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Newbee Looking for Advice
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:17 am Reply with quote
JamesGrammer
 
Joined: 27 Oct 2008
Posts: 3




I have been mulling around in my head ideas of how to automate my home and building an HTPC was the first step to me. I have been searching for the right programs to rip my 300+ DVD collection in highest quality without loosing resolution or sound quality. When I stumbled across Linux and Myth TV I was sold. The problem is that I have no experience with Linux systems. Unfortunately I have been building MS PCs since I was 12 years old but never once tried Linux. I regret my actions, have since repented, and will do my best to make amends. There are a couple of reservations I have with Linux and Myth TV and that is all the programming you have to do. It has been a long time since I have use command prompt lines. What I am looking for is general advice as to what the differences are in the various platforms of Linux, Red Hat, Fedora Core, Debian, and so on. I wouldnít know what one to down load or how to install it. The primary function would be for a HTPC frontend and backend unit.
After doing my own research and figuring out what type of HTPC I want I have put together two units a front end unit and a backend unit. Being my first project I am looking for advice as to what I should and should not have in each unit. I donít understand some of the basic functions of the Myth enough to know what would be okay and what would ideal. For instance, do I need a capture card on the frontend unit or can the backend unit handle that for me? Can I interface my HDTV Dish Network box with my Frontend or will it have to be through my backend? Here are my main goals:
1. Create a database of all my media that I can stream to various frontend units across the house.
2. Get rid of my Home Theater and replace it with a front end unit leaving only the AV Receiver and HDTV.
3. Retain the quality of my DVDs as if there was no quality degrading compression.
I have enclosed an idea of what I was thinking of for both frontend and backend servers. Money really isnít a problem but I still want to be frugal. I would appreciate andy comments.

Thanks.

Frontend Unit
1
nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum panel & Steel HTPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Model #:HTPC 1000B
I wanted the sleekest design with the least amount of space.

1
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GPM-DS2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard Model #:GA-MA78GPM-DS2H
I went for functionality and features. I have yet to find out if the onboard video will work sufficiently as a video card. I suspect I will have to get a separate card.

1
MSI N9400GT-MD512 GeForce 9400 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Model #:N9400GT-MD512
This seemed to be the best option. I wanted a HDMI out without having to use and adapter.

1
LOGISYS Computer PS350MA 350W MicroATX Power Supply
Model #:PS350MA

1
AMD Athlon 64 LE-1640 Orleans 2.6GHz Socket AM2 45W Single-Core Processor Model ADH1640DHBOX
Model #:ADH1640DHBOX
This is where I donít know if I should upgrade. Is it enough to run the unit. I was hoping that the majority of the graphics processing would be handled by the video card and not bog down the processor.

1
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-5400PHU2-2GBNT
I thought this would be plenty.

1
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Model #:WD800JD
I figured that I didnít need to spend a lot of money on space since this is my front end unit. I figure that everything will be saved on the backend.

1
ADESSO WKB-4000US 2-Tone USB RF Wireless Mini Keyboard Mouse Included
Model #:WKB-4000US

1
LG Black LG Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVDĪR DVD Burner SATA Model GGC-H20LK
Model #:GGC-H20LK
I chose this model because of the 6X BR speed, and replace my Sony Blue-Ray.

1
bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
Model #:b-Enspirer
I wanted the best sound with a Optical out

1
TRENDnet TEW-623PI 32-Bit PCI Rev. 2.1/2.2/2.3 Wireless N-Draft Adapter
Model #:TEW-623PI
This will hopefully giver me the capabilities of Steaming video


Backend Unit
1
EVGA 256-P2-N429-LR GeForce 7200GS 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
Model #:256-P2-N429-LR
Being a server I figured I would only need enough to run a monitor.

1
SUPERMICRO AW-4020C-TB Tower / 4U Rackmountable Barebone Server - Retail
Model #:AW-4020C-TB
This tower will hold 6 1TB drives and have two processors. This will be the workhorse of the entire system. I plan on putting 2 pcHDTV 5500 cards in it to help capture enough video.

2
AMD Opteron 270 Italy 2.0GHz Socket 940 Dual-Core Server Processor Model OSA270FAA6CB - OEM
Model #:OSA270FAA6CB
As duel backend processors I figured this would be enough.

8
CORSAIR 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) ECC Registered Server Memory Model CM72SD1024RLP-3200 - Retail
Model #:CM72SD1024RLP-3200
I would like to put more memory but it was a little too expensive when you are putting in 2GB SDRAM.

6
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:ST31000340AS
This space will be used to store my large collection of DVD, CD, and Blue-Ray Discs (eventually). Latter I will be adding additional backend units of 5 TB a piece. This amount was enough for the time being.

1
SPEC Research SMART-2S Silver/Black PS/2 Wired Standard Multimedia Keyboard With Optical Mouse Mouse Included - Retail
Model #:SMART-2S
Went Basic

1
AOC 1619SW Glossy Black 16" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
Model #:1619SW
Went Basic

1
LITE-ON Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-16D3P-08 - Retail
Model #Very HappyH-16D3P-08
Went Basic

1
TRENDnet TEW-652BRP IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE802.11n Draft 2 Wireless N Home Router - Retail
Model #:TEW-652BRP
This will be my communication to all the front end units. My hope is that I can get good steaming video. If not I may have to resort to wired network.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:59 pm Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299




If you are looking for a simple way to set up a MythTV system, then I would recommend Mythbuntu. It is an Ubuntu distribution that comes with MythTV preinstalled, and very easy to get up and running. The only thing that I don't like is the simplistic XFCE desktop. I quickly install the KDE desktop, which you may like because of it's similarity to Windows.

There is no current (legal) way to record encrypted shows directly. If your satellite box has component HD outputs, there is one card that reportedly can record this. But it is not a pcHDTV card, so I won't mention it here. This is also a complicated process, so a digital recorder from your satellite provider is still the best option.

The other problem is with the wireless. I don't believe that there is wireless N support in Linux yet, but I could be wrong.

Check out this page, it looks like Intel and Atheros chipsets may support wireless N.

http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers

For ripping DVD's, I don't do it, so I can't help much. I have read that you will be best to do it outside of MythTV. There is another forum where these questions can be more readily answered,
especially the DVD ripping one.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=76

In general, hardware that is slightly older will have better support in Linux. And for video, nVidia is the only real choice. Trying to use anything else for HD video will only lead to frustration.

Good Luck.

_________________
Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
Air2PC PCI
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:59 pm Reply with quote
JamesGrammer
 
Joined: 27 Oct 2008
Posts: 3




Thanks Waterhead. I did some additional research and I came to the conclusion that MythBunta would be my best option. I also came across Pluto for complete home automation. I think in the future that would be nice but I have to take one step at a time.
I don't know what I am going to do about the HD satilite. I was thiinking of changing subscriptions to cable but from what I read there are similar issues. I have read that some HD Satilite boxes interface via Firewire. I really don't understand how that would be set up. My Dish box has a RJ45 in the back. Could I connect it via network? Is there computer hardware that has a HDMI input for video? I did come across a MB that had intergrated graphics, 128 DDR3 Gforce 8 series. Would I be better off installing a seperate VC? This is for the fronend client of course. My biggest pet peevs are crapy compressed video, 2 channel sound, and not interfacing with my Dish. If there are any remedies please enlighten me.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:49 am Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299




If you want home automation, then Linux MCE is something that you should look at.

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Main_Page

It uses MythTV for the PVR part of it. I heard that it is very picky on the hardware that will work with it.

A RJ45 port is different than a firewire port, and won't work the same. You could hook it up and see if you can some how access it, but it won't work the same. As for recording a HD program, the product that I referred to is the Hauppauge HD PVR:

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

I don't know if this is fully supported yet in Linux, but check out this link:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Hauppauge_HD-PVR
You do need to have component outputs on the satellite box. These are the three RCA plugs Y Pb Pr, not the yellow, red and white analog outputs.

The nVidia intergrated video will work just fine for HDTV. I have a sytem with nVidia 6150 graphics, and it works great.

I hope I addressed your questions. Let me know if I missed anything.


Last edited by waterhead on Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:34 am; edited 1 time in total

_________________
Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
Air2PC PCI
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:50 am Reply with quote
JamesGrammer
 
Joined: 27 Oct 2008
Posts: 3




My other question is what Gforce series are best for MythBuntu. I have read that the 6 series are the best, but they are old and out dated. I can only find a card in PCIe X16, not bad but still. Will the other series work ie, 7,8, and 9 with Mythbuntu?

Next question. Insted of a tuner card for my satilite I need a capture card. Due the fact I cannot control my Sat Box via myth, or can I? Confused I would use the capture card as a PVR device for Sat. Is that correct, partially correct, or just wrong?

In Feb 2009 NTSC is going away permanently. Would I be better off just putting in ATSC tuner cards and not waste my money on the NTSC? I don't plan on having this up until after Feb 09. How is this change going to affect the HTPC world?

Knowing that Linux is always a work in progress, what are the major compatibility issues in regards to hardware when using it for a HTPC?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:51 am Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299




JamesGrammer wrote:
My other question is what Gforce series are best for MythBuntu. I have read that the 6 series are the best, but they are old and out dated. I can only find a card in PCIe X16, not bad but still. Will the other series work ie, 7,8, and 9 with Mythbuntu?

The 7 and 8 series will work with the Linux nVidia driver, I don't know about the 9. The big difference is that the extra functions that the newer cards offer in Windows, aren't yet available in the Linux driver. Paying more money for theses cards in considered a waste for Linux.

Quote:
Next question. Insted of a tuner card for my satilite I need a capture card. Due the fact I cannot control my Sat Box via myth, or can I? Confused I would use the capture card as a PVR device for Sat. Is that correct, partially correct, or just wrong?

The HDPVR that I linked to above seems to be only for HD capture. MythTV can change channels on an external device either using Firewire, or an infra red blaster. The HDPVR comes with a IR blaster.

Quote:
In Feb 2009 NTSC is going away permanently. Would I be better off just putting in ATSC tuner cards and not waste my money on the NTSC? I don't plan on having this up until after Feb 09. How is this change going to affect the HTPC world?

A lot of the cards available are "hybrid" cards, meaning they have both NTSC and ATSC tuners on them. I don't even bother setting up the analog NTSC side. They can't both be used at the same time, so if you are recording from the analog tuner, the digital tuner is inaccessable. If you want to record over-the-air ATSC broadcasts, then a card with a ATSC tuner would be needed. They will only be able to record unencrypted HD broadcasts, no matter what the source.

Quote:
Knowing that Linux is always a work in progress, what are the major compatibility issues in regards to hardware when using it for a HTPC?

Like I said before, try to avoid new and cutting edge hardware. This will only add to the frustration in setting things up. For video capture drivers, I recommend installing the latest from the v4l-dvb repositories. Use the mercurial method to get the latest.

http://www.linuxtv.org/repo/

_________________
Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
Air2PC PCI
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:26 pm Reply with quote
purple45
 
Joined: 09 Mar 2015
Posts: 1




My other question is what Gforce series are best for MythBuntu. I have read that the 6 series are the best, but they are old and out dated. I can only find a card in PCIe X16, not bad but still. Will the other series work ie, 7,8, and 9 with Mythbuntu? Next question. Insted of a tuner card for my satilite I need a capture card. Due the fact I cannot control my Sat Box via myth, or can I? Confused I would use the capture card as a PVR device for Sat. Is that correct, partially correct, or just wrong?









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