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Re: Accessing a TV adapter via my network

On 26/01/08 23:22:47, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 26, 2008 at 05:19:10PM +0000, Barry Samuels wrote:
> > I would like to get a Hauppauge WinTV Nova T 500 adapter which I 
> > understand works with Linux.
> Unless they've changed recently, this card should work. It has 
> onboard mpeg2 compression which means that you can capture on it with 
> a pretty low power system (important for your idea below).
> ...
> > 
> > My idea would be to assemble another computer using some spare 
> > parts
> > 
> > I would be looking at a minimal install of Linux on the new box 
> > with all the processing done on my desktop.
> frankly there's not much processing to do with that card.. it already
> compresses for you. But if you want to commercial flag, or transcode
> recordings, then that does take a little horsepower. Myth allows you
> to use other machines for these jobs if they also have the backend
> installed. YOu can configure the backends to be master and slaves. 
> The master will control all the scheduling. The slaves just do what 
> the master says: record shows, flag commercials, etc..
> > What's the minimum RAM I would need?
> not much frankly. If all you're doing is recording shows, it's just 
> an mpeg2 stream taken straight to disk. My rig with two cards has 
> 512MB memory but hardly uses any of it. I think it would be fine with 
> 256MB.
> > 
> > I would also need to aquire an IDE hard drive. What's the minimum
> > size I could get away with for an appropriate Debian system?
> I run debian on a couple machines with old 4.3GB drives, but it's a
> little tight.
> > TV recording 
> > will be done on my main desktop via the network. 
> Well, not sure how well that works with myth. YOu could mount the
> desktop drive as an NFS share, but it could be a real
> bottleneck. Storage is cheap, stick a drive in the other machine and
> mount it as a NFS share to your desktop. That will keep you from
> getting IO bound on the recording machine. IIRC, the pvr500 has to
> inputs, which means in theory, you'd be trying to cram two shows down
> that pipe at once, probably not a good idea even with gigabit
> ethernet.
> > 
> > I wouldn't normally want to use a screen or keyboard after the
> > machine has been setup - would that cause problems when booting?
> depends on the bios, but probably not. 

Andrew, many thanks for the advice.

There has now been a slight change of plan.

I have setup my cardboard computer (it's in a cardboard box) using an 
old main board with a 750 MHz Athlon K7 and 768 MB of RAM. I fitted a 
PCI ethernet card and a PCI wireless card. There is a 6.5 GB hard drive 
which is certainly big enough for the operating system only (Debian) 
which I have now installed and it's all up and running. I have also 
aquired (free) a 20GB hard drive for storing the test recodings and it 
is now fitted and running.

I have decided to put it near the television aerial wall point and it 
can connect to my wireless access point from there solving my wireless 

There was nothing in the BIOS about stopping on errors so I tried it 
without keyboard or screen and it boots without problems. I can control 
it via SSH from my desktop so my next step will be to buy a Hauppauge 
WinTV Nova T 500 adapter.

I'm going to run the MythTV backend on the cardboard machine and the 
front (controlling) end on my desktop which MythTV is apparently setup 
to do.

If it all works as hoped I'll even buy it a proper case and a larger 
hard drive.

Barry Samuels
The Unofficial Guide to Great Britain

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