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Authored by: tji on Oct 24, '07 01:40:30PM

Expanding the scope a little bit.. MythTV is an alternative.

It goes beyond the "Front Row" type usage, to include full PVR (Tivo) functionality. It is particularly nice for recording/viewing digital TV (HDTV) broadcasts. It's also well beyond most other PVRs, because it includes automatic commercial detection and skipping, as well as transcoding video to other formats, a WWW interface for scheduling and management of recorded programs, and a very versatile recording scheduler.

The challenge with MythTV is setting up the back-end server, where the TV tuners are connected, and the large amount of storage comes into play. It is possible to run the back-end on Mac OS X, but it usually runs in Linux. Mine is in a cheap-o whitebox Linux server, with a lot of cheap IDE disk space, hidden away in the basement out of sight. It also serves a ton of other purposes as a home Linux server. But, obviously, Linux can involve a bit of a learning curve.

My "Front-End" display device is a Mac Mini (1.66GHz Core Duo). It plays the 1080i or 720p HDTV programs recorded in MythTV, and they look great. MythTV also plays back video files of many different formats, including DVD VIDEO_TS archives. It also has support for music and photo playback. But, I prefer to use Front Row for those.

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