Ive spent some time doing research on the various aspects of this project. Read alot, asked around, pondered, and pondered some more.. What I do know without a shadow of a doubt, is that there are many unknowns, and quiet a few of those will remain such until they are tried out it seems.

Granted, it would have been a helluva lot easier if I had those deep pockets I briefly mentioned being absent in Part#1. So, Im left with trying to find those clever solutions to the issues at hand instead.
As a geek, that IS alot more fun, even tho it will take me longer to complete..

Let me try to draw you a picture and explain.. (up is north if there was any doubt)

(Like my drawing? Im good aint I? Riiight…)

Ok, what you see above is the farm I live at, the blue dots(#1-3) are where there is currently a sat-dish in place. #1 & #2 are 65cm dishes with the so called ‘Europe’ LNB setup; 1W, 5E, 13E & 19.2E. #3 is a old motorized analogue dish that will be replaced with either a ‘Nordic'(1W & 5E) or a ‘Europe’ dish as in #1& #2.

#4 is where we are currently planning to setup BigBen, ok, the name is not set in stone, Im open for suggestions.. The wall on that silo is around 5meters wide, we’ll either do so some serious steel hookup & bang it to the wall(2meter+ over ground), or place it on the ground with a concrete ‘flooring’. In this position it will be somewhat hidden from the recreational areas we use.

The alternative is to place it next to the garage south-west of mark #4. Not the best alternative for the following reasons;
– More digging, need to get the cable safetly underground between the silo(#4) & garage.
– Longer cable stretch(15-20meter)
– Visible from garden south of #3

Ive not done a precise measure of length, but its about 150meter from position #1 to the wall facing west on the silo(straight line). Adding about 20 meters going through cellar(#2) & loft in the barn is atleast a given, might even be more..
The red solid line between #1 & #2 is where we dug down a tube this summer for Cat5e, it has plenty of room for several cables.

If Im gonna do a straight shooter with the cables that means we’ll have 1 stretch going from #4 to #1(~170m), 2x from #4 to #2(~70m), and the last one from #4 to #3(~70m).

Fair enough? Well, somewhat..

In comes one of the big “unknowns”; How much signal & power loss will the longest cable suffer? After consulting people with the know-how, the results are not conclusive.
The signal loss could be within an acceptable %, if not I can put an amplifier at the middle(#2), but this will not help with the potential power drain. That is, the power the tuner/receiver sends to the LNB to switch between vertical & horizontal.
‘Bobben1’ at a .no board suggested I could overcome this with attaching a “power-supply” to one of the outputs on the LNB, granted a variable supply.

My question is this, could I instead use a multiswitch(at #2) using 2 of the outputs, and gain 4 outputs? With a Spaun SMS 341 F for instance?
This would overcome the need to switch between v/h..
With this solution(?) I wont loose 1 output, but instead gain 2.

This is important, not only for the loss of a output, but also since I have one MythTV box in service, and plan to setup a slave backend on location #2. The important bit is this; the tuners I currently use are SkyStar2 which only support DiSEqC 1.0, and that will fail miserably on a Multiswitch..
EDIT: Reading up on this, and I was wrong, there are several Multiswitches that can accomodate this need. For instance a EMP-Centauri E.143-AP, and hook one output to a 4/1 DiSEqC (with 1W & 5E fi), or directly to one of the SkyStar tuners.

The other tuners (DM500, DM7020 and soon DM600 on #3?) got no issues with DiSEqC 1.1/1.2.

Moving further, the existing ‘Europe’ dishes(#1 & #2) got 4/1 DiSEqC’s, either;

– Drop 13 or 19.2E input and screw on 28.2E

– Get a 8/1 DiSEqC to replace the 4/1 and keep all sat positions

On position #4 depending on what LNB setup we choose, either go for one of the above solutions, or if a ‘Nordic’ LNB setup is chosen, just use a 4/1 DiSEqC.. Pheew, easy!

The MythTV backend slave will be a dedicated 28.2E box with 1 DVB-S tuner to start off, replaced with a DVB-S2 tuner like the Net-UP when it becomes available. The Gbit link between houses #1 & #2 got more than enough bandwith to spare, so the slave(#2) will utilize the Raid array on the backend master thats living in house #1.

So to recap, I know more about potential show-stoppers on the technical side of the project. I still need to get more hands on experiences from people in the know.

Thanx to all the people thats taken time to respond to my questions & the suggestions you’ve given. Much appreciated! I do hope you keep it up.

Till next chapter..

Only 13 or so hours till the first night round in F1 begins, till then, enjoy the round that earned Massa Pole Position.

MythTV @revision3

| September 1st, 2008

Systm, the DYI show on Revision3 covered MythTV last week. For those looking to refurbish some older hardware into a superb PVR/Multimedia PC, have look, you might very well get some inspiration..

Yep, http://fun.ohhh.no to be spesific, feel free to join in on the fun.

Had alot of grief over the last 6 or so hours, and what do ya know, it was all due to running a 64bit VE. I had flipped upside down & inside out so many obscurities during the night..
Mind you, it wasnt “directly” related to Laconica, the basic functionality were working as expected within 30min, it was the integration to xmpp(Jabber). More spesifically, my own ejabberd running in one of the VE’s on this server(im.hoiseth.no for those interrested in such). No matter my attempts it was stuck at connecting.. Just imagine my relief and to quote a friendly cartoon fella ‘DOH!’ as I fired up xmppdaemon in its newly setup 32bit enviroment only to see debug info being spit out in the terminal. Ahhh funfun despite the hours wasted.

If you dont know what twitter is, or the so-called Microblogging phenomena, I suggest you read up! Laconica(Laconi.ca) is as mentioned in the title, a new(‘ish) contender, and an open-source one at that, its quickly been embraced by many people world-wide.

Their main site is run at Identi.ca..

I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago, but it really started to spark my geek-plugs when I heard a interview with creator Evan Prodromou (Evan @identi.ca) in this weeks FLOSS podcast over at TWIT / FLOSS
The main man over at TWIT, Leo Laporte were so impressed that he started to set up his own instance of Laconica during the podcast. Its hosted under the ohh so fitting vhost army.twit.tv. Both Leo and his “co-“host in FLOSS, Randal L. Schwartz can be found happily ranting there..

Evan Prodromou is by no means a new name to the world of open-source and world travellers, not only does he spend a fair share of dev time on the Debian distro, he is also co-founder(with his wife) of the fantastic resource Wikitravel.

Anywhooo, enough lenghty rants from me for a while, I’ll keep it short from now on, so to keep up to date with whatever I should stick my nose into, do the click’e’ti’click into http://fun.ohhh.no/hz. Laconica does of course give you all the RSS feeds you could possibly urge. Expect integration here…

I might come back to my rather long absence, but thats for another post. This post has been a draft for many months, and I dont care to rewrite it all… So live with the edits or more along.

I used to be a hefty user of MythTV when I had analog cable, but since moving back to hillbillie-ville, sky where my limit.. and what a leap that is my friends!
I had been a cable user for so long that I had missed out on my lil bros & dads sat hook-ups back at the farm where we grew up. Since moving back to one of the 3 houses on the farm Ive used it as a “playground” for many an interresting project. There is some docu of that in the wiki & forum, but I, like most of us hate that part of any project, no? 😉

One thing Ive always missed since going digital(DVB-S), is the web frontend of MythTV. Its far beyond anything Ive used/seen, its dead on for the tasks given. Scheduling more so than anything, its simply superb.

There are many reasons for going embedded with a PVR solution, ease of use being one of them.
Granted, you get away with perty much the same bang for the buck if you build your own PVR box. That is, if you cant recycle some oldish hardware. Which Im in the process of doing(again), swapping out useful parts from my old DAW box..
I’ll add any decent DVB-S PCI Tuner I can get ahold of on the used marked. So far there arent many used cards to scour up here in .no, but the prices on new DVB-S budget cards are fairly reasonable. Ive been sniffing on a couple of Hauppauge Hybrid cards;

HVR-3000 (Analogue/DVB-S/-T)
HVR-4000 (Analogue/DVB-S/S2/-T)

The latest development on the HVR-4000 seem to indicate all works with S2 as a experimental? Its last diff against the v4l dvb where released the 26th Dec 2007(yes perty recent).

The rest of my equipment aint HD capable yet(recycled in -00), but its a non issue for me. Whats available of HDTV content via DVB-S2 aint much to brag about, and it will most likely be non-existent on DVB-T. So my focus will be DVB-S content.
There are currently a mix of DM 500, DM 7020 & analog airial at the farm, with various PVR solutions. The goal in this setup is to give them all a PVR backend(one DVB-S per house), with easy access via either the web or the mythfrontend. Will explore various setups on the client-side of things.

Frank and I both share a few commons in these setups, MythTV(what?!) & DVB. Where its pretty straight forward on DVB-C(no pun tended), it takes a sober man at the wheel to config a 4 x LNB(2xTwin+2xQuad) for the first time.. Im in the process of reading up on DiSEqC commands, had a issue with two of the ports in a 4:1 DiSEqC(v1.0). Believe its related to Tone/v, but havent been able to test yet.

EDIT 11/01:
My new years deed will be to do better in documenting what I dig myself into. The before mentioned bandidos have kicked it off in this
wiki entry (feel free to contrib with your setup).
That link will be the ref for any details, only rants in this post.. 😉

Today Chris1(a polish friend of the family) and I where in each our ladder replacing LNBs & DiSEqCs. It went very smoothly, took apart the LNB-“pole” from the dish & swapped LNBs inside the house. We where very careful in not adjusting the angle of the LNB mounts. Only one of the heads(1W) needed a little tweak to get rid of a tiny Bering jump on some of the transponders.

EDIT 15/1

While the chiefs of weather heavily argues summer/winter on a daily basis, Ive enjoyed*caugh* monkey work in the myth db. Changing xmltvid, checking the best alternative(s) for the epg feeds & general cleanup.

To spark up the mood I setup a VIA EPIA 800a(disk less) to boot via PXE(tftp+nfs). I had forgotten the age of this little beauty(EPIA) so in my haze it didnt sink in how in the shitter I was due to the Trident card thats onboard.. It might be used as a surfing terminal at some point, but mythfrontend it shall not. Unless I happen to trip over a good pci card with optional tv-out(considering to build a vga-scart adapter and save some hassle).
I got a PVR-350 stashed somewhere, but I recall how shady its tv-out was, not sure I care to take it for another spin.

Anyway, my problems with the mythfrontend seems solved, a kind soul is “donating” a much newer EPIA-EK 1000G(see wiki).

I asked my lil sis to be a middle (wo)man. Buying 2 Skystar2 cards from Sweden, that will arrive by the end of the month I hope.
It was a dead-end to get ahold of any used quality dvb-s cards, I comfort myself that the NOK still beats the SEK.

EDIT 19/1

I got the new EPIA yesterday, it works fine as a frontend. It has however a nasty side-effect in its current setup(PXE+NFS boot). Any video playback takes +5secs to buffer up compared to my EEE(via wlan). Suffice to say, this is not tolerable, I can live with 2-3sec, but this is a nogo. In-menu navigation is quick enough tho.
I’ll try out boot via CF, Live CD & 2.5″ HDD and note down any diffs.
IR Remote is ordered, so only remaining HW part is the VGA to Scart adapter.

EDIT 23/4

Woohoo.. 3 months of slacking? Not really, its just not enough hours in a day. Anyyyway. For completion, and to get one of my stack of drafts posted, let me sum up status quo.

Myth backend now runs on a AMD64 x2, it has 3 DVB-S cards and has filled up the raid array(1.4TB) to the brim since the last edit. All works as it should on the BE. Had some instability, but that was tracked down to a fubar memory stick.(Currently has 2x1GB)

The VIA EPIA 1000 is setup with a slimlined Gentoo install, booting over PXE(NFS root). It also had a shady memory stick, so got a new 1GB stick. For video out I have a Geforce FX5200(pci), using a DVI to HDMI cable to my LCD. The reason I choose to get a dedicated GPU card were XBMC, their port to Linux has come a long way since January. So far in fact I use it exclusively on Linux now, leaving me with yet another gadget collecting dust(Xbox)..
Bought a 3pack(OEM) of MS MCEUSB2 remotes that of course works a charm. The Myth integration in XBMC still has a little to go before its usable imo, so for now I switch between MythTV & XBMC with “Yellow” & “Green”.

In addition to this I have my old laptop setup as a FE in my old mans house, got a VGA2Scart adapter and that works OK. Not brilliant, since the WLAN adapter has been a little unstable at times. But will roll out a cat5e to their telly, so hopefully that will sort it.

And my Asus EEE I use frequently as a FE, its perfect for SDTV content.

EDIT 17/7

Yeah, I know.. dont even ask where, what & why, time just flies.

Another change is due in the land of MythTV, the BE will get another hardware change, since going fully Virtualized(OpenVZ) in my server setups I have a box to spare. Not a shabby box either, a C2D 3.2Ghz with 8GB ram, this will replace the AMD X2.
A tiny cons to this is that the mobo only has 2x PCI slots, so I will setup a Slave BE with the last DVB-S card & possibly a PVR-350 as a “weather cam”. This Slave might end up being a BE+FE combo for the office.

As a side note, this post will be posted as-is, any changes in the setup will be documented in the wiki.

Do I still love MythTV? Hell yeah!