Last night, the final component of my MythTV setup arrived - the TV tuner card,
a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350.
I'd had the other bits and pieces for about a week, indeed I'd already had
MythTV installed and "operational", but there's really only so much
you can do without a TV signal in the mix as well.
So I had a bit of a late night last night bashing on things and getting it
all going. It was actually surprisingly trouble-free.
For some reason, I naively thought that the more contemporary 2.6 kernels
had all the support required for the PVR-350. Not true. You need to grab the
ivtv driver and build it separately. If
I was less impatient, I would have worked with module-assistant to
get it packaged, but I just threw it on. I have to run 2.6.17 to get the
sound working, so I needed the 0.7.0 version of the driver. This built and
installed fine, and I could run mplayer against
/dev/video0 and see (and hear) TV fine. With a bit of tweaking of
MythTV, it was happily using the card.
Getting the remote control to work was slightly more problematic. It turned
out that I needed to get the latest greatest lirc from CVS in order to get everything to
build correctly, and get a /dev/lirc that I could actually
read from. After that, everything else just fell into place.
The last thing I spent a bit of time battling with today was guide data and
channel tuning. It seems for some reason that channels greater than or equal
to 14 didn't have their frequency set correctly, so I had to manually edit
each channel and put in the frequency in kilohertz that ivtv-tune
--list-channels provided. The Zap2it chaps also provide two different
sets of guide data for Mountain View, and depending on which one you pick,
you get a totally screwed up idea of the actual channels available. I also
discovered the hard way that changing from one set of channels to the other
without cleaning out the channels first leads to a complete
mish-mash of channel data that correlates even less with reality than
choosing one or the other by itself.
But within 24 hours of receiving the tuner card, I have everything up and
running. The ATA over Ethernet disk array (that Myth tells me is good for
over 600 hours of recording) seems to be holding up to the task alright. The
current bandwidth utilisation for a few test recordings is interesting:
So it seems that a TV show is a nice steady 5 mbits/sec, which everything
seems to keep up with okay. The post-processing to flag commercials seems a
bit more bandwidth-intensive. It seems to take about 40 minutes to flag the
commercials for a 60 minute block of recording.
It's early days yet, but I'm fairly happy with how everything's operating so
far. I can certainly leave things as they are for a while without needing to
fiddle with things any further.
The one thing I do want to mention is the guide data. The fact that it's totally
free, and designed to be used by the likes of MythTV is awesome. PVRs
really live and die by the guide data, and it's so cool that Zap2it offer it
completely gratis. Mad props to them.
Oh, and while I'm dishing out praise, I really must also thank Christian
Marillat for http://www.debian-multimedia.org/
and for packaging up MythTV for Debian. If I had to build all of this
myself, I'm sure it wouldn't have been so trouble free.