Still never made it any further with the channel changing, but I did manage to apply enough duct tape (since you like that term so much
) to turn it into a usable replacement for my prior setup. I ended up just using my existing perl script as an "external channel change program" in mythtv. Its not ideal, i know, but works for a system that will never be expanded beyond one core/hybrid (I love alone, in a 500 sq ft house). Someday I would like to revisit this and get it going the right way, but probably not until getting hardware that is better supported out of the box. I also managed to get the remote working that came with my PVR-350. After blundering around in the admin interface (and manually loading the lirc_i2c kernel module and copying lirc configs from my old setup) lirc fired up, but only 2 of the buttons did anything. So I tried changing lircd.conf, only to have my changes be overwritten
Looked around on the wiki and saw that I needed to add a row to the _main.RemoteMapping table. So copied the existing default mapping, made it more generic to suit the low number of buttons, reloaded the router, and presto, remote works.
So here I am, with the same MythTV functionality I had before, but with the following extras:
1) SPDIF audio works. No matter how much i tweaked the old setup, it would never do anything but occasionally make some really bad noises when I tried using SPDIF (same hardware). Finally utilizing the DTS decoder on my audio system is incredible!
2) Better Audio / Video / DVD browsing / playback interfaces. The MythTV UI is great for TV, but man did they miss the mark when it comes to browsing mp3s.
3) Someday I can experiment with the home automation, security, telehpony, etc. No immediate plans for this.
4) The flickr screensaver is pretty
A big thanks to those of you that helped me or at least just tolerated my rantings. I'm sure you will be seeing more of me as I try to remove some of the duct tape I had to use to get this far, but for now I am happy.