Ready-made MythTV Media Centre/PVR Available

Based around the MythTV open source personal video recorder package, Australian company Development One (D1) are selling a home media centre from AUD$1800 (~UK£738).

The HMC has all the usual features: DVD/CD playback, audio jukebox, PVR functions, electronic programme guide – but it’s the first MythTV/Linux appliance we’ve seen available commercially. It runs Redhat with a custom 2.4.22 kernel, and MythTV, the popular GPL PVR software. The D1 website makes no mention that the HMC is Linux based – presumably as it’s being marketed as plug and play, and Linux has anything but a plug and play reputation.

The HMC comes in a Shuttle form factor case with LCD status panel and even has a remote control for accessing commonly used functions.

Interestingly, the MythTV feature that enables users to skip ads has been disabled, but there’s a quick hack to get round that.

MythTV is still in early development stages and still has a few show stopping bugs in it – it can quit unexpectedly, even on well-behaved systems. It will be interesting to see how consumers get on with an appliance that could potentially dump them out to a Linux command prompt.

We’ll have more on MythTV in the future as the application develops.

D1’s information on the Home Media Centre

Slashdotters discuss licensing issues


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?