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My DIY Linux PVR
Friday, August 12, 2005
  The Master Plan
Most PVR's have a similar general purpose in mind. They also have a narrow focus of functionality, cost and character that reflects the environment they will be placed in, temperament of the builder and many other factors

My PVR is meant to be expandable. I don't want to be locked into any limitations with this iteration of the project. HDTV is on the horizon and I'm not ready yet, but I want the upgrade to support HDTV to be fairly painless. The system should be a drop-in addition to my existing 7.1 home theatre system and CRT TV. Can the same thing be said about Tivo's or HP/Sony HTPCs?

I don't really want to spend more than $1000 on this project. $600 is more economicaly reasonable, but because I am not starting with any existing parts common to most PC's, I can expect to spend a little more than the base line.

Here are the general features, component characteristics and hardware specs I'm looking for. For some of the video and audio pieces, Linux compatibility is paramount to anything else.

Similarly, these are the software requirements I am putting forth:

I plan to take 2-3 weeks to research all the parts, gather a buy plan and then no less than a week to put it all together. Stay tuned, it's going to be a fun adventure.
I've been ripping things with cpdvd, but there's a few encryption schemes which defeat it unfortunately.

I really recommend you go with water cooling. I got a very nice kit from Fry's for ~$30. It's called an Aquarius II and actually is fairly eye catching. They were smart enough to put a little LED in the water tanks, so you get those nice ghostly blue glows. You could probably freak people out with claims about Cerenkov radiation ; ) And oh yeah, it's _absolutely_ silent.

My solution (which was a while ago and on more of a budget) was one of the P4 mini ATX boards from Intel with onboard sound. I ended up sticking with wired net, but I picked up a PCI 802.11a/b/g adapter for fairly cheap (~$30). I recommend cards based on the Atheros chipset (the project existed for FreeBSD before the Linux support was undertaken, so much of the code is already stable & solid).

I maintain you simply aren't a man if you believe that there's a significant amount of Gentoo configuration required. Edit a file once & you're done. It's not that hard. Even for a mac user like you ; )
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