[rescue] WTB: Cisco C3524 and C3512

Jeremy Grosser synack at csh.rit.edu
Tue Aug 8 21:37:10 CDT 2006

> I did not spend a lot of time on it, but I think that the commercial
> remover looks for totaly black frames or something like it. I think  
> they
> are used by automated equipment for stuffing commercials in  
> satellite feeds.

MythTV actually has a number of algorithms available for flagging  
commercials. The default is to flag Blank Frames and I've found that  
this works pretty well. It misses maybe one commercial within three  
hours of recording.

> I've not seen it in MythTV, but if I remember correctly it's a two  
> step
> process. The first flags the commercials, the second cuts them out,
> I think you can do manual flagging.

MythTV does allow you to manually flag/cut the commercials, but I  
prefer to use the 'Begin Commercial Flagging at Start of recording'  
option. On a 2.4 GHz P4 it can flag commercials at 27 fps. This means  
that the flag job is done just minutes after the recording is  
finished. You don't have to wait for the commercial flagging to stop  
before you start watching the recording.

I also skip the commercial cutting process entirely. If you're  
watching the video in mythfrontend, it'll load the cutpoints from the  
database and just skip through the commercials rather than editing  
the file. On occasion, I export a video to DVD and in this case, I  
will run the cut process.

> If you record the files as MP4 as opposed to their fast but totally
> incompatable MPEG2 format, you can copy them with mencoder into AVI.
> It's pretty fast, it just copies the stream without rencoding it.

I use a Hauppauge PVR-150 card that has an onboard MPEG2 encoder that  
outputs standard MPEG files. By telling MythTV to just store these  
files directly, I get standard format files that I can stream using  
VLC. The files tend to be a little big (about 1.1 GB per half hour)  
but it hasn't been an issue since I put a 250 GB drive in. I could  
probably get the file sizes down by experimenting with lower  
bitrates, but I just haven't had a need for smaller files.

> The user interface is confusing and annoying. It needs to have less  
> on the main menu and a play dvd button.

You might want to take a look at rewriting the menus to suit your  
needs. They are defined in relatively simple XML files. [1]

> It's difficult to use. My wife still can not figure out how to play  
> a DVD, and it's impossible for her to play a DVD ROM or network avi  
> file. I have no trouble with either YMMV. Our $75 disposable DVD  
> player did both.

I completely agree with you here. MythTV's DVD functionality is  
terrible. The best solution I've seen is to run a hacked Xbox with  
XBMC as a mythfrontend for watching TV, and use XBMC's native DVD and  
Network media functionality for everything else.

Overall, my experience with MythTV has been fairly positive. I think  
there's a serious need for some good hardware detection and  
installation scripts as this is where most of the headaches  
associated with MythTV come from. I've been watching MythTV  
development in subversion for a while and there are better menu  
systems on the way in 0.20. All of the menus will be drawn with  
OpenGL, and they will be organized in a much more sane fashion. I've  
also seen some discussion about eliminating the 'wizard' type  
configuration screens and using flat config files with a web  
interface instead.

As far as getting MythTV up and running, I've found that it's easiest  
to install it on top of Gentoo. [2] You will still need to do a bit  
of legwork figuring out what kind of hardware you have, and rebuild  
the kernel with the right modules, but it's not terrible if you've  
got a good handle on how a Linux system is put together. As always,  
keep in mind that Google is your friend.

[1] http://www.myhdbox.com/mythtips/2006/04/tip-2-how-to-customize- 
[2] http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Setup_MythTV
Jeremy Grosser

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