Why I'm switching back to MythTV

I used to run MythTV on my desktop computer. I had a dual head Nvidia graphics card with TV output connected to a widescreen CRT TV. It recorded Freeview using a Hauppauge DVB-T tuner card.
The computer was in the lounge and was on all the time. The computer's fans were rather noisy.

When we moved into our current house in 2007, the computer was moved into the study. The study doesn't have a television aerial, so we stopped using MythTV.

We purchased a Thomson Top Up TV Freeview recorder from Tesco.
This has two tuners, so it can record two channels at once. It's not silent, but is much quieter than my computer was. It doesn't require a subscription, but it can record Top Up TV if you do have a subscription.
It has a 14 day programme guide.

We've been using this recorder for over a year, and have decided that it's time to switch back to MythTV.


Because the software sucks.

It has a series link function, but the planned recordings page doesn't show all the episodes it will record, just the next one. This means that you can't see programme conflicts. When that episode has been recorded it finds the next one and schedules it. If the next episode isn't in the 14 day programme guide, because the show is missing a week, then it forgets the series link.

It has a global setting to record the 5 minutes before and after a programme. You have to fast forward through these 5 minutes when starting to watch the programme. The scheduler isn't aware of this setting, and doesn't flag conflicts between programmes that start and end at the same time. The setting is remembered per planned recording, but you can't see or change it on existing planned recordings.

It has 2 tuners, but the series link scheduler sends a conflict message when both tuners will be used.
The conflict message often displays garbage for the name of the program it conflicts with.
If you use the record 5 minutes before and after setting, then you get the conflict message 6 times.
Messages cannot be deleted until they have been read.

The series link scheduler won't record a programme in a different time slot or from a different channel if there are conflicts with other recordings. The user has to resolve conflicts manually.

If you watch a programme and don't finish it, it remembers where you got to, but when you start watching the programme again, you have to remember to press a different button.

When fast forwarding through a recording, it sometimes forgets where it is and jumps back to the start of the recording.

When deleting a recording, it sometimes hangs and reboots itself.

If it reboots during a recording, it doesn't keep the part of the show it had been recording.

If you are watching live interactive TV from a channel with a recording planned, then the recording is of the interactive stream, not the programme you wanted to record.

The software was changed recently so that the recording of some Top Up TV content cannot be disabled.

Even my wife is annoyed with it enough to want to replace it.

So our requirements for a new MythTV box are:
  • Small (must fit underneath TV)
  • Quiet (the lounge is for relaxing)
  • No keyboard/mouse (wife doesn't want a "computer" in the lounge).
  • Low power (Electricity isn't getting cheaper).
  • Cheap (or we'd just try a different set top box)
  • 2 tuners (we regularly record a BBC and ITV programme at the same time)
To be continued...

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