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Discussion Starter #1
G'day all


I've been playing around with HTPCs recently and was after some advice.


I use a Shuttle SN68SG2 as an HTPC, it's currently running XP with VLC, BlazeTV, Media Monkey and ACDSee for Movies, PVR, Music and Photos. This works well but is much more complicated than my wife likes so I'm looking at some alternatives.


I've run Ubuntu on a few PCs in the past and really like it. This makes me think either XBMCbuntu or Mythbuntu would be a good choice. Can any users of both give me ideas on which is easier to navigate (Remote/KBD/Mouse)? Other suggestions would be more than welcome too. I'm after a single simple interface for all of my media which resides on a Win7 PC.


Cheers


William Cowan
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info Paul, that's a bit of a nuisance I was unaware of.
 

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I actually didn't know it either. I have an older HTPC that I was going to upgrade before giving it to someone. It has a similar chipset as yours, so I don't think I will be upgrading it.
 

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If you want to upgrade it, you can get a GT430 which will handle any video content fine, for about $40 - $50. It works very well with Mythtv.


I use Mythtv as a OTA DVR and as a HTPC. I have a BE/FE machine and also two other FEs running TVs in other rooms. If you stick to Nvidia graphics, you can used a pretty low powered box for anything that can be viewed through the Myth interface.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcat6  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23174517


If you want to upgrade it, you can get a GT430 which will handle any video content fine, for about $40 - $50.

I can't because it doesn't have a slot. The OP's Shuttle is listed as having a PCIEx16 slot. That means he can use a PCIE x16 or PCIE x1 card. I don't see a GT430 available in that format.
 

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It looks like the GeForce 210 that I linked to will do the job. According to the MythTV wiki, it has "Feature Set" C:
Quote:
Feature Sets C and D


Support complete acceleration for MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2 (a.k.a. MPEG-4 ASP), VC-1/WMV9 and H.264.

Global motion compensation and Data Partitioning are not supported for MPEG-4 Part 2.

And here are user-submitted results on using this card with MythTV:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/VDPAU#External_Links
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just an update


I had a few hours to play on the weekend and installed Mythbuntu and XBMCbuntu - one at a time of course! MythTV appears to be far more complex than what I really need, XBMC looks really good. I'm having a screen resolution battle at the moment, it looks like I'll have to edit the xorg.conf file to achieve the 1366x768 resolution I need. There is so much (conflicting) info out there I have some more research to do.


Cheers


William Cowan
 

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To be honest, I think the best bet now a days is to just throw Plex Media Server ( http://www.plexapp.com/ ) on your windows machine or linux machine and then pick up a Roku box for your TV. It's simple, easy, and the plex interface is generally wife approved. Plus the fact you can get client for smart phones and tablets just makes it a much better solution then XBMC.


My biggest complaint with XBMC is that for playing movies from a server it's great, but when you want to access cloud services (ie Pandora, Amazon, Vudu, etc) the pluggins are a hit or miss. And when they are working they always are short lived until something breaks again. That's to be expected since the majority of plugins are hacks. Roku on the other hand have authorized clients so it rare for one of their apps to stop working and if it does the app is generally fixed quickly.
 

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I edited my xorg.conf file last night and have my desired screen resolution on XBMC running on Ubuntu. I still need to point XBMC towards the server so it can play some media. About the only thing to do after that is find some linux drivers for my DVB-T USB stick.


I'm quite impressed with XBMC so far. It is much simpler than MythTV which was the original direction I headed.


Cheers


William Cowan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowanAudio  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23176749


...MythTV appears to be far more complex than what I really need...
Quote:
Originally Posted by CowanAudio  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23181532


About the only thing to do after that is find some linux drivers for my DVB-T USB stick.


...It is much simpler than MythTV which was the original direction I headed....

If you want to use your DVB stick as a DVR, then you will want to use MythTV. It's not really that hard, but there is a learning curve.


Just remember, easier usually isn't better.
 

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Since you asked about Linux, I have been running XBMC-12.1 over Fedora Core 18, and it works very well. I am using a home-built i5 box, and the built-in HD-3000 graphics. No issues so far playing 1080p content.


As far as my setup, all my audio components and the HTPC are in a remote closet, and I am running the output HDMI from the receiver in the closet over RG6 coax back into into HDMI to my living-room TV. I am controlling the audio components using a Logitech Harmony remote across an ancient IRMid RF repeater (now called X10 PowerMid, I guess). I don't have an IR receiver on the HTPC yet, just controlling XBMC using xbmcRemote on iPad/iPhone over WiFi, works really well. I am using the Aeon Nox 4.0 skin, I am liking it more and more over the default Confluence skin.


In my case, the "HTPC" is also my media server. I have a RAID-1 configuration external enclosure that holds my media. The HTPC can access the files directly. For remote boxes to access the media, I also have Serviio running as a DLNA/uPnP server. Failing that, I have SAMBA running so remote boxes can mount using Windows SMB protocol. If your HTPC is not the same as your media server, you could use the same technique, XBMC on the HTPC can use either/both DLNA and SMB to mount remote media folders.


About the only issue I have is starting XBMC up. I have kludged some udev rules and bash scripts to detect HDMI being connected/disconnected, and then bring up XBMC on the extended screen (using xrandr and wmctrl), as well as turn off all the X-Windows/window-manager screen blanking. But it is not reliable always. Usually, I start the remote sequence using the Harmony to turn on the receiver and the TV, and XBMC may or may not be on. A couple of power-cycles of the receiver with the remote and XBMC is up correctly (this has nothing to do with HDMI handshake, just the 2nd screen detection and coordination).


Hope this helps!


Shash


EDIT:

PS: Other issues: No native XBMC solutions for Netflix, Vudu, etc.
 

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G'day all


I've sorted out all my media shares to the Win 7 box now. This guide made it very straightforward: http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=SMB/Windows So as far as playing stored content is concerned, I'm good to go.


I still need to find out what is required to record TV off the DVB-T USB tuner. A workmate who has played around with XBMC a lot says there are a few solutions that work.


Cheers


William Cowan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowanAudio  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23194376


...I still need to find out what is required to record TV off the DVB-T USB tuner. A workmate who has played around with XBMC a lot says there are a few solutions that work.

You first need to know if your DVB tuner will work in Linux. Then, there are only two Linux programs (that I know of) that will "time shift" OTA TV. The one I use is MythTV, and it has a full program guide that it retrieves from the signal, at least it does here in the States. The other is VDR, which I have never used and know nothing about.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterhead  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23194403


You first need to know if your DVB tuner will work in Linux. Then, there are only two Linux programs (that I know of) that will "time shift" OTA TV. The one I use is MythTV, and it has a full program guide that it retrieves from the signal, at least it does here in the States. The other is VDR, which I have never used and know nothing about.

So XBMC won't work as a DVR? I'm looking to build an HTPC to primarily serve as an OTA DVR with option to stream video to my bedroom office PC across my CAT5/6 LAN.

Have the hardware requirements for MythTV/Mythbuntu changed since 2008? I started to build one in 2008, but abandoned the project and want to retry again. I have an ASUS P5E-VM HDMI motherboard, Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.2 GHz, 6 GHz RAM, and a dual tuner HDHomeRun and just purchased a 2 TB Green AV hard disk.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTimeShifter  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23297891


So XBMC won't work as a DVR? I'm looking to build an HTPC to primarily serve as an OTA DVR with option to stream video to my bedroom office PC across my CAT5/6 LAN.
I don't use XBMC, so I can't give a knowledgeable answer. But what I have heard is that it can use MythTV, in that it acts as a front-end and passes off recording duties to MythTV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by quantumstate  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23299479


HDTimeShifter unfortunately that mobo has an Intel GPU. I've run a P5N7A-VM for about five years and Asus kit is superb, but mine has an nVidia GPU. It's about hardware accel of video decoding. There have been advances with VAAPI, and ostensibly Intel chips can do hardware decoding with it, but to this point no one here has tried it. Your CPU does not have enough grunt to do the job in software. This will be the case whether MythTV or XBMC. Good news is Myth is far easier to set up these days.


So you can:

a. Try what you have and get VAAPI working;

b. Buy an add-on graphics card and get VDPAU working;

c. Buy a new mobo.


Myth will work great for what you want to do, as long as the bedroom has 5.2GHz wifi, not 2.4GHz.

I will have to disagree about the CPU. The hardware requirements haven't really increased since 2008 if you are watching OTA content. I think that CPU will have no problems playing back OTA (HD MPEG-2). I had a Prescott P4 3.0Ghz that had no problem doing it without GPU acceleration. My current Atom 330 and D525s can do it without using hardware acceleration. I have an intel E2180 (2Ghz) with a onboard Intel GMA 3100 GPU does just fine as well (I regularly watch HD QAM MPEG-2 recordings using it, and I have tested HD OTA recordings on it as well). I can even watch lower bit rate h.264 content on the E2180 without a problem. The E2180 is comparable to the E4500... actually a little less powerful I believe.


5Ghz N wifi would definitely be preferable, but you may have success with 2.4Ghz (especially N). A lot more variables to deal with on the 2.4Ghz spectrum and it's definitely a YMMV situation.


Yes, XBMC can be used as a frontend to a mythtv backend.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by quantumstate  /t/1466812/linux-sw-for-a-new-htpc#post_23300340


Maybe you mean for live watching only? Because with DVR (and I don't know what kind of regimen you have set up), commercial skip flagging could kick in any time, for one or more videos, and that must be done in software. (At least until we can harness CUDA) And I don't know about you, but my HTPC does lots of other things for the whole LAN, like Squid, Tor, CUPS, dnscrypt, unbound, and so on. I have an old E8400 (3GHz), and when I was doing software decoding I got occasional skips and hangs. Unless you live in a cardboard box, there's no reason to not have the equipment to do hardware accel. Although, I would welcome his experiences with Intel VAAPI hardware accel.

Anyone who runs 2.4GHz (whatever flavor) for video streaming is either an a55hole, or hates his neighbors.

No I don't mean for liveTV only. The E2180 machine I mentioned in my previous post is my master backend, file server, does commercial flagging (I limit it to one job at a time), remote access, zoneminder, and a few other things. I never have any problems with skips and hangs. Commercial flagging is the biggest problem and you can just offload that to another machine or schedule for times when load is ight. I don't live in a cardboard box. And the reason not to do hardware accel would be that he may not have to if he already has a machine that works (as I do) without hardware acceleration. Your machine seems like it would be overburdened, but that doesn't mean all others would be. Mine isn't.


All my machines save the Atoms and laptops do multiple duty. You can see my hardware setups in the link in my signature.
 
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