Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Watching "Dirty Jobs" from my bathroom!

That's right, I'm so excited about MythTV that I'm blogging from the crapper, and am damn proud of it. Right now, I'm on the toilet, running MythTV frontend on my laptop which is wirelessly connected to my MythTV backend. And yes, the bathroom door is shut :D

I wasn't able to get this working well with my last MythTV setup, so I figured that with 1 hour shows being 1.1GB, that it must have been a network problem. Well, it's working great with my new backend server, so as it turns out, the poor performance must have come from the backend machine itself.

My Hardware:
My last backend box was a 733MHz P3; my new one is a 2.4GHz P4. My laptop frontend is a 1.73GHz Centrino with plenty of power.

My Network:
802.11g WPA. I'm upstairs from my DLink wireless router (I used to use a LinkSys, but found it had awful range) with the door closed.

My Performance:
I'm a code monkey Linux geek, and honestly, I have no idea how I'm getting this kind of performance over a wireless network. This 1-hour-long show I'm watching is takes up more than 1GB of disk space, and I'm able to start watching the video, and jump through it quickly. The menus are a little sluggish, and it takes about 2-3 seconds to start up a recording, but once it starts up, the video is running really well. Even FFWD/RWD is responsive, only giving me about a 1 second lag.

To compare, I tried running a mplayer on this file through a remote X ssh shell. I was able to see about 1 frame a second. Again - it's amazing how great the MythTV frontend/backend connection works.

Conclusion:
I'm super-impressed - it looks like I won't have to run CAT5 cables throughout my house afterall. In fact, it might be a fun project to try to setup diskless computers around the house to network-boot linux and act as MythTV fronends. Of course if I get around to it, I'll post my results!

Way to go, MythTV team -- the client/server architecture holds up across a WPA wireless network!

1 comment:

Charlie said...

The reason mythtv works so well over Wifi is because its only transfering the video file or the live tv stream in a very heavily compressed video format. Either mpeg2 or mpeg4.

In the uk SD digital tv is transmited using DVB this actually provides an MPEG 2 stream (so theres no need for the card to do any encoding, makes for cheap tv cards). Even thats only a few mega bits per second, so a 802.11g network can easily manage. Sometimes errors cause the data to be resent wich can cause a half second pause in the video.

As far as I know the Xserver doesn't use anything nearly as compressed as MPEG2 to send the screen up dates. Its not really designed for video streaming.