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Topics - wierdbeard65

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Users / Between a rock and a hard place
« on: May 29, 2009, 01:16:09 am »

Just as I think I'm settling on the kit to buy, someone throws a curve-ball and I have to start again. This time, I've just seen a posting that says 7.10 and SATA don't play nicely. Given that all the big drives are SATA....

So, can anyone point me at a resource that tells me what currently works in 8.10? I've noticed various people seem to be running it, but I don't know how successful they are! If I go for 8.10, will I experience a level of hassle that I haven't seen since my divorce, or is it now down to a few odd things not quite there yet?

I REALLY want to get my system built, but it seems that 7.10 requires older hardware and the new stuff is only being developed in 8.10 (I appreciate why this is, I'm not asking for you guys to keep developing for 7.10).

Which way to go?

7.10 and try to find old hardware?
8.10 and hope it stays stable until the release version comes along?
8.10 and regular updates hoping that things are getting better and not being broken?

I'm not a hardware guru and struggle with all the chipset / mobo / GPU / graphics card jargon. I also am on a tight budget and don't want to waste any cash, but I'm absolutely desperate to get it running before my wife gives in to the kids and gets Sky+ and has a TV guy in to wire up the house with coax so she can watch TV in bed.

I have (or thought I had) worked out that the chipset / MOBO nightmare wasn't an issue for a dedicated core, so that's where I'm starting (I intend to begin by replacing my aging linux fileserver with MCE). I have a vision of touch-screen MD's in the kitchen and kids rooms. Orbiters on the walls making the house look like the USS enterprise. Complete freedom to collect my favourite shows as they air and then watch them at my convenience. Is this asking too much?

Sorry, went off on one there, but having read a lot of postings, I guess my frustration is shared by many. So some simple (regularly updated) sources of information as to the current state of play would be helpful. As well as knowing what doesn't work (yet) in 8.10, it'd be handy to know what features there are kicking around that won't work in 7.10 (like SATA, for example). The worst possible scenario for me is to end up with a collection of bits that don't work completely with either!

Thanks :D

Users / On the edge
« on: May 25, 2009, 05:09:57 pm »

I'm off to MediaMarkt later on to get my bits and pieces to start the first part of my MCE system  ;D

I just need to confirm some things though.

1) I'm going for a dedicated core. As long as linux will run on it, I'm ok right? The motherboard concerns are only for MDs and hybrids? 2Gb RAM is more than enough, correct?
2) As I will be using DVB in the long-run, I need to use VDR not MYTH, yes? Can VDR do all the clever stuff? (Commercial removal, list of shows / films to record if / when they ever come on, making use of repeated shows if there is a clash in the recording schedule etc.) Or should I have a go at getting Myth to work?
3) I don't want to draw a distinction between ripped content, stuff downloaded from a torrent and stuff recorded off-air. I'm thinking of a BIG HDD for media and then a smaller one for OS / swap etc. Where in the Linux directory stucture should I mount my media drive? I'm assuming /home, but is this where VDR puts it's stuff too? (I know about the auto-mount, but, like I said, I want my TV recordings to make use of the same available space as my other sourced media. Alternatively, should I just go for one big drive (or array) rather than splitting off the OS?)
4) My first input will be from my STB (sky) which will be attached to my first MD. At the moment I'm only going to use SD, although I have just purchased an HD television and want something I can mount on its VESA mounting points. Which capture card would be my best bet? Once it is all up and running, I intend to upgrade to a quad LNB and put additional tuners in my core for extra recording / viewing capacity on the freeview channels.
5) Slightly odd question, I'm purchasing equipment in the Netherlands for use in the UK. Are the tv formats compatible? (I don't want my STB to refuse to talk nicely to my capture card!)
6) Common question, I know, but which MD? I'm looking for cheap, quiet and vesa-mountable. (Oh and with enough room to take the capture solution!)
7) 7.10 / 8.10? I know 8.10 is still Alpha, but I'm increasingly seeing postings either from people who are successfully using 8.10, or who are describing fun features which "need" some feature that comes with the later version. Like most people, I want stability, but also want the sexy stuff working  :) This is part of the reason I'm thinking 2 drives in Q3 above. Then I can go 7.10 now, unplug the media drive(s) when the time comes (to keep them safe  ;)) and then upgrade the system to 8.10.

I apologise to those of you who are fed up with the endless postings of "how about this motherboard" etc. I'm just looking for confirmation of what I think I understand from the various wiki and forum postings (especially some of the wonderful new entries - thanks guys!) before I go and spend any cash.

Feature requests & roadmap / Documentation / Wiki overhaul
« on: April 27, 2009, 10:24:08 am »
First up, I don't want anyone to think I'm having a dig or complaining for the sake of it. I am not starting this thread in an attempt to start a flame war or invite abuse from anyone who is feeling a tad sensitive!

I have seen various comments over the weeks (months) that I have been actively monitoring thse forums which say three things:-

1) I'd LOVE to help out more, but I'm not a developer, so I don't see how I can.
2) The documentation / wiki is less than user-friendly (usually after someone has asked a perfectly reasonable question and been told "it's in the wiki")
3) "I'm a new user, can you tell me...." (Often resulting in an impatient "do your research on the Wiki then come back....")

Like most systems that grow organically (look at most corporate shared document areas!) the Wiki has become difficult for anyone unfamiliar with it's structure to use. Of course, those of you that have been here for a long time know where to find stuff and it isn't a problem, but please put yourself in the shoes of us lessar experienced members for a moment.

If I start at the home page for MCE, I see a friendly menu titled "Wiki / Documentation ". Under here are some links, so as a regular, impatient sort of person, I click on "Quick Start" which tells me how to install the software... HOLD ON, I have no hardware yet. Ah! Let's follow the link to "Architecture Intro". This starts with
The Core

The Core has no user interface other than an administration page (unless it is a hybrid).
Unless it's a WHAT??? Maybe I need to be less impatient, so back and try "Main / Table of Contents". Hummm. Now what? Scroll down and there's promising looking sections entitled things like "Tutorials", but the indexing is not well laid out, often with what seem to arbitrary sub-sections. You get the idea.

May I suggest that (assuming anyone is still reading this) someone who falls into the "I'd love to help" category takes on the task of overhauling the Wiki? The information that is there is fantastic, but what use is that information if it can't be found? Even the search feature doesn't neccessarily help unless you know the term to search for!

Personally, I'd like to see a "OK so you're sold, you have nothing, now what" guide for idiots. There was an excellent posting on a forum recently (and my apologies to the poster as I can't recall who you were or what the thread topic was, but I did congartulate you at the time, ptobably Thom or Andrew) which described the questions you need to ask yourself and how that influences the decisions you make about your setup.

Like I said at the start, no offense is intended, particularly to whoever it was that set the Wiki up in the first place, but can we have some structure, please?

I would offer to do this myself, but I don't have my system built yet and so it really would be the "blind leading the blind".

Users / Removable MD's
« on: April 22, 2009, 04:29:37 pm »
I have been looking on the wiki and either the information isn't there, or I haven't managed to hit on the correct search term ;) My Apologies if the latter...

I was wondering about removable media directors / players. My idea is that you could load something on a laptop which allowed media to be uploaded / synced and taken away for watching / listening to remotely. I work away from home and would like to be able to take my fave. shows with me to watch on the plane or in my hotel. When I return, I could simply re-sync. I can also see an application for fitting such a system in a car to keep the little ones occupied during a long journey ("Dad, are we theeeeere yet?" as we pull out of the drive.) perhaps a car-computer with a wireless link which sync's automatically when the car is parked on the drive....

On a releted topic, I have an iPod touch and would love to be able to sync it to my MCE library. Kind of an MCE version of iTunes, I guess. I am aware there are other MP3 / MP4 players out there which may also benefit from similar functionality.

If this type of thing doesn't exist, I'll repost (or request the topic is moved) to "Feature requests & roadmap"

Users / Touch-Screen MDs
« on: April 21, 2009, 08:39:50 pm »

I've been doing some research into MDs for places like the kitchen and possibly the kids bedrooms. I had the idea that having a touch-screen on the MD itself may well be good in these areas, so have been doing a bit of googling around.

I found some interesting devices here which are designed for kiosk / POS applications but looked like they might make nice self-contained units. Has anyone got any experience of devices like these? I searched the wiki but couldn't find anything....


Users / Additional services
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:26:26 am »

When I put my MCE core (dedicated) in, I'm going to need it to replace my current fileserver (running Linux). The routing / DNS / DHCP etc are obviously there, but I'm going to need to add additional back-end services like e-mail (probably PostFix) and antiVirus (ClamAV). Squid and Dans Guardian are needed to keep the kids safe (and their parents sane) on the 'net. I also want to use the box to store family documents, should I try to integrate with the MCE users and directory structure, or have a parallel directory / user set for the PC's? I assume Apache is installed for the web admin and I know mySQL is there, so the other bases are more or less covered.


Thanks  :)

Users / Blu-Ray
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:22:46 am »
Are there any Blu-Ray drives that are currently supported? I'd like to put one in the MD in my living room when I install.

Thanks  :)

Users / Satellite cards
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:21:38 am »

I currently have a Sky STB and a single LNB dish. I'm planning on putting in MCE and having a dedicated core. For family political reasons, I intend to leave the STB where it is and connect it via an MD to the system for the subscription stuff. I then plan to upgrade to a quad LNB and have three tuners in the core for all the free channels.

Can anyone see any problems with a setup like this? What cards would you suggest (I would like to be able to get HD channels, if possible, even if I can't use them immediately.)? What specification of core (note, NOT hybrid) would be required - I'm guessing my main issues will be disk space and LAN speed. I have 1Gb POE in the house, so hopefully that won't be a limiting factor! Disks are also getting cheaper, so I figured 1Tb or so for now and then add more as the price drops. How much RAM? Some posts suggest 2Gb is plenty. Processor?

Thanks  :)

Users / Confusion over current position!
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:16:01 am »

I'm still to actually get my system installed, but spend a considerable amount of time surfing the site and planning my rig when I have both the time and money (at the same time!) to put it together.

I am somewhat confused about versions of the components and features supported, though. What version of Myth is being used? I ask because the latest version does cool things like linking in to IPTV and allowing you to pull off all the channels multiplexed onto a single transponder with only one sat tuner card.

Also, is HD supported or not? I've seen lots of posts asking questions about hardware and fixing HD, which would imply that it is, but I'm sure I've stumbled across pages saying "not yet" as well.

I have other questions, but will put them into other threads  ;D


Users / Hooking in music & my iPod
« on: July 24, 2007, 01:32:10 pm »

I had just about settled on using LinuxMCE in my home when my wife bought us each an iPod shuffle for use at the gym.

I've installed iTunes and hit a load of "issues" which I suspect, if the iPod were integrated into MCE, would simply go away.

First up, I'm not really that interested in downloading music from the 'net (at least not at the moment!), more in ripping my CD collection.

The problem I have with iTunes is that we each have a PC and are busily ripping our CDs so we can bung them on our iPods. A lot of these are ending up being ripped by both of us! I know iTunes can share music, but you can't put music from someone else's iTunes on your iPod. Also, I can't see her music unless iTunes is running on her machine. I want it on the server!


How much is music playback integrated into Pluto? Can I rip my entire CD collection into the app, set up playlists, play back from any Media Director and also upload to the iPod? Can any / all of this be done now? If not, what are the plans for the future?

Many thanks,


Users / Myth / Pluto / LinuxMCE choice - advice needed
« on: May 06, 2007, 07:17:04 pm »

First up, apologies if you monitor the various forums closely and are upset by the cross-posting, but I'm in a real quandry and am trying to guage as wider audeince as possible  :D

Right, I am based in the UK and, at the moment, I have a home network (cat5e wired as well as a wireless access point for the laptops) with 3 desktop machines and two laptops connecting to a Linux server for firewall and file / print services. (Linux From Scratch 6.0) My home entertainment consists (at the moment) of 1 TV in the living room connected to a Sky digibox and then portables in the bedrooms with no "off air" feed used for watching videos and the kids PS2s. I have a reasonable amount of Linux experience, but by no means would consider myself to be a guru!

I stumbled across Myth about a year ago and have been keeping an eye on it. A posting there lead me to Pluto which in turn brought me to LinuxMCE. I'm now trying to decide how to proceed in dipping my toe into the water with this!

I have literally hundreds of questions and would ideally like to actually see one (or all three!) options working, so if you live in the Midlands of the UK and wouldn't mind giving me a demo (I live on the Leicestershire / Northamptonshire border) thet would be great ;-)

Anyway, Ultimately, I want to have a box in the basement which will probably replacve the current Linux server. As well as doing the whole file / print thing, and provide internet access, I want it to act as a Pluto / LinuxMCE core / MythBackend. Around the house, I'd like to have network booting fanless ITX based systems connected to the various televisions. In the kitchen, I'd like to install an LCD panel with a touchscreen to watch on and I have plans for a waterproof display I've seen for the bathroom!

Ok, my server machine / core will obviously be on all the time, however I'm a bit of a scrooge and want to get as much "bang for my buck" (as they say in the US) as I can. Am I better getting a meaty machine, or having a moderate spec and the having some extra machines with WOL to use to do the actual capturing? What about the whole hardware / software encoding issue? I hope to use the multiplex streaming when it becomes available to allow me to get as many channels as possible with as few LNBs and capture cards as I can get away with. What about disks? I'd rather not have a whole bank of disks powered up all the time if there is a system which allows them to be powered down when not in use. I understand that there is a Myth add-in which allows you to set up a "wish list" of films and programmes. Will this work with the EPGs available in the UK? How much detail does the EPG in the UK have? 5 of my "customers" are children, so they will want to build up libraries of everything from "Bob the Builder" and "Pingu" (2 year old) to "Spongebob Squarepants" (9 year old) whilst I want to end up with every eposode of "The New Yankee Workshop". WAF is very important to me, not least because I have to get the cost of all this through the financial committee (AKA my wife!).

The final question is, I guess, the biggy. Which should I go for? Ultimately, I want the integration of Pluto / LinuxMCE, but from what I'm seeing that is a road frought with hazzards. Would I be better sticking with Myth only for now? Or is even Myth still a little shakey? I really can't afford to throw money at hardware unless I know I've got a reasonable chance of ending up with a working system which is useable by all the family.

Thanks for reading this and I'm looking forward to reading everyone's thoughts.

Users / Why the split?
« on: March 17, 2007, 09:48:07 pm »

Ok, for quite some time, I've been getting into Linux and also thinking that some sort of networked PVR would be cool, particularly commercially (I was the IT manager for a school and was looking at the possibilities for delivering video to classrooms.) Then I discovered MythTV. WOW I thought, gotta get that. Just as I was researching it, Pluto appeared on the radar. WowWow, but without seeing a "proper" demo I wasn't sure how much time and effort to put in. Suddenly, I stumble across LinuxMCE with a DEMO VIDEO!!!! WowWowWow!!!!

So, I start to have some questions (please bear with me!) as to what the "best" system would be as well as some others.

  • First up, why the fork from Pluto? What differences are there / will there be?
  • Is LinuxMCE at the moment the same as Pluto (i.e. dedicated Core or Hybrid option) or is it more like a souped up Myth?
  • I'm in the UK. Does all the downloading of program guides work here as well?
  • I currently have a (defunct NTL) cable feed and a satellite (sky) feed. I have no aerial. What cards should I get if I want minimal impact on the family. (Ideally, I'd like, for the time being, to leave the sat box alone. So I'm thinking DVB-S and / or DVB-C cards, but where from? How many LNBs do I need? etc etc.
  • The video says a syste, can be assembled for as little as $400. What spec are we talking about here?
  • Although the mobiles are cool, I like the gyro-mice better. I'm thinking of a mini-ITX based system for my media directors / MythFrontEnds. Are these up to the job? (I'm considering on-board TV-out and diskless pxe booting. This should be low powered and fairly cheap, but could I have the cool UI? I'm ythinking of the kids rooms, etc.
  • For locations like the kitchen, I'm thinking touch-screens rather than mice. Anyone done this / have advice to offer?
Long list, I know, but I have very little money to throw at the system, so don't want to wast any (or any time, for that matter!)


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