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Home Theater PC Upgrade

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Last weekend I had the house to myself and one of the many (lame) things I did with my time was upgraded my home theater pc. I'm a huge proponent of not messing with things that are working fine, so it had been many years since I last touched it.

The biggest thing motivating me to upgrade was getting tv guide data. Back when I originally set this up there was a free service from DataDirect that interfaced with MythTV. This service was discontinued last September due to abuse when private companies were charging money for software that used the free service. For a few months I had to use a script I wrote to scrape the listings off of Time Warner's website. This was annoying and incomplete. Then a service called Schedules Direct surfaced and when their price dropped to a reasonable amount I signed up. This solved the incomplete problem, but it was still annoying. The new version has an internal grabber for Schedules Direct that takes care of everything automagically.

The first time I installed MythTV and its rats nest of dependencies by hand. That was another reason I didn't want to have to upgrade, getting all that to play nice together was a pain. This time I downloaded a special Linux distribution call MythDora that is designed especially for home theater pcs; it set everything up for me. Everything from the auto-login so MythFrontend would just start when it boots to preventing the screen from blanking or a screen saver popping up when it goes idle. 

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