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!

RIP Joe Zawinul

| September 11th, 2007

A sad day, very sad.. I was watching a concert with Weather Report from Montreux -76 only a few weeks ago, and his music has had alot of playtime in my home over the years.

Zawinul

Whats stated on his home page; Zawinul Music is “all” there is to say…;

“Joe Zawinul was born in Earth time on 07 July 1932 and was born in Eternity time
on 11 September, 2007. He, and his music, will continue to inspire!”

I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

Dream Theater where rocking Oslo 2 years ago. Krikri & I bought tickets the minute they were out for sale, we’ll be screaming our hearts out

dt-tour-07-title

Its not too late for you either, get your tickets here!