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A mostly-fresh start

MythTV Box Writeup

My MythTV box is finally up and running, so I thought I’d do a quick write-up for anyone who runs across this site via google or whatever.

Hardware

  • MSI K7T Turbo Pro-R motherboard ($12, ebay)
  • 1.6Ghz AMD Duron ($30, random internet store)
  • Soundblaster Live! (free, box of parts)
  • Intel 10/100 Fast Ethernet controller (free, box of parts)
  • Voodoo3 3000AGP (free, box of parts)
  • Packard Bell Remote and serial IR reciever ($10, random internet store)
  • 300W Power Supply (free, box of parts)
  • Generic HP lookalike case (free, buried in closet)
  • 16x DVD-ROM Drive (free, box of parts)
  • ATI TV Wonder VE (free, pull from my desktop)
  • 200GB Matrox HDD (free, pull from server)

Software

KnoppMyth Release 5A15.1

Process

After fighting with the hardware and make sure everything worked in the spare bedroom, I brought it all up into the living room and plugged it in behind the TV.

Since I already had the svideo from my voodoo3 plugged into the TV, I typed “tv” at the knoppmyth boot prompt. This tells the software to use 640x480 so it doesn’t push the television to a resolution it can’t handle. The knoppmyth startup auto detected all the hardware correct, and almost set up XF86Config-4 file correctly. I chose to wipe the blank hdd and let it auto- install the system for me. Specific things I had to add to the monitor section of the XF86Config-4 file were:

        HorizSync    30.0 - 50.0
        VertRefresh  60.0
        ModeLine "640x480NTSC" 28.195793 640 656 658 784 480 520 525 600
        ModeLine "800x600NTSC" 38.769241 800 812 814 880 600 646 649 735
        ModeLine "720x480NTSC" 27.5 720 744 800 872 480 483 485 525

and

                Modes "640x480NTSC"

to the correct depth.

This page details what to do kernel wise to get X11 and tv-out working properly on a voodoo3. I chose to install a 2.6.11 based kernel, so i had to apply a couple patches to get support for the bt869 chip.

Next up on my todo list was getting the sound to stop echoing. Even after following the directions listed in the mythtv install guide , I still had an echo on my sound blaster live. After digging around a dozen obscure wikis and blogs (like this one) I found out I needed to set the AC97 volume in alsamixer to zero.

My final problem which took several days to solve was the remote. I bought the packard bell remote and receiver based on the advice of someone in #mythtv-users on irc.oftc.net. The hardware works fine, but it took me a while to figure that out. All my problems ended up being debian'isms. After I deleted the debian package for lirc and installed from source it works great. If anyone is interested, I’ve uploaded my lircd.conf and .lircrc files to this webserver.

I really don’t know what else to say. Everything works great, I can watch stuff on my server downstairs via samba, and the picture quality is decent for the age of the display hardware I’m using. I should have finished this up a lot sooner.