Author Topic: A Modest HTPC Migration  (Read 3327 times)


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A Modest HTPC Migration
« on: March 28, 2007, 12:48:32 am »
I have a very modest HTPC; one that I put together 4 years ago at the dawn of myHTPC, before it became meedio. I have added bits and pieces along the way, but I'm intrigued by LinuxMCE, and I would like to switch to it if possible. If for no other reason than the Gyration Mouse integration...simple device pre-scripted to do everything.

I currently am using Meedio and Beyond TV 4.5 to handle my HTPC; both work well, but they're a little slow and not optimized to work seamlessly. I think my system represents a very middle of the road Windows based HTPC, no crazy NAS setup, but a very capable system.

Get this system to work with very little hassle in LinuxMCE and you'll have a lot of converts

Here are my specs:

NForce2 MB (Using the Onboard Sound Processor)
Compatible AMD Processor
1 gig of RAM
ATI Radeon 9600 AGP Card
1x Hauppague PVR 250
1x ATI HDTV Wonder
1x DVD-Rom
1x NTFS Formate Hard Drive with C:\MP3\Artist\Album MP3 Scheme
1x 320GB Linux Dedicated HDD

Currently, Beyond TV handles my PVR 250 for "Cable Ready" Channels, and augments the Digital Tuner for the ATI HDTV Wonder for HDTV OTA Channels FLAWLESSLY. Meedio plays all my MP3s, videos, and does a lot more.

This was all plug and play.

Here's my LinuxMCE experience.

Installed UBUNTU 6.1 via a live cd, and installed LinuxMCE.

Durring the LinuxMCE installation, many packets gave error messages.

My Radeon 9600 does not play nicely, so I have to use the God Awful UI1.

Everytime LinuxMCE boots, it says it is trying to install the Pluto Ati Drivers, and it fails to even load them every yime.

So I'm stuck with a hideous UI1, which I could never settle on.

The Radeon 9600 card is very standard in the HTPC world, it must work flawlessly. I'd be willing to bet half of the HTPC owners have an ATI card.

Once I get into the UI1, there is no quick setup wizard, I had to use the overly complicated Pluto Web Admin to create users and rooms....this is too complicated...LinuxMCE should have a quick start wizard similar to the initial configuration screens. Then, I can use the web admin page to go BACK and fiddle later.

TV Tuners:

Once I found the obscure tab to say that I had a PVR250 and restarted, LinuxMCE started to configure MythTV.

Now when LinuxMCE boots, it trys to install the IVTV package and fails.

MythTV now is an option, and when I click on TV I get a gray screen that "renders themes" and then briefly see MythTV. After about 10 seconds, the screen goes black, I have to go back to the UI1 screen.

No indication that my ATI HDTV Wonder card was found...this card is supported by MythTV.

In short, for 1.1, please allow these middle of the road HTPC components to work as well as they do in Windows, without the need for a web-admin process.

Show me on the UI settings screen all of the detected hardware, and give me config options there please!!

Finally, I have 3 CRT TVs that I got free off of Craigslist, which I currently use to watch multiple channels ala a sports bar durring college sports game days.

I currently use a laptop with a USB-UIRT on my coffee table and a custom XLobby skin that I built to control these TVs.

Is it possible to use LinuxMCE to control these devices even though they'll never interface with my primary HDTV monitor or capture cards?

Id like to be able to build custom GUI remotes for all of these TV devices out of LinuxMCE that would mimic what I have set up on my XLoby skin. Essentially, I choose a TV to control via a gui, and then I get a virtual remote in XLOBY which also has "Favorite Channels" (ESPN, ESPN2, MSG, CBS, ABC...etc) These are simple macros that send the correct channel commands to the selected TVs.