mythtv - it works!

After over a year of using myth on my laptop (which has tv out) to view video files on tv, I now have an honest-to-god working mythtv setup with dual tuners, remote control and everything.

For my birthday I obtained a DViCO FusionHDTV DVB-T Dual Digital 4, after doing a spot of googling about Linux compatibility. This is a PCI card that, after plugging in, is detected as two USB tuners and an input device.


I had scrounged together a pile of hardware from various defunct machines in the house and been given a mobo by a friend (Thanks Steve!) The system is an Athlon64 2800+ with 512Mb ram, a fanless nvidia FX5200 with an RCA tvout connector and an 80Gb harddisk. (Though all recording is done to a 500GB LVM volume in another room via NFS over 100baseT)


The drivers in the v4l-dvb sources do not yest support this card in Australia, but luckily a nice person called Chris Pascoe did all the hard work and has provided a pre-patched source tarball and firmware bundle on his site, which work find with Shannon Wynters HOWTO. (Just skip the whole patching bit, the patches don't apply properly to the current Mercurial version anyway)

Build the source against your current kernel via make; make install. Untar the firmware bundle into /lib/firmware and then load the required modules:

modprobe dvb-core
modprobe dvb-usb
modprobe dvb-pll
modprobe xc3028-fe
modprobe zl10353
modprobe dvb-usb-cxusb

And voila. I did not need to add these to /etc/modules, the tuners got picked up automagically after a reboot. (I use Ubuntu "Gutsy" 7.10)

Stay-On-Couch Device 

The remote control works fine with lirc. I needed to make the input device name be persistent using udev; my rules file is attached. I found working config files for the remote that had been created by Craig Cook on the MythTV wiki. I've attached my lircd.conf and hardware.conf for your convenience :-)

The Caveat

Of course there is a caveat. There is always a caveat.

So all hardware was now detected and configured, but mythfrontend kept telling me the tuners were not available. If you have a setup like mine, with multiple frontends and backends, make sure you restart the master backend after adding a new piece of hardware. All frontends were able to access the tuners and watch (or record) tv after I had restarted my master backend. Kinda.

Hardware (Reprise) 

That was all the configuring done, but mythtv crashed rather nastily each time I tried watching live tv or recording anything over 15 minutes in length. I spent a day checking all the software before giving up and blaming the hardware, after I found eth0 timeout problems in dmesg. So, I'll give you a tip: Make sure the tv tuners and network card do not share the same IRQ, especially when recording to an NFS mount. Fix it bymanually assigning IRQs to PCI slots in the system bios.


With the hardware problem fixed, myth behaved :-) I can now watch a show and record another simultaneously or record two shows and watch one or the other or an older recording at the same time. Yay!

Binary Data 86-ir.rules106 bytes
Binary Data hardware.conf626 bytes
Binary Data lircd.conf2.3 KB

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