Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back Online

Many of us, me included, say that we can do just fine without television, but I really missed this box while its hard disk was awaiting replacement:
Image credit: Cujo359

That's my MythTV box recuperating from its latest operation, having its old hard disk replaced with a 2 terabyte "long life" disk. We'll see about "long life". With this thing, nothing seems to last very long. MythTV is a set of open source software that turns a computer into a digital video recorder (DVR). Add a few extras like a remote control and a special case like the one in the picture, and it's just like having your very own DVR that you can actually get to do what you want without having to beg. It's also possible to expand its capacity whenever you want, as long as you're willing to buy a new hard disk and copy the files over from the previous one. Right now, I can store as much as 250 hours of high definition TV on mine. That ought to be enough for a couple of months, at least.

The problem with having one of these is that it's hard to go back to watching TV "live", as in, not being able to pause or rewind the program. I can also edit out the commercials, which is practically a necessity during election season. It's also great to be able to record things like Al Jazeera's English broadcasts, which the local public TV stations put on at some ungodly hour so that no one will be bothered by it.

Anyway, I might be able to live without TV, but I doubt I could live without the DVR.

3 comments:

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

I really like the hell out of this software. I must check into this MythTV thingamabob.

Cujo359 said...

It's do it yourself technology. If you're familiar with Linux or other POSIX environments, it might be worth your while. There used to be people who provided MythTV systems, but I can't find a quick reference to any at the moment.

I suspect there would be lots of people who build such systems, but the software licensing issues are rather arcane, thanks to some stupid U.S. intellectual property laws.

Cujo359 said...

Here's a listing of companies that offer more-or-less pre-configured MythTV systems. I can't vouch for any, but I'm sure if you ask on the MythTV forums you'll get opinions.