Well, today I decided it was time to get the IR blaster working in MythTV. This is the device that controls our settop box, so that we can tune channels in the digital tier.
Now, I decided to purchase an IR blaster (and receiver) from the guy running irblaster.info, and I gotta say, I couldn’t be happier! The blaster works absolutely perfectly, and I haven’t seen it miss a tune yet. Setting it up was remarkably straightforward:
- Plug into serial port.
- Install lirc kernel module.
- Copy DCT2524 configuration into /etc/lircd.conf
- Install channel.pl from [http://www.iwamble.net/IRBlaster_Howto.txt this tutorial] (along with some tweaks to make it behave well with our DSTB).
- Instruct Myth to use the channel change script.
And voila! Works like a charm. Tune times are a bit longer, now, as you’ve gotta wait for the box to get the key clicks and then switch, but overall, it ain’t bad at all.
Of course, this is all just testing. Until the replacement EPIA board arrives, we’ll be stuck watching regular ol’ TV for a while, yet.
Well, things are a bit stalled on the MythTV project, now. The Fedex guy came and took away the dead motherboard that was originally destined for the Living Room Frontend, so now begins the great EPIA Return Saga (tm). If all goes well, I’ll have a new board in a few weeks, with minimal fees in the forms of duty or taxes. I remain skeptical.
On the bright side, the IR receiver and blaster units arrived, so I’ll probably play with those this weekend. They look very well made, so I’m hopeful that they’ll work as advertised. ‘course, I was also hopeful that my EPIA board would arrive fully functional…
Meanwhile, the backend continues to work well. I continue to record The Daily Show and The Colbert Report during their late night showings on CTV (aka, channel 2, aka, one of the few basic cable channels I can currently access with Myth), and it seems to be doing the job quite nicely. I’ve also been noodling around with different plugins on the frontend, such as MythMusic and MythVideo, and everything seems to work as advertised.
Thus far, the only glitch was a period where the frontend started to stutter and generate prebuffering errors, but that could be related to running over a lowly half-duplex, 10 Mbs connection.
Well, the wiring is finally finished! With the help of my friend and co-worker, Chris, it took all of 15 minutes to get the coat hanger fished up to the outlet. From there, it was a cakewalk: draw string back through, draw ethernet up from basement, draw some spare string down into basement (for later expansion, if need be), rejoice.
In addition, last night I got the MythTV subnet running and operating correctly. So, once I get a new EPIA board, installing the frontend should be relatively straightforward. Assuming it isn’t DOA as well…
Speaking of which, it looks like shipping it back should be… interesting. The main problem is in potential customs and taxes which could be levied on the board as it returns across the US border. Hopefully, I can fill out appropriate paperwork and have it marked as a returned item, but we shall see. Meanwhile, on the way back to Canada, I will almost certainly be charged taxes and duty on the replacement, but luckily there’s forms I can submit to get those fees refunded.
Meanwhile, it looks like that EPIA board will spit out component video! It appears to have a header on the motherboard for attaching the proper outputs. Unfortunately… I don’t have a bracket to attach to said header. Fortunately, VidaBox came to the rescue! They specialize it building MCE-based multimedia boxes, but they also sell a number of accessories, one of which is the very bracket I need. A few emails back and forth between their sales staff, and voila! A bracket is on it’s way. After paying $15 for the bracket and $10 for shipping… US. Not to mention taxes.
Did I mention that ordering stuff online isn’t always the most economical thing in the world to do?
Well, after all the problems with ethernet cabling and bad motherboards, things took a bit of an upswing today on the MythTV project, and it all started when the TV tuner card arrived! Yup, it showed up before lunch today, and when we got home this evening, I promptly installed it in the backend and had it configured in around 15 minutes. It went beautifully! And the MythTV setup process went equally smoothly!
But it gets better! What I really wanted to do was test out the backend. So I plugged it in to our basic cable and then configured the mythtv backend. Then, I compiled the frontend on frodo (twice… I compiled 0.20 first, not realizing the backend was running the 0.20-fixes branch), and voila! I was suddenly watching TV on my computer! I could pause, rewind, skip forward, browse around in the EPG (which has a nice little preview of the current channel, just like our existing DSTB), and of course record. And it all works perfectly! Even the channel tune times, which I feared would be a little long, are decent… maybe 1.5-2 seconds to switch? Not bad at all!
So I’ve already marked The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to record this evening (since they run on CTV). We’ll see what they look like tomorrow. Then I can play around with the commercial skip and transcoding functions. Good times! Now if I can only get that EPIA replacement, I can be doing all this right on my TV!
I also managed to play around with MythWeb, the web interface to MythTV, and I gotta say, it’s pretty sweet. It provides a really nice interface for perusing your channel lineup, editting your recording schedule, viewing previously recorded material (assuming your browser and OS are set up correctly), and even accessing your music archive. Very nice! And, again, it worked more or less out-of-the-box (minus a probably unnecessary tweak to Apache’s configuration), proving once again that going with Fedora Core and pre-built binary packages was, hands down, one of the best ways to go.