Installing and using your MVP with MythTV

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In this page I shall describe how to setup and use the Hauppage MVP with the MVPMC software.
This document is based on MVPMC v0.1.6 and an European unit with SCART connector and an A415 (grey & black) remote. (Or a BIG picture.)
Additional information may come from other sources but as I have not all the hardware not all of the information can be verified by me personally.

Installing the MVPMC software

Installing the unit is rather simple.
But it requires a working DHCP server and TFTP server.
Also a NFS server on your MythTV backend is advised.
(At least in my experience.)
A full installation document can be found on the MVPMC website.

DHCP server

Install a DHCP server.
As we need to push details to the box like the boot file not all DHCP servers will get the job done.
Most Linux servers should be just fine.
My TFTP record for the MVP is:

host elrond.hugo.vanderkooij.org {
        option log-servers 192.168.1.42;
        option domain-name-servers 192.168.1.42;
        option routers 192.168.1.254;
        hardware ethernet 00:0d:fe:00:1f:5a;
        next-server 192.168.1.42;
        filename "dongle.bin.mvpmc";
        fixed-address 192.168.1.92;
        }
TFTP server

The TFTP server should contain the boot image dongle.bin.mvpmrcv and your config file dongle.bin.mvpmc.config as a minimum.
You can change the file name to whatever you like.
But the config file should have a matching filename but with the .config added to the name.
(So a boot file of mvpboot should have a config file named mvpboot.config to match.)

MVPMC commandline options


The following options are at your disposal:


-a aspect

aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9)

-b path

path to NFS mounted mythtv ringbuf directory

-f font

font file

-i dir

mvpmc image directory

-m mode

output mode (ntsc or pal)

-o output

output device for video (composite or svideo) and / or for audio (stereo or passthru)

-s server

mythtv server IP address

-S seconds

screensaver timeout in seconds (0 – disable)

-r path

path to NFS mounted mythtv recordings

-R server

replaytv server IP address

-t file

XML theme file

My dongle.bin.mvpmc.config file
TZ='CET-1CEST,M3.5.0/2,M10.5.0/3'
export TZ
echo "TZ='CET-1CEST,M3.5.0/2,M10.5.0/3'" > /etc/shell.config
echo "export TZ" >> /etc/shell.config
rdate -s 192.168.1.42
mkdir /data
mount -t nfs -o nolock,rsize=4096,wsize=4096,nfsvers=3 192.168.1.42:/data/ /data/
mvpmc -f /etc/helvB14.pcf -o composite -S 0 -R 192.168.1.42 -s 192.168.1.42 -b /data/livetv -r /data/store -t /data/hvdkooij.xml &

More details about the proper use of the TZ variable can be found in the
GNU libc manual.

The theme I use is hvdkooij.xml.
It is by no means complete but testing it means making a change and reboot the unit and see what results one gets.
(Needless to say it is time consuming.)
Feel free to make suggestions to this theme.

Which software?

First time users are advised to use the normal boot images.
You can find these at http://mvpmc.sourceforge.net/idx.php?pg=downloads.

Besides the normal releases some interim builds are released here as well if there is a need for it and John feels the current CVS should result in a reasonable stable version.

If you like to live a bit more on the edge you can get a CVS build from ftp://buoy.com/pub/mvpmc/www.lison.com/mvpmc/index.html.
But keep in mind that it may take 18 hours after John has done a check in of a patch before it is present in a buil d here.
These builds are done automagically and may not be up to date on some other issues.

Only after non of these satisfy your need you can go about and build from sources.
It requires a working cross compiler and I will not present you with instruction in this document.
(And don ‘t start asking me questions about these as I will /dev/null these questions!)
If you insist on this method go and read Installing and using mvpmc: Configuring your compile host

Using the MVPMC software

The software is organised in the following menu structure.
However you may not see all the options as some will only show when you have used the proper commandline option with mvpmc.

  1. MythTV
    1. Watch Recordings
    2. Upcoming Recordings
    3. Live TV
  2. ReplayTV
  3. FileSystem
  4. Settings
    1. TV Mode
    2. Ouput
    3. Aspect Ratio
    4. Screensaver Timeout
    5. Color Test
  5. Themes
  6. About
  7. Reboot
Watch Recording

When selected you are presented with a list of ‘shows’.
You can stroll along the shows or get a list of all recordings with the “All – Newest first” or “All – Oldest first” options.
Select a show to get a list of ‘episodes’.

The top of this two level structure can be recognized as the lower lefthand corder shows you details like ‘Total number of shows’, ‘Total number of episodes’ and ‘Diskspace available’.
The second level will use this spot to show you details about the recording like ‘Channel’, ‘Recording date and time’ and the ‘Description’.

Either way you will have your recording listed at the second level.
At this point you can just play it or select the “Recording Menu” which is organised as:

  1. Delete but allow future recordings
  2. Delete
  3. Show Info
  4. Cancel

While playing you select the “Settings” menu which is listed below this paragraph.
Or you can activate the On Screen Display (OSD).
The OSD will give you some details about the recording currently active.

  1. Audio Stream
  2. Video Stream
  3. Subtitles
  4. On Screen Display
    1. Bitrate
    2. Clock
    3. Demux Info
    4. Progress Meter
    5. Program Info
    6. Timecode
  5. Brightness

Remote

An overview of the various functions and the remote key to perform them.
Not all of them will make sense if you just look at this table.
I suggest you play with it and see if you understand this once you have a running unit in front of you.

The following remotes are listed:

  • A415: Also known as the ‘grey & black’ remote and shipped with recent hauppage products.
Functions

Go upward a line in listings or menus
A415: <UP>

Go downward a line in listings or menus
A415: <DOWN>
Go upward one page in listings or menus
A415: <Channel UP>
Go downward a page in listings or menus
A415: <Channel DOWN>
Select a menu or listing item
A415: <OK>
Go back to previous menu level
A415: <Back>
Select “Settings” menu while playing
A415: <Menu>
Toggle OSD on/off while playing
A415: <OK>
Toggle normal of fast (2x) playing
A415: <FFD>
Pause playing
A415: <PAUSE>
Mute sound while playing
A415: <Mute>
Return to episodes list (but still leave the recording playing as thumbnail)
A415: <Back> or <STOP>
Stop playing this thumbnail
A415: <Back> or <STOP>
Skip forward 1% while playing
A415: <RIGHT>
Skip backward 1% while playing
A415: <LEFT>
Jump to N*10% of recording
A415: Numerical key (0=begin; 9=90%)
Skip forward while playing
A415: <Skip>
Skip backward while playing
A415: <Replay>
Try to resync audio (May require multiple attempts)
A415: <Record>
Toggle Fullscreen/Preview
A415: <Prev. Ch.>

Debugging

Booting

The following details come through testing and observing the unit under various circumstances and may help you to solve a problem.
The description is based on the 5 blue bars that are sort of an indicator.

It takes long for the first blue bar to show up.
No link on the ethernet cable. Check wiring!
The first blue bar shows slowly then the second comes a bit later. The process loops.
No DHCP server (and no Hauppage server either).
First 3 blue bars shown but then it stops.
DHCP server works but there is no TFTP server
The 3 bars boot sequence ar shown in a dizling fast fashion.
DHCP and TFTP servers work. But the boot file is unreadable.
The normal 5 bars sequence is working but then the screen goes black.
Your boot config file is not present or unreadable. It should have the name of your boot image and the string “.config” added. You should be able to telnet to the unit.

Telnet

The unit is a small linux box and you can telnet to the unit.
Log in as ‘root’ without a password.
You now have a very limited command prompt as delivered by busybox.

Remarks

Bugs

There are bugs in the software. (Ever seen a 1000 line program without them?)
These are usually handled on priority basis.
If more people notice it and can reproduce the problem the likelyhood of a fix will increase.
But none of them have troubled me if you use the normally shipped versions.
CVS versions may not work at all at some days.

Limitations

The only limitation is that due to the separation of sound and video streams you may get a synchronisation problems if you start playing with skipping around.
Another skip may get it in sync again.

Works for me

While this section may have scared you at the end of this page I have seen an increase in stability so that what we now call v0.1.5 whould have been called v1.5 or even MVPMC 2005 by some large software manufacturer and marketed for a considerable sum.
With v0.1.5 I can truly say ‘It works for me’ and enjoy my ultra quiet AV companion in the living room.

Thanks

A thank you note to John and others who wrote the code for MVPMC.
Also thanks to Hauppage for building a nice little MPEG box and making it work with Linux.
And thanks to everyone else who did contribute in any way to this document or the MVPMC software.

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