MYTHTV

I've had a couple of requests for the specs on my MythTV box after my last post. I wanted to write about it at some point anyway so thanks for the reminder, loyal readers!

Like a lot of geeks who build their own computers, I have a ton of parts laying around. For this project though, I wanted to be able to record HDTV eventually which takes a fair bit of horsepower so the only things I was able to scavenge were the network card and soundcard. I bought almost everything from Newegg.com, the only online store I shop at anymore. I ended up getting a bunch of mailin rebates so my total cost landed somewhere around $600.

If you're not doing High Def you can get away with a lot less powerful hardware. The Hauppage card does most of the heavy lifting for TV watching and recording in it's hardware so your CPU only has to do a few other tasks like marking commercials so you can skip them automatically. Support for the new Hauppage 150 card is coming along very quickly in MythTV so you can save some money there also. The picture on the 150 isn't as sharp though so that's a consideration.

Gigabyte AMD motherboard with 5 PCI slots.
AMD XP 2700+
512meg RAM
300 gig Seagate harddrive
Hauppage WinTV 250 MPEG2 TV encoder card
Cooler Master Cavalier 2 case (with fancy analog sound needle!)
Netgear 10/100 ethernet card
Soundblaster Live! Value soundcard
IR Blaster for cable box control from http://www.irblaster.info

I also needed various cables, most of which I had laying around except for the DVI cable to hook into my HDTV. I got that at a local store PC Magic, for $20 rather than the crazy $80-$100 that the bigger CompUSA/Circuit City stores want for the same wire. You can get them online for $20 or so too, don't pay more.

The only remaining part I need is the PCHDTV card from pchdtv.com. They make an over-the-air HD reciever card specifically for Linux. It's $180 which is why I've held off so far.

I'm super happy with MythTV but I wouldn't be so happy if I hadn't found Jarod Wilson's guide at http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/. He's a Myth developer and his guide is incredibly helpful. For a first-time MythTV user, I would say you'd be crazy not to follow his guide or try the KnoppMyth project. I haven't used it but apparently it works like a champ.

The other thing I would add to your box once you get it going is the Bittorrent program Azureus with the RSS plugin. I'll leave the reasons why you'd want that as an exercise for the reader and our friend google. :)

Good luck and feel free to email if you have questions.