Category Archives: TV

The Mediacenter Ecstasy – PartIV

Success ! I got DRM/DRI compiled
cleanly and have an totally
accellerated X-Display. XVideo Motion Compensation is also
working
as I found a precompiled Xorg version with all the stuff
needed.The funny thing is, that my MythTV database is now broken,
had
no time yet to investigate that further, to much to do at
work.

Meanwhile there’s also a patch available for IR-Support on my
DVB-T Terratec 1400 card. But I think I’ll skip this one and
use my good old X10 radio remote, which is already supported
in
the kernel.

Let’s see when everything is done, I’m also planning to strip
down the whole system to a working Image for you EPIA-folks
out there.

Good night…

The Mediacenter Ecstasy – Part IV

Success ! I got DRM/DRI compiled
cleanly and have an totally
accellerated X-Display. XVideo Motion Compensation is also
working
as I found a precompiled Xorg version with all the stuff
needed.

The funny thing is, that my MythTV database is now broken,
had
no time yet to investigate that further, to much to do at
work.

Meanwhile there’s also a patch available for IR-Support on my
DVB-T Terratec 1400 card. But I think I’ll skip this one and
use my good old X10 radio remote, which is already supported
in
the kernel.

Let’s see when everything is done, I’m also planning to strip
down the whole system to a working Image for you EPIA-folks
out there.

Good night…

The Mediacenter Ecstasy – Part IV

Success ! I got DRM/DRI compiled
cleanly and have an totally
accellerated X-Display. XVideo Motion Compensation is also
working
as I found a precompiled Xorg version with all the stuff
needed.The funny thing is, that my MythTV database is now broken,
had
no time yet to investigate that further, to much to do at
work.

Meanwhile there’s also a patch available for IR-Support on my
DVB-T Terratec 1400 card. But I think I’ll skip this one and
use my good old X10 radio remote, which is already supported
in
the kernel.

Let’s see when everything is done, I’m also planning to strip
down the whole system to a working Image for you EPIA-folks
out there.

Good night…

The Mediacenter Odyssee – Part III

Finally I decided to delete all the
Fedora trash from my epia.

Since I found some good howto’s for debian I gave Debian
Sarge
a chance which installed fairly easy, and most important,
rather
minimalistic. But again it lacks the newest kernel features
that will support my newer DVB-T card Terratec Cinergy 1400,
as well as framebuffer-support for the Epia M10000.

Fortunately, after some frickling, I managed to backport the
DVB
stuff into the older “newest” debian development kernel,
and also the via-frambuffer driver.

A bigger problem was the DRM/DRI drivers which refused to
compile
for my debian kernel, with some strange missing symbol
errors…
Anyway Mythtv is now up and running, although without
hardware
mpeg accelleration.
Menuloading is a real pain in the ass, and also channel
switching,
but timeshifting and the EPG works great anyway…

On the internet I found an article on “KnoppMyth” which
promised
to work “out of the box(from CD)” on a Epia system…
waahhh….

After a short try, I realized that it works also without
accelleration
and further needs a huge desktop installation….
Not to mention the missing support for my DVB card, but OK.

I really wonder that after those many years of DVB
introduction
it’s still impossible to buy a settopbox which has all
features
built in.

For example Pinnacle’s Showcenter (a streaming-client) can be
combined
with a streaming server PC which has a PCTV card (analogue or
DVB)
so it is possible to programm it like a VCR. But the only way to
see
Live-TV is to programm a channel via Showcenter, wait for the
recording
to start and then pickup the file inside the videolist and play
it.

That’s simply bullshit….

The Ultimate Mediacenter – Part II

Meanwhile I gave Fedora a chance to
proof that it’s worth to build a mediacenter in less time than on
gentoo.
After hours of downloading and burning the installation dvd (what
happened to the good old network-install)
I managed to setup a minimal Fedora Core 3 system (minimal means
700MB on Fedora, ughh, Gentoo does the same in 40MB).Due to the high demand of diskspace for a core installation I
needed to assign a unused logical volume of my gentoo
base system and relocate /usr to it. But anyway everything works
out of the box. Well done.

The Via Epia M10000 C3 Ezra mini-itx system needs special packages
for hardware-acceleration (direct rendering, mpeg2-decoding, motion
compensation).
Those are available for FC3 on:
http://washington.kelkoo.net/epia/FC3
Simply installing xorg-x11 will select the epia-specific packages,
as long as the epia repository is set up correctly.

Currently there’s only a binary rpm for via-drm on the C3
nehemia(i686) version of the Epia M10000 board available.
So I had to rebuild a native C3 ezra-t(i586) version of the
package:

rpmbuild –rebuild –target i586
kernel-module-via-drm-2.6.12-1.1376_FC3-2.6.7-1.ucr.src.rpm

For the Terratec Cinergy 1400 DVB-T card and a few others there,
just right in time, an backpatch-update for the cx88-driver on FC3
became available on
http://apt.atrpms.net/fedora/3/en/i386/RPMS.at-stable
cx88-kmdl-2.6.12-1.1376_FC3-0.0.4_20050708_202133-58.rhfc3.at.i586.rpm

So far done for the base.

I intendently left out more detailed setup of configfiles,
startup-entries and so on, which can be found everywhere on
google.
(xorg.conf for epia, minimal fc3 init.d, modules.conf, rc.local,
.xinitrc)

For a mediabox which should boot really fast, a big window desktop
is just overhead, so I’ll use the minimalistic twm as my
windowmanager, although there’re people who prefer a minimalistic
windowmaker instead. We’ll see later if that’s worth a
change.
After installing TWM, I do “switchdesktop twm”, for activation (twm
should be default anyway).

Now for the mediacenter software…

I decided to use mythtv, as it is best supported and has wide
plugin support for almost every feature someone could want.
Not sure yet if streaming internet tv will be supported through a
playlist-wrapper for mplayer. We’ll see later.

The Mythtv-suite as well as mplayer and friends are all available
here:
http://apt.atrpms.net/fedora/3/en/i386/RPMS.at-stable

Fedora will not be my favourite system, but at least it’s fast on
Epia and package support is ok for common use. Except for the
compile time gentoo’s package-management is lightyears faster than
on fedora.

Let’s see how this stuff works tomorrow.
Good night.

The Ultimate Mediacenter – Part I

I’m already looking a long time for
the ultimate media and entertainment center out of the box, but yet
nothin’ serious came up my horizon so far.

Since living in a flat, I’m not allowed to use a satellite-dish
which terminates my dream of the wonderufl DVB-S. We got cable with
almost 40 channels, most of them home-shopping-crap… but at least
Munich is DVB-T broadcasting about 24 channels since May this year.
DVB-C brings only 8 free digital channels on cable, all the other
stuff is commercial and really expensive.

So the obvious way to go was, using DVB-T together with analogue
channels from the cable and mix all that well with the usual
mediacenter stuff (movie player,photos,music,dvd,text).

I studied all of the latest set-top boxes, and commercial
media-centers, but all of them lack one or more big features:
Internet-TV-channels and custom onscreen infos/ticker
Finally you would end up with more single media boxes than a
home-cinema-rack has AV-connectors.

Building my own PC media center seems the only way to achieve my
“everybody’s?” ultimate mediacenter goal.

The big problem now is, that it’s almost impossible to find a
software which can handle DVB-T and analogue channels within one
channellist. That means you always have to change the device/tuner
and then select the channel, instead of simply channeljump through
analogue and digital broadcasts. Further to pass analogue channels
the same way as a DVB receiver does to a mpeg2 decoder, analogue
channels will need to be encoded to mpeg2 first to feed a unique
output-decoder… grrrrrrrrr.
I think most people will not understand the above as long as they
haven’t tried by themselves.

OK, I skipped the analogue part for the moment, and start using
DVB-T.

Yesterday I bought the Terratec Cinergy 1400 DVB-T Card, which is
now officially supported in Kernel 2.6.13. (There’re also
mixed-mode cards available, but without mpeg2 encoder, which means
it’s just two cards in one, nothing more.)

Already a long time ago, I bought myself a Mini-ITX PC, to have a
compact, powersaving and silent computer for the living room.
Since I’m a gentoo linux enthusiast, I compiled everything from
scratch on that slow=powersaving machine.

Compiling the new kernel for an Epia M10000 Ezra board, was quite a
challenge, although I had absolutely no problems in the past, but I
found out “vesafb-tng” doesn’t work anymore in 2.6.13, “vesafb-old”
does only work if it’s not compiled as a module. And compiling
takes quite a time on this 900MHz hardware. For a first try I
skipped patching the sources with older 2.6.7 epia patches, which
I’ll need later to get hardware-mpeg-acceleration CLE266,
framebuffer and XVideo motion compensation XvMC running.

After compiling 2.6.13 for the third time, this time successful, I
gave up and did go to sleep.
Not sure if I’ll pick up there tomorrow, or simple use my already
prepared debian-dvd’s.

It’s hard to reduce power consumption, if you have to let the
computer running the whole night to get some stuff compiled.
Where’s the powersaving here ? A fast machine can at least save
power when it’s unused.

…to be continued…