[nSLUG] PVR systems

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Fri Feb 11 01:17:45 AST 2011


On 11 February 2011 00:09, Ted Tibbetts <intuited at gmail.com> wrote:

> Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that ext3, even with
> journaling enabled, will normally run a periodic fsck based on elapsed time

Yes. Elapsed time or number of mounts since last check. Both can be
disabled. Or use xfs, which doesn't have a traditional fsck, and can
check the filesystem while mounted (read-only). Read-only small root
filesystem is a good idea, as is putting it on flash.

OK, you've suckered me into to starting to read the MythTV
documentation. I smiled to find that in the 'filesystem' section, the
use of xfs or jfs is "<i>strongly</i> encouraged". FAT and reiserfs
are discouraged. ext3 is acceptable with a workaround.

http://www.mythtv.org/docs/mythtv-HOWTO-3.html#ss3.1

> Daniel, thanks for the tip about the Shuttle.  It's not quite the right form
> factor, though -- I think my target recipient would prefer something more
> vcr-shaped that could fit into the limited height of the cabinet space under
> the TV, especially if the thing has a DVD slot.  Also, it seems like a P4,
> in addition to being hot, and thereby presumably loud, might not be able to
> deal with the demands of HD.  My Pentium M 1.4GHz laptop is a bit too slow
> to play compressed 1080p video without dropping frames.

The MythTV wiki talks about using a P4 2.4GHz minimum for HDTV
playback. You also need a fast CPU for encoding, unless you buy a
hardware encoder card. So the hardware isn't cheap. I think it would
probably cheaper to buy a non-free sw PVR appliance. I assumed your
primary motivation for this project was not financial...

> Of course much of
> this depends on how much work is done by the video card(s);

Yes, the docs also mention that an Atom CPU with the nVidia Ion
chipset and nVidia's proprietary binary drivers is able to play HDTV.
Together with a hardware capture card, that would make a nice
low-power/heat/noise system.

> the laptop has a
> lustreless old intel craphics chip.  I noticed that one of the four Shuttles
> has an Athlon 64 CPU; I'm not sure how they compare to the P4.

Of course both the P4 and Athlon 64 come in a wide range of speeds,
cache sizes, etc. but I would say the Athlon 64 measures up well.

For a more "VCR-like" form factor, the Compaq Evo series might be
right. These are both P4 systems for ~$100, and happen to be in
Canada:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170601337852
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180574577155

For something local, and more expensive but requiring less upgrades, see this:

http://centurycomputer.ca/sales.php?cat=1&pid=121

OK, I think that's about all the info I can collect. Oh, one more...
Commercial MythTV sellers:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Commercial_MythTV_System

-D.



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