Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

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Postby purplepenguin » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:27 pm

if you dont want to record use xbmc. there are plugins for iPlayer. ITV player. 4od. demand 5 and tvcatchup.com.

Stick it on a RPI. Tape it to the back of you tv and you have a DIY catchup service with no subscription. and unlike a dvr box you even have a web browser.
that's what I call a smart tv.
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Postby bobthebob1234 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:35 pm

Or you could spend lots of money on that youview thing which is amazing and a totally new concept...
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Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby e_james » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:56 pm

Back again. After some consideration I ordered the following

Acer Aspire One D257 10.1 inch Netbook (Intel Atom N570 Dual-Core Processor) --- arrived
Hauppauge WinTV Duet - Dual DVB-T Digital TV Receiver --- arrived
ClimaxDigital DTV395 USB 2.0 DUAL DVB-T TV Tuner --- arrived
TerraTec Cinergy T Stick Dual RC Dual DVB-T Tuner USB 2.0 (probably linux compatible)
MyGica T1680 DVB-T Dual Tuner USB TV stick --- arrived
Silicondust HD HomeRun Dual - Network DVB-T Tuner HDHR3-DT

So far, I can report that the DTV395 isn't recognised by linux but it might work with properly installed firmware. The T1680 triggers a restricted driver installation and then it and the Duet appear to be recognised by linux if I understand the dmesg output correctly. Using "Me TV" I did a channel scan and the appropriate channels appeared, but the application freezes at the final OK button so I can't say it actually works yet.

I rearranged the Acer D257 partitions and installed Mythbuntu 12.04 and now I'm stuck. The desktop is XFCE and there is no apparent way to get the wi-fi working. It also appears that the Mythbuntu / XFCE developers have no use for a graphical text editor.

(Which reminds me - whose bright idea was it to use high resolution text and graphics for the start up and install screens in recent versions of linux? Linux is supposed to be suitable for use with less capable PCs but I can't install it on my eeeBox while it is connected to the TV as a monitor. All I see is "Signal out of range". I have to use a separate monitor for the install.)

I could use some advice on configuring the MythTV backend to use my new tuners.

Less than 24 hours to go and even the Windows software has issues. According to Hauppauge I'm not authorised to install their unit on a netbook. I think they mean they won't support it but the result is that the software won't install. If the PC is not up to the job - fair enough. If it can only run one tuner - fair enough. Something else I bought recently is a TVSTAR T1010 HD USB PVR. It's half the size of a netbook, runs at 8W maximum and records HD TV to an external hard drive. It seems it's not all that hard to do.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:41 pm

Probably the windows problem is that the windows basic edition that comes with netbooks will not support TV tuners.

As for wifi, you will probably need an internet connection to download the firmware for the wifi card.
Likewise to download a graphical text editor. (not installed by default, Mythbuntu is not meant to be a general use distro).

I have an Acer Aspire One netbook, an older model running Ubuntu, and the Atheros mini-PCI wifi card worked out of the box. I replaced it with an intel wifi-n card and that worked too.
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Postby greg.d » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:00 am

There is apparently a Windows port of MythTV although I've not used it myself. You could try the frontend on the netbook perhaps?
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/MythTV_on_Wi ... Pre-Builds
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Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby e_james » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:17 pm

wyliecoyoteuk

Just in case you're wondering, I haven't gone away, I've just been very busy.

The netbooks come with Windows 7 Starter which is deliberately crippled in some respects but it will handle the digital tuners if the makers actually permit it. I haven't got close to using both tuners of a dual unit but I have had tuners working in both Windows 7 and linux. In at least one case I have managed to record.

The wi-fi problem is now solved. It was mainly due to my own inexperience. I am used to the software which provides a list of access points and that's missing in Mythbuntu but, by copying the settings for "Network Connections" from a working system, I got the Mythbuntu wi-fi working. Using an ethernet connection I installed Leafpad. I had a look at Gedit but it seemed to include half the gnome desktop as dependencies.

greg.d

My main problem with MythTV isn't the frontend, it's the backend setup. If you need an illustration of the word "arcane" it will do very nicely. There are so many obscure settings and too little explanation as to which one to choose. I have at least one tuner which works with Me-tv (once I caught on that you need to stop the MythTV backend first). Me-tv seems to work well in Mythbuntu and not well at all in Lubuntu. I don't yet know why.

The thing that's keeping me busy at this time is the digital tv multiplexes. I have a digital capable television which has decided in the last 24 hours that at least 2 of the 4 multiplexes no longer exist. They were working, now they're not. Among my other TVs and "set top boxes" they're mostly happy about the multiplexes but there are some issues. I suspect the broadcasters are still making adjustments and the multiplex with itv2 conforms to a slightly different standard to the multiplex with bbc1. Me-tv and / or the tuner seems to have problems in this area as well.

Earlier today I received the TerraTec Cinergy T Stick Dual RC Dual DVB-T Tuner USB 2.0 and, as I was writing this post, the HD Homerun arrived. Maybe I've now got a really good solution but I still have a lot of work to do. One last comment for now - the Terratec tuner seems to have driver problems in lubuntu.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:15 pm

There are lots of howtos on the internet thingy:

http://parker1.co.uk/mythtv_ubuntu.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNWXg39qQH8

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/User_Manual: ... on_Backend

Mythbuntu control centre will do a lot of it for you
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Postby nelz » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:22 pm

You're in Northern Ireland, where the analogue switch off completed this week, so it is likely that all your devices will need retuning.
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Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby e_james » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:17 pm

nelz

Since about 1am on the 24th, i have been retuning and retuning and retuning. Sometimes, when I retune, I lose channels I thought I had. Before you make any comment about signal strength, the transmitter is about a mile away and I'm using an external antenna with an amplifier. It worked well with analogue.
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Re: Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby sledgehammer » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:48 pm

e_james wrote:nelz

Since about 1am on the 24th, i have been retuning and retuning and retuning. Sometimes, when I retune, I lose channels I thought I had. Before you make any comment about signal strength, the transmitter is about a mile away and I'm using an external antenna with an amplifier. It worked well with analogue.


If you had digital television before DSO started then you now have a much larger incoming signal post DSO. It may well be worth removing the amplifier as a test.

Also there is a lot of backroom stuff going on in the digital transport stream that I found took a couple of weeks for them to sort out until the channels became stable. (lots of duplicated channels / missing channels).

For what its worth I user VDR on the server with a Hauppauge MediaMVP client running customised software. Works very well and like MythTV with two tuners it can record ALL the programmes on two multiplexes without it breaking in to a sweat. Since most programmes / channels I watch are now on PSB1,2&3 I have not had a conflict in recording since DSO (over a year now)
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Postby nelz » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:54 pm

I agree, you shouldn't need an amplifier at that range, and it introduces noise into the system. Try without.

If you do use an amplifier with digital, it helps to keep the cable run from the aerial to amp as short as possible. I got a big difference in signal quality, enough that I can now receive HD clearly, by moving the amp into the loft.

Actually, I moved the mythtv backend into the loft too so there are no long runs of coax, only cat5e.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:25 pm

I found when the analogue signal was turned off here, my digital signal totally disappeared - until I tried it without the amplifier that I had needed until then.
Analogue amplifiers do not always work well with digital signals, in fact they can overload the tuner input, so that the signal is distorted and unreadable.
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Re: Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby stargateuser » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:03 am

Hi e_james,

e_james wrote:
So far, I can report that the DTV395 isn't recognised by linux but it might work with properly installed firmware. The T1680 triggers a restricted driver installation and then it and the Duet appear to be recognised by linux if I understand the dmesg output correctly. Using "Me TV" I did a channel scan and the appropriate channels appeared, but the application freezes at the final OK button so I can't say it actually works yet.
.


If I can give you a tip I learned a looooooooooooooooong time ago. When you buy any items such as DVB tuners, make sure it is compatible with linux first mate ;-) I found that if it says works with Macs, thats a 95% plus chance it will work with linux. If it only shows Windows don't touch with a barge pole :-D

Do a little bit of homework, it saves hours/days/weeks especially with Myth installations!

all the best!


[/b]
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Linux PC as PVR - suggestions / recommendations

Postby e_james » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:41 pm

Hi stargateuser

Obviously your experience is different from mine. I have attempted to do the sort of research you suggest by looking for linux hardware lists and my experience goes like this -

If it's on the list, nobody sells it, except maybe secondhand.
If it's available for sale, it's not on the list.

I thought I was on fairly safe ground with the Terratec Cinergy which seems to have been in the kernel for some time. Perhaps I'm reading the messages incorrectly, but the one I actually bought seems not to be supported. I understand that the usual reason for this situation is that the makers decided to use a new or revised chip on the production line.

Also, this forum thread is part of my research. If you can suggest any hardware I can actually buy, I'm listening.

I am hopeful that my comments such as you quoted may help to tick one or two of the boxes in someone else's research. I would like to do a more thorough evaluation but I have neither the time nor the expertise. Perhaps, if there was a special linux application (or distribution) which could carry out a hardware analysis and generate a report for a central repository, my speculative purchases could make a useful contribution.
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