Am I mad to consider changing from Windows to Linux?

  Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post Reply
elsmandino Offline
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Jan 2013
Reputation: 0
Location: UK
Post: #1
Hi,

I recently had a go at putting Linux on my laptop and was so impressed by how much better it was, compared to Windows 7, that I got rid of Windows altogether. XBMC seems to run much more smoothly on a Linux machine and never crashes.

I then upgraded my desktop with Linux as well.

This got me thinking whether I might consider going all out and changing my main HTPC/Server in the living room.

It is currently a Windows 7 machine with 8GB of RAM (4GB used as RAMDisk for timeshifting) and an i3-2105.

I use Argus TV as the backend and have Mediabrowser 3 installed for my films and TV series.

As far as frontends go, I use XBMC for everything but I use Mediaportal for scheduling as the mediaportal Argus plugin offers a better degree of control.

My question, therefore, is whether I would be mad to switch to a Linux system instead.

Any advice from anyone who has tried both Windows and Linux PVR systems would be much appreciated:

A few things that are worrying me in particular:

1. I use Sky Go and Netflix, which uses Silverlight. Are there any successsful ways to view this on Linux?
2. Can I use Mediabrowser 3 on Linux?
3. Are there any Linux-based backends that offer the functionality and stability of Argus TV?

Thanks.

A
find quote
negge Offline
Team-Kodi Member
Posts: 2,310
Joined: Dec 2010
Reputation: 25
Location: Finland
Post: #2
1. There's Pipelight, from what I've heard it works great, but I haven't tried it myself.

2. No idea about this one, I've never understood why people need any form of media managers.

3. tvheadend is very good, though the scheduling capabilities are probably a bit simpler than Argus TV. On the other hand channel switching is way faster. It's very stable too (I've run it for months without restarting it).
find quote
LSU Jonno Offline
Senior Member
Posts: 119
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 1
Post: #3
I am in the process of moving from all windows HTPCs to a hybrid Windows/XBMCbuntu/openELEC setup.

So far I like it.

For my main desktop/server I run Win 8.1. I use the Server WMC backend on this machine. It runs rock solid but probably has the slowest channel change time of all PVR backends (4ish seconds).

For my livingroom machine I run XBMCbuntu. Used to run Win 7.
AMD Athlon II X3
8GB RAM
60GB SSD

For my bedroom machine I run openELEC. Used to run Win 7.
AMD E-350
4GB RAM
60 GB SSD

I ended up buying Roku 3's for my livingroom and bedroom TV's because I can control them with my Harmony One and their 10 ft interface was much better than pulling Netflix/Amazon/HBO Go up on a browser or using the WMC interface. The stability and speed of openELEC/XBMCbuntu was worth switching from windows and buying Roku's. I may end up running all openELEC boxes, but for now I wanted to be able to open a browser in the living room so I went with XBMCbuntu. BTW, I've never tried this but if you really want Netflix in linux you can try this:
http://www.iheartubuntu.com/2012/11/ppa-...p-app.html
find quote
negge Offline
Team-Kodi Member
Posts: 2,310
Joined: Dec 2010
Reputation: 25
Location: Finland
Post: #4
@LSU Jonno: that method of using Netflix isn't the best anymore, Pipelight should be much more efficient. Otherwise I agree that a separate device for Netflixing is probably the best option (I don't use Netflix myself though).
find quote
awp0 Offline
Fan
Posts: 469
Joined: Jul 2011
Reputation: 4
Post: #5
(2014-03-11 16:00)negge Wrote:  2. No idea about this one, I've never understood why people need any form of media managers.


OP: I believe MediaBrowser3 has a beta version of a MB3 Linux package. You can find instructions in their forums.

Negge: MB3 isn't just a media manager. It does manage media quite well, and in some ways its management is superior to XBMC. But it also provides other features like transcoding, which allows for remote streaming and support for all kinds of devices like Chromecast. Pretty slick.
find quote
negge Offline
Team-Kodi Member
Posts: 2,310
Joined: Dec 2010
Reputation: 25
Location: Finland
Post: #6
Interesting, in that case I can see why people use it.
find quote
elsmandino Offline
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Jan 2013
Reputation: 0
Location: UK
Post: #7
Thanks for all that - it does look like it might be possible to get rid of Windows afterall then.

I have done a bit more research and it seems that as a Linux user, you have three main choices for Linux PVR backends - MythTV, TVHeadend and VDR.

I am going to discount VDR (for the time being at least) as there seems to be very little documentation on it.

So ultimately, it is making a choice between MythTV and TVHeadend.

Are there any pointers that guys might be able to give me in terms of which one to go with?

Timeshifting seems to be a plus point for MythTv whereas TVHeadend seems to have faster channel changes.

I think that most important to me is fairly flexible scheduling (which is why I am currently using Argus TV).

I currently have two DVB-T tuners and a single DVB-S2 tuner. I tend to get a lot of clashes, so I need something that can intelligently reschedule and recordings so everything gets recorded.

One other quick thing - how do you get EPG on Linux machines? I am currently using XMLTV and Webgrabplus+. Do either of these work on linux?

Thanks again for your help.
find quote
giaur Offline
Fan
Posts: 460
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 1
Post: #8
Quote:One other quick thing - how do you get EPG on Linux machines?
I don't need any xmltv, because I have epg from broadcaster. My backend is tvheadend and xbmc can import epg from it. Also tvheadend can be configured to use xml tv, instead of epg data from dvb-t broadcaster.
find quote
Prof Yaffle Offline
Donor
Posts: 1,138
Joined: Mar 2011
Reputation: 26
Location: UK - in the middlish (mostly).
Post: #9
But yes, you can use XML grabbers if you wish. However, like giaur, I'm using over-the-air EPG information in tvheadend, although tvheadend supports built-in XMLTV.

Myth has the reputation for being powerful but a swine to configure... I did try it once, along with VDR, and it's not as bad as people say - but tvheadend wins every time.

Scheduling... tvh isn't the best, but it supports series record, full regexp pattern matching of programme names and some other useful bits. Mostly, I just look things up in the EPG and record them, though - and I use the web interface 99%+ of the time versus XBMC, although the EPG is there is you want it. tvheadend handles clashes through channel names: one channel can have multiple services, so if you merge identically- or similarly-named channels then tvheadend will just find whichever tuner is free at that time. I don't know how any backend handles the "you can use A or B but I'll need A free in 20 minutes so B is selected" scenario you suggest.

tvheadend does support timeshifting, but it's a work in progress. That said, so long as you're not skipping back and forth, the simple pause seems to work successfully.

I'd happily recommend tvheadend to people as being pretty much the easiest way of getting a competent job with little hassle.
find quote
nickr Offline
Donor
Posts: 8,693
Joined: May 2009
Reputation: 153
Location: Christchurch NZ
Post: #10
I am a mythtv fan. It has a lot of smarts.

If I have helped you or increased your knowledge, click the plus button and increase my reputation :)
find quote
negge Offline
Team-Kodi Member
Posts: 2,310
Joined: Dec 2010
Reputation: 25
Location: Finland
Post: #11
(2014-03-12 15:22)elsmandino Wrote:  Are there any pointers that guys might be able to give me in terms of which one to go with?

I'm a tvheadend user so my opinion is biased, but I'd still suggest trying tvheadend first to see if it fits your needs.

(2014-03-12 15:22)elsmandino Wrote:  I currently have two DVB-T tuners and a single DVB-S2 tuner. I tend to get a lot of clashes, so I need something that can intelligently reschedule and recordings so everything gets recorded.

This should be no problem with tvheadend, once you've set it up correctly it handles all that for you. You can e.g. prefer tuners over one another so that your SAT tuner stays free whenever possible.

(2014-03-12 15:22)elsmandino Wrote:  One other quick thing - how do you get EPG on Linux machines? I am currently using XMLTV and Webgrabplus+. Do either of these work on linux?

tvheadend supports XMLTV natively, though I'd suggest only using it if the over-the-air guide is not enough (or not available). XMLTV configuration in tvheadend is slightly limited, you'll have to configure the grabber by running it as the tvheadend user on a command-line once before tvheadend can use it properly. After that there's nothing to worry about, tvheadend handles updates and so on.
find quote
elsmandino Offline
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Jan 2013
Reputation: 0
Location: UK
Post: #12
Many thanks for all your input.

I did try MythTV over the last few days and got so infuriated with it that I had to give up - I have been using PVR programs for years but this is by far the most difficult thing I have tried to set up. It just did not seem to work.

I decided to go back to Windows and Argus as it just works.

I wish I had tried tvheadend first as suggested - is there any way I can try it out without making any changes to my current PC?
find quote
giaur Offline
Fan
Posts: 460
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 1
Post: #13
Quote:is there any way I can try it out without making any changes to my current PC?
You need to run tvheadend on other machine with linux installed and then you can connect to it from xbmc. Tvheadend setup is really simple - you only need to select your device, add muxes (by providing mux parameters, like frequency etc), click button to map services to channels and that's all. And optionally set user/password. All of this via web interface.
(This post was last modified: 2014-03-18 15:42 by giaur.)
find quote
mayoman Offline
Fan
Posts: 455
Joined: Dec 2012
Reputation: 14
Post: #14
(2014-03-18 15:30)elsmandino Wrote:  is there any way I can try it out without making any changes to my current PC?

Install OpenELEC as a bootable USB stick - It will run TVHeadend as a backend.
find quote
elsmandino Offline
Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Jan 2013
Reputation: 0
Location: UK
Post: #15
(2014-03-18 18:21)mayoman Wrote:  
(2014-03-18 15:30)elsmandino Wrote:  is there any way I can try it out without making any changes to my current PC?

Install OpenELEC as a bootable USB stick - It will run TVHeadend as a backend.

That is great - had no idea you could do that. How, exactly, can that be done?
find quote
Post Reply