Suggestions for new computer

Colin McGregor colin.mc151-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at
Wed Sep 23 14:18:54 UTC 2009

Ahhh... MythTV my favourite resource pig :-) .

On 9/22/09, Dave Germiquet <davegermiquet-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at> wrote:
> I'm looking to buy a new PC, that can be ran with mythtv and has the
> power to do video encoding and audio encoding.

My main MythTV box (a frontend/backend) is based on an AMD Athlon
3200+ CPU and this is as low as you want to go and still be able to
handle HDTV. This means that with the exception of the low cost, low
power consumption, and low performance Intel Atom CPU chips any
current generation desktop CPU chip should be fine.

> It's going to be my multimedia center including using music with
> coaxial output, the problem I'm finding is that most of these
> motherboards only have 2 PCI regular slots...
> If even that, alot of them only have pci express slots.

There are some PCI Express tuner cards that subject to conditions are
supported under MythTV, such as the Hauppauge HVR-1250 and HVR-2250:

> Which leads me to questions like:
> Are there pci express slots that can do serial for ir blaster and ir
> remote? Are there PCI express tuners that can be found that will work
> with rogers digital cable or satellite tv or even Digital over the
> air?

IR receive can be done several ways, the above Hauppauge cards do it,
there are USB IR receivers, and if you have a "real" serial port (not
a USB to serial interface) there are simple IR receiver plans out
there like:

For IR blasting, the Hauppauge HVR-2250 does do it, conditionally
(there are two  versions of the HVR-2250 out there, one version does
IR blasting, but not both...). Also there is a range of USB and serial

You are laughing with digital TV over the air, as there are quite a
number of options available. The Hauppauge cards note above will do
fine with over the air digital TV.

Rogers digital cable is a @#$% mess. The problem is that Rogers
encrypts all digital signals. There have been some Rogers digital
boxes that will but out an unencrypted digital signal on Firewire
(meaning you would need to find one of those boxes and get a Linux
supported firewire card), ugly but workable. Otherwise you need  an
analog capture card connected to the analog connection on the digital
box, with an IR blaster to control the box, ugly in every way.

Satellite TV is a mixed bag. For the likes of Bell Express View there
are some receiver boxes that do put a digital signal out on Firewire.
There some free-to-air satellite TV stations whose signals can be
dealt with by some MythTV compatible cards...

> Are regular PCI slot being phased out completely now?

Not sure. I do know that there are some external tuner solutions that
get very good reviews in the MythTV community, like the Silicondust

The HDHomeRun does over-the-air digital TV to ethernet (neat trick, so
you can locate your MythTV box well away from your tuners as long as
you have a suitable network connection :-) ).

> Any suggestions would be helpful.

Well, I have a box with 3 PCI slots, currently I have 2 PCI tuner
cards installed (one analog connected to Rogers cable and one digital
connected to a roof mounted antenna). I can get most of the Buffalo NY
digital stations reliably and on a good day I can get some of the
Rodchester NY digital stations, this from near Yonge and Eglinton.

Stuff that I would pay attention to includes looking for a video card
that offers VDPAU support, where the video card takes on a lot of the
work associated with video decode. Details can be seen here:

Currently MythTV support for video card with VDPAU is still in
testing. Still a basic video card that does VDPAU doesn't cost much
more than a non-VDPAU card. Until VDPAU support is mainstream, the
VDPAU card will be a very capable card, which hopefully soon will be
able to support a neat trick...

Have a look at the local MythTV web page (most of which I did :-) ):

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