I love technology.
This weekend I finally took the time to get MythTV running on my HP Media Center PC (under Ubuntu Linux). For those who don’t know, MythTV can be described as…
…a free Linux application which turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or Home Theater Personal Computer. It can be considered as a free and open source alternative to Tivo or Windows Media Center.
MythTV is quite the application. Honestly, it’s a bit daunting at first – there are a TON of options/features, much more than are probably necessary. (But you know Linux – someone somewhere has probably made use of every one of those obscure settings…)
Despite this, the community documentation for getting MythTV up and running with my TV card was exceptional. My Media Center PC has a Hauppauge HVR-1600 tv tuner card capable of both analog and digital capturing. There is an entire section of the MythTV wiki dedicated to this card, and the instructions were both easy-to-follow and completely inclusive. (In fact, the only thing wrong with the wiki is that the included picture of my HVR-1600 isn’t entirely accurate – mine looks more like this.) In about 20 minutes, I had both the analog and digital inputs on the card working, and live TV ran without so much as a hiccup. (Including high-def.) This is a decent feat considering that my PC is only an 2.8ghz dual-core with 1gb of RAM.
As the icing on the cake, my included Windows MCE remote control even worked (via LIRC).
The last step in the project was to find a way to get my high-def recordings from my desktop PC to my living room TV. I really didn’t want to set up my PC as a media server (particularly because my router occasionally goes on the fritz), so instead I went for the simple option – copy the MPEG2 recordings onto a portable hard drive, plug that drive into my PS3, and watch the high-def video that way. It works flawlessly.
Try installing XP on a computer (without any hardware driver CDs) and getting it to record high-def video. I’d love to hear how that goes for you.