User:Misterhaan/HTPC Setup

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this guide details how i set up my htpc (home theater pc) with mythbuntu 10.10, connected to a separate mythtv backend running on fedora. it should play dvds and audio cds from its optical drive, digital photos from memory cards, videos / music / photos from a server making files available over nfs, and internet music / video from sites like youtube and hulu.

install mythbuntu

get mythbuntu from [url=][/url], burn it to a disc and boot from the disc. choose install mythbuntu. check both boxes for download updates while installing and install third-party software. use entire disk. click install now. choose time zone, then keyboard layout. on the next screen enter your user information. keep in mind that the username will show in the upper right. i choose log in automatically. the next screen asks what type of mythtv install you want, and i go with frontend here since i have the backend on my fedora box. next are options for vnc and ssh, both of which i turned off. if you have a remote the next screen lets you choose it. next you can enter the security pin that is set in the backend and test the connection. it won’t work because mythbuntu 10.10 uses mythtv 0.23 while fedora 14 is on 0.24, but it will work after updating mythbuntu to the latest mythtv.

once it's done installing it will reboot. it will probably have a bunch of updates to install, so go ahead and do that, and reboot if it asks you to. now install the mythbuntu repository to give your mythbuntu install access to the latest mythtv:

[code]wget sudo dpkg -i mythbuntu-repos.deb[/code]

answer yes when it asks to activate repositories, and choose your desired mythtv version (0.24). update which updates are available:

[code]sudo apt-get update[/code]

that should make the update icon show up in the notification area, so click it for the update manager. it will pop up a scary window saying it can only do a partial upgrade, so do that. it should say it's going to remove 0.23, install 0.24, and update some other mythtv stuff, so continue with that. once it’s done it will ask you to restart again, which you should. mythtv should come up now and you will be able to play recordings from your backend on your new frontend. further instructions will help set up other useful features for an htpc.

enable nfs network shares

for some reason my workstations never see my server, so i have to add it to the hosts file. in linux this file is at /etc/hosts — add a line to the end that contains the server’s ip address, a tab, and the name of the server.

ubuntu doesn’t support nfs by default, so install it with [code]sudo apt-get install portmap nfs-common[/code]. edit /etc/fstab as root and add one line for each nfs share in this format:

[code]server:/nfs_share /local/mount/point nfs noexec 0 0[/code]

when connecting over wireless the server can’t be accessed until the wireless is connected, which happens at login (after fstab mounts happen), so the best i know to do is mount them manually. where it says [code]noexec[/code] instead put [code]user,noauto,noexec[/code] to not mount at startup and to allow any user to mount.

make sure your local mount point directories exist (create them with sudo mkdir /local/mount/point), then you can manually mount everything with sudo mount /local/mount/point, or just reboot.

remove stuff

i prefer to not have things installed that i don’t use, which is going to be more than usual for an htpc. since ubuntu just installs what it expects you to want without giving you any options, i need to remove the ones i won’t use afterward. the command for that looks like this:

[code]sudo apt-get remove package[/code]

where packages is at least one package to remove. to remove more than one package, separate their names with spaces. here are the packages i remove:

[bullets][b]brasero[/b] - nice disc burning software, but i’ll keep to one of my other computers for that. [b]empathy[/b] - an im client. maybe if you want to put a webcam in your living room and also use your htpc for video chat you’d want to leave this, but i don’t seem to even have a webcam that isn’t built in to a laptop anyway. [b]evolution[/b] - supposedly this is a pretty nice e-mail and calendar application, but i don’t plan on doing e-mail from the living room. also remove evolution-common. [b]gwibber[/b] - a “social client” which my best guess is that it’s for updating twitter and facebook and those sorts of sites. not something i want to do from the living room, and i use thunderbird for this anyway. [b][/b] - an office suite isn’t very useful on an htpc either. this one has a lot of packages to remove: should catch them all. [b]pitivi[/b] - video editing software which i haven’t figured out how to use quite yet anyway, and also don’t need here since i want it to play video not edit it. [b]rhythmbox[/b] - a music player that doesn’t do all that well with my read-only mp3 share from my file server. i’ll install audacious instead. [b]simple-scan[/b] - an oversimplified scanner interface, missing important basic features like preview. i won’t have a scanner connected to the htpc anyway. [b]transmission-common[/b] - bittorrent client for quickly downloading files from the internet. while this is handy for downloading the latest ubuntu iso images, i’d use a different computer for that.[/bullets]

here’s the full command to remove everything i remove:

[code]sudo apt-get remove brasero empathy evolution evolution-common gwibber pitivi rhythmbox simple-scan transmission-common[/code]

install more stuff

of course there are also a few things i use that aren’t in ubuntu by default. add them with a command that looks like this:

[code]sudo apt-get install packages[/code]

where packages again is at least one package to install, and multiple packages can be specified separated with spaces. ubuntu can find most software i want — i’ll discuss those it can’t find or that it finds an older version of than i want later. here are the packages i install with apt-get:

[bullets][b]audacious[/b] - sound player derived from xmms (similar to winamp). this works better for my setup than the default player (rhythmbox). audacity is added to the [i]sound & video[/i] submenu of the applications menu. [b]mythtv[/b] - i’m hoping this will connect to my server’s mythtv setup and be able to play shows in high definition and surround sound from there, skipping the commercials. [b]screenlets[/b] - desktop widgets/gadgets/whatever you want to call them. some possibly useful ones here are clock, calendar, weather, slideshow, and if you’re on wireless, mount helps you mount nfs drives with a mouse click. screenlets shows up in the [i]accessories[/i] submenu of the applications menu. [b]ubuntu-restricted-extras[/b] - mp3, flash, java, and dvd playback. these changes affect browsers and players that are installed (or will be installed later) so nothing is added to the applications menu.[/bullets]

here’s the full command to install everything i install:

[code]sudo apt-get install audacious mythtv ubuntu-restricted-extras[/code]

now that i’m done messing with packages, this command removes everything else that used to be needed but no longer is because whatever needed it got removed:

[[code]sudo apt-get autoremove[/code]

mythtv setup

hmm, i probably don't want the backend. i should probably rewrite this whole page with mythbuntu tonight.