Foray into MythTV

Diagram of a possible setup. The central serve...

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At this point it is probably worthwhile to admit that I am guilty of "paralysis of analysis" in a big way. I suppose that having this problem can be detrimental when dealing with technology. This is particularly true when talking about multimedia hardware. In 2006, I purchased a throw away components with the intent of building my own mythTV PVR. I did nothing with hardware setup, I didn't spend much time configuring the software (Knoppmyth R5). In truth, the catalyst that drew me to the project in the first place was the dreaded "broadcast flag" that cable companies used to threaten consumers in an effort to appease Hollywood. I ran out an purchased the pcHDTV HD3000 for ~$185.00, as it was the only DVB that was oblivious to the broadcast flag. It would happily grab OTA digital content so that it could be viewed later.

I was so amped to get started with this project.. Life got in the way, and I realized that I don't watch that much TV. So, the hardware aged and the technology train left without me. The box was constructed of Intel Motherboard (i815 chipset), 512MB onboard RAM, 2 analog tuner cards Hauppauge WinTV PVR-350. The analog tuners are virtually useless now as most cable networks have killed their analog spectrum in favor of the gov't mandated digital spectrum.

*Sigh* Paralysis of analysis, I curse thee ;-) My mythTV box is functioning as a frontend/backend combo. It contains a modest set of ATA hard disks. There is a 250GB HD which contains the Arch Linux Distro (LinHES R6.01). There is also 350GB disk for additional storage. The myth box also mounts the NFS share from the household inexpensive NAS the Promise NS4300N. As stated in a previous entry, the NS4300N contains 4 - 1TB Seagate drives running RAID5. Approximately 3TB of usable storage.

Anyway, I still have the HD-3000, which will help me capture the unencrypted content on Comcast network. At this point I still need to tune the card so that I can use the appropriate frequency. I'm getting some channel frequency errors generated from the HD-3000.
DVB: adapter 0 frontend 0 frequency 959000000 out of range (44000000..958000000)
dtvscan[9374]: segfault at 0 ip 0804bf04 sp bfc85540 error 4 in dtvscan[8048000+
5000]

Running "dtvsignal" a script provided by the folks at PCHDTV

dtvsignal -q
using '/dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0' and '/dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0'
setting frontend to QAM cable
tuning to 57000000 Hz
video pid 0x0021, audio pid 0x0024
dtvsignal ver 1.0.7 - by Jack Kelliher (c) 2002-2007
channel = 2 freq = 57000000Hz table 57
channel = 2 freq = 57000000Hz
30db 0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
Signal: | . : . | ._____:_____._____|

So here are the mythTV challenges -


  • Setting up the HD-3000 as the primary or default capture card

  • Tuning the HD-3000 to the appropriate frequency for Comcast

  • Setup lvm to easily handle storage growth

Obviously, I want to have access to the encrypted HD content so, I'll likely need to purchase the Hauppage HD-PVR (1212). Thus I'd be able to record two channels and also watch live TV.
At present, the current setup will allow me to record and watch live TV. I'd like to remove the analog tuners (PVR-350). This would free up space on the motherboard so that I could then retire the very old AGP NVidia 6000x graphics card with a PCI compliant NVidia 8000x capable of VDPAU.

Hopefully, I can resolve these issues over the next couple of weeks. Ultimately, the myth box will leave the lab and become the centerpiece of our entertainment system. There is still much to do before it can be wife tested :-)

More on this later.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by AG published on February 26, 2010 5:37 AM.

    Benefits of hacking was the previous entry in this blog.

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