November 19th, 2004:
PVR Death Match, Part 2.

Last night I successfully installed and configured MythTV using a NVidia card (much easier than ATI). First off, I’ll say it purty. It is by far the most attractive Linux GUI I’ve yet encountered. The installation was not difficult, but I would recommend that novice Linux users read the instructions in entirety 3 times before beginning the installation.

That said, I’ll cut straight to my 1 word review: immature. The feature set is rich (TV, Program Guide, PVR, DVD player, music player, online tools, CD/DVD burning, and more). But none of it functioned at a “production” level. Linux fans would argue that ” it’s not production software.” Fair enough. But I’m looking for a production solution. Something that just plain works. MythTV v4r5 is far less complete than the first beta release of Mac OS X. It’s a good hobbiest’s solution, not a reliable appliance.

Things that would have swayed my opinion? How about the ability to control the GUI with a mouse (especially the music playlists)? (I know… it’s designed for a remote/keyboard, but still…) How about a DVD player with a useable interface? How about a video player that I don’t have to tweak command line settings for different file types? These are all things that can be adjusted, tweaked, and customized as MythTV is simply a frontend to a set of well-established Linux multimedia tools.

Since Tivo has implemented fast-forward ads and still has a monthly fee while lacking a lot of major features and MythTV has proven to lack stability and polish, it looks as though I will be using Windows MCE… at least for the time being. I have decided, however, to keep my options open by using hardware compatible with both MCE and MythTV.

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