MythTV system

A friend requested, after some mild persuasion, that I built him a MythTV box.

As chance goes a colleague also went on the MythTV train. He and his friend did some research and hardware choices. This prevented a lot of brainstorming.

I decided to copy the purchasing list with the exception of:

  • the cpu is a humble AMD sempron. We don't need a lot of horsepower, not a lot of transcoding will be done.
  • a HVR-1110 hybrid tv card, we want to record DVB-T for fun and we need a well supported remote system.

Step-by-step installation and issues.

  1. Install ubuntu gutsy (I had the installation cd lying around)
  2. Install mythbuntu control center from application manager
  3. From mythbuntu control center: configure basic stuff and install mythbackend, frontend and the frontend modules.
  4. The tv card was detected and all the relevant modules were loaded, very impressive! But I had a problem with LIRC, the remote seemed to work but returned nothing but gibberish. I did some googling and finally found out I had to change the hardware configuration. This page was very helpful although the posted 'hardware.conf' did not work for me. I found out why, check out mine (but don't forget to substitute the device number with your own!):

    # /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
    #Chosen Remote Control
    REMOTE="Hauppauge TV card"

    # Arguments which will be used when launching lircd

    #Don't start lircmd even if there seems to be a good config file

    #Try to load appropriate kernel modules

    # Run "lircd --driver=help" for a list of supported drivers.
    # If DEVICE is set to /dev/lirc and devfs is in use /dev/lirc/0 will be
    # automatically used instead
    MODULES="lirc_dev lirc_i2c"

    # Default configuration files for your hardware if any

    The posted lircd.conf is fine.
  5. tv-out was a bit frustrating. You could see the boot screen but right when the mythbuntu splash screen comes up the screen goes black and stayed that way. After updating the proprietary ATI drivers to the latest version available for the X1250, with the help of this guide, I tried to disable the splash screen and lo and behold it worked!
    To disable the splash screen edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and remove the "splash" keyword from defoptions option
  6. The internal DVD player of mythfrontend was very disappointing. Playback was very choppy. Out of curiosity I gave it another go after updating the ATI drivers. Well, playing a DVD is very smooth now. And apparently I learned it was because of the video overlay which fell back to software mode (see next point).
  7. At first mplayer would not work with the default video overlay mode (-vo xv) but, again, after updating the graphics drivers the problem was automagically fixed.