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15 October 2008

MediaMVP + DD-WRT + MythTV

Two years ago this month I set up our MythTV system. At first, we kept in in our living room where the computer was. We watched tv on a 22-inch flatscreen monitor. Nothing fancy, but it served us just fine.

About a year ago, we did some renovations on our main level that turned our long living room into a smaller living room plus an office for Nicole. The computer had to go. We stuck it downstairs in the basement family room and stuck the monitor in Nicole's new office. No more myth, at least not connected directly to the server.

For the last year, we've been watching TV primarily on our computers--either a 15-inch MacBook Pro, or a 13-inch MacBook. Again, nothing fancy, and it would be fine for us, except that we don't trust our kids to fire up Mythfrontend on our laptops. We know what they're capable of.

Without a doubt--I had to make it so the kids could watch Mythtv on the TV in the basement, while minimizing the likelihood of them damaging any equipment.

My first attempt was to mod an first gen XBox and install Linux. I ended up ruining a mod chip and probably ruining the xbox too. I put it back together yet to see if it still works.

Last week I bought a Hauppauge MediaMVP for about $70. After a non-trivial amount a tweaking, I managed to make it talk to my Myth system (thanks to mvpmc). It handles SD TV just fine and has component and S-video out. Perfect for our needs. The kids are going to be quite happy.

Minor gripe: I need to figure out how to change the font used by the on screen display. Our TV is 27 inches and I have a hard time reading the OSD.

For the technically inclined, here is what had to happen to make it all work:

1. On the backend, enable tftpd:
sudo apt-get install xinetd tftpd tftp

2. Create /etc/xinit.d/tftp and then restart xinetd.

service tftp
protocol = udp
port = 69
socket_type = dgram
wait = yes
user = nobody
server = /usr/sbin/in.tftpd
server_args = /tftpboot
disable = no

3. Create /tftpboot and place dongle.bin.mvpmc and dongle.bin.mvpmc.config there.
dongle.bin.mvpmc.config is:
mvpmc -s -u mythtv -p mythtv -y \
-T mythconverg --startup mythtv &

(yes, you now know my mythtv host, user and password!)

4. Create a dhcp boot environment. I use DD-WRT. The solution is to services > services and add some DNSMasqu otpions:
The IP address is the IP of the tftp server.

That's it. When I get enough motivation, I'll write up a set of proper steps and add it to my MythTV instructions.