Saturday, August 26, 2006

Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts

My other problem with my mythtv box (running fedora core 5) is that using component on tv-out, it likes to a weird green blob on my sanyo tv. It doesn't always do it, just when the screen is sitting still. The blob slowly fades in. Moving windows around will make it lighter and watching tv (from my computer) will make it go away too, at least for a while. I have no idea what is causing this behavior. I'm leaning towards the tv being somehow at fault as my brother-in-law's laptop does the same thing to it. Although, my husband's laptop does not have the problem. (If anyone knows a solution, let me know.)

Update: the dvd player does the same thing, so it must be the tv's fault

The sound of silence

As part of my on-going mythtv saga, I've been having an intermittent problem with my integrated sound card. It doesn't always get detected. I'm not quite sure where the problem is coming from. Basically, the sound card doesn't always get created under linux, sometimes it decides that my tv capture card is a much better sound card. I'm not quite sure what is to blame. Last time it failed, I tried running "MAKEDEV sound", which did load a bunch of drivers, but did not add the card under the /dev directory. So today I loaded the newest ALSA drivers. We'll see if they help at all.
Update: 9/3/2006: Updating the newest alsa drivers seems to have helped.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

tv on tv

I got mythtv working on my crt (monitor) and on my tv. I can't have both my tv and monitor on because the K8ngm2 won't support it, but I can have one at a time, which is all I want. If you want to know how to get both your tv and monitor working, here's the best guide: So now I just turn on my computer, run my script, hit ctrl-alt-f8 and mythtv is on tv.

(See this thread
comment #39 if you have this motherboard and a digital monitor, there's a complete xorg.conf file).

(I know this sounds boring, but it has taken me several days to figure this out.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fedora Core 5 and K3b compilation error (qt-mb) solution

checking for Qt... configure: error: Qt (>= Qt 3.2 and < 4.0) (headers and libraries) not found. Please check your installation!
For more details about this problem, look at the end of config.log.

Anyway to fix this problem, I looked at /usr/lib/qt-3.3/lib and having read in a few news groups that bad links were sometimes the problem, I went through use ls -l and looked at all the links. The problem seemed to be in, the permissions wouldn't allow me to read it as my user. Maybe I should have been running as root, who knows, anyway, I cheated and chmod 777 and got the stupid thing to configure past that point.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Configuring MythTV

So, I finally have MythTv in a mostly working state under Fedore Core 5 (Linux). I haven't tried to get it to display on a TV yet, mostly because that requires moving either the TV or the computer. But I do I have my ATI HDTV Wonder card recording HDTV, I can watch live TV most of the time (if the signal is good, if the signal is bad I get segfaults), I can watch DVDs, and I can rip DVDs (ones of my family of course).

Setup (just the relevant parts):
Motherboard: MSI K8NGM2
Capture Card: ATI HDTV Wonder
Remote: ATI Remote Wonder
Video: NVidia GForce (integrated)
Audio: NVidia NForce (integrated)
OS: Fedora Core 5 x64
Media Center: MythTv

MSI K8NGM2 - seems to work OK. I've had some weird problems with sound. For some reason Fedora detects the capture card as the audio chip sometimes. I haven't quite figured out why. I recommend flashing the bios (do so at your own risk) before installing Fedora since apparently this might fix the problem. I did flash my bios and after going into the bios settings twice, it seemed to work. But then I haven't really rebooted since I got the sound working again. (Linux is nice that way). (Updated 8//20/06 - bios flash did not solve the problem.) (Updated 9/3/2006: installing the newest version of alsa seems to have helped)

ATI HDTV Wonder - works fine under mythtv. Picture is great (assuming decent signal strength). I've seen some complaints about the enclosed antenna. It works fine for me if I point it the right way, but my house gets UHF channels pretty well anyway. Worked "out of the box" with the Fedora drivers. In mythTV, set it up as a DVB device. The analogue tuner apparently doesn't work under Linux. (As a note, ATSC is the digital standard in the US.)

ATI Remote Wonder (5000023600)- worked right away with LIRC. It's a RF remote, so I can sit in the couch in the basement and change channels with the computer in the next room. Finding the right lircd.conf and lircrc files was a bit of a pain since I didn't want to sit there and push every single button. I finally found one and hacked together a few lines for Xine.

Video - My husband was nice enough to install the NVidia linux drivers for me.

MythTv - Getting MythTv to work was a bit of a pain, mostly because I had my capture card set up as the wrong type of card. Once I set it up as a DVB, everything worked great. On the MythTV page, gives a bunch of stuff to compile into the kernel. I didn't do anything like that, it just worked. I followed Jared's guide to setting up MythTv on Fedora Core 4. It's mostly the same for fedora core 5. One note: when you set up your zap2it account, make sure you only check channels you want. Deleting unwanted channels out of mythtv is a pain and I have yet to attempt it. Instead I have a nice paper list of what channels do and do not work. Of course, I couldn't do that when I set it up since none of my other TVs can pick up HDTV, so I had no idea what channels I could get. Today I got my first reward from having mythTv set up since I could let my daughter watch her favorite PBS show when she wanted to without her complaining it was blurry and me having to go adjust the rabbit ears.

Xine - (media player) I don't remember this being hard to set up at all, other than getting the correct codes for my remote. I use this instead of mplayer since it can handle dvd menus.

Wine - got wine (acts like windows) working pretty quickly. Actually a lot easier than I expected. One of my windows programs wouldn't work with it, but not a big deal. I've heard some directX programs have issues with wine and this apparently was on of those programs.

FireFox - I installed the 32-bit version of Firefox so I could run Flash. Here's how or here

So basically, it's taken me about a week and a half to get this point (including time to build the system and install Fedora Core 5). I really didn't know much about linux when I started either although now I know more than I ever wanted to :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Forgotten Myth

So I haven't fallen off the earth, I've just been really busy and not posting. Anyway I've been working on two projects, a software program to track food storage and a mythtv box. Since the mythtv box will probably be finished first, I'll talk about that.

I've been wanting a Tivo or something similar for some time now. While I don't watch much tv, the few shows I do want to watch seem to be on when I need to put my kids to bed. A VCR would work, but I wanted to be able to say "record all of antiques roadshow" without knowing exactly when it would be on. (Utah has 2 PBS channels) So I decided to build a computer that could record TV. Unfortunately the VHF reception my house is bad, so I decided to opt for DTV (digital TV) because it tends to run in the UHF frequency which I can get pretty well. (Did you know all broadcast signals are supposed to be digital by 2009? Did you know most tvs for sale today can't handle it?) I decided to run Fedora Core 5 (Linux) with mythTv to handle the media center side of things. MythTv is supposed to be really great, but it takes forever to set up.

Anyway for under $500 I'll have my computerized home entertainment center and a great PC.