Lowell Higley on 18 Nov 2014 04:11:18 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Cut The Cord - How to Start?

I cut the cord (well, took down the dish) over a year ago and just did without.. well, I used Netflix and Amazon Prime on my PS3.

Recently, I started trying LinuxMCE. I built a modestly powered PC as the server and put an HD card (pcTV 5500) in it. I connected the pcTV to a cheap Amazon Basics HD indoor antenna. I then built a fairly lower powered PC that acts as the media director and connected my TV to it.  I use a Nexus 7 as an orbiter.

LinuxMCE is basically a distro on a single DVD that has all the software you need to setup a home entertainment/security/home automation PC/Network.  They integrate MythTV, Asterick, Pluto, etc. into a single environment. The LinuxMCE architecture calls for a server (called the "core"), pc's for each TV (the "media directors") and smart remotes (called "orbiters"). I haven't played with the security, home automation (X11, zWave, etc.) stuff yet.

It works pretty well. I can plop my butt on the couch and control everything from my Nexus 7.  I was surprised how good the reception and playback from the HD is and how many channels are available. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied.

The PROS..
- It was pretty easy to setup.. everything in a single, fairly integrated distro
- I was surprised how many broadcast HD channels there were.  Between Jersey and Philly channels I think I have 40 channels but with many duplicates.  Except when it rains, the HD quality seems better than what I received on Dish.
- Good, whole house solution.  The architecture lets you have a multi-channel HD/DVR solution.  If you want to view/record multiple channels at the same time, throw in a another HD card in the ore

- I'm not really a fan of the *buntu flavor of Linux. It's based on Kubuntu. I'd prefer something RPM based.
- The stable releases of LinuxMCE are far and few between... but there are bleeding edge nightlies.
- If you want a single TV solution, this is a bit too much (although they do say a single PC can act as the core and the director.)
- No "easy" Netflix/Prime integration into MythTV (maybe this will change with the recent Chrome changes).  I still use my PS3 for these.

My next steps is put a second HD card in my core and see if the HD antenna can drive multiple TVs at a time.  I may have to go with a whole house type HD antenna. I also want to play with zWave integration. 


On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM, Joe Rosato <rosatoj@gmail.com> wrote:

Xbmc works well (now called kodi). Be careful of the superrepo stuff.. one of the reasons that xbmc is changing its name and booting all non-kodi stuff out of repository is that there is a growing concern of coming under legal prosecution - a lot of stuff in superrepo can connect to video sharing sites and a lot of that is the same as the torrent sharing whack-a- mole game that has been happening with say music downloads.

As for quick and easy installs - see xbmc on reddit. Lotta good info. Most recent cheap entry is to get a amazon fire tv for $99 (maybe cheaper now?) Since you can download an android version of xbmc alongside whatever you get with Amazon tv.

As for pulling in either cable or other tv signals into it, you will have to get a card - which means a larger build and that knocks out the cheap entry stuff.

Also woth noting - those cheaper boxes usually have a plex app so you can serve up you own pictures and videos. You dont need to have a plex account to use that... and regrettably I do not think there is any other open source thing like plex that does transcoding on the fly.

Just see xbmc on reddit for tons of info including what is a good buy for a full system with cards.


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Announcements - http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug-announce
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