Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sometimes when you aren't even trying.. it just works.

Yesterday, I decided that I would spend some time trying to get the MythTV box into a working state again in the post-Freevo era. Getting it to tune properly again was a no-brainer, but sound would not work... not even in MythMusic. So, I decided that I would reinstall the alsa drivers for the on-board graphics chip (ADI1880). For some reason, I also got it in my head that I should build the intel8x0 also.. it is mentioned in the alsa docs as an alternative to via82xx, but it did not work when I fiddled with it in the beginning of the install of Gentoo.

Using the via module, I got some results, but the output was still not very good. Howver, when I switched to the intel8x0 module, the via82xx got pulled in automatically (without me saying so) and sound is perfect! Even in Live TV! YIIHAA!

Finally, the MythTV box works like it should regarding TV recording and music. My port of Mythtvburn still works, but the burner still gives me a headache. I have got in contact with a Gentoo user for whom the exact same burner "just worked". I am now trying to get him to send me information on his setup. Next, I will have to buy a second TV card and a joypad for MythGame :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Freevo and back again

Last week, I decided that I reaaly should check out mode of the options out there. From the Google:ing I did before buying the PVR hardware, I did see Freevo as the prime alternative to
MythTV. Since the problem I had with MythTV was highly related to the use of an internal player in MythTV, I also thought that I would solve the audio issue by the move, as Freevo uses Mplayer, Xawtv or Tvtime for live viewing.

Installing Freevo was not very difficult. The Freevo plugin management system made it easy to set up components, extending the base setup with aditional functionality. A couple of freatures that I particularilly liked was the ability to detach audio in the music module so that it would keep playing when browsing pictures or setting a recording schedule. This is not possible in MythTV (although I get the impression that it is comming), and the only way to record something without interupting the music is to go to the web interface. Also, you get the title of the music currently playing in the "idle bar", which is very nice.

However, there were a number of issues that eventually caused me to go back to MythTV: the way the gallery plugin works, the range of options in the music playing module, the power of the scheduling application. Also, I frustrated with the notion that I would HAVE to login to the box through ssh every time I would like to change a setting. The MythTV setup program is not great, but it beats console hacking and restarting of Freevo in the case of small corrections. I got tired of this process, and went back to MythTV.

Friday, March 11, 2005

MythTV 0.17 and new IVTV drivers.

I've had some problems with the MythTV box for a couple of days now. I thingk it all started when I wanted to transcode an abnormally large file to a smaller one, and at the same time mark commersials. For some reason, that task never finished, and did not go away even when I rebooted the computer and changed the name of the original file!
Since then, I have been experiencing hard lockups which would look like a heating problem except that the sensors tell me that there is no problem.

Then, I got a post on the MythTV mailing list that said that the problems with a low recording and livetv volume went away after an upgrade to ivtv-0.3.2h and MythTV 0.17. So, yesterday, I took the plunge...

Sadly enough, the volume is still low, but now I have made contact with a person that used to have the same problem as I have, and now don't. Hopefully, a comparison of my setup with his setup will prove sucessful.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I haven't touched the MythTV bow for a while (meaning I haven't fiddled with the settings for awhile..), but now I feel that I should wrap up the first stage of the project.
What I have done is:

  • Installed Gentoo on a new box. This is important as it has not been within 3 meters of a Windows install medium. I am very proud of this fact. The bow works ok, but makes a little to much noice.
  • Installed MythTV, MythWeb, MythWeather, MythNews, MythMusic, MythVideo, MythPhone and MythDVD. I have also ported the Mythtvburn-scripts from KnoppMyth to a "properly installed" Myth. This works great, except I cannot burn the DVD yet (this is a kernel issue though).
  • Go the #%! IVTV driver to work on the exotic version of PVR-350 i bought.
Right now, I see a couple of things that will have to be dealt with in order for me to be satisfied with the system:

  1. Get the DVD writer to write DVD:s. This is annoying since I have fiddled with DVD burners before, with good results. Also, I have found a post reporting "no problem" with Linux and the specific driver I have. Arrghh!
  2. Get the transcode deamon to work. I think there is a persmission thing somewhere.
  3. Get FM radio to work. This is not supported in MythTV any more, but I would be happy to fire up an external applikation (such as kradio) for this through LIRC. I have tried the console app 'radio' but it could not tune into anything. Back to seaching the IVTV lists again.
  4. Find the solution for the low TV playback volume. Recording volume is ok.
  5. Install a secong TV card. I am reseaching DVB cards.