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Mythbuntu 9.10 and Hauppauge HVR-1600 (MythTV) on Cable TV

by Jon on December 14th, 2009

This weekend I tried to install MythTV using the Mythbuntu distribution with a Hauppauge HVR-1600. I have to say the Mythbuntu distribution is really, really easy to install and setup. I liked it a lot and it was easy to get into the Ubuntu desktop when there was a need to run commands or use any programs. This install basically consisted of a Ubuntu install selecting language, timezone, keyboard layout, and partitions. When it came to selecting the tv output there was a very easy tool for that too, I was using an Nvidia graphics card for an s-video output and it was simple to configure. After a lot of trial and error I was able to get this software package working for watching tv and recording shows there were a few problems I ran into on the backend setup which I though I would share.

When configuring the backend for MythTV there were a few things I wish I had known about so I am going to cover these here. First thing that I found out was when I signed up for Schedules Direct I didn’t know I needed to log into my account to set the correct listings for my area, do this before you start doing anything with your MythTV. This is very easy to do but can cause some frustration when testing the guide feature, it is as simple as logging into the SD website searching for your zip code and selecting what service you are using. In my case I was using the local cable company and just had to select that to start populating the guide.

Next when I started the backend configuration for MythTV I didn’t take the time to follow any guide so I quickly flipped through the menus and I missed a setting for channel frequency type which is simply an option for antenna or cable. This can be found on the third screen, locale settings, in the general settings. The default option is us-bcast(antenna) so if you are using cable make sure to change this to us-cable.

Now when it comes to installing the HVR-1600 capture card I had some trouble and this is how I got it to work. Everything I read said the HVR-1600 should use the IVTV MPEG-2 encoder driver but every time I selected that driver I would get a probe error so instead I selected Analog V4L and clicked through the menus to save it. Then I went into video sources and added my Schedules Direct account with my username and password and direct data lineup field populated with the guide source I selected earlier on the SD website. Next I went to inputs and selected tuner1 and added the video source I just created. After all that was done I went back to the capture card selection and edited the existing card from the Analog V4L driver to the IVTV MPEG-2 and this time probe worked fine. Saved my settings and everything worked.

After doing all of this I was able to watch tv and record shows, it worked really well except I did notice that there were artifacts that would show on the tv sometimes and the guide seemed to react a little slow too. I was kind of shocked at this considering I was using an intel 64 bit quad-core processor.

So after doing all of this I was not that impressed with MythTV, the setup was not too hard but I don’t think a novice user would be able to do it. Then the user experience was not that great since I did have issues with the tv quality and the guide running slow. So overall I have to say that MythTV is not as cool as I expected it to be, I was really looking forward to using it but I am going to try something else for now. I talked to someone else and he suggested I try Windows 7 Media Center since the user experience is very nice.

From → Linux

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