zen.org Communal Weblog

April 10, 2005

In Flight Service

Filed under: — elana @ 13:55 GMT

A good friend of ours just flew from Frankfurt to Newark. Along the way, he IM’ed me. Yep, he was on Lufthansa, and was LOVING the in-flight net access. $30, but who gives a crap? He and I chatted for a bit, which was just fun :-).

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First milestone with Our TiV—er, MythTV Box

Filed under: — brendan @ 11:29 GMT

About a week ago we were able to display live TV thru the box, but the remote didn’t work and we couldn’t move through channels. It’s much happier now. Problems that still need to be fixed:

  • Sound for non-AVI video files is out of sync
  • The X display is bigger than the TV screen
  • I have to switch the audio output between the Shuttle’s L/R audio out for video files and the audio out of the PVR-350 for live and recorded TV.
  • I need a way to make MythTV be able to change channels on the NTL Pace 4001NC box, which reportedly uses RC-5 protocol for the remote. Given that, we can also record everything coming from NTL Digital Cable. There is one cool serial hack that on its main page seems to clearly indicate it will work with my box, which after some clarification is confirmed to work with it. So we’re ordering one now and will share the results once we’ve got it.
  • Sometimes after a reboot the live TV doesn’t work for more than a few seconds, and more notably the name of the tuner and the current time don’t appear at the top of the screen. After only a minute or two, it goes back to the menu. If I restart mythbackend, it’s then all happy and can keep going.
  • The PVR-350 can accept the FM antenna; can MythTV record radio shows too into mp3 format? A google for “MythRadio” has a few hits for recent conversation. But anything I’d try for this has to wait til everything else works. 🙂

What we’ve got now is pretty usable for day-to-day stuff, with the one physical hurdle of having to use an audio switch box to change which of the two audio sources actually gets emitted. There must be a system/MythTV fix, or we could just get some sort of an RCA jack Y-joiner/junction thing to accept output from either one…Hmm….

Some details on how we got it working:

  1. The remote problem was because /etc/lircd.conf defines particular names for each button like


    CH+ 0X00000000000017E0
    CH- 0X00000000000017E1
    VOL+ 0X00000000000017D0

    The entries in ~/.mythtv/lircrc need to match those names in some fashion. I just had to change

    begin
    prog = mythtv
    button = chanup
    repeat = 5
    config = Up
    end

    to instead have

    begin
    prog = mythtv
    button = CH+
    repeat = 5
    config = Up
    end

    This helped improve watching live TV or shows recorded by the box. But we were stuck when watching a video file like an MPG (which has its own problems anyway) or AVI file; you couldn’t get it to return to the menu after starting to watch it.

  2. I came across Adam Rubin’s description of how he made the remote more usable with MythTV. So I just needed to give ~/.mythtv/lircrc a few entries like

    begin
    remote = hauppauge_pvr
    button = Pause
    prog = mplayer
    repeat = 3
    config = Pause
    end

    to help improve things.
  3. The file ~/.mythtv/NTL Basic Cable.xmltv contains the final list of channels I’m using. It omits the pay channels.
  4. I had to make /etc/rc.d/rc.local do modprobe ivtv so the driver, and its ivtv_fb framebuffer driver, are all loaded up before anything else. I also added the lines

    /usr/X11R6/bin/xset -dpms
    /usr/X11R6/bin/xset s off

    to make it stop having a blank screen until I hit a key on the (tucked away) keyboard.
  5. My final /etc/X11/xorg.conf file makes everything show up on the TV from the PVR-350’s S-Video feed, but the X display is still just slightly larger than the TV screen. When I’m going through the MythTV setup menus it’s impossible to see the selection boxes along the left side.
  6. Playing AVI files using the default mplayer now works by giving it the options
    -ao oss -vo x11 -nocache
    However, playing MPG files doesn’t work quite as well. I found others talking about this and how audio seems to come out directly via the sound port, but the video is going through the MPG decoder first. I did find some bits in the MythTV Digital Sound HOWTO and put them into my ~/.asoundrc. But I’ve not spent enough time looking at it to remember how to make MythTV use that, as opposed to the default /dev/dsp device.

So far so good; much more productive than the efforts with KnoppMyth, seemingly just because the version of the mythtv stuff is much more up-to-date.

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April 9, 2005

Spring Foliage

Filed under: — Sven @ 07:53 GMT

The croci came and went this year in a day or two. While that is a little sad, daffodils that have only been leaving since 余艾蕾 and I moved in bloomed this year! One fairly large bunch too.

Last summer when Zoë started day care I would sometime bring her a flower to put in her crib. I tried taking her a daffodil this spring, but she ripped it apart before we got there. No flowers for Zoë, I guess.

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April 6, 2005

Konqueror & Java plugins

Filed under: — brendan @ 06:28 GMT

I finally got Java plugins to behave properly in Konqueror. (Needed for the calendar feature for some webmail applications. ..cough..) I had a copy of Sun’s Java 2 Runtime Environment (J2RE) version 1.4.2 which I downloaded from Sun back in mid-2003; haven’t gotten anything newer (they somehow have jumped right up to version 5.0, hmm) because I don’t do java apps a lot.

Anyway, in Konqueror I used Settings -> Configure Konqueror... -> Plugins, clicked on New, and gave it the path to where I’d put J2RE: /usr/local/j2re1.4.2/plugin/i386/ns4. I selected the new entry in the list of them and clicked Down until it was at the bottom. I clicked Scan for New Plugins, and then selected the Plugins tab—and there it was! /usr/local/j2re1.4.2/plugin/i386/ns4/libjavaplugin.so in all its glory.

Up until now I’d been trying the other version of the plugin in ns610 and also ns610-gcc32, neither of which have worked. Only today did it occur to me to try ns4—and it works! Now when I select “Calendar” on that webmail app, the right side of the screen finally shows me the two calendars and the ability to click on specific day.

Whew.

(As an aside, even though Firefox has always worked for this page, I’m using Konqueror because a memory leak keeps happening with Firefox that eventually makes all of my swap space vanish. I’m using version 1.0.1, and have had friends telling me about other problems with 1.0.2 suggesting I wait for the 1.1 release due March 2005 according to the Firefox site…crap, it’s now April. Hopefully soon. The good news is the memory leak is supposed to be fixed in the code that’ll become Firefox 1.1.)

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April 4, 2005

Closer and closer…

Filed under: — brendan @ 16:35 GMT

I gave a shot at the Fedora Core 3 approach as written out at Fedora Myth(TV)ology after replacing my CDROM (the old one was making a lot of bad noises) and burned the four Fedora CDs to just install directly instead of my repeated failed attempts to install over the network. Now things are going much much better. Last night I did my first successful test of watching current TV on the screen, and there was The Matrix being shown perfectly, with sound! How ironic.

Over at NTL I found a list of the basic cable frequencies for the channels. I was able to use them to find the right frequency codes as listed in /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.5/Video/Frequencies.pm and a channel.sql file from someone else (it’s late, I’m not sure who) with the XMLTV IDs for each channel (which are now their domain names) and end up with this sort of list:


Discovery Chan = 48 MHz = A1= discoveryeurope.com
Channel 4 = 56 MHz = A3= channel4.com
E4 = 64 MHz = A5= e4.channel4.com
RTE2 = 176 MHz = A7= rte-2.rte.ie (This used to be n2.rte.ie)
TV3 = 184 MHz = A9= tv3.ie
RTE 1 = 192 MHz = A11= rte-1.rte.ie
UTV = 200 MHz = A13= utvlive.com
TG4 = 208 MHz = A15= tg4.ie
BBC 1 = 216 MHz = A17= northern-ireland.bbc1.bbc.co.uk
BBC 2 = 224 MHz = A18= ireland.bbc2.bbc.co.uk
Sky One = 232 MHz = A19= sky-one.sky.com
Nickelodeon/Link/Euronews = 248 MHz = A20= nickelodeon.co.uk
MTV = 256 MHz = A21= mtv.co.uk
Sky Sports 1 = 264 MHz = A22= 1.sports.sky.com
Sky Premier = 272 MHz = A23= premier.sky.com
Sky News = 280 MHz = A24= sky-news.sky.com
CNBC / Pay Per View = 408 MHz = A32= europe.cnbc.com
Sky Sports 2 = 304 MHz = A27= 2.sports.sky.com
Sky Sports 3 = 312 MHz = A28= 3.sports.sky.com
Sky Movie Max = 312 MHz = A28= moviemax.sky.com (Note this is the same frequency, bug at NTL site?)
Pay-Per-View = 352 MHz = A31= ??

(Update: If you’re getting “NO DATA” when you visit the listings for a channel in MythWeb, but you know you’ve got it correct in the Channel Editor, you’ve got channels missing for the Video Source you created earlier. Channels like “Channel 4” and “UTV” weren’t being accepted in the terminal window when I was setting up the video source at first. But I just put “channel channel4.com” and “channel utvlive.com” in ~/.mythtv/NTL Basic Cable.xmltv and that fixed it—a rerun of mythfilldatabase and now they’ve got their shows listed properly. I wonder why it wasn’t liking the channels?)

Oh, we don’t get any of the pay channels so I skipped adding those, but they’re here in the interest of completion. And I wonder why SO many broadcast frequencies are unused by NTL?

I ran mythtvsetup and used its Channel Editor to add all of them, setting the values for each (using RTE1 as an example) like this:

  • Channel number: 6
  • Callsign: RTE1
  • Name: RTE-1
  • XMLTVID: rte-1.rte.ie
  • Frequency ID: A11 (They only one on the 2nd screen that I changed.)

Anyway, MythTV is looking great and even easier to use. I can only guess the KnoppMyth stuff I was using before was just a bit old. No stresses about XMLTV getting the right info, no problems making MythWeather show Dublin including a Weather Channel satellite image, the works. Anyway, I’ll make an effort to share the bits I did that divirge from the instructions I was following (and send them to Jarod Wilson for consideration in his instructions at the same time).

After restarting mythfrondend I’m able to move between channels (with right-arrow and left-arrow on the keyboard) and also jump back in shows (up-arrow and down-arrow). The text at the bottom is still too big even after following some steps to fix them.

And the biggest continuing problem: I’ve got X set up to do 720×576, and I ran “/usr/bin/ivtvctl -f width=720,height=576 “, and still things are missing around the edges. At first login the menu/task bar at the bottom is half-missing. With mythfrontend running I change a channel I see the text at the bottom describing the show, but parts to the left, right, and bottom are off the screen.

What’s the fix? I’ve got a Sony RV-25X5L television which in theory should display things correctly, right?

The other catch: the remote isn’t working yet, though I can run irw and it reports events when I press a button on the (Hauppauge new grey with black back) remote. Unsure why the mythfrontend isn’t getting them yet. The remote worked when I was doing the KnoppMyth approach. More later.

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April 1, 2005

Dublin closes at 5.

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:22 GMT

Every damn coffee house around the River Liffey in central Dublin seems to close promptly at 5pm. Does no one in this damn town work late? Don’t they ever want a latte to get some energy?

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Dead Again

Filed under: — Sven @ 08:48 GMT

Seems Rerun’s UPS went belly up last night. It’s plugged into the wall for now.

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