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Television Media

New Review Compares MythTV to Vista MCE 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other dept.
Parkus writes "There's a nice review on AVS forum of MythTV (Ubuntu) and Windows Vista MCE. The author tried both back to back and explains the pluses and minuses of each system after using them for a month. Helpful if you're thinking about setting up your own home theater rig."
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New Review Compares MythTV to Vista MCE

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  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:53AM (#19370825) Homepage Journal
    I've had a MythTV box for a couple of years. It's nice, works well. However, my new Vista Home Ultimate media machine is far easier to use and 'just works'. The ironic caveat, as mentioned in the article, is that MythTV (and it's underlying Linux kernel) have *better* hardware support than Vista! On supported hardware I find the Windows Media Center experience to be far better in general though.

    That being said, if I were building a quiet entertainment center PC, I'd go with a Myth box and customize it to my liking. I can do that because I know how. Most consumers do not.
    • I've had a mythtv system for a couple of years as well and for it "just works". Plays DVD's, games, and mp3's and of course all the good PVR functionality. Looking at the uptime, I see its up to 80 days now... my record is 140 days. I bet I could correlate my system outages with wind storms (think power outage).
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        I couldn't agree more. My myth system has been running more or less flawlessly for months, now... TBH, I find it kind of troubling, as I like to tinker, but I have no reason to! :)
    • I suppose the same could be said for TiVo. Until they started controlling your ability to skip commercials. Funny but when there's competition, the closed commercial options all have great features. It's when the competition goes away that they stop needing to listen to what the users want.
  • Digital HDTV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tivojafa (564606) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:54AM (#19370837)
    I use both a MythTV DVR (64-bit Ubuntu) and a MCE DVR (64-bit Vista) at home. The MythTV machine is primary and the Vista machine is secondary.

    The automatic commercial skip in MythTV is fantastic!
    You watch TV shows and there are no adverts. Simple as that.

    The biggest problem is resisting to urge to pick up the remote when the show is leading into an ad break :-)

    Both machines can record ATSC HDTV and Digital Cable (QAM) - running a total of 4 digital tuners (2 x HDHomeRun network digital tuners with two tuner each - http://www.silicondust.com/ [silicondust.com])
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      You are glossing over one major important fact.

      ONLY Vista MCE can use a PCI Cablecard adapter giving you ALL digital cable channels to record from as well as ALL HDTV channels.

      your MythTV can never Ever tune in and record ALL the HD channels, only a few of the total lineup.

      That one little thing you forgot is a major show-stopper for most people, and I really hope someone hacks the cablecard somehow to give us cablecard capability for mythtv.
      • Re:Digital HDTV (Score:5, Informative)

        by tivojafa (564606) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:10AM (#19370933)
        To get cablecard support you need a cablelabs certified PC.

        You can't buy a cablecard tuner for a PC - Vista or otherwise. The only PC-based option is to buy a PC that the manufacturer had certified as a complete system (software, hardware, monitor, etc).

        The fallback option is to use an analog capture card and to prioritize the digital tuners over the analog capture so you get high-def whenever possible.

        Nick
        • by Erwos (553607)
          "The fallback option is to use an analog capture card and to prioritize the digital tuners over the analog capture so you get high-def whenever possible."

          The analog fallback is going to go away sooner or later - if I had to guess, not long after the analog OTA channels are phased out. The cable companies desperately want to phase out analog channels - they eat much more spectrum than digital channels, and look worse to boot. That's the problem with MythTV, at least in the US: unless something changes, you'r
          • by jZnat (793348) *

            The cable companies desperately want to phase out analog channels - they eat much more spectrum than digital channels, and look worse to boot.

            Really? What cable company or satellite company are you using? In my experience, they all have awfully high compression that doesn't work for shit with cartoons/anime/CGI (e.g., Jimmy Newtron). It's barely a high enough bitrate for live TV. These companies all seem to be using MPEG-2 video compression, however, so there's a lot of room for improvement by using MPEG-4 ASP or AVC for example, but that would require more expensive STBs and whatnot.

            • by Erwos (553607)
              You seemed to have missed the point that with fewer analog channels, they don't need to compress the digital ones as much. In any event, I believe it's a per-market thing - in DC, at least the local digital channels look fantastic.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
          In my area, there is *no* reason to fallback to analog, unless you want to see a touch of ghosting or snow. ALL my area TV stations are broadcasting in the digital, even if it might not be HD, at least it's in a fairly clean digital transmission. I live in a ~#50 ranked "metro" area hastily defined by the feds to lump three counties together, but the cities have a lot of rural area between them in this allegedly metro area, so it's not as if I'm in a high density urban region.
          • by StikyPad (445176)
            Highly urban regions can actually be worse for reception due to multipathing phenomenon (reflection of the signal off of nearby buildings), and it may be impossible for many people, particularly apartment dwellers, to find a suitable location for antenna placement. Analog signals can be somewhat more forgiving under those conditions (as in, you can still see the picture).
      • Re:Digital HDTV (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ivan256 (17499) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:51PM (#19372045)

        That one little thing you forgot is a major show-stopper for most people, and I really hope someone hacks the cablecard somehow to give us cablecard capability for mythtv.


        With the way the market looks to be headed, certified systems that contain cablecard adapters will only be available at the "high-end" (same shit, higher price) of the consumer PC market. It keeps the price high enough that instead of hacking some windows box, you may as well save yourself some money and buy yourself a Tivo.

        I do long for the day that I can build a media center PC that can record encrypted HD, but I don't see it happening any time soon. The distribution industry owns our legislature, and younger, technically savvy people don't vote.
        • With the way the market looks to be headed, certified systems that contain cablecard adapters will only be available at the "high-end" (same shit, higher price) of the consumer PC market. It keeps the price high enough that instead of hacking some windows box, you may as well save yourself some money and buy yourself a Tivo.

          While I understand that some people just like to wrench their own stuff, can either MythTV or Vista really outperform a Tivo at this point?

          A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law a
          • by Sparr0 (451780)
            Does your Tivo let you use bittorrent to automagically download new episodes of shows that don't air in your market? Or choose codecs and options to *REALLY* compress archived content, for long term storage?
            • Does your Tivo let you use bittorrent to automagically download new episodes of shows that don't air in your market? Or choose codecs and options to *REALLY* compress archived content, for long term storage?

              No, not that I know of. That's probably important to some people but to me...not so much. I want to plop down in front of the TV and grab the remote and press a few buttons and have the thing work. As far as I can tell, that doesn't seem to happen with any of the PC-based solutions.

              • FTA (Myt
    • I don't think analog broadcast HDTV is in any more than a niche/legacy broadcast mode anymore, there's no point in saying "Digital HDTV", it's almost always redundant. Besides, even though ATSC is always digital, it's not always HDTV. It is mostly just prime time that is in HD, but at least the PVR just records a bitstream rather than to capture and compress video.
      • by smchris (464899)
        I think it's fun to watch the transitions as stations position themselves. We have the aggressive 16:9 HDTV local news, 4:3 HDTV local news -- neither of which broadcast SD. Then we have the SD and HD dual broadcast stations and one truth-in-advertising SD station that just calls their digital transmission local news "DT".

        I'm surprised more commercials haven't transitioned over to 16:9. Our weather bunny on the 16:9 station has referenced things off screen before "You people with HD know what I'm talking
        • But I would think most commercials could be conceived to accommodate cropping.

          What gets me is all the 16:9 ads that they show on HD channels in SD format, but letterboxed into a 4:3 window. Those ads end up as a postage-stamp size rectangle in the middle of my screen. What are they thinking?

  • No Credibility (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I can't beleive this review, I have nothing wrong with what he said objectively, but for god's sake, he just lets his obvious bias, quote "Steve Jobs gets his head out of his hole and decides to reshape the marketplace with a truly good PVR/Media Center/Super-Evolved Life Device (tm)."

    He ends the review by just deciding to say all praise steve, the technological messiah, he will purge us of these heathan devices and bath us in his warm white iglow of technological perfection. At best apple TV is an overhype
    • Re:No Credibility (Score:5, Interesting)

      by russotto (537200) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:01AM (#19371285) Journal
      Who else is going to do it? Microsoft isn't going to make a truly good PVR, because their corporate philosophy interferes; they'd want to control it, not let you do so. The open source community may come up with 80-90% of it (and I'd argue already has), but there are some things which it can't do. Produce a _device_, for one thing, a piece of hardware that is quiet, boots (or wakes from standby; standby with Linux and the V4L/DVB drivers is still not reliable IME) in seconds, can be turned on via remote, etc. Compatibility with premium content is another. Apple is in a position to provide both; we know they can build nice, small, quiet hardware. We know they can negotiate with content producers and not compromise EVERYTHING. So it's not going to be Microsoft, it's not going to be the open source community. That leaves no one, Apple, or some unknown third party. Apple seems like the best bet.

      I suppose there's the electronics manufacturers -- e.g. Sony (too tied to locking everything down), Phillips, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, a boatload of Chinese companies... aside from Sony (which has no chance) I think they're long shots.

    • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:14AM (#19371391)
      Afraid to log in are you?

      What he said is that we'll have to put up with MCE and MythTV UNTIL Steve Jobs decides to include DVR functionality into Apple TV. And he's RIGHT. The only person on PLANET EARTH who seems to understand what people want from their consumer electronics is Steven Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple Incorporated.

      And his obvious bias? What are you stupid? The man is a pro-Linux person. He's worked with organizations dedicated to Linux. If he's biased its towards LINUX not Apple. So care to explain your ANTI-Apple bias?
  • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:15AM (#19370967)
    I can't see what's different about this review to others, really:

    Finally, the extras were quite nice. DVD importer looks like it could work well, but it's illegal I think to backup DVDs even for personal use, right?
    You've been involved with Linux for fourteen years and you're not familiar with this? Quite frankly, so what? Anything that you do with any kind of media these days can be deemed illegal. Why are you even considering MythTV or even Vista MCE if you think this is illegal, because this is the main reason you want a PVR system - to mindlessly pick what to watch and watch it without fumbling with discs?

    The solution would have required me to learn the tv_cat tool well enough to concatenate the two sets of listings and set up a cron script to do this every night. A very simple technical challenge, by my standards but I gave up after my very first try. Despite the straightforward nature of any program with "cat" in it's name, I hit an error on my first try, put the keyboard down, and thought to myself... "Wow, I've done lots of configuration on this system and it's now feeling a bit like work. Maybe I should try MCE for a while- this pictures look nice!"
    Yes, we know, MythTV configuration sucks, especially if you're changing anything after initial set up. Anything else?

    My first problem came after the requisite "Windows Update" as one of the updates had crashed my system. I finally narrowed it down to the SATA drivers for the NForce4 (I think), disabled them, moved to a basemented IDE drive out of laziness, re-installed and was OK. As a Bonus, the IDE drive ran much quieter than the previous SATA!
    Yes, installing a plethora of drivers on a Windows system after you've sat there endlessly waiting for it to install sucks. It sucks even harder when one of those drivers decides to not work, or you find that you have to install them in a certain order. Then an automatic update screws things. Linux scores there.

    Only one of two tuners is recognized. I've tried all the standard tricks and latest driver releases, with no success yet. Even my long distance call to Hauppauge was fruitless and I suspect that I'll be waiting for some system update or new driver release before I can watch one show while recording another. Or maybe I will fix it before then, but certainly not without a little googling, FAQ searching, or phone queueing.
    So you still have to fanny about with your system even when you've spent 198 euros on a piece of software that should just recognise everything and take the head scratching out of the equation that you had to do with MythTV? I think we have a winner there to be honest, because at least with MythTV there's going to be something somewhere that will enable you to get it working - however awful that is. Hauppage and Microsoft won't fix it because it will probably be down to a combination of drivers and MCE software, and anyway, they simply won't give a toss about you or your problem until you're stumping up cash for the next version.

    That's probably the single biggest reason why no one wants Windows on their TV. Microsoft just don't get how much more critical a TV is to people than a computer.
    • by PingXao (153057)
      Anyone who thinks their TV is more critical in their life than a computer deserves what they get.
      • by segedunum (883035) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:42PM (#19373487)

        Anyone who thinks their TV is more critical in their life than a computer deserves what they get.
        Sorry, but nobody gives a fuck about their computer in the same way as they care about their TV - and I'm talking about normal people here ;-). The TV simply has to work because that's where they get their news and entertainment from, whereas people unfortunately expect a computer not to work at some point and shrug their shoulders.
  • by rustalot42684 (1055008) <fake@@@account...com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:36AM (#19371113)
    1: No DRM
    2: Not made by Microsoft (just kidding, although that is a factor for some people)
    3: No DRM

    Yeah, it might be a bit harder to set up. That's obviously a downside. On the other hand, you can rip all your DVD, no problem, without Windoze being mean. His complaints about rippng DVDs being illegal are invalid because:

    a) If you're watching them on Linux, (in US) you're already breaking the law.
    b) I bought the DVD at my local Best Buy, and I'm not giving it to other people, so I'll do what I want with it.

    Yes, Point b) might not be exactly legal, but you see where I'm coming from. Also: MythTV has seperate front- and back- ends, so you can stream media to other parts of the house.
    • by xswl0931 (562013)
      You do know that DRM for Windows MCE only applies to CableCard which Linux can't even support, right? If you don't use CableCard, there is no DRM and there are 3rd party add-ons for Windows MCE that allow you to strip commercials.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, Point b) might not be exactly legal, but you see where I'm coming from.

      Point b is called "civil disobedience", and I think we should remember this and point it out.

      I rip DVDs and watch them on Linux. Often, someone in the house will rent a DVD for everyone to watch, but I'm busy, so I rip it and watch it later, once the disc is back in the store. I acknowledge that all of this is illegal, and if caught, I may well go quietly. I am deliberately disobeying this law, however, to express that I do not ag

  • by Cyclops (1852) <rms@@@1407...org> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:38AM (#19371125) Homepage
    Let's see... with Microsoft you do get:
    • DRM,
    • spyware (not the common hidden kind, Microsoft written spyware)
    • fewer formats supported
    . You also can't
    • use it for any purpose,
    • make custom changes,
    • copy it for your friends who liked it very much and would like to get a copy,
    • publish a modified version that, you know... removes said spyware and DRM, which everyone would like to but Microsoft and content providers don't want you to remove from Windows Media Center
    Now... at the cost of maybe a little harder to use or set up, with MythTV or even Freevo which I like better than MythTV, you don't get DRM or spyware, you can play as many file formats as you want, and you have all the freedom you could ever need. Is there *any* choice at all? O Rlly?
    • That looks like a false dichotomy to me. I don't think either of those two systems is desirable, and there are plenty of other options. I think you understate the difficulty in installing and setting up MythTV. I am using EyeTV and its setup was, without hyperbole, a hundred times faster and a hundred times easier than my experience trying to set up MythTV.
  • by Anrego (830717) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:46AM (#19371185)
    I have used both, and what I`ve found to be the real difference between Windows MCE and MythTV (and really all the FOSS HTPC types) is tha MCE is simple, straight forward, and just works but is very inflexible (as said in the article, it's hard to even modify the menu, try doing something like having an extra button on you're remote control change the screen font) whereas MythTV requires a little tinkering to get running, but is very flexible. I think this is really what it comes down to with most Windows VS. FOSS situations. Windows apps tend to work well and are more intuitive, whereas FOSS apps tend to require a little tweaking, but provide more opportunity for customization. So in short, if you're someone (like me) who likes to have everything just right and doesn't mind messing around for a few days in config files, go with MythTV. If on the other hand you're someone who doesn't mind the canned generic MCE look and feel, and wants something thats just going to work, go with MCE.
    • by XchristX (839963)
      <quote>
      MythTV requires a little tinkering to get running, but is very flexible. I think this is really what it comes down to with most Windows VS. FOSS situations
      </quote>

      True, but if you use a canned distro designed to run on dedicated PVR boxen, such as Knoppmyth [mysettopbox.tv] or Mythdora [swik.net], you can get mythtv to "just work off the bat" too (at least with most standard configs). I installed Knoppmyth version R5E50 from scratch a couple of weeks ago in my hauppauge pvr-350 + pvr 150 dual tuner box with the
    • by femtoguy (751223)
      I compared both ended up installing MythTV for three basic reasons

      1) Cost: WindowsMCE was $200 to start, much more than the free I spent on Ubuntu/MythTV. In fact there was no way to even try MCE without purchasing a copy, so I could only try it out on other systems. I ended up building a trial machine on an old 1GHz P3 ($35 at a surplus sale), and an still running on that. THere is no way that Vista/MCE would run well on that hardware.

      2) Frexibility: I currently have a backend/frontend in my kitchen, a
  • TV Tuners (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QBasicer (781745) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:47AM (#19371187) Homepage Journal
    I would have rather seen a comparison between different TV tuners. The article pretty much concluded to what I would have thought: Linux is pretty solid, but a challenege for somebody not techical savvy, and windows quick and simple to set up, with a few glitches in hardware/UI.
  • by Colz Grigor (126123) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:53AM (#19371223) Homepage
    FTA:
    "DVD importer looks like it could work well, but it's illegal I think to backup DVDs even for personal use, right?"

    When assumptions like this are made, even with slight question, it's clear that the author is misinformed and the MPAA has won.

    For the record, at least in the United States, it's not illegal to create backups of any of your owned media, DVDs included. Doing so is protected as Fair Use of the copyright of which you have purchased a license. Selling or otherwise distributing your backup copies is not protected, however, and backups must be destroyed or transferred when the ownership of the original media license is transferred.

    Of course, Fair Use goes out the window if you sign an agreement stating that you will obey certain provisions that work against Fair Use. But you'd never agree to such terms, right?

    Right?

    ::Colz Grigor

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:18AM (#19371425)
      For the record, at least in the United States, it's not illegal to create backups of any of your owned media, DVDs included. Doing so is protected as Fair Use of the copyright of which you have purchased a license.

      Your argument would be correct with the minor exception of that pesky DMCA. Currently in the US, backing up a DVD that you've purchased involves bypassing a digital encryption algorithm, which is explicitly prohibited by the DMCA. This renders the rest of your argument moot. Repeatedly seeing these same incorrect things spouted over and over and over again as gospel around here is really making me want to go to law school for copyright law. It's clear that many of you have no interest in actually understanding the law and what is and isn't legal. How do you expect to actually bring about the necessary changes when you can't be bothered to understand the underlying problems?
      • by N7DR (536428)
        Your argument would be correct with the minor exception of that pesky DMCA. Currently in the US, backing up a DVD that you've purchased involves bypassing a digital encryption algorithm, which is explicitly prohibited by the DMCA.

        I believe that's not quite right: making a bit-for-bit copy doesn't automatically violate the DMCA, because you're not decrypting anything. If you choose to remove the encryption, _then_ you've violated the DMCA. (And, of course, you have to remove the encryption in order to wa

    • it's not illegal to create backups of any of your owned media, DVDs included. Doing so is protected as Fair Use of the copyright of which you have purchased a license

      I would add that even if they do enact laws to make it illegal, i.e. the DMCA, it does not mean that you should not do it. Sometimes it is necessary for people to engage in civil disobedience [wikipedia.org] by breaking such laws. When the movie industry uses DRM to control the use of content you purchased/licensed and tries to force you and your children to w

    • Nothing means anything in writing. You can get anyone in the country to sign anything you like and agree to whatever terms you choose. If congress legislates against it you just add a term saying you waive that right.

      Take for example how there's a constitutional right to privacy that protects against random sobriety testing, but in the state of New York you give your implied consent to such testing by driving. Law/right? Great, now try to exercise it, we dare you.
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      I also believe the big issue with DeCSS is that it's infringement to distribute means of bypassing copy protection. Just as how it is copyright infringement to upload the data, the problem is distribution. A good way to bypass this is to download libdvdcss [videolan.org] on your own, then compile it, and nobody has distributed the actual tool to break CSS. The basic idea behind the outcome of the DeCSS case (even though I don't believe it finished with an actual verdict) was that distributing the code was covered by fr
      • by multisync (218450)

        The basic idea behind the outcome of the DeCSS case (even though I don't believe it finished with an actual verdict) was that distributing the code was covered by free speech (hence the songs, poems, pictures, etc., with the DeCSS code in it), so by distributing only the source code to libdvdcss, they should be in the clear (even though they aren't in the US).

        I believe in the MPAA vs 2600 case, the judge basically avoided the whole fair use issue by saying people could use other formats (ie VHS) to excercis

  • I've tried both MythTv and Windows MCE. And quite frankly, at least for the near future, I think they are both a pain in the ass to use when compared to my TiVo or Dish Network DVR.
  • He complains about the new menu system in Vista Media Center which uses horizontal scrolling. This is not the first time I've heard this and I agree it does seem to be quite wasteful on a 4:3 display but on a 16:9 plasma/LCD (which people building HTPCs should seriously consider), it's fantastic. The same can be said about the vista wall of music [microsoft.com] interface which is an easy and visually impressive way to navigate music and movies if you have a 16:9 display.

    MCE is probably the best product microsoft has wri
    • That's fantastic if you have an HDTV... the vast majority of people don't however. I have no plans to purchase an HDTV within the next 10 years unless my TV craps out since it is only a 9 year old CRT... it should conceivably last at least 20 years.
  • Okay, so maybe this is asking for trouble, but I read stuff like this and my first impulse is to ask "what's the point?"

    I can understand wanting to download stuff to a local computer and use it. No big deal there. I can understand modifying my DirecTivo to let me pull stuff down and save it for later.

    But really... why do I want to save it for later? Why do I need to buy a gigantic HD and store hundreds of DVDs? (Really, why ever bother buying a damn DVD at all?)

    I want to do a MythTV box, I really do. If
    • by LehiNephi (695428)
      You may have no need for a media server at your house, but for heaven's sake, man, this is Slashdot. This is a place where people have racks of computers in their houses, where people go through withdrawal after five minutes away from the screen, where life without a computer would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

      You're right that for most people, "what's the point?" is a very valid question. But we're a bunch of geeks here, and the idea of turning on the TV and using the remote to start watc
  • Such as, capture cards/encoders that support CableCard or CableCard2? That's one of two reasons why I havn't put together a media center yet; because I'm afraid that I'll lose analogue and have only digital right after I purchase a TV tuner card that doesn't have CC(2) support yet.
  • by OmegaBlac (752432) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:07PM (#19371795)
    As long as proprietary/closed software from companies (ie. Microsoft) who have a long known history in restricting consumer's rights, but will bend over backward to please their own special customers (the content makers), I'll choose FOSS (MythTV) everytime without hesitation.

    Windows Media Center Restricts Cable TV [slashdot.org]
  • my mythtv experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phaid (938) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:53PM (#19372053) Homepage
    I used a MythTV machine for a while, before I had HDTV. I set up whatever release of KnoppMyth was the latest in the spring of 2005 on an Asus Pundit with a Hauppauge PVR350 board. Setting up KnoppMyth was far from a plug and play experience; I had to update almost everything to make it work, and had to go hunt down patches to things like LIRC to get it working with the rest of the system. The choice of which video-out to use was a study in compromises: I could either use the Asus' built-in ATI S-Video out, which had no video acceleration and thus suffered from visible speed issues during playback; or I could use the PVR350 output, which had excellent TV playback, but had a terrible navigation and recording interface since the framebuffer X server could only render video fullscreen. I wound up choosing the PVR350 out, since I preferred to schedule recordings using the web server interface. Once I got it fully running, the system was pretty nice. The basic menu interface looked good and was intuitive, and the picture quality from the PVR350 over S-Video was outstanding. I really liked being able to connect to its web server to schedule shows, because the scheduler interface was awful when viewed on the TV. On the whole, when it worked, it was brilliant, but it definitely had its fair share of bugs -- the two worst being that it would occasionally just produce a black screen when you rewound a show to the beginning, which you could usually revover from, and the wifi (a usb dongle) would sometimes just up and stop working due to a buggy driver, requiring a reboot to get connectivity again. But on the whole it was pretty nice, the TV interface was OK but the selling point for me was the excellent web interface. Once I got HDTV in December of 05, the MythTV box really wasn't an option any more. Since then I've had HD digital cable from two different providers (Comcast and Optimum) both with the Scientific Atlanta SA8300HD DVR (though Comcast and Optimum load different firmware onto the DVR). Frankly, there's no comparison between the commercial DVR and MythTV. The commercial system does everything faster (powering up, changing channels) and never, ever crashes. Sure, I can't transfer movies to my laptop or whatever, but I guess that just isn't something I feel the need to do. I took the PVR350 out of the Pundit, upgraded it to Slackware, and keep it in my entertainment center as a MAME box. Bottom line, if you have a 4:3 CRT TV and basic cable, MythTV is probably fine. If you have a nice widescreen TV and digital cable, MythTV just can't do the things you need, and you can get a DVR from your cable company for so cheap even MythTV can't compete (since after all you still need hardware to run the thing).
    • by Phaid (938)
      Hrm I guess I should have picked "Plain Old Text", huh. That's what I get for not posting here for like a year.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      If you have a nice widescreen TV and digital cable, MythTV just can't do the things you need

      Uhh, just to be clear, what you mean is "if you have a nice, widescreen HDTV and HD channels". MythTV works just fine on widescreen displays (and has a number of widescreen themes), and will work just fine with digital cable, in the sense that you can capture content from a digital cable box, which you can drive with an IR blaster (my system has two DSTBs, each driven with a serial port blaster... works beautifully,
      • by edmicman (830206)
        I've run into this same "problem" with MytvTV, and have had the same experience. I have Comcast digital cable, but only one STB. I built the MythTV box with a PVR500, mostly so I could *record* one show while *watching* another. Or in the case of Thursday nights, record two shows while watching a third. I can't do that with the IR blaster and digital cable. If I went that route, I'd be worse off than I would with an old VCR - I'd be forced to watch whatever is being played on the digital cable box, unl
      • You need to be even clearer than that. If you have a proper ATSC/QAM HD tuner for you mythbox, then you can even record any HD channels broadcast over the air as well as any HD channels broadcast over cable that don't require a converter box (ie: any channel you can receive by hooking your HDTV directly to the cable line). That usually (always?) means you can't get stuff like Discovery HD, ESPN HD, HBO HD, etc. Usually its just your local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, etc). However, depending
  • MythTV for n00bs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by svunt (916464) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:10PM (#19376927) Homepage Journal
    What I really want to see is a review of MythTV by someone installing it with no clue about linux. Has anyone ever tried starting their linux experience with MythTV? I find linux gurus referring to "a bit of tinkering to get it working" unhelpful, as a bit of expert tinkering can be years of failure for a n00b.

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