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Messages - skeptic

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Users / Re: Installing additional software packages...
« on: February 26, 2008, 12:26:18 am »
No, you're not safe to install anything at all.  And using synaptic is almost guaranteed to mess your system up.  Better make a backup before you start and only ust apt-get/dpkg to carefully install or remove things.

Thanks for the quick reply.  Is there a guide somewhere (that I can't seem to find) that explains this?  If synaptic isn't safe to use, then that pretty much tells me I can't just install whatever via apt-get.  What is the correct method for adding stuff to a linuxMCE box?  Can I setup sources.list in such a way that I'm safe installing whatever is listed?  I don't know how to carefully install/remove things if I don't know what is safe or not.  It was this wiki entry that convinced me to give linuxMCE a try on my desktop:'m_a_Linux_user_already._Should_I_use_LinuxMCE's_distribution

To me this implies that I can use linuxMCE as a normal desktop and as long as I don't go messing around with the wrong mirrors I can do all the normal kubuntu stuff including adding software.

Users / Installing additional software packages...
« on: February 25, 2008, 11:58:37 pm »
Perhaps I'm going blind or braindead, but I can't find the answer to this.  I have read that linuxMCE uses special repositories for apt-get and that mixing packages from other sources can mess linuxMCE up.  I also saw a message during install that linuxMCE modified the repositories or some such thing to protect against this.  I need to install additional packages so I did an apt-get of synaptic (I'm new to ubuntu/kubuntu/linuxMCE).  Before I screw things up, am I safe to install whatever I want as long as I don't manually edit anything in /etc/apt?  I took a quick look at sources.list and it appears that along with there are a number of generic ubuntu sources listed:

deb file:/usr/pluto/deb-cache/ ./
deb feisty  main restricted multiverse universe
deb feisty-security  main restricted multiverse universe
deb feisty-updates  main restricted multiverse universe
deb ./
deb feisty  multiverse

Users / Is this a bad idea?
« on: February 25, 2008, 05:50:41 pm »
I've decided to use what I have instead of jumping in with both feet and committing to linuxMCE with all new hardware. 

Desktop:HP Pavilion AMD64 3700+ with 1G ram, nvidia 6600, 200G internal, 500G internal, and 750G usb external drives. 
Current mythtv client: HP Pavilioin zd7000 with nvidia go5600 video, dead screen but s-video out works fine
Extra: Thinkpad T21, S3 Inc. Savage/IX8 video adapter, dead hard drive, I THINK it supports PXE.

Here are my thoughts, please tell me if I'm being stupid or if I don't understand something correctly.  I still need to use my desktop as a desktop as well as the minor amount of internet server stuff it does (web server, e-mail, dns, etc).  I also want to minimize the number of re-installs I do.  This leads me to believe I should install Kubuntu 7.04 then using the 2CD version, install linuxMCE 0704.  Going with a DVD install means less options for things like setting it up to mostly use it as a desktop.  Going with 0710 beta means there is a decent chance that I'll have to completely re-install.  LinuxMCE 0704 will upgrade to 0710 without issue (if it works as designed). 

A couple things I'm not clear on, will the upgrade from 0704 to 0710 also upgrade my system to AMD64 binaries?  Will the upgrade include net boot images for AMD64 as well as 32bit images?  Am I setting myself up for a load of extra work and just need to suck it up and wait for 0710 to come out "someday?"

Users / Re: linksys media extenders
« on: February 19, 2008, 10:40:35 pm »
No comment on the linksys ME, but you can build a MD for under $250.

Users / Re: Blu-Ray player problem
« on: February 12, 2008, 02:02:51 am »

Why do you want to transcode a blu ray? Any kind of transcoding (that saves space) will reduce picture quality. Isn't one of the reasons to buy Blu Ray or HD-DVD to have the best picture quality available? With disk space getting so cheap these days (about 24€ct a Gig), I don't see a need to sacrifice picture quality at all.


Well, watching a DVD on  a (fairly) large screen really shows differences between a DVD rip on a regular single layer DVD disk, and the original. I want the best possible picture quality while watching a movie in my home theater. Watching on a regular TV set does not show much difference, but once to you go into larger sized screens you see a difference. And it annoys the hell out of me.

So, by going down from 3-8GB of data to a 4GB movie, I save about 1€. I am willing to pay this price to get the best quality possible.


When you have a few hundred movies like I do, and you want to put them all on disk, you are willing to give up a little quality in order to save a lot of space.  Going from mpeg2/ac3 vob files to H.264/aac mp4 files gives me about a 5 to 1 compression at my current settings.  The difference in visual quality on my crappy ancient 43" rear projection 480p HDTV is close to zero, although if I had a better TV I'm sure I'd notice and may even be unhappy.  I have a 500G drive and with my previous settings as well as some straight vob rips I ran out of room.  After the unconverted movies started to stack up I started reconverting to this new setting (it was divx/ac3 copies/avi).  As I mentioned, I'm spoiled with having a library of movies I can grab a remote and flip through and just kick off a movie instead of hunting for the movie I want to watch or flipping through a book of DVDs trying to decide what I'm in the mood for.

Blu-ray will be a much bigger challenge, it's already in H.264 so I will not be converting to a much more efficient codec.  I will also be transcoding with a new 60"+ flat panel HDTV in mind.  However, at 30G per movie, I'd be looking at just over 30 movies per TB of storage, and that just doesn't work out very well.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe BR movies are at roughly 25Mbit/s, and OTA/Cable are commonly between 10Mbit/s and 15Mbit/s.  There are a lot of movies where perfect video isn't that important and something like 10Mbit/s would be just fine for.  Other movies where video is more important could be dropped down to the 15Mbit/s range, still as good as HD cable/OTA but less space.  Until I get a 1080p hdtv and start testing I won't know for sure, but I envision being able to drop the total space to around 15G per movie, have much better quality than current non-transcoded DVD movies, and be satisfied with the results.

Movies that are not in Myth (soon to be linuxMCE) stack up on my desk waiting to be ripped, they just don't get watched.  In the end, the ability to transcode BR movies is a requirement for me making the switch from DVDs.  It's really too bad the big companies don't get this.  If it were not for all the protections they waste tons of money on that will soon be useless I'd have already bought a BR drive and be buying BR movies.

Users / Re: HD over Satellite in North America
« on: February 11, 2008, 06:42:08 am »
Hauppauge announced they will be selling a USB card that will encode true HD video via analog component input (ie - from your sat tv HD YPbPr outputs) as well as 5.1 via SPDIF.  It's supposed to be available in the next couple months, but who knows exactly what that really means.

I'm also a directTV user and I've been considering switching to cable, but that's a crapshoot as to if it's any better. 

Another option is to set it up like the demo video, with the sat receiver at the tv (or 1 at each TV), with the HD outputs going directly to the TV and SD going to your MD(s).  With LinuxMCE controlling everything you can watch HD stuff live and have SD for recorded video as well as live TV on TVs without a HD receiver.

Users / Re: Blu-Ray player problem
« on: February 11, 2008, 06:19:24 am »
well, gee. I'm sorry it goes against your intent.
No need for attitude...
The reality of the situation is that currently decrypting and playing on the MD is very CPU and I/O intensive for the current crop of PCs.


I understand.  I actually didn't think I'd be able to use Blu-ray at all for a while.  The way this thread was heading I thought it might be possible to get the video transcoded to something reasonable sized for use in a library.  Hearing that it 0710 can play Blu-ray movies is great.  If I could rip a movie then let a transcode run for several hours I'd consider making taking the plunge.  I'm actually much more interested in the ability to transcode and store than using a MD as a DVD player.  Whether or not it can play without ripping first is far less important as I almost never do this anyway.  I buy movies, rip/transcode them, then play them via MythTV at some later date.  If there is no way to do this with linuxMCE/Blu-ray right now, no big deal.  I can wait until the functionality fits my needs.

tkmedia's post is interesting though.  It looks like I may be able to rip and transcode BR movies outside of lMCE and access them from a MD.

Just out of curiosity, how long does it take from the time you put a BR DVD in a reasonably powerful MD, say an AMD 64 x2 4200+, until you can actually start watching it?

Users / Re: Blu-Ray player problem
« on: February 11, 2008, 03:52:42 am »
Quote from: tschak909

yes, but transcoding is currently not an option, the entire disc is copied over in wholesale (as a folder), and the EVO files inside are played (with the largest file triggered first). A typical HD-DVD/Blu-Ray disc will take up approximately 30 gigabytes on your disc.


Would it be possible to transcode after the disc has been ripped, using mplayer or ffmpeg for example, from a command line?  Waiting for the entire dvd to be ripped and no option for use in a media library goes against my intent for linucMCE.

Users / Re: Blu-Ray player problem
« on: February 11, 2008, 12:40:22 am »
So does this mean I can toss a supported Blu-ray drive in my MD (after I build one), boot off my core system running 0710 (after it comes out and I build a core system), and be able to watch blu-ray movies in high-def?  Will I be able to rip Blu-ray movies to my movie archive?  Will it be reasonable to expect to be able to transcode those movies to a lower bit-rate H.264/aac 5.1 to save space for an on-line media archive?

I'm getting ready to order hardware to build a core and a md and this is an important question for me.  Size of storage I need, when I wire in my bedroom TV (the only TV I have right now above 480p), how many MDs I start with, etc.

Users / Re: Linux destroyer
« on: February 11, 2008, 12:29:54 am »
I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I have never installed linuxMCE and while I agree that an install that wipes your entire drive should come with a big on-screen warning I do know the DVD version does exactly that, wipes your drive clean.  I *think* it mentions that in the demo video, I've read it in the forums, and I may have even seen it in the wiki.  It's actually an intended feature designed to make it easy to install.  While the last version of windows I actually installed was probably either Windows ME (what a flop) or Windows 2000, I suspect that if you use a recovery CD/DVD it will do the same thing to a linux partition, wipe it clean with little or no warning. 

Users / Re: 0710 release date....
« on: February 10, 2008, 06:33:36 am »
I'd also like to get a rough idea.  I'm getting ready to take the plunge and order a couple computers to build a core box and a media director.  I plan to wait until the official 0710 is out, but if that's not going to be for months I'll try to figure out if I should go with 0704 or 0710 beta.

Users / Re: nvidia 7050
« on: February 10, 2008, 06:30:36 am »
Thanks for all the helpful replies.  I was afraid I'd get a bunch of "use the search" responses like I've seen in several other threads...  Threads I read while spending hours searching and not finding answers to my specific questions.   ;D  BTW, finding the motherboard section in the hardware wiki (the one with a number of boards listed, not the one with 8 or so) isn't easy, and if I hadn't seen it linked from various posts here I may never have stumbled on it.

Since my immediate need would be best filled with component YPrPb at a measly 480p resolution, and my 720p HDTV has a PC (VGA) connection, along with a lingering question of solid stable drivers for the 7050 I think I'll try to find a board with a 6150 and component outputs.  I'm in the process of ripping all my DVDs to H.264 and hope to get a Blu-ray player at some point down the road, so I'm disappointed that the PV stuff is unlikely to be supported ever.  I knew it wasn't supported yet, but I was hopeful it would be soon.  I've been a long time supporter of nVidia, but if another company comes out with H.264 hardware acceleration and either supplies a linux driver supporting it or opens the api allowing a native driver to be properly written I'll switch.  In the mean time I'll just plan on building a beefy MD with a dedicated video card when I buy a 1080p HDTV. 

I haven't gone in the developers section yet, but I'll check it out as I'm curious about UI3.

Users / Re: nvidia 7050
« on: February 09, 2008, 03:18:18 am »
I have also read a number of threads about video tearing with UI2 and alpha blending.  Is this something that can be fixed with a dedicated nvidia video card?  What I've read is fuzzy on this. 

For now, this will go on my ooooold 480p HDTV with component/s-video inputs only, but may quickly be moved to my 720p HDTV with HDMI inputs.

While alpha blending is cool, I've decided I prefer a plain UI2 - the text is easier to read.  Especially at 480 (old 56" sony rear projection - videoscope xbr).

I'm using an nvidia 7600 GS and with alpha blending experienced an occasional 1 second tear about once or twice a movie.  Just recently turned off alpha blending and have not noticed any tearing (only watched 2 movies).  More aggravating is the slowing frame rate that seems to happen about once a week necessitating a reboot. 
I've never seen linuxMCE live so I don't really have much to go on, I've just read some posts claiming that not using alpha blending just plain looks bad.  I've also heard mention of UI3, but I'm not clear on if that's UI2+alpha blending or something different.  Either way, as long as UI2 without alpha blending looks good I'm not too concerned about it for now.

The s-video should be fine for the 480p.  I'm connected as:  nvidia -> s-video ->  via s-video to yamaha rx-v861, then component to tv.

I've ordered a 7050 MB (MSI K9NGM3-FIH) to give it a try but have a nvidia 8600 GTS (GIGABYTE GV-NX86S256H) as backup.


If I could find a way of getting YPbPr off the TV-Out header on that board I'd buy it, it's one of 3 MBs I'm semi-narrowed down to.  I know there are a ton of variables, but at least with my TV I see a noticeable quality difference between s-video and YPbPr when using various DVD players.  If I can't get YPbPr from the 7-pin s-video cable and there are no other easy/cheap ways to do it I can guess I can suffer with s-video for now.  On the other hand, I HAVE seen nvidia based graphic cards (not MBs with embedded graphics) that include an s-video to YPrPb cable but for the life of me I can't find an answer to the question of if that cable will work with all nvidia based 7-pin s-video connections or even where to buy one if it would work.

I have to ask, are you planning to run s-video from that motherboard?  As far as I can tell there isn't an s-video connection, just a little mentioned tv-out header for which I have not been able to find a single s-video or component attachment.

Users / nvidia 7050
« on: February 08, 2008, 07:48:49 pm »
I'm sourcing components for a linuxMCE setup and I'm not sure the way to go for video.  The performance numbers for the 6150 and 7050 look fairly close, but any little bit could help.  I've also seen that the 7050 PV contains more HDTV features (purevideo), all of which may not be in the linux drivers yet.  However, I have also seen a number of posts that refer to instability of the driver.  Has the instability been fixed, or is it expected to be in 0710?  I intend to wait for the official 0710 before I jump in and install linuxMCE.

I have also read a number of threads about video tearing with UI2 and alpha blending.  Is this something that can be fixed with a dedicated nvidia video card?  What I've read is fuzzy on this. 

For now, this will go on my ooooold 480p HDTV with component/s-video inputs only, but may quickly be moved to my 720p HDTV with HDMI inputs.  Testing has shown that component input is much better than s-video on my 480p TV, so I need component inputs.  I have read some conflicting info that says an nvidia 7050 with s-video out is actually a mini-din that supports either s-video or with a break-out cable YPrPb component.  I know s-video is a 4 pin connector, and  ones I'm seeing on the MBs are 7 pin connectors.  Actual YPbPr connectors seem few and far between, and after looking through dozens of MBs trying to figure out which is best for me I don't even remember if there were any 7050pv boards with actual YPbPr connectors, but there are 7050PV boards with s-video.

This isn't yet another "which MB should I buy" post, although I'm open to suggestions.  I'm just trying to figure out what features I need, then I'm going to try to find a board that best meets my needs.  Once it's all done and tested I will make an entry on the hardware wiki 'cause that's what people here keep talking about even though it seems a bit pointless to me.  Having a repository of good info like this sounds like a good idea, but MBs change so often that listing by MB just doesn't seem to be working well.  Having the Mainboard section broke down by component (ie 7050PV onboard video) with MB examples and specific MB notes as needed would be MUCH more useful as it's the components/features that what most questions seem to relate to.  But I digress, I want to help linuxMCE succeed so I'll play ball and list my equipment once I have a working setup.

Ultimately I will be building at least 6 MDs, possibly more, so going as cheap as possible and as consistent as possible is the goal.   At least 5 will be connected to various SD, 480P, and 720P devices via various connections, and a more powerful MD will be connected to a 1080p HDTV.

Sorry for the long winded post, as a recap:

Does a MB with onboard nvidia 7050pv graphics and s-video connection support component YPbPr through a simple cable or do I need a board with dedicated YPbPr connections (possibly only with 6150)?

Is the driver for nVidia 7050PV stable or expected to be stable with linuxMCE 0710?

What is required to avoid tearing when running 480p/720p, faster CPU, more memory, current drivers, dedicated video card?

Users / Current state of LinuxMCE...
« on: February 02, 2008, 09:54:08 pm »
A while back when I first heard about LinuxMCE and watched the original video of it in action (not sure if new vids have come out), I was VERY impressed.  However, after a bit of googling around I came to the conclusion it was not ready for prime time.  Very limited hardware support, lots of problems, etc.  Due to a hardware failure, I moved all my server functions to my desktop (yuck) and I'm looking at server options.  At the same time, I want to evaluate various server OS options as well.  The things I am looking for are:

Ease of install, ease of upgrades, and good stability.  I'm not new to Linux, but I'd rather spend my time on other things, not fighting with an install/setup.

Ease of use.  If family, friends, my boys (8 and 4), and most important of all my Fiancee can't sit down, grab a remote, and use it with ease it's completely pointless.

Various server functions.  Postfix, apache/drupal, DNS server, etc.  This server will double as my internet server for the near future. 

MythTV.  Currently used only as a music and DVD library, but eventually I'd like to use all the functions including live TV (DirectTV, so it's a hassle and I haven't integrated it yet), PVR, web browsing, games, etc.  I'm also currently setup with separate front end/back ends, but I'm leaning towards using this new server as a fe/be in a soon to be finished media room.

Home automation.  Absolutely nothing done yet, but it's a long term goal.

Games.  Unless I change my mind stay with separate back end server in a wiring closet, I will want to be able to play games via wine.

HDTV out only.  The intent is to build a server attached to a 1080p HDTV.  This is likely more of a hardware issue than software, but in case there are issues I thought I should throw it out.

Hardware.  Pretty much wide open so I'm hoping it will not be an issue, but I'm aiming for HDTV output, quiet operation, a nice HTPC case, wireless remotes, etc. 

Like most things in life, the ads for LinuxMCE are great, but I'm looking for real world experiences from actual users.

edit:  One last thing I forgot to mention.  How is the blu-ray support, both watching and ripping, in LinuxMCE?  I haven't really been following the blu-ray/hd-dvd stuff very closely, but I did find this:

For the record, I'm not interested in pirating anything.  I buy all my movies and music and I'm only interested in FairUse stuff (putting my own movies on my own server to watch in my own house, and not giving the ripped movies to others).

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