6.6. Final Words
We finished building the Media Center PC with the book deadline approaching like an oncoming train. We'd already tested and compared various PVR applications on other hardware, so we were pretty sure we wanted to run MythTV on our Media Center PC. We downloaded and installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Linux (http://www.ubuntu.com), updated it to the SMP kernel, and then downloaded and installed MythTV (http://www.mythtv.org) with all of its optional packages and plug-ins.
As the book went to press, we were still playing with the software. Everything lights up and all of the hardware is recognized. But MythTV, while much more polished than the version we looked at two years ago, is still rough. (As Barbara observed while we were struggling to configure MythTV, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten us into.")
We'll continue fighting with MythTV for a while, but if it beats us there are several fall-back alternatives. First, of course, our hardware is completely compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista. (Even the pcHDTV card has Windows drivers.) If worse comes to horrible, we can always install Windows and one of the Windows-based PVR apps. But it probably won't come to that.
SageTV (http://www.sagetv.com), which produces one of the finest Windows-based PVR applications available, also offers a Linux-based version of that software. Installing the SageTV Linux software on an existing system appears to be quite complex, although perhaps not as difficult as installing MythTV. Fortunately, SageTV also offers a turnkey version of their software based on Gentoo Linux. By all reports, installing this version is a simple matter of booting the distribution CD and following the prompts. Can it really be as easy as that? We don't know, but we intend to find out.
For updated component recommendations, commentary, and other new material, visit http://www.hardwareguys.com/guides/media-center.html.