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Compact MythTV Frontend. Advisor: Professor Wilsey. David Kesler. Dustin Grimmeissen. Richard Anderson. MythTV. Open source software intended to replace TIVO and other proprietary DVR systems Runs on a Linux machine storing video and other media to the hard drive

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compact mythtv frontend

Compact MythTV Frontend


Professor Wilsey

David Kesler





  • Open source software intended to replace TIVO and other proprietary DVR systems
  • Runs on a Linux machine storing video and other media to the hard drive
  • Media can be played back from hard drive
  • Can have multiple frontends serving media off a dedicated backend
mythtv problem
MythTV Problem
  • Users may not want to purchase a PC to sit next to their TVs
  • PC’s are large and often unsightly
  • Separate frontend/backend allows for a small, low power computer by the TV
    • Small general purpose computer are expensive
desired features
Desired Features
  • MythTV communicating and playing video from a backend
  • NTSC output on an S-Video cable to a television
  • Finished product size of approximately 50 cubic inches
  • Software:
    • An x86 Gentoo image less than 64 mb
      • With MythTV Frontend Compiled
    • A compiled Gumstix image with:
      • Framebuffer and core system drivers < 10 mb
      • X-Windows server
      • DirectFB Graphics Library
      • SDL Graphics Library
      • Sample Framebuffer Graphics Applications
  • Hardware:
    • Board capable of converting digital RGB signals to drive a VGA monitor
    • Successfully connected the board to the Gumstix, displaying the contents of the framebuffer on a VGA monitor
    • Hardware meets space requirements
design process
Design Process
  • Base system:
    • Used Gumsitx as the base system
      • Features:
        • 400 MHz ARM Processor
        • 64 MB of RAM
        • 16 MB of internal storage
        • MMC/SD Slot for high capacity permanent storage
        • Built in Ethernet and audio capability
      • Why:
        • Extremely small form factor
        • Low power, heat, and noise
        • Several features built in
design process1
Design Process
  • Software:
    • Compiled Linux image using Gentoo for x86 architecture, with MythTV frontend included.
    • Attempted building Gentoo image for ARM processor, but found MythTV to be infeasible.
    • Created Gumstix image from scratch, manually building framebuffer drivers and core system programs.
    • Compiled and installed framebuffer testing applications to Gumstix.
    • Compiled and installed DirectFB and SDL graphics libraries for future development.
design process2
Design Process
  • Hardware:
    • Initial design planned on utilizing Sigma Designs EM8620L or similar graphical processing unit
    • Second plan involved converting the Gumstix LCD controller output to S-Video
      • Created circuit board utilizing Analog Devices ADV7120 and AD723
      • Intended to interface with Gumstix through a CPLD downsampler / interleaver
hardware design
Hardware Design
  • Initial Test: Display colored bars using signals generated from a CPLD
    • Could not generate proper NTSC signal
  • Discovered output of ADV7120 can directly drive a VGA monitor
    • Successfully interfaced ADV7120 with Gumstix and VGA monitor
  • With further work it may still be possible to convert the Gumstix LCD controller signals to an NTSC signal
  • Due to the limitations of 16-bit color running MythTV or a movie player may not result in acceptable video quality
  • Due to cross-compilation difficulties, getting MythTV to run on an ARM processor may be unfeasible anyway
  • Compiled graphics libraries may allow for other media players to be compiled and executed in place of MythTV