Archive for October, 2010

XBMC

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Watching
Tags: , ,

OK I caved. The Win7MC machine is in pieces and a new XBMC has been built and put in the living room. I still managed to go through various different setups before I got something I liked. Although I’ve replaced a full PVR (~ish) project with a pure player (~ish) project, the fact is that I want a replacement for BOTH my Topfield PVR and the Popcorn Hour. I’m trying to get XBMC up and running. That’s a starting point I can hopefully build on.

Initially I used yaVDR, but I could never get it to tune using the Hauppage Nova T-500 DVB-T card that I had installed. Services wouldn’t start or stop from the command line and I generally felt that I had no control over the system. That said, I did manage to paste a channel.conf into the web admin and get working TV channels showing up in XBMC and on the native VDR interface. There is a new version out this week which I might upgrade to if I bring the XBMC box back to the office.

I then tried to use a script published on the XBMC forums, this worked and setup XBMC perfectly, installed VDR and I could get it to scan for channels. Ironically, no matter what I did, I couldn’t persuade it to display any TV channels in XBMC and the installation lacked any other potential front end to see if VDR was actually displaying anything.

Finally I moved on to XCI. This has worked and gives me a fully working XBMC setup. Only thing is that it doesn’t provide ANY TV, it does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ – installs and sets up XBMC on an Nvidia Ion based motherboard. The only downside for me is that it is based on a slightly older version of XBMC – the nerd in me wants the latest and greatest versions (Dharma Beta3 at time of gibbering!).

Still there is a fairly high WAF….. I’m running Aeon with loads of backgrounds and the remote control (original Xbox DVD dongle & remote) works. The resume from last playback function is a godsend with a small child running around causing chaos and something that is missing from the Popcorn.

The only real issue I’ve run into has been that I have to have a keyboard and mouse connected for the remote control to work. A minor irritation at the moment, but one that will kill any WAF if she has to plug in the keyboard to watch her programmes. The remote also seems to ‘mis-fire’ if the box returns from standbye.

…..still I’m sitting here and I have to admit that I’ve tried to get a package called TVHeadEnd installed to run as a ‘backend’ recorder. Use a browser to schedule recordings and view them through XBMC. Copy them off the samba share on to the central NAS if I want to keep them. Sounds like a plan. Shame I couldn’t get the package to work properly. Seemed to install OK, and managed to detect and use the DVB-T card, but any attempt at viewing a channel or recording would give me no signal. The card works fine on that aerial point in other packages (MythTV, VDR, Vista MC), so I can only assume there was some issue with TVHeadEnd as I had installed it.

Guess what? I’m sitting here thinking that going back to MythTV backend with MythWeb used for scheduling isn’t a bad idea. I can use MythBuntu to install a working version of the Myth environment and then install XBMC on top. That way I can replace the MythTV front end with XBMC……. still have recording capabilities and some method of getting TV into XBMC….. I wonder if I’ll have enough time to do that this one night this weekend?

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