Friday, 12 November 2010

What to Watch?

I mention in an earlier post that we would have a Network Media Tank (NMT) linked to our TV and would be able to ‘stream’ audio and video recordings from the NMT to the TV.  We have converted our DVD library to digital files on the NMT internal hard drive.  Rather than just transferring them to the NMT I have converted them from DVD format to AVI.  Essentially this process compresses the DVD’s to approximately on sixth of their original size.  To do this I used a program named Avidemux

However this isn’t our only source of video date.  We have also been capturing and recording broadcast TV programs.  I used a home theatre personal computer (HTPC).  The pc used the Linux operating system (Ubuntu) and a program named MythTV.  Our HTPC has six TV tuner cards when gives the capability to capture up to six different TV channels simultaneously.

MythTV will accept data from an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and the user (me) can selected programs or series that I want to record.  MythTV is ‘smart’ enough to remember what I want to record and what I’ve previously recorded.  It will then automatically record those programs I’ve indicated I like and ignore any previously recorded programs. 

Another advantage of MythTV is it can automatically identify and cut out commercial breaks from a recording.  Finally, I have it linked to a post-processing program which converts the recorded date to AVI format. At the end of this process the file is transferred to the NMT.  After capturing and converting programs for the last five years I don’t think we will lack viewing material on those nights where there is no satellite signal.

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