Linux HD-DVR

After having an HDTV for a couple of years now, I had wanted to be able to record HD programming. I had read about the pcHDTV tuner card for linux and started researching how to generate an HD component signal for the TV. I wanted the unit to be able to generate both HD video and drive a SPDIF signal for 5.1 audio. I stumbled on the Roku HD-1000. The next couple of paragraphs describe the steps I went thru to build my DVR.

I purchased the pcHDTV card and installed it on my low end via box. The via box is a slow cpu box, but generates very little heat. The only fan is the power supply. The tuner card drops right into the PCI slot. I located the PC upstairs for best reception using a simple RCA interior loop antenna. (you know those $15 ones). I installed the supplied software from pcHDTV and fired it up. Worked first time. The only caveat is I needed to update the boot sequence to modprobe the driver in. The box was running SuSe 9.1, but there are instructions for RedHat/Fedora as well.

Next I hooked up the Roku to the TV. I hooked up the Roku to the 1080i component input on the TV. Roku setup was easy. I verified everything was working with a couple of pictures on a CF card.

I recorded some video off the air, and hooked up the Roku to the network. Because I wanted to use NFS instead of samba to link the Roku to the PC, i telneted into the Roku from the PC (user root/no password) and issued

/etc/init.d/portmap start
mount /home/nfs

After I found this works, I altered the Roku's boot sequence to do this at boot.

I immediately noticed the Roku could not play video files larger than 2GB. Ouch. So I went to their website forums and noticed they have a 2.0 Beta version that overcomes this limitation. So I downloaded the new release & put it on a CF card to transfer it. Again, their instructions were simple & worked first time.

Using the Beta 2.0 software I could play large files. Next I discovered a freeware program called MPlayer for the Roku. Grabbed it off the net & tried it. I have to say, MPlayer is nicer than the built in player. It allows bookmarking, FF, REW etc.

The picture below shows the setup.