I had a germination of the idea of an all conquering HTPC build almost 18 months ago. I moved into my new apartment and had a Sky satellite dish installed on the roof, but being such a visionary (guffaw), I ensured that the dish had a quad LNB - this would support a maximum of two Sky+ boxes (each capable of recording two channels simultaneously). However, I had an idea - how about a Sky+ box and dual tuner Freesat? This would provide HD and all the Freeview channels (should I ultimately dump Sky) and I could connect via a Freesat tuner card in an HTPC. This was duly decided upon and the coax cable was laid from the roof to my living room via the outside wall.
The HTPC would have to do exactly what you'd expect an HTPC to do and more besides -
- Record / pause live TV
- Record second channel whilst watching first
- Provide FreeSAT programming
- Save recordings to my FreeNAS server
- Burn programming to recordable DVD
- Provide a musical jukebox facility, ideally output FLAC files through USB to my DAC device
- Ideally categories my music collection by mp3 and by FLAC
- Power on / off via remote control
- Utilise any chassis mechanical volume rotary control
- Utilise any chassis LCD display
During the initial research for this project I have set a few parameters from which I won't stray
- The HTPC software will be MythTV running on Mythbuntu. This will augment my Linux experience and provide an intellectual challenge at the same time
- The chassis will be the excellent yet sadly obsolete Antec Fusion Black Remote. Thankfully this is a chassis I have already sourced, mint in box yet secondhand off eBay. The chassis has the powered volume knob and the iMon LCD
- The FreeSAT tuner card will be the TBS6981 PCI-E DVB S2 HD Dual Tuner Card which is MythTV / Linux compatible and has two tuners
Ok - so that's my intention! It will be quite a journey and I will be learning some new skills at the same time which makes it worthwhile. Whilst I have a great deal of Linux experience, I've never had any exposure to the popular Ubuntu distribution (albeit it the Mythbuntu distro). Skimming the MythTV wiki suggests a very powerful system and extraordinarily complex as a consequence.
Should be fun - bring it on!