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MythTV Compared with Windows Media Center 248

Posted by Zonk
from the apples-and-kumquats dept.
legoburner writes "Tom's Hardware has a nice comparison of MythTV and Windows Media Center Edition, and it seems that they preferred MythTV by quite a margin: 'Enter MythTV, a grand unification of personal digital video recording and home theatre technology, and a magnum opus of modular design, freedom of expression and personal entertainment.'"
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MythTV Compared with Windows Media Center

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  • by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @01:46PM (#16071967) Journal

    Good news Tom's Hardware picks MythTV over Windows MCE (Media Center Edition), but maybe not so much a surprise. Tom's Hardware's preference isn't going to mean a lick to the general consumers. I can't tell my neighbors MythTV is bitchin' because they're not going to have a clue how do it themselves, and I'm running out of support hours and don't have time to set up everyone with MythTV, let alone support it afterwards.

    What would be really cool is if some company pulled a Red Hat, or Suse, etc., with MythTV whereby they offer their "version" of a MythTV distribution bundled with hardware and all. With minor standardization, it's a product that could spark consumer interest. This would offer an alternative to the always present MS MCE, and an interesting competition (potentially) with TiVo.

    • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Saturday September 09, 2006 @01:54PM (#16071989) Homepage Journal
      "Some company" would become shark bait the minute that there was deemed sufficient revenue for the shark school to mount a campaign of intellectual property conquest.

      Rich media experiences are a Faustian bargain. The EULA is an abstract goatskin, and that's your blood you're click/signing.

      The reality is that the bulk of people are perfectly content to sign over to a proprietary vendor.

      Paraphrasing Mellencamp: "Free Software goes on, long after the thrill of getting mugged by the proprietary vendor is gone".
      • by Pieroxy (222434)
        There is one more thing to this review. The first three pages talk exclusively about MythTV. Why is that? I don't know.

        Then there is a summary table in which every single item described about Windows MCE is just a plain lie / mistake (but for the first one). It seriously looks like these guys didn't even take the time to read anything about MCE, or else they just plain lied.

        Of course, they chose MythTV in the end. This is just a big false advertisement, nothing else.

        And don't get me wrong, I think MythTV is
    • by York the Mysterious (556824) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:15PM (#16072061) Homepage
      It's called KnoppMyth

      http://www.mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html [mysettopbox.tv]
      • by thedbp (443047) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:36PM (#16072151)
        I have some experience with Linux ... I've played with Ubuntu, Red Hat, DreamLinux, and Freespire on my brother's PC, so I only ever get occassional exposure. I'm good with the OS X command line, but don't use it for day to day tasks usually. I'm familiar with apt-get and Synaptic and can usually work around dependency problems.

        however, getting MythTV running on my brother's box proved to be really, REALLY difficult.

        Enter KnoppMyth.

        20 minute install and 10 minutes to configure. And it all just worked. I'm sold.

        Plus, he can use his main machine, a Tiger-running Mac, as a front end as well. Its terriffic. Download it. NOW.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ryan Amos (16972)
        Sorry, KnoppMyth is nice, but it still doesn't fix the "support" problem. Will your neighbor know how to open an X terminal / SSH session and repair a MySQL database when it is corrupted (this happens a lot with Myth)? Will he know how to properly partition a hard drive? Will he know how to get LibDVDCSS to play commercial DVDs? What about when his Zap2It listing subscription runs out?

        As nice as KnoppMyth is for a sysadmin type (I use it and love it) it is still decidedly not for the general public. Some kn
        • by Xabraxas (654195) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @09:27PM (#16073668)

          whereas most end users have a rudimentary knowledge of Windows and can fix small things when they break.

          I really wonder where people get this impression. Most people can't even change their resolution in Windows, although that seems to be something people bitch about with Linux. Most people don't even realize they are missing drivers when (if) they take the plunge and decide to reinstall windows because "it is slow". A lot of users cannot even install applications in Windows, even if it is the "next, next, finish" type.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dthree (458263)
        There is even a pre-built [mythic.tv] KnoppMyth system you can buy.
    • by RonnyJ (651856) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:20PM (#16072080)
      They didn't even choose which is better. The only mention in the article of MCE 2004 is on the last page, where they list a few differences, but there's nothing there to say that they prefer MythTV, let alone by "quite a margin".

      http://tomshardware.co.uk/2006/09/08/the_mythtv_co nvergence_uk/page4.html [tomshardware.co.uk]

      It's a horrendously misleading article summary, and it shouldn't have been posted. I can only surmise that the editor didn't look at the submission, either that or they don't care that it's so misleading.

      • Yeah, notice how on that comparison table, they only list one advantage of MCE -- it is simple to setup, whereas MythTV requires moderate Linux know-how. Also, MythTV does not run on Windows, as far as I know, while MCE does. Absolutely everything else in that table is in favor of MythTV. Pay nothing, get more features and flexibility.

        So yes, I'd say the reviewer prefers MythTV. The only reason MCE was mentioned at all is to have something to compare to, and as a reference point for people who may know
    • "I can't tell my neighbors MythTV is bitchin' because they're not going to have a clue how do it themselves"

      Tell them where they can buy it in the high street.

      "and I'm running out of support hours and don't have time to set up everyone with MythTV, let alone support it afterwards."

      How would that be any different than supporting MS MCE. If you charged more you would get less 'support' calls.

      "What would be really cool is if some company pulled a Red Hat, or Suse, etc., with MythTV whereby they o
      • How would that be any different than supporting MS MCE.

        Media Center requires far less technical knowledge then MythTV. Just read the other responses in this Slashdot discussion to see the variety of issues that come up.

        My MythTV barely works--- I'm running a pretty vanilla version of Ubuntu 6, with the default MythTV package. "mythtv-setup" crashes, and I don't have the time or patience to debug the problem.

        It's easier to get Windows Media Center to play DivX and XviD videos.
    • by stefanlasiewski (63134) <slashdot@@@stefanco...com> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @03:06PM (#16072261) Homepage Journal
      What would be really cool is if some company pulled a Red Hat, or Suse, etc., with MythTV whereby they offer their "version" of a MythTV distribution bundled with hardware and all

      There are a couple of small vendors who do this already. The systems all seem to be priced to compete with the various Commercial PVR-type systems -- $600-1200.

      While searching for Ubuntu & MythTV, I ran into https://monolithmc.com/ [monolithmc.com], who I ships a computer preloaded with MythTV & Ubuntu.
    • by westlake (615356)
      What would be really cool is if some company pulled a Red Hat, or Suse, etc., with MythTV whereby they offer their "version" of a MythTV distribution bundled with hardware and all. With minor standardization, it's a product that could spark consumer interest. This would offer an alternative to the always present MS MCE, and an interesting competition (potentially) with TiVo.

      Remember Walmart's big push to mainstream OEM Linux in the states?

      The systems and distros that came and went through the revolving d

  • by queenb**ch (446380) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @01:48PM (#16071972) Homepage Journal
    I've used just about everything on the planet and the one thing I keep going back to is my Tivo. The user interface on it is simple, intuitive and it just plain works. The add ons like photos, music, and even movies from other PC's in the house is super simple to work out.

    My only complaint is that because of the way the remote is shaped, it's easy to pick up backward in the dark. That's really saying something when that's the only bad thing I can come up with. Their support has always been awesome and the devices have gotten so darn cheap, there's no reason not to have a real Tivo. I've seen them on sale here for $49.99.

    2 cents,

    QueenB

    PS: No, I don't work for Tivo. I just really like mine.
    • by Ryan Amos (16972)
      I love MythTV, but I have to agree with you to a point. The main reason I love MythTV is for the streaming and web interface, meaning I can watch any of my recorded shows from work. The normal interface is not so hot though, and if all I used it for were time shifting, I would probably have a Tivo instead of Myth.

      MythTV is also considerably more expensive than a Tivo. You can't just build a good MythTV box out of spare parts; the tuner cards alone are often more expensive than a Tivo. If you want HD quality
    • by llefler (184847)

      Their support has always been awesome and the devices have gotten so darn cheap, there's no reason not to have a real Tivo. I've seen them on sale here for $49.99.

      Having recently purchased a Tivo, a little clarification on the $49.99. That is the price after rebate. To get the rebate you have to sign up for their service for 1 year ($13/mo). The rebate is $150 and you have to wait 6-8 weeks AFTER you have been activated for 30 days. So plan on 3 months before you see that money back.

      I also have a MythTV bo

    • by dwandy (907337)
      I'm sure it's a fine product ... just like Windows is.
      But I just couldn't bring myself to use it (even if it was available in Canada) for a number of reasons:
      • the term 'tivoisation' [wikipedia.org] is of course ...about the tivo. Companies doing an end-run on the letter of the GPL is unacceptable. The GPL is about freedom, and Tivo doesn't play nice.
      • Tivo includes DRM. That's reason on it's own...
      • ...but the DRM will be misused [boingboing.net]; even if by 'mistake'.
      • ...and the DRM is forced on you in mandatory software updates [boingboing.net]
      • The mand
      • by dfghjk (711126)
        "Companies doing an end-run on the letter of the GPL is unacceptable. The GPL is about freedom, and Tivo doesn't play nice."

        Maybe unacceptable to you, but in Tivo's case the GPL is respected entirely. The GPL covers the software, not the hardware. The GPL is about freedom, and Tivo software provides all the freedom the GPL is "about". You are free to use the Tivo source code all you like; the hardware, on the other hand, is under their control.

        "Tivo includes DRM. That's reason on it's own"

        Then iTunes and
  • by Jedi1USA (145452) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @01:51PM (#16071981)
    ....but it is not because it is too difficult to install and set up. I am not trying to start a flame war, but I have been using Linux for years (so I am not a total noob) and decided to Give MythTV a try. After months of work and changing TV tuner cards 3 times I gave up. MythTV will never be any competition to Windows MCE until you can just put in a disk, answer a few yes or no questions and then start using it.
    • "I have been using Linux for years (so I am not a total noob) and decided to Give MythTV a try. After months of work and changing TV tuner cards 3 times I gave up."

      You know something, you're the third experienced Linux enthusiast on slashdot that can't get their hardware working under nix. What make of cards and OS version? Were the support forums of any help

      MythTV will never be any competition to Windows MCE until you can just put in a disk, answer a few yes or no questions and then start using it.
      • How difficult would the average Windows user have in installing WinCME from scratch.

        MCE 2005 was a bit of a pain in the but to setup. Just a few days ago I moved to the Vista RC1 build for my media center and it really was as simple as anything I've installed. Detected all my cards automatically and installed correct drivers, hold one button for a few seconds and it recognized my remote (dish network), auto-detected my XBox360 as media center extender, etc. I was amazed at the improved ease of setup co
      • "How difficult would the average Windows user have in installing WinCME from scratch."

        Well, the thing is your "average Windows user" has a tech friend that they run to whenever they've got a Windows problem. I know - unfortunately I've let myself get sucked into that role before, and still do it on occasion out of friendship.

        Y'know, if all of us that do this for our friends were to stop... I really think it just might put some big cracks in that Windows monolith.
      • by drsquare (530038)
        How difficult would the average Windows user have in installing WinCME from scratch.

        Compared to MythTV it would be a walk in the park. At least 70% of the problems with these things in getting the hardware to work. Most hardware installs easily with Windows, with Linux (which MythTV runs on), it's an absolute nightmare.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DevStar (943486)
      I have to agree that it is too hard to install. I've run multiple Linux desktops and setup a couple of servers, but setting up MythTV was too much for me. Admittedly, this was about 4 years ago, but I check the webpage to see if the description is easier, and it doesn't appear to be much easier. The feature set for MythTV is incredible. If they could make it a simply "click and install" process, it would own the media center market in a way that other open source products would envy.

      If I was running the

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ivtv is evil to get working on your box. As is lirc and the other 7000 packages you need for a good MythTV box. I tried building a box based on Ubuntu and gave up a few days later. Get KnoppMyth. It automates the entire process. http://www.mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html [mysettopbox.tv]
    • by femtoguy (751223) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:22PM (#16072087)
      Let me speak on both sides. I have been running Linux since 1994, and am not a noob by any stretch of the imagination. I just built a mythtv box, and things are bother better and worse that you might expect. First I chose to buy a PVR-150 card, and to use ubuntu as a base. Both decisions made the process much easier than it would have been otherwise. Most of the set-up was just adding the correct repositories and typing apt-get install. EXCEPT for getting the ivtv drivers running. I have no idea why there is no pre-compiled driver for ivtv for ubuntu. The instructions on the howto pages are detailed about which version of the ivtv driver to use, and how to compile it, so why not just have it available as a pre-compiled module. (I know why don't I pre-compile them and make them available) If the compiled ivtv module was available it would have taken less than 30 minutes to have everything up and running.

      Overall I think that the thing that will hold Linux back from becoming really widely deployed is the lack of automation for simple tasks. I wanted to burn a DVD from a show that I recorded in mythtv. I can find several good recipes, including in the mythtv documentation, about how to do it. If it is so easy to write a detailed list of how to do something, then why not automate it.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        The lack of good DVD authoring software for linux is bizarre. Every 6 months I look into it and am surprised it's still not there.

        By "good", I mean something which approximates "cp myshow.avi /dev/dvd" and have it compatible with a normal player doing all conversions automatically.

        • by dfghjk (711126)
          DVD authoring is more complicated than that. Ever seen anything that simple on any platform?
      • by Progman3K (515744)
        I know this is not a binary package like you asked but if you are running Gentoo, to download, compile and install the ivtv drivers you type
        emerge ivtv

        See
        http://packages.gentoo.org/packages/?category=medi a-tv;name=ivtv [gentoo.org]
        For available versions.

        So I imagine this approch would be portable to other distros.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AusIV (950840)
      Interesting. I was pretty much a Linux noob going into the setup of my PVR, and I had no trouble setting up MythTV, with the exception of LIRC, and then only because I thought it would be fun to build my own IR receiver. I made sure I was buying a compatible tuner, and with Ubuntu setup was a breeze. After a while I decided to upgrade to a version not supported by Ubuntu, and it only took about 30 minutes, most of which was compile time. The instructions were simple and easy to follow.

      It may be more troubl

    • I started out trying MythTV and others and I would really like to run Linux on my media center machine and not give MS 150$. After a week I must admit that I gave up, although I like playing with stuff like that, I just wanted something that worked. My 3 largest issues was, getting the right resolution for my TV with the HDMI connection, getting the IR to work and getting the TV Schedules.
      I installed MCE and had it running in an hour or two, and the most important thing I wanted, automatic scheduling of ser
    • by smchris (464899)
      I felt the same as you do for several weeks and I also consider myself pretty well acquainted with linux. And, contrary to some of the testimonials I'm reading, KnoppMyth did not do it for me and my pcHDTV 3000 card.

      Now I'm in pretty good shape with a simple, single broadcast tuner system. I'm not using MythGame, MythFlix, or MythPhone but I am using MythStream, have all the other modules working whether I'll use some of them or not, and have only one significant bug to squash (for which I _do_ have leads
  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa (555446)
    But what is it...good for? Like a lot of people here (I imagine), I have a PC that outputs to a TV and a stereo. If I click on the movie a movie starts playing. If I click on the album the music starts playing. I've already learned the interfaces to these programs, I don't see a need for a suite of programs to accomplish something that any modern OS can already do anyway.

    Everything else seems pointless. Installing modules to give weather reports? Like a lot of people, I can just click "home" in firef

    • by abigor (540274)
      MythTV is a PVR, not some simple media player. It allows you to record TV programs and watch them later, like a Tivo. Or does your "modern OS" have this ability built in?
      • by kamapuaa (555446)
        I'm sorry, I thought it was a "magnum opus of modular design, freedom of expression and personal entertainment."
        • by abigor (540274)
          How does that description preclude it from being a PVR? Try reading the article next time, or at least understand what's being discussed.
  • Has the MythTV community thought about developing a community-based real, physical product? E.g., a cheap system with a decent hard drive, decent tuner card, and comes with everything already installed?
  • Sub $500 HD-PVR? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by M.E. Polite (959620)
    I'm glad this showed up here. I'm currently in the market for a HD-PVR, in the market since I convinced the financial adviser (wife) that I could build one for less then $500. Now I just have to build one. Any good sources for parts, including a case and remote?
    • A few options... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zanthrox (835290)
      Every now and then I see CompUSA have specials for $200 PCs. My parents just picked one up to replicate my myth HD setup. That's cheaper then I can piece together. On the off-chance that the video included doesn't support XVMC, a PCI XVMC card can be had for as little as $50.

      For capturing..Myth does have support for firewire input from the cable box. You're kinda dedicating your cable box to myth that way, but it does seem to work okay..just not for the scrambled stuff. What you can get through firewire see
  • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:02PM (#16072022)
    This is a chance to get the message out about open source to a wider crowd. Firefox was a good start, but watching TV is something that gets almost everyone interested, not just computer users. And open source has a strong tactical position - while all the companies have a vested interested in pushing their formats and restricting you with their DRM, open source has no reason not to support as many file formats as possible and giving the user complete control.

    This is a great opportunity to make some inroads into the consciousness of the average consumer.
  • Bad title! (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:03PM (#16072026) Journal
    1) Its an article about MythTV which doesn't even really mention MS Media Center except in one small table at the very end
    2) The table mentioned above compares Myth against MCE 2004 not MCE 2005 which has been out forever, MCE 2005 R2 which has been out for some time, or Vista which is almost here.
    • by rs232 (849320)
      "Its an article about MythTV which doesn't even really mention MS Media Center except in one small table at the very end"

      Actually its titled a Detailed Comparison Chart.

      "The table mentioned above compares Myth against MCE 2004 .. MCE 2005 .. MCE 2005 R2 .. Vista .."

      What information presented in the chart doesn't apply to MCE 2005/R2/Vista.

      Proprietary; pay to obtain and use but not modify, Proprietary codec cannot be changed, No software decoding support for 2004, No support for DivX or MPEG2,
      • Comparing 10 properties hardly seems very detailed.

        What information presented in the chart doesn't apply to MCE 2005/R2/Vista.

        There is now software decoding
        There is not extensive plug-in support
        Its not single unit, you have the same master/slave they talk about with Myth with use of media center extenders
        Record only locally but play locally or any extender device
        • by rs232 (849320)
          That was quick. You must have had that information at your fingertips. Do you have a link to a site detailing the specifications?
          • Well, there are quite a number of sites where you can find pleanty of info (MS, MSDN, etc, etc) about all the above, but here [thegreenbutton.com] is probably the best source for just about everything MCE related. Its a community site, but also offers tons of plug-in info, and can help with basically any questions you have if you cannot already find it with a quick search. A great community who are happy to answer any questions you have.
            • For a more specific example, here [microsoft.com] is a article (long read though) with code examples for creating a MCE plug-in which converts the default MCE recorded TV files (DVR-MS) into WMV files. There are similar tools for converting to MPEG, etc but this has the nice article explaining everything.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:09PM (#16072044)
    Features in MythTV that are not in Windows MCE 2004:
    - Open Source; free to obtain, use, and modify
    - Software and hardware decoding support
    - Output to DivX and MPEG2
    - Runs on Linux and MacOS, feeds to Windows (Windows MCE runs on -- guess what -- Windows only!)
    - Ultra-low system requirements
    - Support for companion and third-party plug-ins
    - Scalable network architecture (master/slaves) (MCE has only basic TCP/IP support)
    - Record once, transcode and play anywhere (in MCE you can only record and play using the same device)

    Features in Windows MCE not in MythTV:
    - Simple setup and configuration

    Guess which one will have the biggest market share?
    • by DaveCBio (659840)
      The bigger market share? It's already MCE of course. And you (and TH) got one point very wrong, Windows (and MCE) both support hardware and software decoding and encoding. The average Joe is NEVER going to need any scalable architecture for a friggin' media center. Lastly, I have no idea what they are smoking when they say you can only play on the same device. It's entirely possible to move music and videos to a portable player from Windows MCE.
    • Step 1. Get some new programmers on the team that NEVER touched myth before
      Step 2. Give them free reign to make a better auto setup/install interface.

      Always new fresh people will see short commings easier and spot weaknesses faster
      than if someone who has been using it endlessly for years and are used to all
      the quirkiness/shortcuts whilst knowing all the hidden features or not easily documented
      features or options that might be not quite logically laid out.

      Just look at XBMC for the xbox as a player it rocks a
  • I know it isn't ask slashdot; but does anybody here know how to put 1 Mythbox in one loaction and have it record,
    sync/copy/backup the HD and put in an another Mythbox for viewing (the two are not connected in any way) ?
    I tried several FAQs and forums and I reaaly don't seem to find an answer. thx
    • Get a knoppmyth CD and install the second box as a front end. Once you comment out the "skip networking" line in mysql it will allow outside connections to your box. From there the front end just connects and does it's business. http://www.mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html [mysettopbox.tv]
    • by B5_geek (638928)
      This is how I would do it.

      1) Use an external drive for transferring the data.
      2) copy/move the data to your desired "media" directory that Myth uses for it's data store.

      This is nothing more complicated then copy/paste. You should be able to have Myth rescan your collection so that it shows up on your menus. (or however else you organize your life)

    • (the two are not connected in any way)

      Use the mythrename perl script that renames the programs to something more helpful than their time and channel of recording. And then, since your boxes are unconnected in any way, dump the files to a removable media, and load them into the folder configured for MythVideo on the other box.

      They won't show up in the "recorded media" database tree, but in the "external media" ("Watch Video") tree. Which is fair enough, because that's what they are.

  • Why I love mythtv... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Junta (36770) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:25PM (#16072105)
    It enables me to make the ideal media setup, for me.

    The potential for separation of backend and frontend allows me to have my loud, big, lots-o-storage system somewhere far away from my TV, and a quiet, yet affordable box with my TV.

    My frontend is nothing but a micro ATX case with a motherboard (ASUS A8N-VM CSM), processor (Athlon XP64 3000), and 1 512M DIMM. No hard drive, no extra video card, booting diskless. Thanks to the linux base I'm able to PXE boot, and have a tmpfs root with about 40M of ram used, and nfs mount usr. Now I have a really slick frontend that I can sleep and resume, and it comes up in less time than my TV takes to turn on its lamp right back to whatever menu I left it at, but still have no hard disk whatsoever in it. It's very quiet, and passes the WAF test. The kind of power and flexibility I can get out of a mythtv on linux solution is far beyond anything that involves Windows (try having a fully persistant-storage free (including optical drives or usb storage) windows box that can run MCE and serve reliably as a frontend, persisting through all sorts of activity including sleep... My backend records OTA HD and uses a free service to get TV listings, no subscription, has everything stored on a software RAID5 with 4 250GB disks, and I can access it to make scheduling changes from anywhere via the web if someone say recommends a show while I'm at work. Can also download other media (i.e. fansubs), dump them in a particular directory tree, and the frontend can access it in an easy-to-use interface as well.

    One thing I will say is that for more exotic configs, it naturally takes more work to set up than probably other things do, and in allowing the exotic configuration, a lot of confusing options end up facing the novice user (kinda like vi vs. notepad). Also, as it is only part of a full solution, it can't even simplify some config options because it quite frankly has no idea if the user will have a remote, if so what remote, if they will use a keyboard, maybe a joystick, if a joystick no idea on the keymapping... If it will be running backend and frontend type tasks on the same box, if separate the frontend may not know where the master backend is... It has various playback options that work better depending on your video card and such, and while they have a 'decent' default behavior, it doesn't de-interlace by default, doesn't enable any sort of sync to vblank by default, and doesn't enable XvMC by default, because it can't assume any of these are wanted or will perform right with the frontend's hardware. It could be assissted by a discovery architecture for the frontend (if localhost not responding, discover backends), and maybe a hardware/configuration database where it uses, say, lspci data and checks for XvMCConfig and other config files to have a better guess as to what the user can do, but it shouldn't sacrifice the power of it's configurability whatever may happen.

    Once configured, it's slick and easy to use, no one has ever been confused by the interface that's used it at my house, I've never had to answer any questions pertaining to usage and once I got everything behaving correctly, I haven't had to touch configuration. Other people have scheduled recordings without being confused or anything, and that's about the hardest task left to do with the frontend. It could be leveraged as a part of a pre-configured solution where hardware and software config is already known (last I heard MCE had particular config requirements, so mythtv's ability to cope with a wider config probably contributes to this criticism).
  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:45PM (#16072190) Homepage
    First, please see http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=193371&cid=158 64227 [slashdot.org]a prior Slashdot comment for my detailed writeup of what a totally state-of-the-art MythTV high-definition system is capable of. I've had this system up and running since early January 2006, and its power and features still so far exceed any available commercial application it's not funny.

    The funny thing is that I heard so many stories about how MythTV is the ne plus ultra of difficult installations that I actually put off getting started for some time after assembling the necessary parts. Some common MythTV installation mistakes:

    MISTAKE: Not trying to build one because everyone knows MythTV installation makes grown men weep.
    SOLUTION: It might do so . . . For those who've never installed Linux before. Yes, having some experience with Linux, or the willingness to learn along the way with learning MythTV internals, is essential.

    MISTAKE: Not trying to build one because MythTV only runs on custom-built, homemade systems and I don't know how to build one.
    SOLUTION: I'm two thumbs when it comes to hardware; even my earlier 2.8TB RAID 5 array [google.com] (which I'm not using for MythTV storage, but will at some point) was more a software project than a hardware one. For MythTV, as I mention in my message above, I simply bought a stock 3.0GHz Pentium 4 Sony Vaio system. It did have the advantages of a) being pretty darn quiet and b) being black with flip-down covers covering the drive bay (a family member who visited recently didn't even recognize the case as belonging to a PC until I pointed it out), but these were simply superficial bonuses. There's no need to have to handcraft a SFF system in a "media PC" case unless one really wants to.

    MISTAKE: Trying to build a high-definition system on the cheap.
    SOLUTION: Anyone who does not feel confident about his technical skills and doesn't need high defintion ought to buy a TiVo. Seriously. Don't think that a MythTV system will somehow save you money, because it probably won't and probably won't look as nice sitting under the TV set. For those who moan and groan about the monthly TiVo fee [slashdot.org], I'll bet they're also the ones who moan and groan [slashdot.org] about paying $15 a month for World of Warcraft despite it being a far, far, far better value per dollar than any movie, DVD, or other videogame purchase. Get out of living in mom's basement, loser!

    That said, anyone who wants to build a high definition-capable system needs to look at MythTV hard because, as mentioned, it can do things no commercial system can do. However, high definition takes horsepower. Lots of horsepower. The mythtv-users list sees a constant influx of new people who think that they can get away with assembling a HD-capable system with the spare parts sitting in their closets. They fail, then go away whining about how "MythTV is hard."

    Here's what one needs:

    * 3.0GHz Pentium 4 or better. Don't try to use a less-powerful system and then rely on XvMC [mythtv.org] to fill the gap.
    * Nvidia FX 5200 or better. No, don't try ATI. No, don't try a MX400.
    * Lots of storage space. Each high-definition recording stream takes 5-8GB per hour [slashdot.org]. I can record three such at once. Do the math.
    * A standalone PC. The best way, by far, to install MythTV is to follow Jarod Wilson's justly-famous installation guide [wilsonet.com], which uses Fedora Core. Don't try to press in a system already being used for something else to the task (at least not as a frontend); it's not worth the hassle.

    BOTTOM LINE: Anyone with some prior Linux i
  • It should be noted that Media Center will now be part of certain versions of Vista.

    I've been testing it out the last few weeks and it is really quite slick. I can even assemble a "playlist" of MP3s, WMVs, GIFs/JPGs, and just about any other media on the computer and have it burn it all straight to a DVD. Not only that, but the DVD has a very professional menu-driven interface that worked perfectly on my 1995 Sony DVD player.

    MythTV looks great when it's up and running, but with the majority of tuner/video
    • by Tim Browse (9263)

      I'm sorry, we were comparing MythTV to a 2 year old version of Windows Media Center that you can't even buy any more, so all your talk of Vista MCE is no help at all :-)

      I also hear Windows XP has features that Mac OS 8 can't compete with.

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @03:14PM (#16072280) Journal
    Why did they compare to Windows Media Center 2004 and not 2005 at least?
    And in a month or two, the version after that will be released as part of Vista.

    Hmmm...
    • And in a month or two, the version after that will be released as part of Vista.

      Sure it will.

      Seriously, you just go on thinking that. Yeah.
  • First, I've been using linux since 1994 in desktops and servers. I no longer use it as a desktop anywhere, but have several servers running various flavours.

    I tried MythTV about 3 months ago. I had decided I wanted a media PC to play our fansubbed anime, silly viral videos, and huge mp3 library. I figured myth would be my best bet. I was wrong. First I tried a gentoo install so I could optimize for the hardware I had. Lengthy system install/compile later I couldn't emerge mythtv because of licenseing
  • I bought a PC with Windows Media Center. It was OK while it worked But after loading music onto it and using it as a TV for a couple of months, it started falling apart and became unusable: weird error messages, crashes, BSODs (and it wasn't the hardware). I gave up on it. I frankly don't think Windows Media Center is ready for the consumer.
  • I've been playing with modded xboxes for a few months now and I was wondering how difficult it would be to get a mythTv front end running on an xbox while having a dedicated machine in another room doing the actual recording. Anyone try this yet?
  • by PenGun (794213)
    Oh come on. All you need is 'at', the dvb tool set with 'szap' and you good to go. The kids these days ... I dunno.

        PenGun
      Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !
  • OK,
    some years ago I had received a TV tuner card and installed it on a Win2K box.
    It pretty well worked as advertised, but the scheduling software was standard windows... you could only run it if no other programs were running.

    I've had a DVR from my cable company, but with all the add-ins (Digital tier, remote charge, box charge) it proved to be too expensive, plus it needed frequent hard reboots.

    Then... enter Miglia's TV Micro.
    A little USB dongle (with an included USB cable) that decodes the signal and soft

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