Posted by: Richard Chennault | April 13, 2008

MythTV on my old Asus

Recently my Sony computer bit the dust.   The motherboard went south and there was not much I could do but pitch the machine and buy a new one.  I salvaged all that I could and am recycling the rest.    I decided to take my FreeNAS server and convert it to a Home Theater PC (HTPC).   My spare ATI HDTV Wonder card would act nice as an OTA ATSC tuner card.  Based on why I live I recieve around 20 HD channels.

I like to be on the cutting edge of software so I decided to try out Mythbuntu 8.04 beta.   I burned a CD and put into my old Asus.   I had to burn to several differnt types of media before finally I could get a ‘clean’ burn and instlal.   Mythbuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron Beta installed fine however I could never get the tuner to actually record any shows.

I let the system run a few days while I googled for the problem.  During the ‘down time’ the distribution  wanted to update.  I let it do so and BLAM the HAL daemon failed and I no longer had network capability.  That sucked because I couldn’t remote admin.  So I rebooted and chose the previous kernel version while I continued to search for the answer.

After having no luck over a few days I decided to try a different distribution.  Mythdora, KnoppMyth and Mythbuntu 7.10.   I went through five failed installs before I realized I had a bad DVD/CD drive.  I chucked it into the recycle pile and installed a spare (and newer) drive.

I installed Mythdora thinking that a distribution based on Redhat couldn’t be bad.  It wasn’t but for the small fact I’ve forgotten the quirks of Fedora and couldn’t remember at 1:00 AM at night how to add packages (yeah I know rpm).

Out it went and back to Mythbuntu 8.04 (thinking my problems were linked to bad drive).  No dice, I had the same HALD seg fault.  Out it went.

Finally I tried KnoppMyth which is stated to be the easist distro.  Well I couldn’t even get it to install.  The latest version of KnoppMyth insist my CD be on /dev/hdc but I had it on /dev/hdd.  Well having no other choices I flipped jumpers on the drives and tried it again.  Still no dice.  Turns out KnoppMyth didn’t like my ACPI bios.  So I add the line knoppmyth acpi=force and it installed like a champ.

Knoppmyth installed fine but for some reason I couldn’t get to the mythtv-setup.  Every time I tried it would kick me out of XFCE and put me back in.  I ssh -X into the box and then ran mythtv-setup.  That worked and I was able to complete the install.    I selected the DVB card type and Knoppmyth recognized my card without having to do a depmod cx88-dvb (like it is required in Mythbuntu 7.10).

However I was still bothered at the fact I could not setup mythtv from the monitor attached to the machine.  But since everything was working it gave me hope that maybe I could get Mythbuntu 7.10 to work (I like the support for Ubuntu).   So I booted my mostly working knoppmyth and install Mythbuntu 7.10.

As expected the distrobution recognized my ATI HDTV Wonder card but only recognize analog signals.  I remember I had to do a sudo depmod cx88-dvb.   I performed that and went back in to mythtv-setup and select dvb card type and it ran a channel scan and it works!

Now I just need to get lvm2 set back up so I can re-access my data and I’ll be done.  Good news is that now I can turn my origional xbox into a MythTV fronted (via module in XBMC) and repurpose an old laptop and as a MythTV frontend.

Do all that with your WHS Tom! (inside joke).

PS: Why not Gentoo?  Well, for the moment I wanted instant gratification and didn’t feel like waiting a week for mythtv to compile.  Plus I wanted to know it would work first.  Maybe in the future.  If I can get my new computer as a remote compile machine for Gentoo I just might do it.


  1. UPDATE: The main hard drive I had Mythubuntu installed on crashed. So I had to redo the entire setup again.

    Note for those having problems with firmware timeout errors with the ATI HDTV Wonder on Mythbuntu 7.10. I resolved the problem by following the instructions for Mythbuntu 7.04 and ATI HDTV Wonder found here:

  2. FYI on your hal bug:

    It’s been identified and a fix will be released before final this week.

  3. UPDATE 2: The ATI HDTV Wonder card is still suffering from the dreaded CX88 cx88[0]/2-mpeg: cx8802_timeout. It seems it requires a reboot. I don’t like that. I’m also having issues with XFS on my Seagate USB 750 Megabyte external drive. It reports errors, cleans the errors and remounts
    (sometimes). I’m seriously thinking about giving up on the old equipment.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: