Sunday, August 26, 2007

LinuxMCE and Home Automation

A few people were kind enough to send me links that are about MythTV but are separate projects. The first is a commercial project called HackMythTV which sells ready to go systems with MythTV and Pluto Home installed and with ZWave hardware. I'm a little leery about posting this as it becomes a bit of an advertisement (unpaid yet) but there are bound to be some users who want ready made. Now to offset the previous link I have a couple of more interesting links, still about MythTV and Pluto Home.

Jason Bodington was kind enough to send me these two links: LinuxMCE and a 25 minute Demo Video of LinuxMCE being installed and used. I watched the video and I was impressed by LinuxMCE's ease of use. Looks like a lot of other software will need to step it up and catch up. Currently LinuxMCE and HackMythTV are both using ZWave as the HA controller and modules. The one thing that did bother me was the expense of the entire system. I have no idea how much a thin client costs. Also it would be nice to know that it can handle two video feeds and allow them to go to two TVs at the same time. I couldn't tell if that is supported. Guess I have questions of the LinuxMCE folks.


At 1/01/2008 1:50 PM, Anonymous NeilH said...


Just reading your blog as I just ordered a copy of your book (having received a Insteon starter kit and PLM as a present this year).

I have been using MythTV (upon which I believe LinuxMCE is based) and you can have multiple front-ends (clients) in MythTV terminology thah can stream different content from the master back-end machine.

You can't generally watch more live TV channels than you have inputs for (one tuner can not tune in channels 4 and 5 at the same time for example), but you can have a nearly arbitrarily large number of tuner inputs / video capture sources. You can watch video that is recorded previously and be recording simultaneously, or play mp3s etc.. on different client machines simultaneously.

The main limits are the network bandwidth as each HD video stream can use 20 Mbps, SD video around 5-6 depending on compression settings, and audio quite a bit less (100s of kbps). The disk IO bandwidth is a factor as well as older PCs might not be able to keep up with multiple high-def video streams some inbound for recording and some outbound for playing.

At 1/01/2008 3:20 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

With this much input (4 -5 feeds) you're probably going to be CPU or I/O bound (mainly the hard disks). Oh boy would HD make that worse. :-) Still it would be nice to be able to just record and watch TV like the Tivo. Nicer still being able to watch the recordings on another TV (something not easily done with the Tivo).

Too bad this can't be reduce to 'MythTV on a card'. Each card could have a drive, a CPU and an HD tuner The main CPU would handle playing or networking. Probably too expensive right now. The networking would be interesting but a good switch, channel bonding (2 or more boards bonded together to increase bandwidth) and the networking portion would be solved. That would make for one heck of a video server!

I've got a new D-Link DSM-320RD that I hope to get a chance to play with soon but I still haven't had a change to setup my MythTV. With the long line of projects I've got MythTV is a bit low on my priority list.

BTW, Terry Collings was the author of that section. I have all the components he mentioned (TwonkyVision media server, the DSM-320 and Hauppage PCI card) just haven't setup MythTV so far. I don't watch a lot of TV and with school I probably won't get a chance.

PS happy New year!


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