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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 85
Haven't installed Linux on a box in quite a while, but decided that I wanted to run MythTv to at least be able to keep my kids videos on a HD and avoid catastrophic destruction of our DVDs.

Went to newegg and bought the following:
nMediaPC HT100SA
ASUS A8N-VM CSM
AMD 3200+
AMPO DDR 3200 512MB RAM
NEC OEM ND-3550A DVD burner
WD 320 GB SATA-2 HD
D-Link DWL-G510 PCI wireless adapter
MS wireless optical desktop 1000

Newegg shipped promptly :)

I lurked a bit on mysettopbox, mythtv sites, and newegg to select this stuff.

For now I'm using the video out of this MB, have ordered the S-video and S/PDIF dongles from Asus, the former so I can move to TV usage, the latter just in case I need an optical connection in the future. The nMediaPC case has two S/PDIF connectors, but neither is optical.

Assembled the box without much trouble. The nMediaPC seems like a good choice for a combined FE/BE box, a little big for next to the TV, but doesn't look too bad. It has a FP display of CPU fan speed and 2 temperature readings. This is a little gaudy and I plan on replacing it sometime with something that Myth can drive.

I had some confusion over the FP audio cable, and nMedia replied to my email in 24 hours, I was pretty happy with that. I recently asked about how their fan control plays with the MB control of the fan, will see how that goes. [The fan has a knob on the FP for setting the fan speed, I'd rather the CPU controlled that, but don't mind seeing the RPM displayed on the FP].

Ok, assembly was pretty smooth, the box POSTed fine, went on to installing KnoppMyth CD (RD51).

At the partitioning step I got stuck, I kept getting IO errors when trying to create a swap partion (mkswap). I just kept fiddling with the box, rebooting, power cycling, and magically it just started working. I don't understand what was going on, but just went on.

I don't have a tuner card, as I was going to have a run at using my Cablevision SA4200 with firewire (integrated on this MB). So I wasn't real sure how the setup would like that, but I just went ahead and plugged in some answers that seemed reasonable (using the Knoppmyth Pamphlet exclusively).

This seemed to go ok, but having never using Myth before I didn't know what to expect.

Ok, next I moved to getting my wireless PCI card to run. I didn't know ahead of time what I was doing, other than seeing that someone somewhere had gotten this card to run. Turns out that this card has 3 major versions, some with different chipsets. Luckily I had a B1 revision which is supported by MadWifi and was included in RD51. I used the excellent Madwifi beginner's guide to configure the device. At first I had no response to the card, and it wasn't visible in lspci. After reseating the card, it worked perfectly! Now I wanted it to start in DHCP mode at boot time. That took a long time due to my ignorance about Debian. I ended up just pasting the madwifi instructions into the /etc/network/interfaces file as pre-up (including modprobe of ath_pci and scanning for networks). So great, I have wireless working.

On to my RF keyboard, no dice, refusing address on every USB port. Reading around various sites I try fussing with my BIOS, disabling the kernel high speed kernel module, no avail. So I plugged it into my WinXP Dell, doesn't work there either. I'll try to get a replacement from newegg. So for now I'm sharing a keyboard between my Mythbox and Windows box.

I wanted this box to backup our DVDs so went on to see if the DVD player was working, put in Dora DVD, nothing but a bunch of errors. I had read some thinly veiled references to the lib I needed, apt-get got me going and I was happily watching Dora on my 15" MAG monitor.

So editing one file and installing one library was all I have done to this point and I was again pretty happy (except that MS keyboard).

I wanted to experiment with DVD ripping so I ripped 3 24 minute episodes of Dora at ISO copy, excellent, and good quality. The ISO for 24 minutes was a whopping 4.5GB but took only 5 minutes. Excellent quality took 3+ hours and resulted in a 1.3GB file, and good quality took 30 minutes and 306MB. Good quality isn't quite good enough for me, but the kids were fine with it (even watching it without sound which I hadn't worked on yet).

Sound; when I plugged in my external speakers, nothing. Did I connect up to the right color (pink or green, with indecipherable helpful icons). Did I misconnect the FP audio cable even though nMediaPC had helped me. Again on this forum I read about alsamixer, so I brought that up in a different VT. I turned on all the sources and nothing. I ran alsaconfig and that did its magic but no sound. In hindsight I hoped that I didn't screw anything up. I turned off the machine to get back to real life, when I came back and booted, sound was working. Did I do anything useful, don't know. Isn't there some way the sound can be enabled during install without having to start a unrelated program?

For some reason MythGames stopped working, I had played the Penguin game earlier, but now when I type Enter on the game name nothing happens. In general its just not obvious what key options are useful on a given screen/item. Looking in the keyboard setup told me most of what I wanted to know, but some online help would have been good too. Was I even launching the game, I have no idea.

I still need to get a keyboard, TV out working, and then try to integrate with the digital cable box with firewire. I'll follow up when I get a chance.


So far it's taken me 3 days off and on to get to this point, and I'm pretty satisfied at the progress. I left out the trouble I had getting program listings, but running mythfilldatabase seemed to clear that up.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 85
Time for a followup message. Last time I still needed to get a MS wireless keyboard working, TV-out video, and integrate with a firewire digital cable box.

I sent back the MS Wireless Optical Desktop 1000 to NewEgg for an exchange. I was leery of doing this (instead of a refund) as shipping it back was eating my $10 rebate from MS. I took a chance and received a replacement keyboard. I decided to connect it to my Windows box first to be sure it was working. Plugged the RF/USB device into a spare port and it was recognized by Windows!, but unfortunately the key strokes were not interpreted correctly. 'a' was not sending an 'a', but some other symbol. Basically it was useless and I didn't want to debug this; the mouse however worked fine.

Anyway I just decided to try it on my myth box just in case, and you know what, it worked just fine. I had to change the keyboard RF channel number, but I was then in business. Great, I can finally stop sharing a keyboard or ssh-ing into the myth box. This worked out of the box (eventually).


I received the Asus TV-out and SPDIF dongles for the A8N-VM CSM motherboard (you can get them here: http://estore.asus.com/shop/category.asp?catid=137) so went on to getting TV-out to work. This process is well documented (there is a good monitor-to-TV Wiki page). My first approach was to take the XF86Config-4 file generated by KnoppMyth with my monitor install and add Twinview support for my TV (2nd set of monitor frequencies, etc).

For some reason I just could not get this to work. I kept getting errors in the X log about the configuration not being supported by hardware. I tried limiting the TV and monitor to 800x600 or 640x480, just couldn't get it to go. Then I just tried the sample config for nvidia TV-out, still not working. I took out 800x600, etc, still just a blue screen on my BR TV, black on the FR TV. Frustrating. Back on my monitor I saw the ASUS boot screen and Knoppmyth splash screen, when X starts the monitor went into power save mode, so I knew it was switching to TV out. So next day I open the box just to be sure the connections are good, and of course it wasn't. The video cable just slides onto a header on the MB without any hood or guide and I had slipped on only 1 row of contacts :oops:

So with that out of the way, and using the sample nvidia TV out X config file, I have TV out. I still want to get Twinview working so I don't have to keep flipping X config files, but I'll post elsewhere if I can't get this to work.

So this is pretty good, I flipped through some family pictures in MythGallery and got an out-of-date weather report (for some reason the weather is generally off a couple of days) on the FR TV.

I have not tackled firewire to the digital cable box, have to swap one of mine at the cable company, maybe I can get to that this weekend.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 6:17 pm
Posts: 18
I think I'm going to go ahead and purchase this motherboard...I'm actually gonna also order the same case!

Glad to have seen this review. Let me know it it works out for ya. I'll probably order this weekend.

subscribed...


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 Post subject: 6150 and Twinview
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 85
[quote]
For some reason I just could not get this to work. I kept getting errors in the X log about the configuration not being supported by hardware. I tried limiting the TV and monitor to 800x600 or 640x480, just couldn't get it to go.
[/quote]

Ok I should have realized this, cause it's right in the mobo manual, but you can only use twinview or separate displays with the 6150 chip if one monitor is analog and the other digital. There is no way I can have TV and an analog monitor running at the same time. This should work fine for TV (VGA or SVIDEO output) and DVI-D, but I don't have one of the latter to try.

A key part of the documentation is that you can't use a DVI to VGA adapter, the MB only drives the DVD-D pins.

So I'll be stuck flipping Xconfig files whenever I need to change from TV to monitor, not a huge deal.


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 Post subject: Firewire to cable box
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 85
Well this should be the last post in this thread.

I finally got a firewire cable box (SA4200HD) and I've been playing with it the last two nights. I don't really know what I'm doing, the values in plugreport don't have any context for me, but I just made sure myth setup was using the same node as plugreport displayed for the cable box. This is somewhat fiddly especially when you're trying to read text on a TV screen, ugh. I didn't pick the internal sa3250hd type in setup (capture card); when I do mythsetup hangs the box. I did download the sa3250ch channel changing program via svn and that worked great right away.

So last night I had no luck at all (other than being able to change channels), just the 15S black screen issue. firewire-test never worked, p2p, broadcast, didn't matter. With plugctl I _could not_ change to broadcast from p2p. Today I found I used the wrong node ID (my cable box is always node 0) in myth setup. Then I thought well maybe I should try some OTH channels instead of digital cable. That combination was the winner. I can watch any channels from OTH networks, including digital. Whenever I wander over to some other channel, I get the 15S black screen and can't get out of it w/o a backend restart (and changing the current channel to a viewable one via myth setup). I had no problem with P2P, didn't bother with broadcast.

This seems like the end of the road for using firewire to access all of the channels I'm paying for. I don't watch enough OTH for that to be useful. What I think I'll be doing is getting a capture card to get video from the cable box, but continue to use firewire to change the channel. Channel changing seems very reliable and I won't need an IR blaster.

I still need to work on the picture quality (saturation seems a bit high), but I think nvidia-settings could fix that.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 85
Ok, so I lied about the previous post being last.

Since I couldn't record any channels over firewire via the cable box (other than OTA ones), I bought the card noted in the subject line to capture video. I'm using firewire to change channels on the cable box so I don't need to use the included IR blaster, which is a good thing.

The card install went very smoothly, I had to fiddle in setup a bit because there are several fields needed to add a card and select which input on the card to use and I didn't get that right off the bat. In about 30 minutes though I could watch live tv. (I'm using a S-Video connection from the cable box to PVR-150, BTW).

I bought this kit for the remote as well as capture card, but when I ran lirc-reconfig.sh, none of the Hauppauge remote selections would work. I ran irw for each type and didn't see anything on the screen. I looked in the logs and saw that ivtv said I had no remote, that's fine because this is a USB remote, and lsusb shows that it's there and lircd is running.

EDIT: here's a picture of the card and remote http://www.hauppauge.com/images/pvr150m ... te_big.jpg

What did work was selecting Microsoft MCE USB remote in lirc-reconfig. When I did this, the script complained that it should have been able to autodetect this remote, but obviously something is different from the Hauppauge & Microsoft versions. The script asked for the log to be emailed somewhere, I'll try to do so.

So irw works with this setting just fine.

lirc-reconfig complained that it didn't have any settings for the 'new' MCE remote (which is what I selected), but this http://www.knoppmythwiki.org/index.php?page=LIRCHowToUSBMCE2004Remote
link shows an lircrc file that seems to be working. That's step 15, don't bother with any of the other steps on that page (I'm using R5D1, YMMV).

So to get the remote that comes with the PVR-150 1062 to work (sorry this is from memory so the details may vary slightly):
1. /usr/local/bin/lirc-reconfig.sh
2. select Microsoft USB MCE remote
3. select new style
4. copy lircrc from wiki and put into ~mythtv/.mythtv/lircrc
5. restart front end

I haven't looked yet to see what the bindings are, but I can navigate with the remote. This is good since I've been running the box with the keyboard the last couple of days and the family was not pleased.

Still have to work on the picture quality a bit, it seems to be softer focus than running the cable box right to the TV. Played with nvidia-settings, but couldn't really get a picture I liked. Anyway we're happily recording and getting used to the PVR lifestyle of not watching what's on TV now.


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