perl-Video-Frequencies-0.03-1.noarch.rpm (right click to download)
We pulled both of these RPMs off ATRPMs.net, but we have included them in the review in case you have difficulty locating them. The ptune-ui.pl utility allows us to change the channels easily for testing our PVR card.
Using the quick and dirty method to capture video, we pulled a few seconds of broadcast to test how well our device was working.
# cat /dev/video0 > /tmp/test.mpg
If we play this test.mpg back with Kaffeine (or some other player), we will get an mpeg2 stream. So far, so good. We used MPlayer to pull a single frame out of the stream, which can be seen below:
# mplayer -frames 1 -vo jpeg outdir=/tmp:quality=100 test.mpg
Keen observers will note that this image is non-interlaced - something that we will discuss later in our analysis.
Just getting SuSE install and ivtv to play nicely took two hours; our total time for installation right now is at 2.25 hours. Opting for a different distribution that supports the PVR card natively would have been a better idea, but we have already gone this far...
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Edster - Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - linkIf you get stuck setting up mythtv then try this web site :
[l=PVR Guide - How-to guides for setting up mythtv]http://pvrguide.no-ip.com[/l]
sthes - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - linkWhatever happened to part two? Anxiously awaiting the review!
willy134 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - linkYou need to mention the mythweb extension. I log into my computer from work and set up recordings. There are also plugins that allow you to view your recorded shows on a windows machine.
The web server also has a very nice search feature and lists all the movies playing in your schedule. It's a great way to also find when a show you want to watch is playing again. Much better than looking up the listings on most web sites.
serff - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - linkCan you guys comment on HDTV support in your follow up feature? I'm very intrested in building a HD DVR for less than $1000 (which is how much all of them are right now.) I'm also intrested in dual tuner solutions as well. Does MythTV support dual tuners? Also, in MythTV, when you go to the guide, can you still see the show you are watching? Like in the corner or something? It would also be cool to know about support for burning shows to DVD as well. Thanks!
sasa - Monday, September 6, 2004 - linkThe system in the article is a total overkill if PVR-x50 is used.
A 677MHz PIII can easily do the job.
Such system can be bought on ebay for $100, then just add 200GB hd for $100, GF4 for $40, PVR-x50 for $100. Total $340.
This system will do both front end and backend.
It is also possible to use very low spec PC for backend (like PII) and xbox as a frontend.
A Socket 370 PIII is consuming much less power than P4, K7 or K8 which is very important if you want to run Myth 24/7. You don't want to save $10 on tivo monthly bills while paying $20 for electricity bills.
Very nice distro for Myth is Debian unstable.
You just add a line into your apt config, run apt-get and it installs all dependencies.
sasa - Monday, September 6, 2004 - link
JohanV - Monday, September 6, 2004 - linkOn the one side of the comparison: A windows MCE PC (hardware satisfying certain conditions + specialized preinstalled software)
On the other side: A PC with approximately the same hardware with a general purpose SUSE Linux install, hand-compiled/hand-compiled drivers, databases and what not.
Not really a straight forward comparison, it's even worse than like comparing a server cpu with a desktop cpu.
Seems only fair to use handpicked hardware on both machines, and to use specialized OS's in both cases. In other words, use KnoppMyth with hardware that is known to work with KnoppMyth without any headaches.
griffy - Monday, September 6, 2004 - linkAnybody have any personal experience on the Telly MC1200, and how it might compare? I would be interested in a few words in Part II about how this option stacks up, in real terms. (Yes, I've read all the reviews.)
Thanks for booting up an interesting area on AnandTech.
lbt - Monday, September 6, 2004 - linkSeveral people have mentioned KnoppMyth - no-one has said why...
You insert the CD and it installs linux and *everything* you need to run Myth. (It aims to make running Myth 'appliance' like.)
For those who care it's a Knoppix (aka Debian) based distro.
Total install time is measured in minutes and you don't need to know linux (well, it's still at the 'not much' stage at the minute ;) )
Checkout www.mysettopbox.tv for forums and help.