Question on creating a video server

Bob McConnell rvm at
Tue Nov 11 05:59:55 PST 2008

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Drew Tomlinson
> Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>> Hi All,
>>   OK, I'm just asking for opinions here on some application
>> software.
>>   Like most people we have a nice big 21" TV set that will be
>> obsolete in Feb.  I have been thinking about replacing this with a
>> big screen TV set but the prices on them are still way, way
>> way out of my budget (I just can't see spending $500 for
>> a TV set, sorry!!!!)
>>   Has anyone done this with FreeBSD and open source
>> software, and has recommendations on what hardware to get
>> and what software works with it?
> I've read the thread and have to vote for a Linux install and MythTV.

> It will do everything you require rather well.  I started down the
> path for a PVR and quickly ran into trouble back in 2006.  From what I

> understand, it hasn't gotten much better due to the driver issues.  
> Anyway, next I tried building MythTV on Fedora Core as it seemed to be
> popular platform and Jerrod Wilson had a nice guide.  Being from the 
> FBSD world where the ports system worked so well, I quickly found
> in "rpm hell", especially when Fedora Core didn't support my SCSI card

> at the time.  I found a nice home with Gentoo Linux as it's "portage" 
> system is much like ports.

This is strange. Time-Warner cable has already told us we don't need to
replace any of our TV sets. They will continue to work just fine. Since
there are no over the air channels available in our area, we aren't
affected by the switch to digital. But then we've always known that
Ithaca (NY) is centrally isolated. B-)

I would suggest taking a look at Mythdora (Myth TV on Fedora) I have
been using it for nearly a year now, with a Hauppauge PVR-350 card. The
CPU is an Intel dual core with 2G RAM and a 250 GB SATA drive. If you
want automatic scheduling, it does require a paid subscription to one of
the online schedule services. I don't use that, so I don't recall the
name right now.

It automatically records programs while you view them. This is so the
pause, rewind and slow motion features will work. Recorded and viewed
programs are stored as MP4 files, taking about 2.2 GB per hour. It will
automatically delete recorded files after 24 hours, or not, your choice
when you schedule the recording. vlc works very well for playback.

I have also set up samba on it, so I can read and write files over my
home network. Yes, I can set up and monitor it remotely. It installed
Apache and a handful of web pages with full access to the scheduler.
There is also an option for an IR remote control. The PVR-350 can output
to a standard analog TV if you don't like the smaller computer display.
There is a separate antenna input for FM radio. I haven't played with
that one.

My only significant complaint is that it requires MySQL. I would prefer
PostgreSQL, since that is less proprietary and one of the systems I deal
with at work.

Bob McConnell

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