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June 2013 Issue 373

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JUNE 8th
VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE, ROOM 110
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UPCOMING MEETING

SSD GUIDE

Is an SSD (Solid State Drive) in your near future? Have you considered buying an SSD to speed up your computer? How can an SSD be a good buy when they are so expensive compared to a mechanical HDD? Can an SSD be used with any OS? What settings should I change in my OS if I install an SSD? What specifications are important when I am selecting an SSD? How much will an SSD speed up everything I do on my computer?

John M will try to answer all these questions and others as he guides us through the issues surrounding the use and purchase of an SSD.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

Attendance:
14 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, May 11th. Four of the 14 attendees were virtual attendees via Google+ Hangout video chat.

Main Meeting Q&A:
We began last month's meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements:

John D -

Tom J -

Bill B -

Nelson S -

Don W -

Layton F -

John M -

Rich T -

Ed C -

Main Meeting Program:
The main meeting presentation topic was "MythTV, a DVR System" and was presented by Peter W. MythTV is a premium TV DVR system that easily surpasses those supplied by your cable or satellite provider and feature wise it surpasses the TiVo and other components you can purchase from retail outlets. In the long run it will be less costly to setup and maintain than these other competing systems and can be less costly to setup initially depending on the "extra" hardware you may have laying around.

The crux to setting a MythTv system is whether you are willing to expend the time and effort. Today that time is a lot less than it would have been several years ago. There are pre-packaged Linux distros you can download and install in an hour or less. Configuration today is relatively straight forward with these distros. Selecting and procuring a TV tuner card / box for your MythTV may actually be one of the more time consuming endeavers in setting up your MythTV hardware wise.

One thing to pay attention to is the TV guide you will use to automate a recording schedule. Many require a modest subscription fee.

The show notes can be found at: http://mlcug.org/myth2.html. These notes cover the basic building blocks and features of MythTV. They also provide links to the nitty-gritty details of building your own system.

For those still wanting only to do a simple featured low budget TV DVR on the cheap suited for the casual and occasional TV show there is always Windows Media Center for Windows computers and EyeTV for Apple's Mac computers. You would still have to acquire a suitable TV tuner. Windows Media Center is capable of pushing content to XBoxes connected to TV's and EyeTV can render media content to iTunes which in turn can feed your AppleTV box.

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MEETING RELATED SIDEBAR

This section contains web links & other info related to the club or some of the subjects we discussed during our round table discussions and main presentation.

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HDHOMERUN PRIME NETWORK TV TUNER
http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

HDHomeRun Connections

About SiliconDust
Silicondust is the innovator of the HDHomeRun line of network connected TV tuners. Their HDHomeRun Prime tuner is CableCARD ready! They sell several other tuners which are primarily designed for Over-The-Air (OTA) broadcast TV.

Brief Summary of HDHomeRun Prime

More Info...

Connects to any computer on your LAN
HDHomeRun PRIME is a cable TV tuner for computers – Ethernet attached. Once the cablecard tuner is connected to your home router you can access the HDHomeRun Tuners from any computer, anywhere in your home. Watch / Record TV from you Family Room / Kitchen / Garage / Backyard, anywhere you have a computer.

Premium digital cable TV compatiple
HDHomeRun PRIME supports CableCARD™ conditional access, providing access to the premium cable channels from your PC. Insert an M-Card cablecard from your cable provider and you’ll be able to watch and record all the digital cable channels you subscribe to, including HD and premium channels in 100% digital quality. Do away with that $16-22 per month set-top box rental.

Windows Media Center compatiple
HDHomeRun Prime works with Windows 7 Windows Media Center, providing the full DVR experience. Watch/Pause/Record live TV, schedule simultaneous recordings by name, set up season passes, and watch any time.

Xbox 360 compatible
Don’t have a PC next to your TV? No problem. Use an Xbox360 or other Media Center Extender and you’ll have access to live TV and all the recorded TV on your main PC.

MythTV / DVR applications compatiple
HDHomeRun PRIME supports streaming access-controlled copy-freely channels to other DVR applications including MythTV. These are channels that you subscribe to, are encrypted on the cable system (access-controlled), and do not impose restriction on use inside the home (copy-freely).

Phone/Tablet Compatible
The InstaTV Pro app supports direct streaming from HDHomeRun devices on iOS devices. More information is available in the InstaTV website.

The HomeRunTV app supports direct streaming from HDHomeRun devices on Android devices. More information is available on its Google Play store page.

Portable device apps are not provided by nor supported by Silicondust. Access is limited to non-copy-protected channels.

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XBMC PVR Addon for MythTV
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_0PB5hfz_k

Video shows XBMC as a MythTV frontend.

Published on Dec 16, 2012
Demonstration of the XBMC PVR Addon for MythTV.

Software versions:
XBMC 12.0 RC-1 (Frodo)
MythTV .025 with fixes
Ubuntu 12.04

As of v12 (Frodo), XBMC features live TV and video recording (DVR/PVR) abilities. This allows you to watch live TV, listen to radio, view a TV guide (EPG), schedule recordings and enables many other TV related features.

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=PVR/Backend/MythTV

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RASPBERRY PI COMPUTER HARDWARE RESOURCES & INFO

Birds eye view from the Rpi bèta board(model B)

RPi Hardware
http://elinux.org/RPi_Hardware

Introduction

The product is the size of a credit card, and is designed to plug into a TV or HDMI monitor. It comes in two variants, model A and B, with B having more features. The expected price is $25 for model A and $35 for model B. The GPIO pins on each board allow the use of optional expansion boards.

Those who are looking to set up a Raspberry Pi for the first time, see RPi Hardware Basic Setup.

Several different Hardware versions/revisions of RaspberryPi Boards have been found probably from different assembly lines. Try to identify your board for better troubleshooting and update it if you have one which is not mentioned.

Specifications

Model A Model B
Target price: US$25 Ext tax (GBP £16 Exc VAT) US$35 Ext tax (GBP £22 Exc VAT)
System-on-a-chip (SoC): Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU + GPU. SDRAM is a separate chip stacked on top)
CPU: 700 MHz ARM11 ARM1176JZF-S core
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV,OpenGL ES 2.0,OpenVG 1080p30 H.264 high-profile encode/decode
Memory (SDRAM)iB 256 MiB (planned with 128 MiB, upgraded to 256 MiB on 29 Feb 2012) 256 MiB (until 15 Oct 2012); 512 MiB (since 15 Oct 2012)
USB 2.0 ports: 1 (provided by the BCM2835) 2 (via integrated USB hub)
Video outputs: Composite video | Composite RCA, HDMI (not at the same time)
Audio outputs: TRS connector | 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
Audio inputs: none, but a USB mic or sound-card could be added
Onboard Storage: Secure Digital|SD / MMC / SDIO card slot
Onboard Network: None 10/100 wired Ethernet RJ45
Low-level peripherals: General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI), I²C, I²S, Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART)
Real-time clock: None
Power ratings (provisional, from alpha board): 500 mA, (2.5 W) 700 mA, (3.5 W)
Power source: 5 V (DC) via Micro USB type B or GPIO header
Size: 85.0 x 56.0 mm (two different boards, measured with callipers)

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SOFTWARE WORTH A LOOK

I did a quick eyeball of the web sites for the 3 pre-packaged MythTV distros listed in Pete's MythTV show notes. One site, the Linhes web site, struck me as being the easiest to understand and would make me feel comfortable as a novice MythTV user. The worst site was the MythDora web site. It made me feel quite uncomfortable about setting up MythTV. Mythbuntu was a close second to Linhes as far as making me feel comfortable about setting up MythTV software.

That said, I thought it appropriate to promote the Linhes distro of MythTV.

LINHES
(FREE, Linux based MythTV distro)
http://www.linhes.org/

LinHES (Linux Home Entertainment System) is a Linux distribution that centers around MythTV.

The goal of this project is to make creating and maintaining a Home Theater PC as simple as possible.

A blank system can be transformed to a fully functional HTPC in around 15-20 minutes. Thats only 20 minutes to have a system that is capable of:

Why choose LinHES?

We feel the product should work more like an appliance and not require alot of upkeep, but at the same time add artificial limits. Most of the system configuration, operation and in some cases even installs can be accomplished using only a remote control.

However if you're a person that likes to tinker and work directly with the OS that option is still available. All the configuration wizards can be disabled to avoid overwriting custom work.

Expanding a LinHES cluster to mutliple systems takes even less time to setup then the main system. During the install all relevant settings from the main system are synced with the new remote frontend. No need to worry about trying to remember file locations or other settings, it's all done automatically making for a nice consistent system.

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DIRECTIONS TO MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center (SAC) at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions meet in Room 110.

VU Map

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the upper level of the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center on the Ithan Avenue side of the building. (Click for link to Google Map)

NOTE: additional map & direction links on our website home page - http://mlcug.org/

MLCUG Meetings Schedule Steering Committee Meetings
June 8 June 12
July 13 July 17
August 10 August 14

CLUB STAFF

Editor: John W. Deker, Jr. 2210 Lantern Lane, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2211
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MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

President John Deker 610-828-7897
V.President Al Gottlieb 215-793-9725
Treasurer / Sec John Deker 610-828-7897
Webmaster Peter_Whinnery 610-284-5234
At Large Layton Fireng 610-688-2080
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At Large Nelson_Schrock 610-834-0117
Audio Scribe John Murphy 610-935-4398