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Install log: kubuntu gutsy + via epia + hd-5500
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:58 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 2

Usually support forums like this are a place for people to discuss problems they are having and to ask for help, so I thought it might be useful to post some things that I am learning doing an install. At this point the install is successful enough that I am watching a really bad football game (Bills @ Jets) using xine and I am still hoping to get MythTV working so I can record games like this and fast forward through them with my hands over my eyes.

My goal is to combine a Linux firewall and a mythtv backend. From a security perspective that sounds like a bad idea, but from a "green" perspective it works, because the firewall is on all the time and the mythtv backend might be on a lot or even all the time. I already had a VIA EPIA CL mini-itx based firewall running debian sarge. On investigation it appears the HD-5500 will tune clear QAM stations from TWCNYC. Then the goals become:

* use the existing EPIA CL-10000 mobo for firewall and mythtv backend keeping power consumption low but claims to have MP2 video accel
* have a second tv viewing location
* mythtv backend with mythfrontend for watching recordings in living room
* serve additional media (music)

To run the hd-5500 and myth backend, the kernel needs to be 2.6, and the existing firewall was debian sarge using 2.4 kernel. Also the existing firewall was in a very small morex cubid case with a 2.5" disk and no PCI slot, so it seemed like the best idea was a complete reinstall to kubuntu gutsy (7.10) in a new case with a 3.5" hard disk. The morex 2699 case has a PCI slot, space for a 3.5" drive, and places to put some 40mm cooling fans if necessary.

Case and new hard drive came from directron, hd-5500 from pchdtv (no email notification with shipping info but the card arrived just one day after the directron shipment), and everything else came out of the existing firewall.

First, everything has to fit in the morex case. If you've never worked with mini-itx form factor before, the clearances are much tighter than in standard atx form factor. Also, the PCI riser card and case slot doesn't offer much flexibility. None of the hd-5500 mounting hardware really worked well, so the best option was to use the short length adapter, which fit in the slot and didn't flop around too much.

The kubuntu gutsy install went really smoothly. Put in the cd rom, connect to the internet, and answer the questions. After previous VIA EPIA installs, this was a breeze. I needed to download a pile of application packages using adept (dbv-utils, xine, myth backend and frontend, etc.), but everything was recognized, including the hd-5500 card, which came up on /dev/dvb/adapter0 using the cx88-dvb driver.

At this point, I had to take an extended detour to reload some email archives and other system services from the old system.

Now it's time to try to use the hd-5500 card. After confirming that the drivers appeared to be correctly loaded, I needed to tune the video channels from TWCNYC cable. Unfortunately this did not go as well as the initial install. First, the latest dtvscan (1.07) from the pchdtv site tuned absolutely nothing. Then scan from dvb-utils brought in a couple of channels using the TWCNYC example initial frequency file (in /usr/share/doc/dvb-utils), but most of the SD channels were missing, and we'll be using SDTV a lot here.

The mythtv backend setup also had trouble. First the backend configure script (as run by adept) generated its own password, but I had already installed mysql for other reasons, with its own password. So, the backend setup didn't work until I ran the mysql scripts from /usr/share/mythtv and also the password was changed in /etc/mythtv/mysql.txt.

Even with the mythtv backend setup working, mythtv channel scan didn't work at all. Nor could I import the channels.conf file created by dvb-utils scan - myth reported a parsing error.

So, finally, it's time to revert to manual mode. The channels.conf file format is documented on the mythtv wiki


The trick was to put my HDTV tuner into diagnostic mode. It's a Pioneer 3310HD or something, and you press diamond and select simultaneously, then diamond again, to get the DTV tuning info. For each clear QAM channel, you need to note the tuning frequency, the video program id, the audio program id, and the program number. Now, my channels.conf file looks like this, combining the manual info for SD channels and the scanned info for HD channels:


At this point, xine is working with -V xv, although I'm not convinced that mode is really doing much. So I just watched Chad Pennington lose his last game as a NY Jet (please can we see the prospective QBOTF now, since the season has been over for 4 weeks already?) using

xine -V xv dvb://WCBS_2

Still to do, is to get the mythtv backend setup. At minimum, I need to figure out what the video capture device should be, and get the channels.conf file successfully imported. Also I need to see if MPEG accel is really working, because I'm not convinced at this point, and see if HD video is an option on this system.

If you're doing - or thinking about - a hd-5500 install I hope you found this information useful. To summarize kubuntu gutsy == good, via epia == good if you want low power consumption above all else. Channel scanning didn't work, so plan to do your channels.conf manually using info from your existing hdtv tuner or from information available online.
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Install log: kubuntu gutsy + via epia + hd-5500
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