codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

10/15/2005

mythtv OMG

Filed under: Multimedia — kees @ 9:25 am

I was preparing myself to deal with the “pain” of moving to a multimedia system that didn’t have all the feature tweaks I need. MythTV has surprised me in that after only a week, and I’ve solved almost all my issues through just finding the right configuration options.

As of about Tuesday (2 days after the initial “commitment”), I was ready to call it “better than my existing system”. It had a few glitches that bugged me, but overall, it had many many more features than I was expecting. After watching Smallville Thursday night, I’m a total freak for MythTV. Smallville was basically the first “Production” show MythTV recorded for me. I had recorded “Medium” earlier in the week, and that served as a good way to feel out the interface. Smallville is the real test because it’s at position 1 in my TiVo (and MythTV) recording priorities. I had no irritations while watching it. Nicely done, MythTV.

Rewind to Saturday. Bryce and I spent about 12 hours straight digging through KnoppMyth both on his new system and my machine that I brought over to his place. By the end of it, I had entirely reinstalled my system with Debian Sid, and installed the most current ivtv drivers, with the apt-able myth binaries. We had figured out how to get KnoppMyth running with the newer tuner chip, but Bryce’s HD audio card wasn’t supported in that version of the kernel. Let me just say, everyone should just start with the latest ivtv driver. It detected everything correctly right off the bat. On Sunday, Bryce installed Gentoo, and got the latest ivtv, etc, everything was happy.

Early this week I toyed with the remote control settings, and discovered a whole mess of MPlayer commands I didn’t know about that let you control playback speed (including fast audio!), OSD text (so I can have a visible indication that I’m paused), etc. After restoring my other MPlayer defaults (16M cache, readable font, etc), MPlayer stuff was in great shape again, including DVD playback. I also programmed my spare TiVo remote to control my stereo power and volume. I’m down to 1 remote finally! (I was surprised that the TiVo remote programming codes aren’t online anywhere. The only guide seems to be in the TiVo itself.)

Yesterday I discovered MythWeb. I must have been blind to miss it before. That’ll teach me not to read the entire EFF MythTV guide first. Full scheduling, guide data, recorded show lists, and most importantly, the ability to adjust the keybindings for the various MythTV modules. In the MythMusic module, I was infuriated that “PgDn” would skip to the next song, instead of (wait for it) paging down in the list of songs. I just can’t understand why such a massively counter-intuitive setting is the default.

The commercial detection system is greate so far. It’s already painful for me to go back to using my TiVo where I have to press the “skip 30 seconds” button ten times to get past all the commercials.

Current issues:

  • Interface is slow. Everything (especially the video browser) is slow to respond. I miss not having an audible notification that a remote button was received, but there should at least be SOME kind of visible change if a button is pressed.
  • Intermitant crappy audio playback. Something goofy happens on playback sometimes where the audio is just totally trashed. I just have to quit the playback and try again. I wonder if switching everything to using ALSA would make things better.
  • No way to record the same show with two priorities. I want to have “New Episodes Only” for “Stargate: SG-1” at a high priority, but “Any time, any channel” for it at a very low priority. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet. I think I will have to write special recording rules for it in SQL somewhere secret.

© 2005, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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