18 Jun

First Problems – Mythbuntu on PVR-350

Maybe I need one of these.  Yes, if you click on the link, Denon really wants $500.00 for an ethernet cable.  And while you’re there, read the reviews–they are hilarious.  I particularly liked the one about this cable can expand the digital range beyond just the pedestrian zeros and ones–this cable can do TWOs, BABY!!!

Anyway.

Mythbuntu installed fine–except for one small issue.  I may be missing it, but after two or three installs, I have never seen an initial IP configuration during setup.  I always have stop the Myth Setup, manually configure a static IP address, and then restart Myth.  More annoying than anything, but this would be a real show stopper to a true tyro.

None the less, once I learned this, it was smooth sailing.  I signed up for my trial on SchedulesDirect.  As a matter of fact so far, it all works great…except for the minor issue of getting the video stream into the box.  I can’t seem to watch Live TV.  Even outside of Myth, using VLC.

Here’s the punch list so far to outline my overall stupidity and n00bness:

  1. I fiddled for over an hour trying to watch Live TV before I finally went and got a real TV and plugged it into the cable box.  Duh.  No signal.  After a “quick” call to the cable company it was discovered that they forgot to authorize the third digital decoder box (the two with TV’s attached were working fine).  Five minutes later, the cable box is up and decoding.  I’m calling “idiot” for this one–I should have checked this prior to starting.
  2. I still cannot get a signal into Myth or VLC.  Fine, I decide to install KnoppixMyth.  Seems to go OK.  It even asks me to complete a full network configuration during the OS install, unlike Mythbuntu as noted above.  Unfortunately, when it’s all said and done, there’s still no video.  That, and the whole interface looks pretty 90’s compared to Mythbuntu (so I went back).
  3. Somewhere about here, I shut off the cable box and decided to use only the basic cable for troubleshooting.  Still works great on the TV, but nothing on the PVR-350.  Did Bryan rip me off?!?!? 🙂
  4. I grabbed my wife’s Dell/Vista machine and popped the PVR-350 card in.  Four quick downloads from Hauppauge’s site, and connected it to straight cable.  Works like a champ, even though the drivers aren’t officially supported on Vista.  So, I guess Bryan is off the hook.  (‘Cuz, he’s always OFF TEH HOOKS!!!!one)
  5. I installed Kaffiene to try to watch Live TV, but it tells me that there are no DVB cards detected.

Which leads me to conclude that the card is fine, but something is goofy with my linux.  After quite a bit of searching, no one seems to be having these issues.  Or if they are, then they are buried under the billions of “PVR-350 TV Out Not Working” posts.  Sheesh.

Public Service Notice:
Do a forum search before you post, people.

Right now I want to prove that I can get a video stream in Linux before I worry about Myth.  This seems like the basic troubleshooting step.  As far as I can tell, there are three possible answers.

  • I’m too stupid to use Linux.  I found this thread which seems to indicate that I have to stop the Myth Backend before Kaffiene will find the DVB card.  This should probably be obvious.  I’ll try it as soon as I’m able.
  • I’m too stupid to use Linux.  I should hook up the PVR-350 breakout cable to a TV and see if it is all really working just fine, but sending the video out that way rather than to the CRT.  I don’t really think that this is it–I should be able to the cat /dev/video0 > /tmp/test_capture.mpg trick and play it back without issues…
  • I’m too stupid to use Linux.  My motherboard has a TV out on an Nvidia chipset.  Maybe things are getting confused between the two.  This is the second variable between the two machines–the Dell where it works, and this one where it doesn’t.  The first variable naturally being the OS.  If nothing else, I can blast a copy of WindowsXP on this box just to prove that it is a configuration issue in Linux.  One that I’m sure a more experienced person would be able to see in a conf file somewhere.

I have high hopes that the first one will get Kaffiene watching TV.  If not, I’ll try WindowsXP and see what happens.

Another general observation:  In all of the Myth documentation on all of the distros, there is a ton of acronym usage without any easy way to get definitions.  It took me forever to figure out which flavor of DVB I am using, because I didn’t know what DVB was!

DVB – DVB systems distribute data using a variety of approaches, including by satellite (DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-SH; also DVB-SMATV for distribution via SMATV); cable (DVB-C); terrestrial television (DVB-T, DVB-T2) and digital terrestrial television for handhelds (DVB-H); and via microwave using DTT (DVB-MT), the MMDS (DVB-MC), and/or MVDS standards (DVB-MS)

Easy enough one at time, but the Myth Setup (and documentation) is filled with this stuff.  It is hard to determine what is and isn’t important when troubleshooting.

None-the-less, I am committed.  This will work!