We've been using MythTV over the weekend using my shiny new silent
front-end. Turns out, surprisingly to me, that the front-end has
enough grunt to play Xvid encoded videos just fine, so we've been
working through the backlog of great stuff from UKNova. I expected to
have to re-encode it all as MPEG2, for which it has a hardware
decoder, but it seems to be able to decode it all on its own.
Some people asked about the hardware I chose for my front-end, so
I'll detail it here and some caveats.
I bought a Via EPIA ME6000 mini-ITX motherboard on the basis of this
site and because I wanted something tried and trusted, that "just
works" rather than faff about. The Melbourne company I bought it off,
can't remember the name sorry, put it in a case with a CF-to-IDE
adapter so the CF card slots into the front of the case. Very
nice! Most important feature is it's completely solid state. No
It runs Minimyth from a
Compact Flash card. Minimyth was a joy to install, though
configuration was somewhat trickier. It doesn't give particularly
great feedback. As a result of this, I ended up ditching my existing
serial-based remote and IR receiver and buying a Streamzap, which is
well-supported and Just Works.
If you're going out buying kit, you'll find the ME6000 is hard to
find. Via have a few other fanless motherboards, but be careful as
some of the newer chipsets aren't supported by OpenChrome, the drivers for the
hardware MPEG decoder.
My only criticism of Minimyth is that it includes a few Myth
plugins like MythStream
but doesn't include the interpreters they require, like Perl of
Python. Granted, this is supposed be a lightweight system but there's
little point including these items if you can't use them! As it is,
MythStream is ridiculously complicated and, disappointingly, MythMusic
doesn't seem to handle streaming media. I just want to add GPC!
Finally, the system is connected via wired ethernet at present. At
some point I intend to try it out over wireless, to see if there's
enough bandwidth. I expect there should be enough, and that means one
less cable running around, which helps with the GAF.
Overall, very very happy with my setup. I picked up 2x300GB hard
drives yesterday and now just need to buy a SATA card for the backend.
Also need to slot in the new DVB tuner I bought last week.