Why Linux for media PC? Redux - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 273 Old 08-14-2008, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for the answer

To be honest your view on the situation seems to be very onesided Rgb, atleast that's how it seems to me. It seems as if you're throwing out alot of info/"smoke grenades".

I have no problems playing most BRDs in Windows, so saying that it's not worth the effort is just wrong imo.

Setting up a HTPC is alot of work no matter what solution you choose, and the extra 15 min it takes to set it up to play BRDs aswell.

I play ripped HD-movies aswell, but some disks I prefer to have in "full format", so untill playback of BRDs is supported in Linux, it simply isn't an option for me, and many like me. But the day that it can be don I'll look into using Linux.

And as far as I know you can remove all the DRM-stuff from the complete-disk rips anyway, so HDCP really shouldn't be a problem.
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post #32 of 273 Old 08-14-2008, 10:25 PM
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Thanks for continuing this thread, everyone. I keep coming back to find more and more info. I'm currently reviewing some hardware and expect to start down my Linux-based HTPC / Media Server very soon.

Thanks again to all for the excellent feedback. I'll just stick w/my PS3 for BD playback until the process is finessed a bit in the Linux world or the Hollyweird types finally give-up on the DRM issue (yeah, right).
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post #33 of 273 Old 08-17-2008, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGeek View Post

Thanks for continuing this thread, everyone. I keep coming back to find more and more info. I'm currently reviewing some hardware and expect to start down my Linux-based HTPC / Media Server very soon.

Thanks again to all for the excellent feedback. I'll just stick w/my PS3 for BD playback until the process is finessed a bit in the Linux world or the Hollyweird types finally give-up on the DRM issue (yeah, right).

Just to reiterate a reason for using Linux you thought was one of the best: a duopoly is as bad as a monopoly. Linux is the *only* functional, well supported alternative for a media PC OS that exists. If we don't use Linux, all we'll have is OSX and Win, i.e. we won't have any other choice/alternative, not even counting the libre/freedom issues.
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post #34 of 273 Old 08-20-2008, 10:34 AM
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I want to use Linux (preferably Ubuntu) for my HTPC. I am currently using Meedio and like it but I think a linux solution could be better. Unfortunately I am having trouble finding a good HTPC solution for Music, Movies, and Pictures (not tv recording) that is as complete as Meedio. XBMC or Elisa look the most promising but still seem to be not quite there. Any suggestions?
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post #35 of 273 Old 08-20-2008, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthessel View Post

I want to use Linux (preferably Ubuntu) for my HTPC. I am currently using Meedio and like it but I think a linux solution could be better. Unfortunately I am having trouble finding a good HTPC solution for Music, Movies, and Pictures (not tv recording) that is as complete as Meedio. XBMC or Elisa look the most promising but still seem to be not quite there. Any suggestions?

what features do you have in Meedio that you think you are missing in other software? That can help us point you in the right direction. Maybe look at Geexbox.
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post #36 of 273 Old 08-20-2008, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

what features do you have in Meedio that you think you are missing in other software? That can help us point you in the right direction. Maybe look at Geexbox.

I guess I am looking for that setup that can handle movies in all kinds of formats and pull in cover art, imdb info etc. Handle you basic collection of mp3s, wma, flac, ogg music files. and and good picture browser. I want it to work smoothly with a remote. Right now I have a Pinnacle media center remote kit that I use with a harmony remote. My wife can push one button to switch to the htpc and everything is very easy and understandable to navigate from there with out every having to touch anything but the remote.

Everyone who sees Meedio comments on how nice looking it is. I like that fact that it doesn't look "geeky". People are less likely to see how geeky I am.
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post #37 of 273 Old 08-20-2008, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthessel View Post

I guess I am looking for that setup that can handle movies in all kinds of formats and pull in cover art, imdb info etc. Handle you basic collection of mp3s, wma, flac, ogg music files. and and good picture browser. I want it to work smoothly with a remote. Right now I have a Pinnacle media center remote kit that I use with a harmony remote. My wife can push one button to switch to the htpc and everything is very easy and understandable to navigate from there with out every having to touch anything but the remote.

Everyone who sees Meedio comments on how nice looking it is. I like that fact that it doesn't look "geeky". People are less likely to see how geeky I am.

That pretty much describes my mythtv setup (with mythvideo), except I don't like mythtv's music interface (although it can handle all those formats), and I do use it for watching TV recordings. I too use a harmony remotes for all my HTPC connected to TV's and WAF is high I would imagine Elisa and Geexbox can do those things with less setup and hopefully a better music interface. But someone else will have to speak to that because I don't use them.
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post #38 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthessel View Post

I want to use Linux (preferably Ubuntu) for my HTPC. I am currently using Meedio and like it but I think a linux solution could be better. Unfortunately I am having trouble finding a good HTPC solution for Music, Movies, and Pictures (not tv recording) that is as complete as Meedio. XBMC or Elisa look the most promising but still seem to be not quite there. Any suggestions?

If you don't like Myth, try Freevo
http://freevo.sourceforge.net/

it may have better video and music file interfaces, but I've never tried them.

Hopefully XBMC and Geexbox 2.x get finished up and stable soon...
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post #39 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 09:32 AM
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What kinds of issues are you having with xbmc? I have been playing with it fro a while now and it seems to be the most solid and functional media center software I have used.
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post #40 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by onesojourner View Post

What kinds of issues are you having with xbmc? I have been playing with it fro a while now and it seems to be the most solid and functional media center software I have used.

Looks like I need to give XBMC a shot again. It seemed pretty sluggish the last time I tried it and I had trouble with it hanging. At the time though I was trying to run it on laptop that maybe was a little underpowered.
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post #41 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 12:09 PM
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My one major problem with Linux as a HTPC (And this is a personal issue, not an actual "flaw" in any sense of the word): TV guide information. Sadly, this is one thing that Windows does better than Linux at the moment. Windows guide info is free, Linux is $20 a year.

While this is a silly gripe, it's a gripe (of mine) nonetheless. I should just get over it and play with it some more, but between this and the difficulties I've had with MythTV, I'm not all that willing.

That, and my girlfriend would not like the HTPC being constantly down while I play with it and tweak the settings. She wants something that just works. My MCE box is old, and somewhat out of date, but it still works.

nVidia needs to remember what a hard launch is and apply it to what's left of their motherboard chipset department. That is all.
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post #42 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 12:28 PM
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there are ways to get guide data for free (the one below takes a little setup, but runs nicely after that):

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=862816

the tweaking thing is definitely annoying and different for everyone. My systems are pretty much always up and available, so I have a high WAF. Some people have had problem keeping MCE up and going. Everyone's situation (desired features, hardware, knowledge of shortcuts to getting things working) is a little different.
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post #43 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 02:57 PM
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Huh, interesting.

Even though supposedly free tv listings are no longer available, the same company as before is still offering free tv listings...

Strange. But good to know. Thanks for the link!

nVidia needs to remember what a hard launch is and apply it to what's left of their motherboard chipset department. That is all.
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post #44 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 03:51 PM
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I use the Zap2xml script, and it works just fine.

http://zap2xml.110mb.com/

There is another script that downloads TV listings using the Windows MCE listings. I like the idea of using Microsoft for free TV listings, but it currently does not support ATSC OTA listings.

http://mc2xml.110mb.com/

Since I have more than one MythTV box, I download the listings to one box. I then setup a ftp server on that box using vsftp, and the second box gets it via ftp. I use cron to run both the original download and the ftp download from the server. It works like a charm.

Doing it this way lessens the load on the zap2it web site. I hope that they won't mind it as much that way.
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post #45 of 273 Old 08-21-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James5mith View Post

My one major problem with Linux as a HTPC (And this is a personal issue, not an actual "flaw" in any sense of the word): TV guide information. Sadly, this is one thing that Windows does better than Linux at the moment. Windows guide info is free, Linux is $20 a year.
.

Isn't it only WinMCE/VistaMCE that provides "free" guide data? Whether its MCE or not, the "free" guide data is covered by the cost of the OS, whether you buy the OS from newegg with hardware or preinstalled on a PC, which includes the price of the OS.

If/when Myth/Freevo preinstalls are delivered from Dell/HP/et al, I'm certain a "free" schedules guide will be included.

I was happy with TitanTV integration with WinTV2000 on XP- don't know why none of the Linux DVR apps can'r use the record schedule files (.tvpi) generated from titanTV when you click the red "record" button in their grid.

For DIY HTPC's, that cost is very real- no, warezd Win copies don't count (rhetorical, not aimed at anyone here). And brick and mortar boxes typically cost more than the sum of their components, so a DIY'er with Linux comes out ahead.
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post #46 of 273 Old 08-22-2008, 04:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onesojourner View Post

What kinds of issues are you having with xbmc? I have been playing with it fro a while now and it seems to be the most solid and functional media center software I have used.

If you were referring to my comment- it was just off the cuff based on outdated versions from late last year/early this year. I wasn't aware of the current state of XBMC for Linux, which appears stable and quite nice from the screenshots in the XBMC thread .

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1058833
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post #47 of 273 Old 08-22-2008, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

Isn't it only WinMCE/VistaMCE that provides "free" guide data? Whether its MCE or not, the "free" guide data is covered by the cost of the OS, whether you buy the OS from newegg with hardware or preinstalled on a PC, which includes the price of the OS.

You are very much correct, sir.

But as I said, it's a small (personal) thing. It's in no way a knock to Linux based HTPC's in general. In all honesty, if I could get MythTV up and configured the way I want it, I probably wouldn't mind paying for the subscription.

Between projects for work, and a girlfriend who won't miss a rerun of Gilmore girls, I just don't have a good spare box or the spare time to try and get a MythTV solution up and running before putting it into "production" as it were.

Latest tests have been with Mythbuntu, but I might go back to home-rolling an extremely lightweight distro with blackbox for the WM. I hate the bloat of Gnome/KDE, and even XFCE.

*Edit: As an aside, one of the main reasons I would love to have Linux be the base of my HTPC is it's memory usage characteristics. Since 8GB of memory is less than $150 these days, I am planning on using that much in my HTPC refresh. That being said, I really enjoy that Linux by and large does not hit the swap file until all physical memory is consumed. That is in stark contrast to Windows.

nVidia needs to remember what a hard launch is and apply it to what's left of their motherboard chipset department. That is all.
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post #48 of 273 Old 08-25-2008, 10:09 AM
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Wow, While I haven't officially installed either Myth or XBMC, I can definitely say that the XBMC interface has it for me. I don't need to do any PVR activities, as I use my Dish ViP622 for that and have been very happy with it. My primary needs are for ripping my library of video and music content to a media server for listening and viewing.

Thanks for posting the few references to it. I may also build a backend Myth box in the future for any other needs. If anyone sees a problem with what I want, please go ahead and let me know...not that anyone here is shy or anything...
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post #49 of 273 Old 08-25-2008, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGeek View Post

My primary needs are for ripping my library of video and music content to a media server for listening and viewing.

You can set up a media server with just an ordinary distribution like Fedora or Ubuntu (though to play the files on that machine you'll need to have the proprietary bits installed as well). I use two KDE apps for this purpose, amarok to rip and organize CDs and k3b to rip DVDs. Linux also gives you lots of options for organizing the storage media themselves. You can stick a bunch of drives into the box and use software RAID to join them together. You can also use USB external drives. Finally, you can export the files with NFS to other *nix clients, or with SMB if you need to support machines running Windows. You could even use the Apache web server to distribute the files around the house with HTTP.

I'm not trying to discourage you from using xbmc or Myth, but you might get more mileage having a desktop machine running Linux that also functions as a media server. If you haven't got much Linux experience, this would certainly be more demanding than installing something like Mythbuntu, but you'd learn a lot in the process as well!
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post #50 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James5mith View Post

My one major problem with Linux as a HTPC (And this is a personal issue, not an actual "flaw" in any sense of the word): TV guide information. Sadly, this is one thing that Windows does better than Linux at the moment. Windows guide info is free, Linux is $20 a year.

While this is a silly gripe, it's a gripe (of mine) nonetheless. I should just get over it and play with it some more, but between this and the difficulties I've had with MythTV, I'm not all that willing.

.

Just think of that $20 akin to donating to PBS or NPR

I've said many times that if OS's were TV networks, Linux would be PBS, Windows would be FOX/NBC and OSX would be Disney Channel/ABC
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post #51 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Things you can do with a Linux media PC (to replace the list lost due to the forum server failure). Not exhaustive, just thought starters for Linux noobs:

- Play all video files with any known codec up to 1080p, including mkv (SMplayer/VLC)
- Play most audio files with most known codecs up to 7.1 (or higher?), with DD+/DD-HD and DTS-HD developing fine (and then it will be "all" codecs )
- Play and upscale DVDs with menus or with direct movie playback.
- View and edit photos
- Serve audio/video files and DVD ISO images/VIDEO_TS
- Author a DVD with or without menus
- Automagically convert any video input file when authoring a DVD
- Convert CD's to MP3/flac/ogg for servers or mobile use
- Convert to/from any video codec/container
- Backup DVD's with K9Copy (and others) or DVDShrink/DVDFab under Wine
- Rip CDs with EAC-class secure ripping, but far easier, direct to MP3 and FLAC simultaneously (Ruby Ripper)
- Author and burn CD's from MP3s/AAC/ogg/flac/wav/etc
- Edit video and audio files before authoring/burning
- Use individual desktop media players/managers and/or a Media Center/set top style front end (Myth/Freevo/Geexbox/XBMC).
- DVR/PVR HD programs from over the air ATSC and analog cable and cable QAM digital (HD encrypted programs sometime in 2009 after Hauppauge HD PVR is fully enabled)
- Switch easily between a media center style front end and the regular desktop (Gnome/KDE/XFCE).
- Use an IR/RF set top style remote with desktop or media center front ends.
- Watch Apple movie trailers
- Use random web video/audio/Flash feeds and apps
- Use JAVA web apps
- Use web apps like Google Docs, Ancestry.com, etc
- Browse with Firefox
- Share drives or individual folders on a network, auto discovered in Ubuntu & Mint, playing any media on them from other Linux clients
- Share printers on a network, with most network printers auto-discovered and drivers auto installed in Ubuntu/Mint
- Use all known file sharing protocols in a GUI client
- Use all known IM protocols in a GUI client (Pidgin/Kopete)
- Read/write Word/PPT/Excel files with free office suites/apps like Openoffice/Abiword/Lotus Symphony
- Edit/create Visio-like diagrams with Dia, Inkscape and others
- Use native Google Earth
- Use SketchUp via Wine.
- Use Picasa native Linux
- Use native Linux Google Gadgets/desktop http://code.google.com/p/google-gadgets-for-linux/
- NOT get any viruses/spyware/malware- no need for any resident anti-malware CPU and RAM sapping crap
- Feel safe browsing random web sites and web stores - no Internet Explorer security holes and attacks.
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post #52 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 11:02 AM
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Man, I was at my friend's house the other day. He showed to me his media PC. He said he was running Vista. He also mentioned something about the software. I think it was Ultimate Media or Ultimate Vista Center. I really don't recall. Anyways, I think the interface was similar to PSP. It was really cool. He said, the tv schedules are also free. I pay $20/year for schedulesdirect.

I have been on mythtv since 2005 and am still am. I'm on .21. However, I wish we can get similar interface like the one in Vista. I wish we can also get somewhat similar features like accessing MTV or videos online. I had to hack the mythstream code to get it to work. I spent almost 2 days to get FM/AM and some video streaming to work. He said, he didn't have to do anything. All he did was to select the title of the stream.

Also, he is so happy because QAM is working now for him. He said, Vista didn't have support for QAM before.
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post #53 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 11:50 AM
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Vista did not (and still technically doesn't) support QAM. This support will be added in with the release of the TV Pack.*


*That being said, the TV Pack is readily available in the wilds of the internet for those not willing to wait.

nVidia needs to remember what a hard launch is and apply it to what's left of their motherboard chipset department. That is all.
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post #54 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by James5mith View Post

Vista did not (and still technically doesn't) support QAM. This support will be added in with the release of the TV Pack.*


*That being said, the TV Pack is readily available in the wilds of the internet for those not willing to wait.

Yep, it's working great for him.
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post #55 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1rtu0s1ty View Post

Man, I was at my friend's house the other day. He showed to me his media PC. He said he was running Vista. He also mentioned something about the software. I think it was Ultimate Media or Ultimate Vista Center. I really don't recall. Anyways, I think the interface was similar to PSP. It was really cool. He said, the tv schedules are also free. I pay $20/year for schedulesdirect.

I have been on mythtv since 2005 and am still am. I'm on .21. However, I wish we can get similar interface like the one in Vista. I wish we can also get somewhat similar features like accessing MTV or videos online. I had to hack the mythstream code to get it to work. I spent almost 2 days to get FM/AM and some video streaming to work. He said, he didn't have to do anything. All he did was to select the title of the stream.

Also, he is so happy because QAM is working now for him. He said, Vista didn't have support for QAM before.

Myth has worked with QAm for years

re: MTV-

First- is there anything from MTV that a 40-something or higher would even be interested in? I'm actually serious.

Second- why use a custom, funky media center plug in when you can just go to www.mtv.com and see the same stuff in a real browser like Firefox- just exit the front end and pick up your Logitech DiNovo Mini or favorite IR/RF keyboard/mouse and go to town...
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post #56 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 12:56 PM
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Myth has worked with QAm for years

That's why I love mythtv for its QAM support and as well as ATSC. I'm hoping you didn't assume that I was thinking mythtv didn't support QAM. I never said that in my previous post.

I was only hoping that we can get a real cooler interface.

And also for streams, I was hoping that we don't have to hack some codes to get it working. I don't think a linux beginner will be able to get it working quickly.
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post #57 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 01:17 PM
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- DVR/PVR HD programs from over the air ATSC and analog cable and cable QAM digital (HD encrypted programs within 6-8 months after WinPVR-HD is enabled)

Please explain about HD encrypted programs with winPVR-HD.
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post #58 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
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...
- Author a DVD with or without menus
...

While this is certainly possible (in fact I do it). But, IMHO, this is one of the areas that needs some major improvement. Every one of the authoring programs I've tried has had an absolutely awful User Interface.
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post #59 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

First- is there anything from MTV that a 40-something or higher would even be interested in? I'm actually serious.

Hehehe --> http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/beavis_a...d/videos.jhtml
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post #60 of 273 Old 08-27-2008, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter View Post

Please explain about HD encrypted programs with winPVR-HD.

I meant the HD PVR- my bad.
http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

It can capture HD via analog component.

The Linux driver is coming along, and will prolly be Myth capable by year end or Q1 2009.

You'd need a set top sat/cable box that outputs all programs via component, i.e. doesn't disable component outs, or mod one to re-enable HD component out.

Myth would change the channel on the HD set top box and start/stop the HD PVR.

I've never subscribed to any encrypted content and don't plan to ever do so, but I recognize others might value this.
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