Sunday, February 14, 2010

MythTV Lives On

About a week ago I took the plunge to upgrade my MythTV system to .22 using Mythbuntu. My original backed and bedroom front end were getting on in years and it was time to take advantage of the new package. In order to preserve as much as possible and provide quick back out in-case things went south, I purchased a new 500GB HD to put the OS on. It's overkill but space is cheap and I got a great deal on it.

The other big feature of MythTV .22 is support for hardware acceleration on certain NVidia cards. I looked up VDPAU and selected the least expensive card that supported all of the features. I found a great deal on a  PNY VCG8600GXXB GeForce 8600 GT on NewEgg for a mere $25 after MIR.

When everything arrived, I set aside a full day for the upgrade. I moved the whole MythBuntu install onto a USB flash disk using Unetbootin, backed up the old database and the etc folder, disconnected the old HD and installed the new HD. Booting from the flash disk worked fine and I was quickly into the setup. Installation was a snap and recognized all of the hardware immediately, a task that has taken many weeks before. I followed the steps from to migrate existing recordings to a new server. There is a comment at the end of the article that if the database is different enough, you should add a -f option to the import which did the trick for me.

I pointed the storage groups for videos at my already installed media drive (640GB) and then hot plugged in the old 500GB HD (love SATA), mounted it and then copied the recordings to the new recordings path. I launched the frontend and recordings were up and running. I was a little bummed that the video metadata didn't come through but instead of going back to the original database, I used the included jamu script to gather metadata for all of my movies. It looked a lot nicer and the information was much more accurate and detailed than before.

I went into the Playback settings and set it for VDPAU+. The difference is amazing between the old video card and this one. It's not just the VDPAU but having a dedicated card that seems to make the difference. The one major problem I did run into was pixelation of anything that was in MPEG2 format (recordings). I finally tracked down a thread that this is a known bug on certain motherboards and they are working on a fix. In the mean-time I have reverted to CPU Slim.

Overall I am very pleased with the new software and distribution.