Upgrading to MythTV 0.20

I have now finally upgraded to MythTV 0.20. The big reason for my delay is that the upgrade presented itself as a bit of a big project, largely because the Gentoo package system told me that an X Window System upgrade was required. I have been happily running xorg 6.8 for a year and a half, but Portage told me that I’d need to upgrade to xorg 7.1. At first glance, the report of what needs to be upgraded is massive, since the X package is now modular instead of monolithic. I was quite busy, so I didn’t want to upgrade such a critical system component without the time to fix it if it went wrong. As it turns out, my fears were misplaced, and the upgrade went off without a hitch in about an hour.

Unlike my previous upgrade to 0.19, the upgrade to 0.20 is an unqualified success. The highlights are:

  • KQED audio is back! There is something strange about the digital broadcast from KQED (the biggest PBS station in the San Francisco area). I’ve had recurring problems with getting the audio to work right in Myth. First, it was the lone holdout in Transport Stream/Program Stream conversions in 0.18. After I upgraded to 0.19, I was missing audio on KQED-HD (channel 9.1) but not on any of their secondary standard-definition channels (9.2, 9.3, 9.4, and 9.5). In 0.20, audio is available on all of the channels without any issues. In previous versions, I would have to periodically scan through the list of recordings and delete recordings that came out on the HD channel so they would be picked up on the secondary channels so that I would have sound.
  • XvMC seems to work flawlessly. I’ve also had recurring problems with XvMC on my AMD64. I don’t need XvMC to play back HD, though it seems silly to me to spin up the chip to its fastest speed when it’s not necessary. Much of the random behavior I saw previously seems to have been fixed. I don’t know if this is MythTV, the nVidia drivers, or the X server, but I’m quite pleased.
  • There are now several options for the On-Screen Display (OSD). I’m partial to the “Gray-OSD” which has a sort of transparent effect.
  • MythDVD’s internal player is now the default that I’m using. In 0.19, I was still using Xine because the internal player didn’t support DVD menus. The internal player now supports DVD menus, and that was enough to push me over the edge. The internal player uses the same keymap, which makes programming the remote control easier. Plus, the keystrokes are the same as for MythTV, which means that it’s easier for me as a user. Most importantly, the internal player has a rewind function, but Xine does not. (Xine does have a rewind function in the GUI, but it doesn’t expose it to the keyboard as far as I can tell.)
  • I haven’t used it yet, but the new MythArchive plugin should make it easier to burn DVDs of recorded shows, which will be easier for me than dumping everything to videotape.

My only complaint right now is that I can’t get the icon display in the on-screen display to work, but that should be easy to fix with a little bit of digging.

5 Responses to “Upgrading to MythTV 0.20”

  1. Canuck says:

    Hey Matthew, great blog.

    How are you recording HD channels with Myth? Last time I checked, all the available HD tuners out there (ATI, Hauppauge, etc) only record over-the-air broadcasts.

    I’m in Canada and I get my HD via a cable box, but I can’t seem to find a reasonable solution to record it with Myth. Component-video (Y Pb Pr) capture card? Too expensive. Over the air? Too unreliable. Firewire output from cable box? Not available through Rogers. Cablecard? Not supported by Rogers either.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  2. […] In a comment to the upgrade post, a reader comments: How are you recording HD channels with Myth? Last time I checked, all the available HD tuners out there (ATI, Hauppauge, etc) only record over-the-air broadcasts. […]

  3. matthew says:

    Thanks for your compliment!

    Unfortunately, there is no good answer. The best solution would be FireWire from the set-top box, but hardly any cable companies support it. CableCARD might be acceptable, but it’s designed to limit what we can do with the TV services we buy, not expand our horizons by letting us have our digital media. Direct capture from analog inputs sounds great, but I don’t know of any products.

    If you would like broadcast TV channels, maybe there is some antenna engineering that you can do. (It took me several months of fiddling to get my antenna system right.) If it’s a pay channel, the only way to get it into Myth is via a standard-definition output.

    I do wish that I had a better answer…

    Matthew

  4. […] One of the pleasant surprises in the MythTV 0.20 upgrade was the improved functionality in MythDVD. In 0.18 and 0.19, I had an unattractive choice. I could use either xine, which supported DVD menus but didn’t rewind, or MPlayer, which supported rewind but not the the DVD menus. (Xine does have a rewind button in its skin, but there doesn’t appear to be a keyboard shortcut for it, which makes it impossible to use with LIRC.) […]

  5. […] The new ffmpeg that emerge wanted to bring in was far newer, too. I’d had lots of problems with the existing version of mpeg, and had been using mencoder instead since installation. ffmpeg would run fine, but on anything greater than a half hour program, the mythtranscode process would grow until it had consumed 85% of the system memory and swapping would grind the system to a halt. That was too bad, since ffmpeg is much faster than mencoder. I’ve since upgraded MythTV, so I had hopes that I could use ffmpeg. To make emerge happy, I ran the command USE=”3dnow aac encode threads xvid flac” emerge ffmpeg. […]

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