roland.sh1000 at gmail
Aug 27, 2012, 2:07 PM
Post #3 of 22
On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM, Tyler T <tylernt [at] gmail> wrote:
Re: Netbook as low-power combined back-end / front-end?
[In reply to]
>> Has anyone tried this? Any major reasons *not* to do it?
> You will probably get other replies indicating the negative, but this
> seems like a fine idea to me. I also run low-power (as far as both
> electricity and GHz go) hardware, though I split out my BE and FE.
> Running a combined system requires more grunt than split but even so,
> a modern dual-core netbook should be up to the task. Some things to
> I don't believe you want CrystalHD. I seem to recall that there are
> some Linux driver issues that have not, and may never, be resolved.
> VDPAU seems to be the only game in town (from what I understand, VAAPI
> is supported in Myth but there are issues there too).
> What are you going to use for storage? A netbook is usually pretty
> limited space-wise, and recordings like lots of GB. If your netbook
> has an SSD, that will be ideal for the OS and DB but you will need a
> USB or eSATA external spinning disc for recordings.
> Do you want to commflag or transcode? These activities are not suited
> to low-power hardware.
> Also note that there are already "screenless netbooks" for sale.
> Sometimes called net-tops, such as the Acer Revo and Asus Eee Box.
> Might be less expensive than a netbook, and may have more room for
> internal rather than external spinning discs.
> Does your TV have HDMI or VGA inputs? (I ask because a 10-year-old TV
> probably doesn't.) If not, you will probably need a new TV -- it's
> hard to find FE hardware with analog NTSC outputs these days.
> mythtv-users mailing list
> mythtv-users [at] mythtv
Thanks for the helpful reply.
I did look into the net-tops, as well as the atom and/or ion-based
Mini-ITX equivalents, but found that they were almost all more
expensive than a budget netbook... The Mini-ITX boards would be
nice, as most of them have a PCI slot that I could use for one of my
existing tuners... So I'm still thinking about that. But the
battery is also a pretty big advantage for the netbook. I think the
last UPS I had on my Mythbox was down to an estimated 12 minutes of
runtime after about a year of use... whereas, a netbook with a few
hours of battery would have no problem if I had to unplug it during a
lightning storm or that sort of thing.
I think right now, the used market is pretty good for netbooks.
Between the iPad, the Android tablets, and the UltraBooks & MacBook
Air, the market has largely moved on from the netbook platform to more
"capable" devices... and there are quite a few used netbooks for sale
because of it.
Could you give any details on your low power split backend / frontend
setup? I had always assumed that a single device would be lower
power, as the process scheduling could float back and forth as needed
(transcoding, etc, when the user isn't watching a program, but then
pausing the jobs when video is playing). Do you power down your front
end when it isn't in use?
We flag commercials, but due to some issues with false detections, we
quit transcoding a few years ago. I would probably keep commercial
flagging running, but if a program (or even most of the programs)
didn't make it through the queue before we watched it, it wouldn't be
a big deal.
We used to be on cable, but now we're on OTA only, so it's a fully
digital system. That's part of the reason why my old system has
lasted so long - it was really pushing it to have dual BT848/878
analog tuners and 2x sound cards with flagging and transcoding... so
I upgraded to a trio of Hauppauge PVR-xxx cards... and then with
digital, the CPU load for recording (just dumping the data to disk)
was really low so with a minor graphics card upgrade, HD kind of fell
into place. The system that was at its limits with analog SD was now
perfectly fine for HD. It was pretty neat, actually.
The current "TV" is a 24" LCD via a DVI connection. I would have to
step down to an analog VGA connection for most of the netbooks, but
given the display size and our viewing distances, I don't think it
would be a significant issue. I've been through the hassles of
analog NTSC TV-out, and hope I never have to do that again! :-)
For storage, I would probably have to use a USB drive of some sort. I
have tried using a USB drive before on my current system, and run into
minor bandwidth problems if too many shows are being read/written at
the same time, so I would probably set up MythTV to write to the
internal drive only, with a script to shuffle the recordings to the
external drive when the system is idle.
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