Boasting 1.5 terabytes of storage, Jeff Morrow’s cool machine has the capacity to hold enough music and video files to satisfy even the biggest afficionado of pop culture
Learn From My Mistakes
1) Expect your hard drives to fail. Plan for it. It WILL happen. My server previously had a 1 terabyte RAID 5 array. The drives started going bad, so I had to completely port the data over. Wow, was that hard. I actually had to buy the new drives, PLUS USB enclosures for all of them (because there was no more room inside the box). I then had to create a temporary RAID array with the USB drives, copy all the data, then remove the old drives and install the new drives in the case. It took me close to a week. You'd be amazed how many brand-new, out-of-the-box hard drives will FAIL a badblocks check ...
2) Do NOT skimp on the power supply when you're building a box with this many hard drives! In addition to the big power supply, I use a CyberPower 1500AVR UPS, since the power coming in to my house is occasionally a bit inconsistent. I suspect the shaky power may have been partly responsible for the failing hard drives mentioned above.
3) MythTV is not perfect software. You've heard it before — YMMV. But it is very good, and is very actively developed. It does a lot of things very well, but like all open-source software, if you run into trouble and you aren't a programmer, you'll be at the mercy of the support forum (which is quite good, don't get me wrong).
4) Some TV cards include a special chip for video processing. Mine doesn't. I'm considering getting one that does, because that processing currently takes up CPU cycles. Not a big deal, but occasionally annoying when I'm trying to also do something else.
5) You'll need a video card that supports XVideo extensions. See www.x.org or www.xfree86.org, depending on which version of X you're running.
6) For many reasons (including the last two points I made), it is ESSENTIAL that you thoroughly read the "Checking prerequisites" section in the MythTV documentation.
Jeff Morrow is available for consulting on this project or similar projects through his company, Morrow Technical Contracting. Contact him at: email@example.com.