Tag Archive for 'pvr'

Raspbmc – the XBMC distribution for Raspberry Pi

Edit: Check out Raspbmc’s new site now!


Crystalbuntu and XBMC: recent issues

Hello everyone,

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for the XBMC at all. First, we had the MySQL issues plaguing users with multiseat setups which resulted in the preliminary update (not exclusive to the PVR branch), and then we had an issue where the PVR system constantly tried to remove entries from the EPG. I’d like to thank Bharath for pointing this one out, which he found through increased heat output from the AppleTV. The problems caused were:

  • Excessive hard drive usage
    • Bad IO throughput, resulting in degraded performance of XBMC and plugins
    • Hard drive could not standby due to permanent usage
    • Heat output was great due to hard drive in constant activity.

A quick scouring of a debug log and PVR branch led me to the conclusion that recent changes to XBMC was causing an infinite loop. While this has not been resolved in the PVR branch, I have patched the offending source code to fix the issue and raised an issue report on Github here

Users should see an increase in performance almost immediately. Please bare in mind these issues are not the result of incompetence, either on Team XBMC’s part or my own. The fact is that issues can arise in using nightly builds on a bespoke platform. What I feel makes the difference, is how quickly a response is made to the problem and how it is dealt with. I am starting to see the need for Crystalbuntu to perhaps get its own XBMC repository.

Please restart your AppleTV for resolution of these issues.

PVR:DVB in the UK: still not quite there

Getting a good PVR setup is annoying me lately. Virgin Media offer cable services over DVB-C but it is impossible to connect a device like the HDHomerun because of encryption. DVB-C cards will not work without a Conditional Access Module (which is likely not legal), not to mention the violation of TOS when you hook up equipment to their network that is not authorised. With flaky and quite frankly unappetising offerings on DVB-T (Freeview), and a lack of DVB-T2 cards back in June 2010, I took the DVB-s2 route. I’ve got a dual tuner TBS6981, and it works fine for playback / recording with Astra 28.2E.

Really, what I want though, is a nice integrated system with XBMC. MediaPortal does not play very nice. The channels seem to parse fine in the application, but the orders are unchangeable and are far from acceptable, as well as the issue with EPG information. Scrap that, I tried setting up a minimal Linux distro with XBMC and TvHeadend (fast boot off SSD I’ll tell you that). Unfortunately, recordings don’t seem to go into fstab mounted SMB shares, and the EPG listings reset constantly (I don’t want web-based listings, we get EPG data over DVB-S and I should be able to use it).

TVHeadend didn’t cut it. It insists on rescanning muxes every time, as well as purging its EPG listings on reboot. Once the dev resumes work in the summer, it might be good for a server box, but I was running this on an all rounder-machine, that is regularly rebooted. I did like the AJAX interface, which seemed a nicer touch compared to MediaPortal’s .NET system which seems to not use different threads for the UI and background processing, resulting in long periods of the UI thread locking while waiting for MP to query the remote database. MythTV and me haven’t got on that well before, but I guess I’ll be going back to try it now that I’m not using such a poor DVB-T aerial and I can actually get some decent SNR attenuation.