Friday, May 26, 2006

Mythtv Adverts

Some stuff just works. The things that you would want to work more than any other just don't most of the time however.

MythTV can be grief to put together. Like all linux things, it is a journey, rather than a product. I have learnt more about linux through putting a MythTV deployment together over any other activity. You want to learn linux? Give it a try. Not for the fainthearted linux newbie.

So with a freebie, there comes a set of expectations. One of them being that you don't fully expect it to work all the time. You kind expect it to work most of the time, but realise there is going to have to be a bit of mucking around to keep it afloat. What else?

But it doesn't. I had a whole bunch of flakiness to contend with with the initial Ubuntu MythTV have-a-go, but after binning it and starting over with Gentoo, I discovered that it was all down to the hardware. For some reason if the processor goes at its rated speed, I am in for trouble. I didn't get the same problem when the same hardware was running Windows, but I guess that even when Windows is running full tilt it does it pretty inefficiently, and didn't stress all of the components enough at the same time to kick it over? Who knows, that is just idle anti-windows speculation.

So each night a script goes off and gets new listings for the guide. Whenever my shows come on, Mythtv just records them. No fuss. If the disk is getting full, it deletes old stuff. If you say you want to keep something, it keeps it.

It just gets on with it.

But best of all is the ad skipping. After recording, a script runs that does ad detection, and puts markers in the recording. Now clearly determining where ads start and end isn't science? I mean, sometimes it is a right giveaway, but often it isn't... sometime ads seem to flow seamlessly from the show. So you roll out your expectations once again, and accept that some of the time ad skipping will work, but mostly it is going to dump you right in the middle of next segment causing you to rewind to find the start.

But it works. And I am not even watching US tv, which it must be mostly optimised for.

You press the skip button, and it skips the ads.

Rock and roll.

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