Pre-built MythTV boxes?
January 3, 2007 10:27 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a pre-built MythTV box. Any recommendations?

I'm not particular about features. Single or dual tuner is fine. HD is nice to have but not necessary. I would, however, like to be able to record and play back DVDs. It is important to me that most of the code is open source so I can hack it. I am NOT interested in building one from scratch because I don't have the time and I need something that actually works right away. Also, I want something that isn't too big or too ugly. I prefer a minimalist design. My budget could go as high as $1000. From doing some Googling, it looks like a lot of companies outside the US make them but I'd rather not deal with shipping from overseas. Also, having not found any decent reviews, I hope the hivemind can provide some personal experiences.
posted by jewzilla to Technology (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I would suggest asking this, or even searching, on the mythtv-users list. It's one of the best mailing lists I've ever been on, with an incredibly low signal to noise ratio and a lot of really helpful people.
posted by autojack at 11:10 PM on January 3, 2007

I will be watching the answers to this question with interest, since I'm also in the market for a MythTV box... (although I may try the DIY route first, because I'm a cheap bastard; watch me eat those words later).

So far I've come across two pre-built MythTV boxes that looked promising:
One is Interact-TV's Telly Server line. They have a $595 SDTV and $895 HDTV box which might interest you. They seem to be based out of Westminster, CO. If the photos are any indication, their boxes look pretty neat, too; most people probably wouldn't recognize it as a computer.

The other one that caught my eye was over at (aka "StormLogic"). They make what seems to be a sort of 'reference platform' for Knoppmyth. The current product is the "Dragon 2," which would blow your budget slightly at $1158USD. With that said, the list of hardware they're using looks to be really well-supported, and it also has dual HD tuners. If it's too much for you, maybe you can dump some of the unnecessary features to get the price down to something more affordable. Here are its specs.

It seems like there must be other options out there, but those were the two that came immediately to mind that I've seen.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2007

Our MythTV box doesn't seem so good at ripping DVD, but we only just tried it for that over the weekend. Maybe we're missing something, or need a better program than what came with the current setup (not Knoppmyth, but a newer one whose name I can't recall). Better luck with that on the Windows desktop. For TV, it's great!
posted by Goofyy at 5:29 AM on January 4, 2007

I'm looking at the Hannibel Deuce. It might meet your needs.
posted by Floydd at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2007

Be aware that no US sold pre-built MythTV box should be able to rip CSS protected DVDs - it's illegal...

That's not to say that it would be a difficult shortcoming to fix, but realize that's why they won't likely be listing that feature. You'll probably have to install libdvdcss on your own.

MagicITX also sells prebuilt boxes. I have no experience with them, but I know that they sometimes show up on the mythtv-users list.
posted by Nodecam at 6:30 AM on January 4, 2007

Goofyy: not Knoppmyth, but a newer one whose name I can't recall

Methinks you might be thinking of MythDora? It's like a Fedora-based Knoppmyth, with the advantage of using MythTV 0.20 instead of 0.19.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:11 AM on January 4, 2007

I've come across mentions of few different ones at tech-review sites like Engadget. For example, Monolith MC
posted by J-Train at 11:00 AM on January 4, 2007

I've been looking for something similar. I just emailed the guys who make the Interact-TV's Telly Server that was mentioned above. They said that it doesn't run myth-tv, its a custom software implementation. It also doesn't support the game emulators that myth-tv does yet (if that's something that you're also looking for).
posted by kookywon at 12:24 PM on January 4, 2007

autojack: pssst, 'low signal to noise ratio' means a large amount of noise for every amount of signal. You meant a high signal to noise ratio, or a low noise to signal ratio :)
posted by flaterik at 5:45 PM on January 4, 2007

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