Linux HTPC setup with DVR/PVR, OTA TV guide, 1080 playback, web browsing/netflix all in 1 UI - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 08-15-2013, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Does a Linux HTPC setup exist with all of these requirements?

I currently use a windows 7 WMC HTPC setup which is great, but am looking for a cheaper alternative... It seems like Raspberry Pi, Chromecast, Plex, XBMC, etc. offer a partial fix, but I am greedy and want it all in 1 and easy to use. wink.gif Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 50 Old 08-21-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Judging from the # of views people are interested in this, but judging from the replies it isn't doable???
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post #3 of 50 Old 08-22-2013, 07:05 AM
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You can do all these (and more) with some work. Netflix is not officially supported on linux but there are some workarounds. I use MythTV for everything except Netflix. I bought a Roku for that and love it. I've always found web browsing on the TV a bit clunky so I don't bother with that but MythTV does have a browser and news reader plugin.

Nearly all of what you want is very easily done. One thing you didn't mention is your linux experience. It has gotten MUCH easier to get MythTV up and running but some linux knowledge will lessen the learning curve. Ask here or on the MythTV mailing list and we can get you up and running!
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post #4 of 50 Old 08-22-2013, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lost Dog View Post

You can do all these (and more) with some work. Netflix is not officially supported on linux but there are some workarounds. I use MythTV for everything except Netflix. I bought a Roku for that and love it. I've always found web browsing on the TV a bit clunky so I don't bother with that but MythTV does have a browser and news reader plugin.

Nearly all of what you want is very easily done. One thing you didn't mention is your linux experience. It has gotten MUCH easier to get MythTV up and running but some linux knowledge will lessen the learning curve. Ask here or on the MythTV mailing list and we can get you up and running!

Not worried about doing work up front as long as once its configured it will be easy to use for the rest of my family. I dont have any Linux experience so their would be a bit of a learning curve on that. Seems like if we are getting a Roku box that would be switching an input to get to Netflix. Was hoping to get everything in 1 User Interface, which is what we have now in WMC-it makes things much easier on the WAF... smile.gif I know what you mean by being clunky, but we actually have a very nice setup right now for web browsing on our WMC plugin with a remote that includes a built in mouse. The web browser for Myth TV, will it let you get to anywhere on the web?
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post #5 of 50 Old 08-22-2013, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I found a little info on Mythbrowser, and it does look a bit painful... Does it allow you to stream video from netflix, hulu, etc.without buffering? I couldnt really find any good videos or screenshots on it...
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post #6 of 50 Old 08-22-2013, 03:57 PM
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Last time I used Mythbrowser was a few years ago. It was almost useless.

The Neflix work-around involves using a Windows version of Firefox (I believe). Netflix uses Silverlight, which isn't available for Linux.

I use a wireless keyboard to switch workspaces from MythTV to a second workspace where I start up Firefox. I only do this to stream ESPN3 Football games. You will need to look up what I mean about "Linux Workspaces".
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post #7 of 50 Old 08-22-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by waterhead View Post

Last time I used Mythbrowser was a few years ago. It was almost useless.

The Neflix work-around involves using a Windows version of Firefox (I believe). Netflix uses Silverlight, which isn't available for Linux.

I use a wireless keyboard to switch workspaces from MythTV to a second workspace where I start up Firefox. I only do this to stream ESPN3 Football games. You will need to look up what I mean about "Linux Workspaces".

Yep, that what I was afraid of. The limited demo I saw online looked super clunky...
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post #8 of 50 Old 08-23-2013, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by freetvEE View Post

Yep, that what I was afraid of. The limited demo I saw online looked super clunky...

There is a new way to watch Netflix on Linux. It is called Pipelight.

Installation instructions for Ubuntu based distros.

What is nice about Pipelight is that it uses Linux based browsers. Not the windows based FireFox. In fact I got it working on Chrome and FireFox. Pipelight also uses SilverLight version 5.* not 4.* like Netflix-Desktop. And it is a lot smoother than Netflix-Desktop.

Make sure all of your browsers are closed before installing.

Give it a try.
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post #9 of 50 Old 08-23-2013, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jawilljr View Post

There is a new way to watch Netflix on Linux. It is called Pipelight.

Installation instructions for Ubuntu based distros.

What is nice about Pipelight is that it uses Linux based browsers. Not the windows based FireFox. In fact I got it working on Chrome and FireFox. Pipelight also uses SilverLight version 5.* not 4.* like Netflix-Desktop. And it is a lot smoother than Netflix-Desktop.

Make sure all of your browsers are closed before installing.

Give it a try.

I'm happy with Pipelight so far. It's streamlined my Myth build quite a bit. I was running Netflix via a virtual machine (never got good results with the Wine based Netflix-Desktop).

I'm running it on two machines right now, my main desktop with Mint 13 on it, and my HTPC with ArchLinux and MythTV installed.

I boot up directly to MythTV, my menu is "Media Library" (which submenus to my TV recordings, and my archived media/movies), "Netflix" (which just accesses Firefox and acts as my web browser as well), "Web Browser" (which will go away now that I can watch Netflix on a native browser) and "Watch TV".



Pretty simple. My 4 and 6 year olds can use it easily. My mother-in-law is completely lost.

I had to make some concessions. I use a small keyboard with a trackball instead of a remote. This one specifically. http://www.frys.com/product/6364591?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

I like having the keyboard handy at all times. I do a lot of searching online, and being able to type searches is priceless. I mean, you have a real web browser. Why limit yourself to what you can do with it?

Manipulating the MythTV menu is actually quite easy. You can set it up however you want.

What you won't get is:

Consistent Blu-ray playback. Just not supported in Linux. Frankly, it's just a PITA. Rip the Blu-ray and transfer it to your media folders and watch it that way, or torrent the damn things (but of course buy the Blu-ray first cause that's the ethical thing to do). DOWN WITH BLU-RAY!!!!! You can do this with free programs in Linux MakeMKV and Handbrake among others.

A mother-in-law coming by to watch your TV because it's SOOOOO cool.

Other than that, there's really nothing I can't do. Pipelight, which literally just came out a few days ago, has just simplified the HTPC Linux experience greatly.
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post #10 of 50 Old 08-25-2013, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawilljr View Post

There is a new way to watch Netflix on Linux. It is called Pipelight.

Installation instructions for Ubuntu based distros.

What is nice about Pipelight is that it uses Linux based browsers. Not the windows based FireFox. In fact I got it working on Chrome and FireFox. Pipelight also uses SilverLight version 5.* not 4.* like Netflix-Desktop. And it is a lot smoother than Netflix-Desktop.

Make sure all of your browsers are closed before installing.

Give it a try.

Nice, thanks for the info! This looks like a good find especially since it actually seems to work well... I would love to get Chrome working in Linux too. Are you able to access any other online sites to stream with chrome-Amazon Prime, Hulu, Pandora, etc.? Any reason I couldnt get this working on a Raspberry Pi?
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post #11 of 50 Old 08-25-2013, 06:52 PM
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Chrome works great in Linux. You also have Chromium which is the open source variant of Chrome.

Chrome is my preferred browser. Amazon Prime and Hulu all work with no issues. Crackle is another that works just fine.

Honestly, the real issue about streaming in Linux revolved around Netflix. Netflix uses Silverlight to run it, and therefore is not compatible with Linux because for some reason Microsoft doesn't want to support open source tongue.gifwink.gif That subsequently led to a common perception that streaming on Linux was not available, which is false.

The issue revolved around DRM (Digital Rights Management). In order to get content Netflix needs to maintain DRM, and Silverlight supports it. Flash doesn't. So, the big argument from Netflix has been that it can't drop Silverlight because of DRM issues. However, Amazon Prime, which doesn't use Silverlight manages to have DRM where necessary. Google Chrome O/S, which is a Linux variant can run Netflix via their proprietary plugin. Android is a Linux variant and it runs Netflix as well. Crackle and Hulu are able to stream content and they don't use Silverlight. Everybody got excited about Redbox and it's streaming service only to find out they chose Silverlight as well. The truly unfortunate thing about it all is that Netflix is the most popular for a reason. It has the best interface, and my kids can navigate it easily. It's also commercial free unlike Hulu and Crackle.

Ultimately, Netflix didn't want hackers (as the world sees Linux users) to be copying content to their hard drives. This is understandable, albeit stupid, when you make a stereotype that Linux guys are more likely to do something like that than Windows or Mac users. We all have the same access to torrent sites.

In summary, with the new Pipelight plugin, there's nothing you really can't stream anymore. You're still using Silverlight, so DRM is in place and everything is perfectly legal, although not necessarily legit in the eyes of the evildoers over at Microsoft and in Hollywood.

Here's a summary of what my Mythbox can do.

Watch live TV just like I was using a proprietary DVR, i.e. pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.

Record live TV.

Maintain my entire video library of movies, videos, etc. I have about 1 TB of data that I maintain. All these movies are menu driven and accessible with just the touch of a button.

Rip a DVD or Bluray and put it immediately into my library. Let me go into a little more about this. When I put a new video in my library. I put it in the appropriate folder and do a rescan of the library (two button clicks on the keyboard) and metadata and images are pulled off the web. It's really slick.

Stream content, INCLUDING Netflix. I've always been able to do Netflix, but now it's just easier with Pipelight. Before, I was using a virtual machine which added about 10 seconds to my access time.

Watching DVDs.

Stream my entire library, including recordings to any computer in the house that has MythTV on it.

Browse the web, i.e. Youtube, or whatever else you want to to search for at 3 am when the family is asleep. tongue.gifwink.gif

Most importantly, this all cost me NOTHING. All the software is free, legally. I don't have any antivirus, anti-malware, etc bogging down my computer. It's a pretty liberating experience.
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post #12 of 50 Old 08-26-2013, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by minivanman View Post

Chrome works great in Linux. You also have Chromium which is the open source variant of Chrome.

Chrome is my preferred browser. Amazon Prime and Hulu all work with no issues. Crackle is another that works just fine.

Honestly, the real issue about streaming in Linux revolved around Netflix. Netflix uses Silverlight to run it, and therefore is not compatible with Linux because for some reason Microsoft doesn't want to support open source tongue.gifwink.gif That subsequently led to a common perception that streaming on Linux was not available, which is false.

The issue revolved around DRM (Digital Rights Management). In order to get content Netflix needs to maintain DRM, and Silverlight supports it. Flash doesn't. So, the big argument from Netflix has been that it can't drop Silverlight because of DRM issues. However, Amazon Prime, which doesn't use Silverlight manages to have DRM where necessary. Google Chrome O/S, which is a Linux variant can run Netflix via their proprietary plugin. Android is a Linux variant and it runs Netflix as well. Crackle and Hulu are able to stream content and they don't use Silverlight. Everybody got excited about Redbox and it's streaming service only to find out they chose Silverlight as well. The truly unfortunate thing about it all is that Netflix is the most popular for a reason. It has the best interface, and my kids can navigate it easily. It's also commercial free unlike Hulu and Crackle.

Ultimately, Netflix didn't want hackers (as the world sees Linux users) to be copying content to their hard drives. This is understandable, albeit stupid, when you make a stereotype that Linux guys are more likely to do something like that than Windows or Mac users. We all have the same access to torrent sites.

In summary, with the new Pipelight plugin, there's nothing you really can't stream anymore. You're still using Silverlight, so DRM is in place and everything is perfectly legal, although not necessarily legit in the eyes of the evildoers over at Microsoft and in Hollywood.

Here's a summary of what my Mythbox can do.

Watch live TV just like I was using a proprietary DVR, i.e. pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.

Record live TV.

Maintain my entire video library of movies, videos, etc. I have about 1 TB of data that I maintain. All these movies are menu driven and accessible with just the touch of a button.

Rip a DVD or Bluray and put it immediately into my library. Let me go into a little more about this. When I put a new video in my library. I put it in the appropriate folder and do a rescan of the library (two button clicks on the keyboard) and metadata and images are pulled off the web. It's really slick.

Stream content, INCLUDING Netflix. I've always been able to do Netflix, but now it's just easier with Pipelight. Before, I was using a virtual machine which added about 10 seconds to my access time.

Watching DVDs.

Stream my entire library, including recordings to any computer in the house that has MythTV on it.

Browse the web, i.e. Youtube, or whatever else you want to to search for at 3 am when the family is asleep. tongue.gifwink.gif

Most importantly, this all cost me NOTHING. All the software is free, legally. I don't have any antivirus, anti-malware, etc bogging down my computer. It's a pretty liberating experience.


All I can say to this is Amen! I don't do netflix, but I do pretty much everything else you mention. been using Mythtv since 2006. It's been great. My family loves it. And it's become so easy to maintain and setup.
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post #13 of 50 Old 08-27-2013, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minivanman View Post

I'm happy with Pipelight so far. It's streamlined my Myth build quite a bit. I was running Netflix via a virtual machine (never got good results with the Wine based Netflix-Desktop).

I'm running it on two machines right now, my main desktop with Mint 13 on it, and my HTPC with ArchLinux and MythTV installed.

I boot up directly to MythTV, my menu is "Media Library" (which submenus to my TV recordings, and my archived media/movies), "Netflix" (which just accesses Firefox and acts as my web browser as well), "Web Browser" (which will go away now that I can watch Netflix on a native browser) and "Watch TV".

Pretty simple. My 4 and 6 year olds can use it easily. My mother-in-law is completely lost.

I had to make some concessions. I use a small keyboard with a trackball instead of a remote. This one specifically. http://www.frys.com/product/6364591?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

I like having the keyboard handy at all times. I do a lot of searching online, and being able to type searches is priceless. I mean, you have a real web browser. Why limit yourself to what you can do with it?

Manipulating the MythTV menu is actually quite easy. You can set it up however you want.

What you won't get is:

Consistent Blu-ray playback. Just not supported in Linux. Frankly, it's just a PITA. Rip the Blu-ray and transfer it to your media folders and watch it that way, or torrent the damn things (but of course buy the Blu-ray first cause that's the ethical thing to do). DOWN WITH BLU-RAY!!!!! You can do this with free programs in Linux MakeMKV and Handbrake among others.

A mother-in-law coming by to watch your TV because it's SOOOOO cool.

Other than that, there's really nothing I can't do. Pipelight, which literally just came out a few days ago, has just simplified the HTPC Linux experience greatly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minivanman View Post

Chrome works great in Linux. You also have Chromium which is the open source variant of Chrome.

Chrome is my preferred browser. Amazon Prime and Hulu all work with no issues. Crackle is another that works just fine.

Here's a summary of what my Mythbox can do.

Watch live TV just like I was using a proprietary DVR, i.e. pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.

Record live TV.

Maintain my entire video library of movies, videos, etc. I have about 1 TB of data that I maintain. All these movies are menu driven and accessible with just the touch of a button.

Rip a DVD or Bluray and put it immediately into my library. Let me go into a little more about this. When I put a new video in my library. I put it in the appropriate folder and do a rescan of the library (two button clicks on the keyboard) and metadata and images are pulled off the web. It's really slick.

Stream content, INCLUDING Netflix. I've always been able to do Netflix, but now it's just easier with Pipelight. Before, I was using a virtual machine which added about 10 seconds to my access time.

Watching DVDs.

Stream my entire library, including recordings to any computer in the house that has MythTV on it.

Browse the web, i.e. Youtube, or whatever else you want to to search for at 3 am when the family is asleep. tongue.gifwink.gif

Most importantly, this all cost me NOTHING. All the software is free, legally. I don't have any antivirus, anti-malware, etc bogging down my computer. It's a pretty liberating experience.


This is sweet mini, thanks for taking the time to explain all of this! I think I am going to jump into Linux and give this a try. I have a Raspberry Pi waiting for me to tinker with it-do you think this setup will work ok on that if I use RBMC, Xbian or something similar to get the ball rolling? I am trying to keep it as inexpensive as possible, robust to get to everything we want & easy to use all at the same time.

We just have an OTA Antenna, with a HD Homerun so am thinking this should all tie together nicely with MythTV & Linux to watch and record TV... I also use Chrome so that is a bonus if we can still browse like we are used to on our Windows PC.

Like you I have 2 toddlers, a minivan ;-) and the WAF so want to make sure that what I setup is going to be very easy to use... Curious, how much more maintenance/updates/glitches do you see with a Linux system such as yours compared to to Windows WMC system I have now?

I have some pretty nice remotes that I have found over the years with mouse/keyboard built in, seems like these would work with this setup, right? If we access the internet it is usually just to stream a quick show, mainly netflix, Amazon Prime or free online sites.
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post #14 of 50 Old 08-27-2013, 12:27 PM
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This is sweet mini, thanks for taking the time to explain all of this! I think I am going to jump into Linux and give this a try. I have a Raspberry Pi waiting for me to tinker with it-do you think this setup will work ok on that if I use RBMC, Xbian or something similar to get the ball rolling? I am trying to keep it as inexpensive as possible, robust to get to everything we want & easy to use all at the same time.

We just have an OTA Antenna, with a HD Homerun so am thinking this should all tie together nicely with MythTV & Linux to watch and record TV... I also use Chrome so that is a bonus if we can still browse like we are used to on our Windows PC.

Like you I have 2 toddlers, a minivan ;-) and the WAF so want to make sure that what I setup is going to be very easy to use... Curious, how much more maintenance/updates/glitches do you see with a Linux system such as yours compared to to Windows WMC system I have now?

I have some pretty nice remotes that I have found over the years with mouse/keyboard built in, seems like these would work with this setup, right? If we access the internet it is usually just to stream a quick show, mainly netflix, Amazon Prime or free online sites.

RasPi is not really sufficient for what you want to do. I have a RasPi as well, and it's pretty much relegated to minivan duty with XBMC. Running a backend and a frontend with a RasPi will most likely crawl, if it works at all. Here's what I use my RasPi for.





Yes, each kid gets their own 22" monitor. They were refurbs so the wife didn't have too much of a stroke. Something you DON'T say to me. "Honey, the old portable DVD player doesn't work and the kids will want to watch movies when we go on vacation. Can you make something work?" The mounts are redone now, but that was built up in a couple hours prior to the vacation.

I suggest a build with an AMD APU like the A6-6400, or what you're currently using will likely be fine.

On to the MythTV build. I have two HD Homeruns running right now as well with an OTA antenna. Exactly the same as you. Everything you want to do is very doable in Linux.

MythTV is a program. So, it sits on top of your main operating system. This is where it gets confusing over Windows. Windows is pretty much prepackaged with everything you need. It also comes with A LOT that you don't need. Linux being generally infinitely customizable to your specific needs, also leads to a lot of options, and hence confusion. Many, many different ways to skin the cat.

So, let's start simple. Mythbuntu. Ubuntu is the most popular prepackaged Linux distribution. There are also a lot of different flavors of Ubuntu. These generally revolve around specific needs, or different desktops. So, you will find things like Xubuntu (Ubuntu with the Unity desktop stripped off and replaced with the XFCE desktop). Kubuntu is Ubuntu with the KDE desktop instead. Mythbuntu is a flavor that focuses on MythTV. It's still Ubuntu. Unity desktop is stripped off, replaced with XFCE then the entire operating system is configured to run MythTV as a primary function. This understandably, makes it the easiest solution to get started with.

I use ArchLinux. ArchLinux is vastly more complex in that you're building it up from the command line. The benefit I see in this is I can configure it EXACTLY how I want. Everything I want and NOTHING I don't. By NOTHING I don't, I specifically mean PulseAudio. PulseAudio is the sound server used by many Linux distributions now. It's taken the place of ALSA, which while a bit less plug and play, has less problems.

I'm saying all of this because of your one question, "maintenance". I despise Windows. I'm a Linux diehard after switching over in 2009. This doesn't mean my journey has been without frustration and a few sacrificed goats. Windows does offer a more plug and play solution. However, once you have everything working the way you like with Linux, it's MUCH less maintenance than anything Windows.

Linux is not bug free. Bugs are generally handled by the community in a much quicker manner than with Windows, and support online is, in my opinion (take that for what it's worth), much better than Windows communities. So, issues are more easily addressed.

Linux updates just like any other operating system. HOWEVER, you are never forced to update. If you don't want to mess with a good thing, then you won't be forced to. I've used many Ubuntu based distros and ArchLinux. I have NEVER had a forced reboot due to an update.

Ultimately, it sounds like your confidence in what Linux can do is what's shaky. Trust me when I say that just about everything you can do in Windows can generally be done in Linux. Sometimes you have to reinvent the wheel with Linux, but you can get it done. All the things you expect an operating system to do can be done with Linux. Full office productivity suites are available. Full media management. Firefox and Chrome are the two main browsers used in Linux. Google even created Chromium for Linux, which is the open source variant of Chrome.

You might want to start simple and just get familiar with how Linux does things. I'd HIGHLY recommend you install some flavor of Linux onto a machine you currently have. My suggestions are Linux Mint Mate. This is my first choice. This distro has the most "Windowsish" feel to it. It's my go to when converting people to Linux. Xubuntu. Xubuntu is a very light Ubuntu based distribution. It runs lighter than WInXP. If you have an old computer lying around that still works, Give Xubuntu a try. You'll be amazed how well it works. Xubuntu is my distro of choice for netbooks, and customers that complain their netbooks are next to useless running Windows. Xubuntu is EXCELLENT for netbooks. Any of these distros can have MythTV installed on them. That way you can play around with MythTV before finally taking down the main machine.
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post #15 of 50 Old 08-27-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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RasPi is not really sufficient for what you want to do. I have a RasPi as well, and it's pretty much relegated to minivan duty with XBMC. Running a backend and a frontend with a RasPi will most likely crawl, if it works at all. Here's what I use my RasPi for.

On to the MythTV build. I have two HD Homeruns running right now as well with an OTA antenna. Exactly the same as you. Everything you want to do is very doable in Linux.

MythTV is a program. So, it sits on top of your main operating system. This is where it gets confusing over Windows. Windows is pretty much prepackaged with everything you need. It also comes with A LOT that you don't need. Linux being generally infinitely customizable to your specific needs, also leads to a lot of options, and hence confusion. Many, many different ways to skin the cat.

So, let's start simple. Mythbuntu. Ubuntu is the most popular prepackaged Linux distribution. There are also a lot of different flavors of Ubuntu. These generally revolve around specific needs, or different desktops. So, you will find things like Xubuntu (Ubuntu with the Unity desktop stripped off and replaced with the XFCE desktop). Kubuntu is Ubuntu with the KDE desktop instead. Mythbuntu is a flavor that focuses on MythTV. It's still Ubuntu. Unity desktop is stripped off, replaced with XFCE then the entire operating system is configured to run MythTV as a primary function. This understandably, makes it the easiest solution to get started with.

I use ArchLinux. ArchLinux is vastly more complex in that you're building it up from the command line. The benefit I see in this is I can configure it EXACTLY how I want. Everything I want and NOTHING I don't. By NOTHING I don't, I specifically mean PulseAudio. PulseAudio is the sound server used by many Linux distributions now. It's taken the place of ALSA, which while a bit less plug and play, has less problems.

I'm saying all of this because of your one question, "maintenance". I despise Windows. I'm a Linux diehard after switching over in 2009. This doesn't mean my journey has been without frustration and a few sacrificed goats. Windows does offer a more plug and play solution. However, once you have everything working the way you like with Linux, it's MUCH less maintenance than anything Windows.

Linux is not bug free. Bugs are generally handled by the community in a much quicker manner than with Windows, and support online is, in my opinion (take that for what it's worth), much better than Windows communities. So, issues are more easily addressed.

Linux updates just like any other operating system. HOWEVER, you are never forced to update. If you don't want to mess with a good thing, then you won't be forced to. I've used many Ubuntu based distros and ArchLinux. I have NEVER had a forced reboot due to an update.

Ultimately, it sounds like your confidence in what Linux can do is what's shaky. Trust me when I say that just about everything you can do in Windows can generally be done in Linux. Sometimes you have to reinvent the wheel with Linux, but you can get it done. All the things you expect an operating system to do can be done with Linux. Full office productivity suites are available. Full media management. Firefox and Chrome are the two main browsers used in Linux. Google even created Chromium for Linux, which is the open source variant of Chrome.

You might want to start simple and just get familiar with how Linux does things. I'd HIGHLY recommend you install some flavor of Linux onto a machine you currently have. My suggestions are Linux Mint Mate. This is my first choice. This distro has the most "Windowsish" feel to it. It's my go to when converting people to Linux. Xubuntu. Xubuntu is a very light Ubuntu based distribution. It runs lighter than WInXP. If you have an old computer lying around that still works, Give Xubuntu a try. You'll be amazed how well it works. Xubuntu is my distro of choice for netbooks, and customers that complain their netbooks are next to useless running Windows. Xubuntu is EXCELLENT for netbooks. Any of these distros can have MythTV installed on them. That way you can play around with MythTV before finally taking down the main machine.

Bummer on the Pi, any other thoughts for a cheap linux build that will work with Mythtv/DVR/OTA/streaming? Dont care as much about DVD or Blu-ray playing. I could even see using it for a secondary bedroom TV. My main concern is the freezing/studdering/glitches in audio or vido for 1080 OTA HD content either live or off the DVR. I actually found a interesting review here from 6 months ago, he had some success but also some issues: http://siphon9.net/loune/2013/02/raspberry-pi-as-a-xbmc-mythtv-front-end/comment-page-1/#comment-284616

Love the pics of the minivan setup-classic!

Appreciate the Linux rundown-that makes a lot more sense now. I noticed you didnt mention Openelec, RBMC, or Rasbian for any of the Linux options and reason I should stay away from them?
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post #16 of 50 Old 08-27-2013, 02:52 PM
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Bummer on the Pi, any other thoughts for a cheap linux build that will work with Mythtv/DVR/OTA/streaming? Dont care as much about DVD or Blu-ray playing. I could even see using it for a secondary bedroom TV. My main concern is the freezing/studdering/glitches in audio or vido for 1080 OTA HD content either live or off the DVR. I actually found a interesting review here from 6 months ago, he had some success but also some issues: http://siphon9.net/loune/2013/02/raspberry-pi-as-a-xbmc-mythtv-front-end/comment-page-1/#comment-284616

Love the pics of the minivan setup-classic!

Appreciate the Linux rundown-that makes a lot more sense now. I noticed you didnt mention Openelec, RBMC, or Rasbian for any of the Linux options and reason I should stay away from them?

The problem with MythTV is that you need a backend server in order to record your programs. The Raspi just lacks processing power. As a frontend you might be fine, but you still need the backend. So, if the Raspi could be used at all, it would be relegated to frontend duty only. You would need hardware acceleration to get good 1080 playback, and MythTV is pretty much limited to Nvidia, ATI/AMD, and Intel for graphic hardware acceleration. Not saying it can't be done, but at this point you're fighting an uphill battle. MythTV developers have only recently had the idea of ARM architectures thrown their way, and things will probably need to settle down a bit before they marry themselves to a particular architecture. Honestly, the platform that will be supported the best by MythTV is the one that supplies the best drivers. ATI/AMD only recently became recognized as reasonably performing when it came to graphics processing. That's because ATI/AMD was pretty lax in their Linux drivers.

Also to note, that in order to play Netflix on Linux, you need a program called Wine which is a Windows emulator (more CPU processing power needed). I'm not sure how available Wine is for a RasPi, and I definitely couldn't tell you if it runs worth a damn.

As for my distro choices. The ones I stated are full bore desktop varieties. OpenElec, Rasbian, etc are specifically targeted to the Raspberry Pi and very stripped down. OpenElec can be used elsewhere, but for the sake of argument, and your question, it's really an ARM based distribution. I used OpenElec on my RasPi and it worked well, but it's really stripped down.

So, if you're really looking to do a MythTV build, that does everything you want, I'd suggest an AMD APU (CPU and GPU integrated) with a mini-ITX motherboard as the most inexpensive course that will meet with the WAF. That's if you buy new. You really need the CPU processing power to handle the backend duties. You need even more if you're planning on running both a backend and a frontend on the same machine. Here's what you're asking the backend to do. You're asking it to receive and transcode information simultaneously, while streaming that content to another location. In the case of uncompressed digital High Definition you're asking it to do a lot more than just standard definition analog signals. Add in streaming over the net, and internet browsing, Flash based streamers (Hulu, Amazon) dragging down your CPU and you need something fairly beefy. Modern CPUs are more than capable. You don't need a supercomputer for sure, but the ARM stuff just isn't up to snuff. All you need on a frontend is to be able to decode and play the data. You're asking a lot less of it, but even then you're going to have issues doing everything you want. Like for my RasPi, I just use it for playing movies for the kids. As a digital media player, it's great. OpenElec and XBMC are perfect for that.

In conclusion, I know what you want to hear, and I know what you were hoping for. Unfortunately, it's not really possible. I bought a RasPi only to have it sit in a bin for several months until I found a legitimate use for it as a mobile media player. For what you want to do, you really need a real computer. However, you can still be excited because "real" CPU and GPU processing has never come in such a small package before. With mini-ITX taking off and being supported by top end processors, you can get a lot of computer into a very small package. Just a few years ago you were relegated to Atom type processors on that form factor and they're not even recommended for Myth builds. Now you can get full blown top end AMD and Intel processors and excellent graphics into a box the size of my son's lunch box. At that point you can run a full blown mediacenter and storage server that will run your entire house.

For example, the A6-6400 AMD APU bundled with a motherboard at Microcenter is about $80.00. Add RAM and a case and you have a full blown desktop level computer where you'll never say "can I do that?".
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The problem with MythTV is that you need a backend server in order to record your programs. The Raspi just lacks processing power. As a frontend you might be fine, but you still need the backend. So, if the Raspi could be used at all, it would be relegated to frontend duty only. You would need hardware acceleration to get good 1080 playback, and MythTV is pretty much limited to Nvidia, ATI/AMD, and Intel for graphic hardware acceleration. Not saying it can't be done, but at this point you're fighting an uphill battle. MythTV developers have only recently had the idea of ARM architectures thrown their way, and things will probably need to settle down a bit before they marry themselves to a particular architecture. Honestly, the platform that will be supported the best by MythTV is the one that supplies the best drivers. ATI/AMD only recently became recognized as reasonably performing when it came to graphics processing. That's because ATI/AMD was pretty lax in their Linux drivers.

Also to note, that in order to play Netflix on Linux, you need a program called Wine which is a Windows emulator (more CPU processing power needed). I'm not sure how available Wine is for a RasPi, and I definitely couldn't tell you if it runs worth a damn.

As for my distro choices. The ones I stated are full bore desktop varieties. OpenElec, Rasbian, etc are specifically targeted to the Raspberry Pi and very stripped down. OpenElec can be used elsewhere, but for the sake of argument, and your question, it's really an ARM based distribution. I used OpenElec on my RasPi and it worked well, but it's really stripped down.

So, if you're really looking to do a MythTV build, that does everything you want, I'd suggest an AMD APU (CPU and GPU integrated) with a mini-ITX motherboard as the most inexpensive course that will meet with the WAF. That's if you buy new. You really need the CPU processing power to handle the backend duties. You need even more if you're planning on running both a backend and a frontend on the same machine. Here's what you're asking the backend to do. You're asking it to receive and transcode information simultaneously, while streaming that content to another location. In the case of uncompressed digital High Definition you're asking it to do a lot more than just standard definition analog signals. Add in streaming over the net, and internet browsing, Flash based streamers (Hulu, Amazon) dragging down your CPU and you need something fairly beefy. Modern CPUs are more than capable. You don't need a supercomputer for sure, but the ARM stuff just isn't up to snuff. All you need on a frontend is to be able to decode and play the data. You're asking a lot less of it, but even then you're going to have issues doing everything you want. Like for my RasPi, I just use it for playing movies for the kids. As a digital media player, it's great. OpenElec and XBMC are perfect for that.

In conclusion, I know what you want to hear, and I know what you were hoping for. Unfortunately, it's not really possible. I bought a RasPi only to have it sit in a bin for several months until I found a legitimate use for it as a mobile media player. For what you want to do, you really need a real computer. However, you can still be excited because "real" CPU and GPU processing has never come in such a small package before. With mini-ITX taking off and being supported by top end processors, you can get a lot of computer into a very small package. Just a few years ago you were relegated to Atom type processors on that form factor and they're not even recommended for Myth builds. Now you can get full blown top end AMD and Intel processors and excellent graphics into a box the size of my son's lunch box. At that point you can run a full blown mediacenter and storage server that will run your entire house.

For example, the A6-6400 AMD APU bundled with a motherboard at Microcenter is about $80.00. Add RAM and a case and you have a full blown desktop level computer where you'll never say "can I do that?".

You are right not what I was hoping for, but I appreciate that you just saved me a serious amount of time... eek.gif

Thinking maybe a HTPC linux build for the main (or even us my existing Windows 7 WMC HTPC) and maybe a Linux Pi for the bedroom PC. From your experience do you think the Pi connected via ethernet would work ok to access recorded TV files & play them over the network? I am sure the .wtv files from WMC would have to be changed.

If I loaded my HTPC with Openelec or Rasbian to get a running start, could I still access netflix, amazon, etc. through the chrome browser or does that somehow make it worse in the long run so start of with one of the other recommendations from above?
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Looks like Netflix will eventually abandon Silverlight in favor of HTML5:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238421/Netflix_to_dump_Silverlight_Microsoft_s_stalled_technology
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You are right not what I was hoping for, but I appreciate that you just saved me a serious amount of time... eek.gif

Thinking maybe a HTPC linux build for the main (or even us my existing Windows 7 WMC HTPC) and maybe a Linux Pi for the bedroom PC. From your experience do you think the Pi connected via ethernet would work ok to access recorded TV files & play them over the network? I am sure the .wtv files from WMC would have to be changed.

If I loaded my HTPC with Openelec or Rasbian to get a running start, could I still access netflix, amazon, etc. through the chrome browser or does that somehow make it worse in the long run so start of with one of the other recommendations from above?

Browsing is going to be tough. Flash based browsing will be hard on the CPU, and I doubt you'll get Netflix working at all with the Pi.

I haven't streamed with my Pi. I just load the movies I want onto the SD card, which I pull over the network then play them natively. Works perfectly that way.
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Looks like Netflix will eventually abandon Silverlight in favor of HTML5:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238421/Netflix_to_dump_Silverlight_Microsoft_s_stalled_technology

They've been talking about that for years. Not holding my breath.

Anyway, the problem isn't necessarily Silverlight. It's DRM. Like was mentioned before, you can run Netflix on Google Chrome O/S and Android devices which are Linux based, and don't use Silverlight. Hollywood doesn't want Linux users to have access to their DRM. Hollywood is still mad that there are open-source solutions for ripping DVDs. Nevermind Blu-ray, and music. They'd lock it all down, and they lobby for it in Washington, if they could. What ends up happening is people just torrent then.

Either way, it's a fail for Hollywood.
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What about Pipelight?
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I have a Pi and it's not really great for HTPC...I have found android sticks work far far better as a front end to my Linux based HTPC or even just as a multimedia standalone device...plus apps like Netflix will run on the Android sticks and XBMC is slowly making progress on Android as well. Heck there's even a mythtv frontend that works pretty good on Android!

I use a Minix G4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=minix&N=-1&isNodeId=1) and with it's dual CPU web browsing is fairly snappy.

I got my G4 for $50 when Newegg was having a sale. I also have a Roku in the bedroom which is another nice alternative. My linux based HTPC is my Mythtv backend system but also does double duty running XBMC.
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What about Pipelight?
Maybe you should read the entire thread before posting. rolleyes.gif
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post #23 of 50 Old 08-28-2013, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Pi and it's not really great for HTPC...I have found android sticks work far far better as a front end to my Linux based HTPC or even just as a multimedia standalone device...plus apps like Netflix will run on the Android sticks and XBMC is slowly making progress on Android as well. Heck there's even a mythtv frontend that works pretty good on Android!

I use a Minix G4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=minix&N=-1&isNodeId=1) and with it's dual CPU web browsing is fairly snappy.

I got my G4 for $50 when Newegg was having a sale. I also have a Roku in the bedroom which is another nice alternative. My linux based HTPC is my Mythtv backend system but also does double duty running XBMC.

Thanks for your thoughts, do you think this would cover my requirements? DVR/PVR, OTA TV guide, 1080 playback, all in 1 UI, easy to use Wher does one find the frontend you speak of?
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Thanks for your thoughts, do you think this would cover my requirements? DVR/PVR, OTA TV guide, 1080 playback, all in 1 UI, easy to use Wher does one find the frontend you speak of?
I would only use it as a frontend player...still would leave DVR duty to a decent HTPC system

I have Mythtv Backend running on my Linux HTPC and use the following Android app as the front end. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mythtv
You can also use XBMC to act as a front too. Android sticks are not perfect yet, but they are moving fast with development on the apps and using them for multimedia.
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On the above advice about AMD, i'd simply stay away from it if you are going to go with MythTV. If you are new to linux, I highly recommend sticking to Nvidia GPUs and the very excellent VDPAU driver. Even a low end Ion2 processor can handle 1080i with 2x advanced interlacing without breaking a sweat or generating much heat (means noise).

If you want to be able to push full OTA Mpeg2 to a front end from a MythTV back end, you probably are going to spend more than $60 on a box. I have a Myth backend server that was built in a home theatre chassis, and because I put a GT430 in it, it also serves as a front end for TV as well. The backend also supports two additional TVs, both using small low power, small profile, low noise intel/nvidia boxes. The BE is also connected to 3 different antennas through various tuners (HDhomeruns & cards). The reason is the stations here are scattered and I find that is the simpest of solutions. Fortunately MythTV knows which antenna to pick when a certain channel is selected for live TV or recordings. It works perfectly for this. The BE also holds a great deal of ripped DVDs and other videos that can be watched on any TV.

I also have XBMC loaded on one of the front ends because of the huge amount of online streaming content that it makes easy to access.

One of my FEs is a Zotac ID41 (atom/Ion2) booting off a small SSD, and the other is a custom built ITX box with an I3/GT430 (yeah it's overkill but I use it for other things as well). The BE is running on the lower power version of an I5 with a SSD boot drive, and WE Green Drives for storage. It's been running for more than a year without issue. The entire system is connected together with CAT 5E cables that I pulled myself. Recommendation: If you pull your own network cable through your home, always pull at least 2 to each location. The big positive, however is that it's a far better experience that we were getting via satellite or cable.

This system is probably a bit more expensive, but it's 100% compatible with Linux/MythTV, it's quiet, and doesn't use much power. The FEs boot in about 5 sec. I justified it by considering that it worked out to be the same as about 8 months of the satellite TV subscription. There are certainly less expensive ways to go about it, but there are always trade-offs between cost, speed, compatibility, power/noise.

Finally if you are new to linux, I recommend that you stick with a full fledged Myth distribution and the only one of those at the moment that is viable is mythbuntu. I'm no longer much of a fan of ubuntu but this distribution does make setting up Myth fairly easy. Rolling it from scratch can be daunting especially if you also have to first work out setting up linux. I prefer to use Arch myself, but there is no way I would recommend that to a novice.
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post #26 of 50 Old 09-01-2013, 03:31 PM
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Maybe you should read the entire thread before posting. rolleyes.gif
He wants to run MythTV which means Linux. He also wants Netflix so I recommend Pipelight. What did I miss?
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post #27 of 50 Old 09-01-2013, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
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He wants to run MythTV which means Linux. He also wants Netflix so I recommend Pipelight. What did I miss?

Just several posts about Pipelight:

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Originally Posted by jawilljr View Post

There is a new way to watch Netflix on Linux. It is called Pipelight.

Installation instructions for Ubuntu based distros.

What is nice about Pipelight is that it uses Linux based browsers. Not the windows based FireFox. In fact I got it working on Chrome and FireFox. Pipelight also uses SilverLight version 5.* not 4.* like Netflix-Desktop. And it is a lot smoother than Netflix-Desktop.

Make sure all of your browsers are closed before installing.

Give it a try.

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I'm happy with Pipelight so far. It's streamlined my Myth build quite a bit. I was running Netflix via a virtual machine (never got good results with the Wine based Netflix-Desktop).

I'm running it on two machines right now, my main desktop with Mint 13 on it, and my HTPC with ArchLinux and MythTV installed.

I boot up directly to MythTV, my menu is "Media Library" (which submenus to my TV recordings, and my archived media/movies), "Netflix" (which just accesses Firefox and acts as my web browser as well), "Web Browser" (which will go away now that I can watch Netflix on a native browser) and "Watch TV".



Pretty simple. My 4 and 6 year olds can use it easily. My mother-in-law is completely lost.

I had to make some concessions. I use a small keyboard with a trackball instead of a remote. This one specifically. http://www.frys.com/product/6364591?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

I like having the keyboard handy at all times. I do a lot of searching online, and being able to type searches is priceless. I mean, you have a real web browser. Why limit yourself to what you can do with it?

Manipulating the MythTV menu is actually quite easy. You can set it up however you want.

What you won't get is:

Consistent Blu-ray playback. Just not supported in Linux. Frankly, it's just a PITA. Rip the Blu-ray and transfer it to your media folders and watch it that way, or torrent the damn things (but of course buy the Blu-ray first cause that's the ethical thing to do). DOWN WITH BLU-RAY!!!!! You can do this with free programs in Linux MakeMKV and Handbrake among others.

A mother-in-law coming by to watch your TV because it's SOOOOO cool.

Other than that, there's really nothing I can't do. Pipelight, which literally just came out a few days ago, has just simplified the HTPC Linux experience greatly.

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Chrome works great in Linux. You also have Chromium which is the open source variant of Chrome.

Chrome is my preferred browser. Amazon Prime and Hulu all work with no issues. Crackle is another that works just fine.

Honestly, the real issue about streaming in Linux revolved around Netflix. Netflix uses Silverlight to run it, and therefore is not compatible with Linux because for some reason Microsoft doesn't want to support open source tongue.gifwink.gif That subsequently led to a common perception that streaming on Linux was not available, which is false.

The issue revolved around DRM (Digital Rights Management). In order to get content Netflix needs to maintain DRM, and Silverlight supports it. Flash doesn't. So, the big argument from Netflix has been that it can't drop Silverlight because of DRM issues. However, Amazon Prime, which doesn't use Silverlight manages to have DRM where necessary. Google Chrome O/S, which is a Linux variant can run Netflix via their proprietary plugin. Android is a Linux variant and it runs Netflix as well. Crackle and Hulu are able to stream content and they don't use Silverlight. Everybody got excited about Redbox and it's streaming service only to find out they chose Silverlight as well. The truly unfortunate thing about it all is that Netflix is the most popular for a reason. It has the best interface, and my kids can navigate it easily. It's also commercial free unlike Hulu and Crackle.

Ultimately, Netflix didn't want hackers (as the world sees Linux users) to be copying content to their hard drives. This is understandable, albeit stupid, when you make a stereotype that Linux guys are more likely to do something like that than Windows or Mac users. We all have the same access to torrent sites.

In summary, with the new Pipelight plugin, there's nothing you really can't stream anymore. You're still using Silverlight, so DRM is in place and everything is perfectly legal, although not necessarily legit in the eyes of the evildoers over at Microsoft and in Hollywood.

Here's a summary of what my Mythbox can do.

Watch live TV just like I was using a proprietary DVR, i.e. pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.

Record live TV.

Maintain my entire video library of movies, videos, etc. I have about 1 TB of data that I maintain. All these movies are menu driven and accessible with just the touch of a button.

Rip a DVD or Bluray and put it immediately into my library. Let me go into a little more about this. When I put a new video in my library. I put it in the appropriate folder and do a rescan of the library (two button clicks on the keyboard) and metadata and images are pulled off the web. It's really slick.

Stream content, INCLUDING Netflix. I've always been able to do Netflix, but now it's just easier with Pipelight. Before, I was using a virtual machine which added about 10 seconds to my access time.

Watching DVDs.

Stream my entire library, including recordings to any computer in the house that has MythTV on it.

Browse the web, i.e. Youtube, or whatever else you want to to search for at 3 am when the family is asleep. tongue.gifwink.gif

Most importantly, this all cost me NOTHING. All the software is free, legally. I don't have any antivirus, anti-malware, etc bogging down my computer. It's a pretty liberating experience.
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post #28 of 50 Old 09-01-2013, 04:30 PM
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Seems to me that re-quoting all those long posts to make the point that you didn't like someone else's response, wasn't very useful.
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Seems to me that re-quoting all those long posts to make the point that you didn't like someone else's response, wasn't very useful.
He asked, and I supplied.

Your post about this was even less useful.
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post #30 of 50 Old 09-03-2013, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by blackcat6 View Post

On the above advice about AMD, i'd simply stay away from it if you are going to go with MythTV. If you are new to linux, I highly recommend sticking to Nvidia GPUs and the very excellent VDPAU driver. Even a low end Ion2 processor can handle 1080i with 2x advanced interlacing without breaking a sweat or generating much heat (means noise).

If you want to be able to push full OTA Mpeg2 to a front end from a MythTV back end, you probably are going to spend more than $60 on a box. I have a Myth backend server that was built in a home theatre chassis, and because I put a GT430 in it, it also serves as a front end for TV as well. The backend also supports two additional TVs, both using small low power, small profile, low noise intel/nvidia boxes. The BE is also connected to 3 different antennas through various tuners (HDhomeruns & cards). The reason is the stations here are scattered and I find that is the simpest of solutions. Fortunately MythTV knows which antenna to pick when a certain channel is selected for live TV or recordings. It works perfectly for this. The BE also holds a great deal of ripped DVDs and other videos that can be watched on any TV.

I also have XBMC loaded on one of the front ends because of the huge amount of online streaming content that it makes easy to access.

One of my FEs is a Zotac ID41 (atom/Ion2) booting off a small SSD, and the other is a custom built ITX box with an I3/GT430 (yeah it's overkill but I use it for other things as well). The BE is running on the lower power version of an I5 with a SSD boot drive, and WE Green Drives for storage. It's been running for more than a year without issue. The entire system is connected together with CAT 5E cables that I pulled myself. Recommendation: If you pull your own network cable through your home, always pull at least 2 to each location. The big positive, however is that it's a far better experience that we were getting via satellite or cable.

This system is probably a bit more expensive, but it's 100% compatible with Linux/MythTV, it's quiet, and doesn't use much power. The FEs boot in about 5 sec. I justified it by considering that it worked out to be the same as about 8 months of the satellite TV subscription. There are certainly less expensive ways to go about it, but there are always trade-offs between cost, speed, compatibility, power/noise.

Finally if you are new to linux, I recommend that you stick with a full fledged Myth distribution and the only one of those at the moment that is viable is mythbuntu. I'm no longer much of a fan of ubuntu but this distribution does make setting up Myth fairly easy. Rolling it from scratch can be daunting especially if you also have to first work out setting up linux. I prefer to use Arch myself, but there is no way I would recommend that to a novice.

The AMD stigma will live long with Linux. If you said this a year ago, I would have 100% agreed. However, in the last year or so, AMD has FINALLY stepped up their game. They're drivers are leaps and bounds better than before, and graphics acceleration is available even in MythTV. Even MythTV has admitted the improvements and they're page has ALWAYS had the "stay away from AMD/ATI" statements. That's what makes the new AMD APUs so appealing. Awesome GPU to CPU ratio in one chip. So far, I'm having good luck with the AMD stuff on Debian based distros. I'm about to attack an APU with ArchLinux. I'm curious to see how that goes. Though, I'm going back to Mythbuntu because it seems their PulseAudio issues are, for the most part, resolved.

Everything else you said, I firmly agree with, and why I support the opensource solutions Linux provides. Many different ways to skin a cat here.

Your comment on streaming OTA MPEG2 data can't be overlooked. Those files are large, due to being uncompressed. There's a lot more data than a compressed file. I'll go into that a bit more. Even for live TV with MythTV, you're still writing data to the hard drive. MythTV gives about a 3 second delay (don't know if you can change this) when processing live TV. That way, live TV is actually streamed from a file, and not directly. So, the backend is writing the data, and then streaming it to any of the frontends that are trying to access it. Another frontend may be trying to watch a movie, or another channel on another frontend. Even one of the frontends is part of the backend machine (Frontend/Backend combo), that's still a lot of work. That's why you need CPU power.

You can buy a Roku. You can buy a DVD/Bluray player. You can rent a DVR from your TV provider. OR, you can save that money, and spend it, and a bit more on a good MythBox, and save money in the long run. Spend $300.00 (considerably less with AMD APUs) on a MythBox that will do it all. Spend $1200.00 a year on cable TV, plus you still need something for Netflix and playing DVDs. Hell, I don't even play DVDs anymore. I have all my DVDs ripped to a hard drive and I can play them on any computer in the house that has either MythTV or XBMC installed.
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