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Trying to build my first HTPC but not going well.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:18 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 3

I've been working on this for 4 days now. I've tried Windows MCE, MediaPortal, Yahoo GO!, Ubuntu w/ MythTV and now I'm on MythDora. Every distro I've tried I get choppy video and sound. I'm convinced that my machine has a enough beef to be able to watch HDTV recordings and record live HDTV at the same time, but maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?

Mobo: standard mobo that comes with a Dell Dimension 4600
CPU: P4 2.4 Ghz
RAM: 1GB DDR 333 PC2700
Video: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB RAM
Tuner: pcHDTV HD-5500
Sound: Integrated AC-97
Hard Drive: 320GB 7200 RPM
Optical Drive: Memorex 16x DVD-RW DL and NEC DVD-RW
Monitor: Dell 15" LCD
Remote: Snapstream Firefly

I ran through the standard Mythdora 4.0 install. The tuner card was recognized right away. Everything installed perfectly. It's just when I watch live HDTV it's choppy. Also, I am quite new to Linux. Could someone tell me how to tell how much my CPU load is? I know that I'm using 880 MB of RAM of my 1024 which seems to be a lot. Can you see any other bottlenecks I might have?

I don't think I have the ATI drivers loaded correctly either. I looked in my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and I don't see any reference to ATI in there. But I do see the FGLRX (I think that's what it's called) statement.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 2:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 299

Actually, your CPU is a little on the small side for HDTV processing. I recall a minimum of 2.8 GHz required, but I don't recall where I read that. HD video is in the MPEG-2 format, and displaying it is processor intensive.

In order for the video to be displayed smoothly, some of the video processing needs to be done with the video card, not the CPU. The lighter load on the CPU will make a world of difference. The only way that I know to monitor the CPU load, is with the KSysGuard application.

So, it sounds as if the video card is not doing it's job. That is not surprising, as ATI has very poor Linux support. You may not have it configured right, and that could also be hurting the PQ.

I don't use ATI in Linux, so I can't help out. You may want to poke around in some Linux forums, I think that somewhere the set up info that you need is listed.

There is the Linux Forums:

And a dedicated section for Linux HTPC's at the AVS Forum:

There also is a MythTV Wiki:

Mythbuntu 8.04
Intel D875PBZ main board
Pentium4 3.06Ghz
1024GB RAM
nVidia 6600GT
pcHDTV HD-3000
MythTV 0.21
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 3

Thanks waterhead for the reply. You were certainly on the right track. I ended up purchasing a new video card (nvidia fx6200). This was a cheap upgrade that has hardware video encoding on the card. This allowed me to enable Xvmc in MythTV. It made a world of difference by taking a great deal of the load off my cpu. Now I can watch good looking HDTV.

Now I just gotta figure out all the extra goodies that come with MythTV.

Thanks again.
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Trying to build my first HTPC but not going well.
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