Trying to solve the HDTV dilemma

I have a basic dilemma with regards to HDTV. I can capture this amazingly high quality video (1920×1080), but cannot play it back on my system. I have a few choices here:

  1. Get a faster system (no way)

  2. Wait until all of this XvMC, nVidia driver, MythTV HDTV Patches to CVS version 0.15 stuff works itself out

  3. Upgrade to kernel 2.6 and basically start all over again.

  4. Transcode down to something more manageable.

Option four at this point seems to be to best because it also solves some disk space issues, as HDTV content usually takes up about 10 Gigabytes for each hour recorded.

I’ll post more on my transcoding experience when I get a chance.

Fedora Core 2.0

It looks like Fedora Core 2.0 is out, and I’ve heard that HDTV playback is significantly improved with Linux kernel 2.6. I think my next step is to create another partition and install FC 2.0 and try to get this thing going again from the ground up.

Mission accomplished

The antenna was installed, and now I can reliably receive HDTV signals for all of the major channels in the area. Just as I suspected however; I still can’t view a show… Maybe the 2.6 kernel will be my savior.

HDTV Here I come?

In my continued quest to create a completely usable HDTV tuner, I am getting closer. Tonight, I have a ‘cable guy’ coming over to install my UHF attic antenna. At first I (naively) thought that I could do it, but going up two stories, drilling, wiring, cabling, and digging through mountains of attic insulation is not my cup of tea.

Once the attic antenna is installed, I should be able to get a reliable DTV signal, then I can focus on getting my system tweaked to decode and display TV.

How I use MythTV

As you might have read (if you checked out the web site) MythTV has a boatload of features. I really only use a few of them, but what I do use, I love.

I use MythVideo to view any videos (tv shows mainly) that I have on my disk.

I use MythWeather (Ann really likes this one) to check the weather before I go to bed each night

I use MythDVD to play DVD’s. What’s really nice is that you can rip a copy of your DVD and keep it on your hard drive.

I would love to use MythTV, but alas, cannot yet get it to play HDTV content (read more later).

Enter MythTV

In order to view TV through a Linux based HDTV you need a solid client. I wanted something similar to my Dish Network PVR (the 721) where I could do things like pause live TV, record shows from a guide, etc… There are a couple projects out there that seemed interesting; Freevo, and MythTV. MythTV is a much more active current project, and since HDTV is a newer technology, I decided (good decision) to go with that.

MythTV is amazing, and I can’t even begin to scractch the surface of what it’s capable of doing here. Instead, I’ll put a link, and anybody interested in learning more, check it out.

The pcHDTV Tuner

This tuner has been kind of a good news bad news thing. The good news is that the pcHDTV HD-2000 High Definition Television PC tuner was developed strictly for Linux. What that means is that support will be there. As most Linux users know, using products developed for windows can be dicey at best because the manufacturer’s rarely support a Linux version of their drivers (with a few notable exceptions: nVidia being one). The bad news is that in order to install this thing, you have to patch the kernel and re-compile.

Another interesting problem that I had not really thought of is that once you record a 0:30 minute show (5 Gigabytes at 1920x1080i), replaying it can be a bear. I have yet to be able to successfully playback smoothly a recording. More on that topic later.

Next… enter MythTV

Enter the HTPC

Well, after researching the ins and outs of HDTV, I decided that building my own Home Theater PC was the way to go. No, really… Stop laughing. I could put the whole thing together really cheaply, and it would have more features than you can imagine! I found this amazing front-end called MythTV. MythTV is like a free version of TiVo with even more functionality. It all runs on Linux, and is quite stable.

Next entry… the pcHDTV Tuner!

Where to start?


This is the first post, so I figure I should probably start out with a bit of history. Ann and I bought a big TV… You know, one of those honkers that owns a corner of your family room. I don’t think we ever thought we would do that, but here we are. During the research process for the new TV I ran across this thing called HDTV. In a nutshell, HDTV is High Definition Television, and it is going to be part of our broadcast standard in the not so distant future. I quickly realized that in order for us to take full advantage of the large TV that we would need to get this thing called HDTV.

Next entry… Enter the HTPC