MythTV System Rebuilt

Well, it’s 10:30pm and my morning project took about 12 hours to do, but it’s done now. It started out with “why don’t I just throw a spare hard drive into my MythTV system and install the latest version to see how well it works?” That part went fine, but as soon as I did that (and did some blowing out of dust and grime), the system refused to stay on for more than a few seconds. Going through the BIOS was fine, as was running memtest86, but as soon as the MythBuntu CD started booting, power turned off. Very weird.

Eventually I pulled yet-another system out of the basement (if anyone remembers or cares, the current mythbox was cobbled together from spare system bits a few months ago) and installed the Ubuntu version called MythBuntu. This went fine, the install was great, my PVR350 was nicely supported…. almost. I could get TV output to the screen very easily, but it turns out the ivtv-fb driver that is needed for output to the screen only works with kernel 2.6.18-2.6.21. MythBuntu only has kernel 2.6.22 and 2.6.15 available. Bah.

So next step was to download KnoppMyth, which is what is installed on the current system. It had grown very stagnant though, and was way out of date (hence the weekend project to update it).

I have to say, KnoppMyth rocks. Basically it was boot, hit enter a few times, follow the prompts and voila. It supports the TV out for the PVR-350 out of the box (a big PITA historically for the PVR350), and a bunch of stuff is fixed. IE:

  • Sound is now properly looped through the audio card, so I don’t have to swap audio cables when I move from watching recorded TV to playing videos.
  • Video playing now puts the video window in the foreground properly (before I would have to stop / start videos a few times (or hit ‘f’ to go from fullscreen to un-fullscreen and back) as the video would start playing “behind” the black background).
  • No configuration was needed for the remote.

None of these were show stoppers, but they were a bit of a PITA.

A few other nice things I found:

  • Network remote (usable from a webpage)
  • Some nice redesigns in the MythWeb page
  • An iPod transcoding system right out of the box
  • Did I mention that everything just worked?

The only minor tweaks I found I had to do were:

  • To play divx 5 encoded AVIs I had to change the mplayer command line to be “-vo x11” instead of “-vo xv” to not have a weird ghosting color thing
  • Disable using the hardware decoder in the PVR350 in the mythtv setup (eh?) to get hardware accelerated performance playing videos.

So massive kudos to the KnoppMyth folks. Also kudos to Brian who stopped by and helped out, and also took some of my old hardware off of my hands (to build his own mythtv box after I showed him how cool this one was).

So now I have a fully working system, I have an Schedules Direct account (and will be paying the $20 for a year subscription when my 7 day trial is up and will have no problem doing so) so I have my listings back! Now to get another tuner card so I don’t have to decide between show A and show B 🙂