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The Power of Clear Insight

The MythTV Trap: PVR Overload…

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MythTV Main Menu

Having screwed up my courage and built my Linux box, I was ready to install MythTV. For those of you unfamiliar with MythTV, it’s a free, open-source PVR software solution which, besides allowing you to record shows (and automatically skip commercials, transcode to other formats, etc) features a web browser, weather reports, a photo viewer, DVD player, RSS reader, music player, internet phone, Netflix subscription manager, movie times listings and more, all in one package. It also allows you to access your system from any internet connection, should you wish, and schedule recordings, etc. remotely. It’s like Tivo, without the subscription fees.

MythTV Media Menu

I managed to get MythTV up and running with little difficulty, and set about entering my recording schedules. It’s pretty simple: you can either use the program listings or various search methods or category lists to find the program you want to record. Then you simply decide if you want to record it once, record all showings, record on any channel, etc. That’s it – just check your library of recorded programs whenever you want to watch something – MythTV avoids recording duplicates automatically, so you can simply tell it to record, say, every Seinfeld episode. Once a week I’d scan the upcoming two weeks in the Movies category and set MythTV to record anything of interest.

Pleased with myself, and having programmed MythTV to record all my favourite shows, I went about my usual business.

Soon enough I started watching some of the shows I’d recorded. Problem was, I couldn’t keep up with all the material I was recording. I had started with a 320 GB hard drive, which MythTV told me would hold about 100 hours of material at my average recording rate. Well, that was soon full and I couldn’t keep up a viewing pace to match my recording pace. A new approach was needed.

Having learned my lesson, I bought two shiny new 320 GB hard drives and installed them in a RAID 0 array for better performance. Once again satisfied, I got about my business smugly proud of the way I’d handled that minor crisis.

That was a couple of months ago.

MythTV Info Screen

I’m now down to 38% remaining of my 960 GB system and find myself pricing 1 TB drives and wondering if I should buy two and set them up in an array to forestall the next capacity crunch. For whatever strange quirk of my psychology, I find it hard to erase any of the recorded programs I haven’t watched yet, and I specifically disabled the Auto-expire feature, which deletes recordings unviewed after a set number of days. Every time I get around to cycling through all my recorded material, with every intention of deleting the marginal programs, I find myself saying, “Yup, I’ll definitely find time to watch that one…” for every show and end up at the start of the list having deleted no shows. It’s a problem, I know, and probably there exists medication that could cure me of my MythTV obsession.

In the meantime, though, Ive got to run: there’s a sale on terabyte drives at Newegg…


Written by westcoastsuccess

April 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Technology, Ubuntu/Linux

Tagged with , , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. This is really funny. I find myself in the same situation with Miro. I don’t have broadcast TV here (except in Korean), so I use Miro. Some 130 unwatched episodes right now.

    Hardy overview video


    April 17, 2008 at 4:50 am

  2. I also run myth & its great, but you do need to be pretty ruthless about what you’re actually going to watch – and only unset the auto-expire for those things you really want to keep!


    October 24, 2009 at 2:39 am

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