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Television Media

New Review Compares MythTV to Vista MCE 234

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 TheRealAnonymousCowa ( 1056190 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:52AM (#19370817)

    Now, here's MY killer issue with this install... ready? Drivers. Yep, I said drivers as in: problem in Windows despite being rock solid in Linux.
    I guess Vista isn't all it's hyped up to be...
  • Slow news day (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:00AM (#19370871)
    I can't believe such a half-assed review is worthy of a link on /.
  • 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 rustalot42684 ( 1055008 ) <> 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 Cyclops ( 1852 ) <> 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:48AM (#19371197) Homepage Journal

    Windows XP for my special needs and Ubuntu for the basic stuff seems to get the job done for me without spending money.

    The AV people I know say things like, "I'm never going to Vista," so the use and advocacy of Vista smells. I'm surprised he was able to make Vista work at all, a task that's defeated the local M$ Ambassadors here at LSU and all they wanted was a desktop. Once you get around the driver issues you run straight into digital restrictions like disabled SPDIF outputs for "premium" content which make Vista unusable for hard core AV fans. Perhaps ignoring HD was more a kindness to Vista than it was to MythTV which is reported to work despite legal restrictions and other created evil.

    Finally all of the M$ keywords and phrases make this "Sprak" guy sound like a M$ PR drone. "Microsoft-hater", nebulous talk about "correctness" "experience" to claim M$ has a better interface, all of this stinks out loud.

    Fake "objectivity" is what I've come to expect from the M$ PR people. The more you "get the facts" from them the more wrong you are.

  • 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 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 Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:12PM (#19371823) Journal

    Have you actually ever used Vista?
    He hasn't, and he's quite proud of it.
  • 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.
  • by xswl0931 ( 562013 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:31PM (#19372839)
    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.
  • 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 SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:26PM (#19373919) Journal

    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 agree with it -- and to do the things I should be able to do anyway.

    Just like Rosa Parks on the bus. You can argue magnitude if you like -- that I could just choose not to watch DVDs, or I could choose to use Windows and approved, DRM-enabled solutions. Right -- and Rosa Parks could've chosen to not ride that bus, or to give up her seat.

  • Ok, most people realize that the MFRs write the drivers, not MS. And yes Vista specific driver support is lacking in some areas, as moving to the new audio model, video model, network stack, etc can be tricky for native driver support in Vista.

    Actually, "most people" don't really know or give a damn. If the drivers for an OS sucks, the OS sucks. Full stop.

    This was the problem with Linux until recently; if you didn't have the right drivers for the hardware you wanted to use, then you couldn't do what you wanted to do -- everything else, any other benefits the OS might have, are moot. It's dead in the water.

  • by imthesponge ( 621107 ) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:40PM (#19374547)
    To be fair, you're comparing a product released every few months to one released every few years.
  • No. He is making a very significant point. "There's lots of support for Windows, but Windows itself actually supports very little." Everybody knows that unless Microsoft sees a self serving point to support something they don't.
  • 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.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis