Best TV Recorder (SageTV, MythTV, etc.)?

I have about a dozen computers in my house. They range from a web server to a file server to desktops and laptops to a Nokia N810. All run Linux except one – my SageTV system.

A while back I began to install MythTV in the form of Mythbuntu. I didn’t get far. I didn’t want to invest the time to deal with all the installation issues that came up. But that nagging desire to get rid of my last MS Windows box persists.

After my recent great experience installing openSUSE on my Thinkpad, I feel renewed interest in looking for a Linux PVR solution again. My openSUSE experience on my Thinkpad is just blowing my mind. It is so polished. The installer was so good!

Can I possibly find a Linux PVR solution that will install as nicely as openSUSE did on my Thinkpad T61p? Or have my expectations been set too high now?

You can run MythTV under any Linux distribution. You’re not limited to just the “MythTV enabled” distros such as MythBuntu ,Mythdora or Knoppmyth. If you like the look and feel of openSUSE, I would recommend going ahead with it. I’m running MythTV on two openSUSE 11.1 machines without difficulty. Before openSUSE 11.1, I ran MythTV on Debian.

There are wikis on how to install/configure MythTV. Here are the main points to consider (see wikis for more detail):

  1. If using openSUSE, install MythTV from the Packman repo so that you have the proper multimedia capability
  2. get the firmware for your TV card. see - Television with Linux
  3. Configure your card under YAST. Some cards configure under YAST, others do not. On one openSUSE machine I configured my pcHDTV card under YAST before configuring it under mythTV. On another openSUSE machine, YAST does not see the Hauppauge HVR1600 card, but when configuring the card in MythTV, MythTV uses it just fine.
  4. From the terminal prompt run mythtv-setup to set up the MythTV backend. You will need mysql installed for mythTV backend to work.
  5. Add your user account to the mythtv group
  6. Run mythfilldatabase from the terminal prompt for mythTV to download the tv listing data and populate the database
  7. Run the mythtv frontend to set your gui preferences.

I looked into sageTV about 4 years ago and decided to go with MythTV, and I haven’t regretted my decision. Hope this is enough to get you started. If you run into any snags, feel free to post questions, giving information such as the model of TV tuner card, version of openSUSE, location (are you using NTSC/ATSC, or PAL), etc.

Thank you. I guess I am hoping for a really easy/quick way to do it, which is why I want a “MythTV enabled” distro such as Knoppmyth. I was hoping there was something that would install as nicely as openSUSE installed on my Thinkpad. It recognized all my hardware including the fingerprint reader, which surprised me and made me optimistic that maybe MythTV could be installed with similar ease. (Last time I tried it was about a year ago.)

It’s not that I can’t do it the way you suggested. It’s more like I just don’t want to spend the time because there are other things on my todo list.

MythTV used to be fairly complicated to install and configure, but it has seen many improvements in the past few years. The most time consuming part of the procedure is getting your TV card seen and configured under Linux. After that’s done, the rest pretty much falls into place.

Distros like KnoppMyth gives you the ability to run the mythTV frontend directly from a CD, but if memory serves me, you still have to install the mythTV backend.

Unfortunately I don’t have any current experience with “MythTV enabled” distros, but AFAIK, MythTV is one of the best PVR solutions for Linux.

If you’re already familiar with SageTV, I see that they have a Linux version:

SageTV® Media Center for Linux (OEM )

However, it looks like you have to pay for it. The one time cost might be worth it if you’re looking for easy installation wizards and technical support.

I am definitely considering that. In fact, there is almost no cost difference because SageTV includes the EPG for free, whereas with MythTV you have to purchase it separately.

If you go with SageTV, I’d be interested in finding out how it works out for you. Several years back I checked into SageTV, but they didn’t have a Linux version at the time. I decided to try my hand at MythTV, and I’ve liked it.

I’ll probably stay with MythTV anyway because it works so well for me, but I’m curious how SageTV’s Linux version turned out.

I will. SageTV might be the best option for me because I don’t really have time to learn MythTV right now. And I guess it is good to support paid apps on Linux so that companies keep offering them.

I installed both SageTV and MythTV (in the form of Mythbuntu 9.10).

SageTV is by far easier to install and setup. It took only a matter of minutes to setup.

I worked on setting up Mythbuntu for a couple weeks. My last step was getting my MediaMVP frontends working with mvpmc. I finished that yesterday. Now that I have had the chance to use both SageTV and MythTV, I have to say I like MythTV better. MythTV has more features. For example SageTV under Linux (without wine) does not offer commercial skip, but MythTV does. I like MythWeb quite a bit too.

In the process of learning to set up MythTV, I installed it at least a dozen times. Now that I understand all the options, it doesn’t seem too hard. But in the beginning it was a big overwhelming. SageTV for Linux is much, much easier. It just works (at least it did for me).

Cost wise, I think it is a toss up. SageTV for Linux costs about $80 but includes free program guide info. With MythTV (in US), a subscription is required, which costs $20/year. If you estimate 4 years between paying for major SageTV upgrades, the cost is equal.

When I started this thread, I was looking for something really quick and simple to install – something that would not take much time. SageTV passed that test very well.

But MythTV wins for me on the basis of its features and power. So I have now moved totally over to MythTV.

Anyone want to buy a barely-used SageTV for Linux license?

I would be interesting in your barely used SageTV for Linux license if you still have it available.