MythTV Follow-Up

After having tweaked my MythTV setup some, I can say it’s starting to actually work. I found another HDMI cable, and a joiner that let me join two fairly long HDMI cables into one cable long enough for the run. I then found I had to replace my nVIDIA GeForce 6200 with a newer card, preferably one that supported nVIDIA’s VDPAU extensions for X11 (VDPAU is a GPU/video decoder library). So with a cheap $40 GeForce GT 220, I can now play full 1080i HD video, with 5.1 surround sound. Using my irTrans IR blaster, I’m able to handle channel changes just fine. Advertising skip works quite well -- one thing that doesn’t work on EyeTV; EyeTV’s ad-skipping plugin works on MPEG-2 video, and the HD-PVR outputs H.264 AVC.

There are a few things I’d like to work better:
  • Supposedly irTrans has a LIRC (Linux IR Control) emulation layer. But how to get that working I’m not sure of. For the moment, I have a simply python script that manually changes the channel. It works, but is rather inelegant. So I’d like to get LIRC working.
  • Next up is the HD-PVR itself: It has its own IR Blaster built-in; the EyeTV people legally can’t make it work for EyeTV, due to licensing restrictions. But the Linux folks supposedly have it working to some extent. It’d be nice to have that working -- though I really think it’s a bit of a red herring, as I’d still just use the irTrans blaster for everything anyway. But I’d like to have it working for the sake of having it working.
  • I’d really like to be able to control it via my regular remote control. This, of course, involves setting up the irTrans a bit differently; supposedly it should “just work” after I get it configured; still...
  • I’d like to get a better handle on the Audio setup. Sometimes the audio cuts from 5.1 to stereo with no apparent reason; and in other cases, it does so simply because the source (usually commercials) is in stereo, and not 5.1. So if I could get it setup to at least stay in 5.1 when the source is (or should be) 5.1, I’ll be happy. It’s a bit disconcerting when the audio suddenly switches to stereo in the middle of a program.
  • I’d like to be able to losslessly convert from the raw format the HD-PVR outputs (a raw MPEG stream, as I see it). So far, I only see things that end up transcoding what is already perfectly valid H.264 AVC and AAC audio. There’s got to be a way I can just mux them into a file for archive... (and I want a standard file format, not the nonstandard AVI hack that MythTV uses by default... even .MKV would be nice...)
  • Sometimes when I change channels (when watching live TV), the audio cuts out entirely. I then have to exit to the menu and re-start the ‘Watch TV’ menu to get audio back. It doesn’t seem to be a problem with recordings so far, but it’s annoying enough for Live TV.
Other than that, I can’t complain. I’d like more hard disk space, but that is something that hasn’t changed since I was twelve...