Friday, October 28, 2005

OpenLaszlo Weblog

Sweet. Wiki, Forums, Email lists and now a Blog. I like the more casual voice over there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

O'Reilly: Building My MythTV Box, Part 1: Hardware

O'Reilly: Building My MythTV Box, Part 1: Hardware

Saturday, December 04, 2004

dvd authoring

I've been doing something fun with my (not yet completed) PVR. I've already filled the disk with lots of video from around the world, and I need to free up some space. So I started looking into the process of authoring DVDs. It's easy enough to write a data disk but I thought that I'd explore the DVD aspect since it's nice to be able to show some of my collection to people without the lovely Mplayer. So enter dvdauthor. This is another stunning piece of open source work. There's so much functionality there that is not really expressed in the docs. There's good info on how to do some of the basic things but nothing that addressed one of my pet peeves of many DVDs.

I like to put on a DVD of a TV series and run through a couple of episodes in a row. Star Trek is my counter-example, they do the worst job of making usable menus. We're given an episode selection, then an episode submenu. When the episode is over, it jumps back to the submenu. Warner Bros has a lot more experience with DVDs and their users so Babylon 5 does this perfectly. After every episode, it rolls to the next. They also allow you to jump to a specific epidsode and have some bonus features available on the episode submenu. This is what I want my DVD's to do, but I couldn't find the info anywhere.

After thinking through the problem and trying a couple of different solutions, this is a two episode example of what I settled on:

<dvdauthor dest="DVD">
<video format="ntsc"></video>
<pgc entry="title">
<button>{ g0=0; jump title 1 ; }</button>
<button>{ g0=0; jump title 2 ; }</button>
<button>{ g0=1; jump title 1 ; }</button> <!-- play all -->
<vob file="menu_final.mpg" />
jump cell 1;

<video aspect="16:9"/>
<vob file="ep1.mpg"/>
<post>if (g0==1) {jump title 2;} else {call vmgm menu;}</post>
<vob file="ep2.mpg"/>
<post>call vmgm menu;</post>

The long and the short of it is that it works. If either of my readers have a better way, please leave me a comment.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Another project...

AnandTech has a multi-page piece about building a MythTV based box. I'll get through that and have something to write about later.

Got the new DSS service started this weekend. Next I need to get the box to control the D10 receiver. Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

P2P as Timeshifter

I'm Still finishing up some final bits on the current PVR design, the only thing that isn't 100% yet is recording programs. Some funny issue with channels and schedules, but that's another conversation...

Anyway, while I'm still working on the PVR I'm using P2P as my timeshifting technology.

Last night Dat Phan was on Last Comic Standing and I'm particularly interested in Dat because my broncle* is writing for him.

That gives him the funny (even for a comic) job description of "Reality TV Writer"

At any rate, I watched LCS last night but didn't record it. I even saw the commercials so I'm not stealing. This morning I was able to pull a copy off the net so that others may get to see the routine as well.

Thankfully the Grokster case was won by the right people and we may yet get to continue this fair use. Now I need to get an HDTV card to make sure that I'm able to do this once the broadcast flag goes into effect.

Question for NBC: Would you choose a broadcast standard that didn't work on millions of TVs? Don't mention HDTV because that is an emerging standard. I'm referring to the ability to watch videos online with something other than Windows Media Player 9.

*broncle: Uncle raised as a brother, makes me his nefrother.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Screw ATI, nVIDIA is the way

The hardware is finally assembled and Mandrake 10 is running. The biggest problem was the video card. A donated ATI Radeo 7200 was in there for a while, but after reviewing what woul be required to turn on the TV out, I started evaluating other choices.

I just happened to have a no-name GeForce 4 4200 Ti about and slapped that in. and Bingo!

I'll get a full breakdown on the hardware with photos soon. Until ATI provides a page like the one linked above, I won't even try to make their boards work in any of my projects. I'll spend my money on supported hardware thank you very much.

Grand total for parts (purchesed new at current street prices) about $535 Not bad, more than I expected, but not bad.
Chassis - $40
Motherboard - $65
CPU - $67
RAM - $110
Capture card - $12
VGA - $86
Keyboard+ Mouse - $15
DVD+RW - $80
HDD - $60

Now that I look at it, the extra 512MB or PC2100 DDR is an expensive luxury.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Dear Mr Hatch...

Please protect the printed art industry from this device which blatantly enduces pwople to violate copyright:DigiDraw will allow anyone with a pen and a digidraw to make near perfect replicas of line art, drawings and photgraphs.