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Freevo + pcHDTV = Good
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 9:07 pm Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




Not too long ago, I suggested running a PVR with this card via Freevo, the alternative to MythTV, however, I got the feeling that most of you are still skeptical regarding freevo and if this card even works with it.

I had some free time this weekend so I decided to give it a shot. After about an hour of installing and [mostly] configuring Freevo, I got it to a very usable, working state, it works much better than I expected, actually. Basically, if you can get your card to work with the dvb drivers and mplayer, you're more than half way there. Then, just install freevo (not CVS) and configure it to use the dvb card.

If you're still unsure whether or not Freevo is worth a try, consider the following:

MythTV requires an X server. Unless you also use your PVR as a workstation too, it's a bloat and resource hog. Furthermore, MythTV uses QT which is known to hog (and sometimes leak) memory, not to mention it's a crappy, proprietary, partially closed source toolkit. Freevo, on the other hand, runs on SDL, which has its own rendering back-end, meaning you can run it right out of the main console. No X, and more rendering formats supported.

MythTV also requires to be used with MySQL. Freevo, on the other hand, can be optionally used with SQLite, or even a more simplified file-pickle type database. This is not a complete disadvantage of MythTV, since SQL is not a burden as much as X. However, I wanted to point out how MythTV takes control over things, while Freevo is much more flexible. Freevo gives you control over all programs that are used for your media. You can change what video player, audio player, games-related program, mixer, etc. Also, since Freevo is programmed in the scripting language, python, it's much eaiser to make code changes, no need to recompile anything.

MythTV wants to control your house! MythTV is designed for a multi-client configuration, where you have several PVR-like units connected to 1 central backend. I can't speak for everyone when I say this, but I, for one, don't need such a complex infrastructure. I only need 1 PVR, and if I wanted to add another one, it would not be difficult to link them together, I would just share an network filesystem. Freevo's recording server runs independently, so like MythTV, you can configure 2 freevo "frontends" to schedule shared recordings.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, MythTV segfaults so much for me. I've tried at least 3 different versions of MythTV and all 3 times, I experienced crashes often. Since Freevo is designed as a GUI with light background action, it is very stable. I've not seen a single crash all weekend. It does not try to handle more than it should, it lets programs like mplayer handle the dvb issues. MythTV on the other hand, tries to do a lot more on its own before calling for help.

p.s. I have a few tips for setting up your TV_CHANNELS lineup in local_conf.py so if anyone actually goes through this and gets that far, let me know


Last edited by dorphell on Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:56 pm Reply with quote
DaJoker
 
Joined: 04 Mar 2005
Posts: 5




So, gonna fill us in on how to set it all up, or just tease us with this? Personally, I like Freevo, Mainly for the python aspect, but the interface just seems easier to use. I wish the configuration were somewhat easier, as this is really what is hindering acceptance of Freevo I think.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:24 pm Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




DaJoker wrote:
So, gonna fill us in on how to set it all up, or just tease us with this? Personally, I like Freevo, Mainly for the python aspect, but the interface just seems easier to use. I wish the configuration were somewhat easier, as this is really what is hindering acceptance of Freevo I think.

It's pretty straight forward, the official Freevo wiki has clear instructions on how to install Freevo from source or rpm. (If you do install from source, make sure you have all the dependencies) That's all I needed to get started. I can't think of any roadblocks I had, it all went smoothly for me. Once it was installed, I just followed the configuration instructions, also in the Wiki and voila.

Here's a Freevo tease demo I made this morning for those who have never seen freevo in action: http://archlinux.org/~dorphell/Freevo_Demo.avi


Last edited by dorphell on Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:51 am Reply with quote
HDTV buff
 
Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 114
Location: Maryland, USA




dorphell wrote:
Here's a Freevo tease demo I made this morning in case some of you have never seen freevo in action: http://archlinux.org/~dorphell/Freevo_Demo.avi


dorphell,

That was an awesome demo!

I guess the best way to describe the difference between mythtv and and freevo is: Freevo is simple and elegant. It does what it needs to do with minimum fuss.

Mythtv is an 800 pound gorilla. It tries to do everything for you. From recording TV shows to answering the phone (using VoIP). Some of the capabilities of Mythtv are truely impressive like auto skipping commercials and a top notch scheduler (not just "season pass").

Mythtv wants to be the center of your entertainment universe.

However, all that functionality comes at a price: complexity. Setting up Mythtv is not for the faint of heart (I don't mean just the installation). Most people will only use a fraction of the features of MythTV.

Freevo is definitely a good choice. . . err, I mean it is a great choice.

-HDTV Buff
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:04 am Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




HDTV buff wrote:
That was an awesome demo!

Thank you

HDTV buff wrote:
However, all that functionality comes at a price: complexity. Setting up Mythtv is not for the faint of heart (I don't mean just the installation).

It's not the configuration that bothers me, I don't mind that. Until MythTV becomes stable, which has not been the case for ~2 years and counting, the "complexity" is not worthy of even mentioning. The bottom line is that a PVR has to stay up. MythTV requires constant care, constant attention from the admin just to deal with the crashing. Once you have Freevo set up, your users are free to do whatever they want.
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can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:00 pm Reply with quote
mwahal
 
Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 34




Can freevo do a backend/frontend ?

I think thats the major selling point for the mythtv right now. In near future, you will want to have a backend server with multiple tuners and terrabytes of hard drive. The small footprint frontends will replace the external tuner boxes (OTA/Cable/Dish ?).

I'm thinking about deploying xbox's as frontend. There is a windows based mythtv frontend being developed (search sourceforge). That should broaden the scope of small footprint "appliances" which run on Windows.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:06 pm Reply with quote
Guest
 




dorphell wrote:
HDTV buff wrote:
That was an awesome demo!

Thank you

HDTV buff wrote:
However, all that functionality comes at a price: complexity. Setting up Mythtv is not for the faint of heart (I don't mean just the installation).

It's not the configuration that bothers me, I don't mind that. Until MythTV becomes stable, which has not been the case for ~2 years and counting, the "complexity" is not worthy of even mentioning. The bottom line is that a PVR has to stay up. MythTV requires constant care, constant attention from the admin just to deal with the crashing. Once you have Freevo set up, your users are free to do whatever they want.


I don't want to flame but... I've been a myth user since 0.8, yes I have encountered glitches but for the most part it runs, months at a time without admin intervention. On the off chance the backend dies, a "service watch" (bash script) can automatically restart it. And if the system locks up, which is usually a result of my own tweaking a simple restart will bring it back to life (system is configured to auto load straight into mythtv.) So "constant care" is only a result of the system not being setup properly.. spending the extra time up front to configure the system fully will reduce the admin's burdon.

Note. I have never tried Freevo (because I cannot give up commercial flagging) but your demo definitely makes it look like a killer HTPC product. For HTPC newbs I will probably start recommending Freevo as a starting point, especially if they are not as familiar with Linux.
Re: can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:14 pm Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




mwahal wrote:
Can freevo do a backend/frontend ?

It does in a way. There's no "backend" and "frontend" binaries, but when you run Freevo, it spawns a GUI which acts like a frontend and connects to the freevo recording server, which you can start with "freevo recordserver" in the background. If you have multiple PVRs around your house, you would just run freevo on each one and instead of spawning their own recording server and point it at the central one. Also, for other data such as movies, TV listing, and whatever else, you can share that data very easily, there's no need to complicate things with backends and backend-slaves. I don't see any advantage one would get with myth's setup versus Freevo when it comes to a multi-PVR implementation.
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Re: can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:13 pm Reply with quote
Guest
 




dorphell wrote:
mwahal wrote:
Can freevo do a backend/frontend ?

It does in a way. There's no "backend" and "frontend" binaries, but when you run Freevo, it spawns a GUI which acts like a frontend and connects to the freevo recording server, which you can start with "freevo recordserver" in the background. If you have multiple PVRs around your house, you would just run freevo on each one and instead of spawning their own recording server and point it at the central one. Also, for other data such as movies, TV listing, and whatever else, you can share that data very easily, there's no need to complicate things with backends and backend-slaves. I don't see any advantage one would get with myth's setup versus Freevo when it comes to a multi-PVR implementation.


So freevo can distribute shows among the "frontend/backends" so they don't all record the same show?
Re: can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:28 pm Reply with quote
Guest
 




dorphell wrote:

It does in a way. There's no "backend" and "frontend" binaries, but when you run Freevo, it spawns a GUI which acts like a frontend and connects to the freevo recording server, which you can start with "freevo recordserver" in the background. If you have multiple PVRs around your house, you would just run freevo on each one and instead of spawning their own recording server and point it at the central one. Also, for other data such as movies, TV listing, and whatever else, you can share that data very easily, there's no need to complicate things with backends and backend-slaves. I don't see any advantage one would get with myth's setup versus Freevo when it comes to a multi-PVR implementation.


Complicated backend/slaves, that's one setup screen that askes for the IP address of the master server, either itself or an actual master backend, if this is complicated opt for a TiVo.
As far as sharing movies between frontends that can either be handled with Myth's backend/frontend architecture or manually through network file sharing.
Re: can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:42 pm Reply with quote
mwahal
 
Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 34




dorphell wrote:
mwahal wrote:
Can freevo do a backend/frontend ?

It does in a way. There's no "backend" and "frontend" binaries, but when you run Freevo, it spawns a GUI which acts like a frontend and connects to the freevo recording server, which you can start with "freevo recordserver" in the background. If you have multiple PVRs around your house, you would just run freevo on each one and instead of spawning their own recording server and point it at the central one. Also, for other data such as movies, TV listing, and whatever else, you can share that data very easily, there's no need to complicate things with backends and backend-slaves. I don't see any advantage one would get with myth's setup versus Freevo when it comes to a multi-PVR implementation.


the whole idea of centeralized recording server is not to run wires around the house (atleast not audio/video cables). with wireless networking slowly approaching 108mbps, hdtv can easily be transmitted wirelessly.
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Freevo Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:44 am Reply with quote
photonwave
 
Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 45
Location: Carlsbad, CA




Hi dorphell,

I tried installing Freevo (I use gentoo linux) a few months ago, but was unsuccessfull in getting it to control my pcHDTV 2000 card. At the time I was using a 2.6.8 kernel with the getatsc tool to tune channels.

So, does the current version support a DVB interface to the pcHDTV card? I'm using a 2.6.12-rc2 kernel now and no longer use the Video4Linux interface.

If so, do you have any gotcha's that you can publish? I was impressed with Freevo's interface and would like to use it if possible. I currently just use dvbstream with an "at" command to record shows and mplayer to watch them.

Thanks for your help.

Don S.

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Gentoo 2.6.23-r3, pcHDTV 2000 and HD-5500, CM 4221 Antenna, MythTV
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Re: can freevo do backend/frontend ?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:39 am Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




Guest wrote:
So freevo can distribute shows among the "frontend/backends" so they don't all record the same show?

Yes

Guest wrote:
Complicated backend/slaves, that's one setup screen that askes for the IP address of the master server, either itself or an actual master backend, if this is complicated opt for a TiVo.

Not complicated as in "complicated to set up" but rather "complicate the design more than it should be". You're using slaves where none are needed. Freevo does the job but without slave backends. The GUI connects to a recording server, you configure each GUI to where it connects, whether it's local (main server) or remote. No need for a middleman program simply to point you at the next target.

The disadvantage of using this extra slave is not major, but someone said it's a "feature" and I was just pointing out that it offers nothing more than the direct connection way.

mwahal wrote:
the whole idea of centeralized recording server is not to run wires around the house (atleast not audio/video cables). with wireless networking slowly approaching 108mbps, hdtv can easily be transmitted wirelessly.

As I said several times in this post already, Freevo supports remote recording over the network.

photonwave wrote:
So, does the current version support a DVB interface to the pcHDTV card?

Yes, also been said before. Since Freevo uses MPlayer (or Xine) externally to play dvb TV, as long as you have it working in mplayer, which is working 100% with the pcHDTV card, it will work in freevo
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Re: Freevo + pcHDTV = Good
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:12 pm Reply with quote
maestro
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2004
Posts: 18




dorphell wrote:
Furthermore, MythTV uses QT which is ... a crappy, closed source toolkit.


Maybe you need to check the facts -- that QT on your Linux distribution is licensed under the GPL/QPL.
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Re: Freevo + pcHDTV = Good
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:24 pm Reply with quote
dorphell
 
Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 71




maestro wrote:
dorphell wrote:
Furthermore, MythTV uses QT which is ... a crappy, closed source toolkit.


Maybe you need to check the facts -- that QT on your Linux distribution is licensed under the GPL/QPL.


Bah, it was late at the time of writing that, Laughing I meant to say LGPL/proprietary not closed source. Sorry (It is closed source on some other platforms btw)
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Freevo + pcHDTV = Good
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