(June 2003 - December 2013)

After the first release of Knoppmyth in 2003 my friends and myself quickly noticed how cool it would be to have a dedicated linux pc running as a settop box under the tv and have movies and content available. Manu Heirbaut showed me his setup that had a Hauppauge PVR 350 card and could record smooth video in realtime under linux. That totally sparked my imagination and I wanted to have such a system running in my living room. Basically a TiVo running on steroids that would be fully customizeable.

On the left is the finished myth box which I created using some old pc hardware I had lying around. By taking an old desktop pc case and putting some acrylic on front of it + a lot of sanding and painting got me to something that fit nicely in the living room was pleasing to look at and jam packed with features.

I was still a PhD student in those days so I did it all with a minimal budget. Basically the Hauppage card was the most expensive nearly doubling the entire budget of my mythtv box but it was at that time also an awesome ingredient allowing to have a good capture of tv content without using too much diskspace. Incidently after the capture a background process would be started and that would transcode the video into an even more compressed format. For this divx or h264 could be used but the hardware was just not fast enough to that in realtime. In order to be able to record 2 or 3 hours of smooth video on the hard disks of that era the Hauppauge card was the only viable option. Sure it was mpeg2 but right after recording was done a transcode could spend a couple more hours in minimizing the file.

Specs: Hardware MPEG2 encoder card to record video tivo like and schedule recordings. LCD screen showing next recording, status, disk space free etc. IR remote control supported through the Hauppauge PVR 350 card and built into front panel. 2 Large hard disks for storing recorded content: movies, tv-shows, etc.

On the bottom right is an HD44780 lcd which at that time I controlled directly using the parallell port on the pc. The power button on the left was also constructed using some acrylic, painting and added a nice red led inside. Also the small clear window in the left was the IR remote receiver for the Hauppauge 350 card I used to capture video. It worked well on linux and basically allowed you to record MPEG2 video straight to disk without using much cpu power. Last but not least the middle part was a trapdoor that would fold down if you opened the dvd tray (which knoppmyth supported with some scripts+remote control). So I could also pop in a dvd or cd which we're at that time still a popular media format.


More details are in some old blog archives ... page is under construction...


Nowadays in 2020 the hardware needed is still linux based but it's much cheaper and smaller. You can get a decent setup doing most of the same things we did back in the old school days but now with a pocket sized 35$ raspberry pi. Using an awesome project called KODI. To get you up and running with a pi download a distrubition like this one libre elec: Libre ELEC a lightweight os for running kodi