Mythtv Part III

INSTALLING MYTHBUNTU ( 8.10 – Intrepid )

This post deals with installing a Mythtv focused Linux OS on your PC. I recommend to view previous postings to *check-out* recommended hardware that works best with Linux.

You can install any version of Linux and then later install the Mythtv application, but there are advantages of installing a “specialized Mythtv” version of Linux. For example, a “specialized Mythtv” version of Linux will automatically launch Mythtv upon boot-up. There are different distributions (aka distros, flavours) of Mythtv. Here are a few distributions (with links to their websites):

  • Mythbuntu    [ Mythtv running Ubuntu Linux OS ]
  • Mythdora      [ Mythtv running Fedora Linux OS ]
  • KnoppMyth  [ Live CD not requiring installation ]

NOTE: Both Mythbuntu and Mythdora have a “Live” CD option (i.e. run Linux without installing to the hard drive)…

I will discuss how to install Mythbuntu (Ubuntu version 8.10 which is called “Intrepid”). By the way, Ubuntu posts a new release every six months (in April and October) – the release number indicates the month like 6.04, 6.10, 7.04, 7.10, 8.04, 8.10, etc…

The easiest and least expensive way to obtain the installation CD, is to download and burn your own copy. This requires that you have a CD-burner and software to “burn the CD image”. The other option is to purchase an installation CD from the website. The Mythbuntu website has a documentation section (“Installation Manual”), as well as a support section (“Wiki”) to get help on how to download and burn a Mythbuntu image.

Here is the link to download and burn a Mythbuntu CD:
[ http://mythbuntu.org/downloads ]

NOTE: Make certain to select the correct version for your CPU type (eg. 32-bit or 64-bit). Also, I recommend the desktop CD (which is more user-friendly than the alternate CD). The alternate version can be used to take advantage of LVM (to combine several hard drives to create one disk). On the other hand, you can install Mythbuntu on one hard drive, but then partition and format another hard drive (to be used as extra storage) at a later date (I will discuss that later).

To install Mythbuntu, place your CD in the CD-ROM device, and boot from your CD-ROM. This can be done two ways upon boot-up:

  • Press a key combination (eg. F2, F12, etc) to select boot device
  • Press a key combination (eg. ESC, F1, or DEL) to bring up BIOS menu, then select CD-ROM as your 1st boot priority, save and exit.

Set your default language. It is highly recommended to test for you CD for defects – the process only takes a few minutes, and you will be required to reboot your system. When the system reboots, and you return to the main menu, select the option labelled
INSTALL MYTHBUNTU.

The setup process is straight forward. During the “Setting Partition” process, I would recommend to format entire hard disk (Guided). Your machine should be hooked up to the Internet (e.g. “wired” ethernet card connection). Also, at some point, the installation process will ask about a remote setup. Most video capture cards have remote controls. I selected “Hauppauge 1300” for my Hauppauge 1600 HVR card.

Upon Mythbuntu installation, follow the instructions to remove installation CD, and press ENTER to reboot. When your system reboots, it will run Mythtv. It will not work properly until you configure Mythtv (more on this in the next post). Let’s exit Mythtv to configure the desktop environment. Press ESC and follow the instructions to exit mythtv and return to the desktop environment.

The default desktop environment that Mythbuntu installs is called Xfce4. Typical desktop environments used in Linux include Gnome, or KDE. The Xfce4 desktop environment is “bare-bones” to reduce the burden on the CPU so it can concentrate on capturing videos when running Mythtv.

Once you are in the desktop environment, it is a good idea to make the panels and menu text larger to read (especially if you are displaying on a large screen). To do this you can select the following menu sequence:

APPLICATIONS -> SETTINGS -> USER INTERFACE

Make certain to select a larger font size (like on my system to 18 or 20).

An important task to immediately perform is to download and install software updates (patches). This allows your system to download and install updates since the last release. Just point and click on an icon that looks like an exclamation mark (!). This will bring up a dialog box showing the number of updates. Click on install (you will be prompted for your user password). This update process could take a few hours to complete.

Another important task is to download and install restricted hardware drivers. What are restricted drivers? Manufactures may release their drivers for the Linux community. These *special* drivers may (or may not) provide improved performance with the Linux operating system. From my experience, it is a good idea to download and install them. To see if restricted drivers are available, make the following menu selections:

APPLICATIONS -> SYSTEM -> HARDWARE DRIVERS

Just select the restricted hardware element, then click activate. This process may take several minutes to dowload and install.

The next post will discuss how to setup your Mythtv system…

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~ by Murray Saul on February 1, 2009.

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