Loving MythTV

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 fans!

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.