TAG | acer revo
Over the weekend I decided it was time to add another frontend to my existing MythTV setup so we could get live tv on our other TV. For a bit of background, my MythTV setup is using the Silicon Dust HD Homerun to deliver OTA HD content. So the requirements for the new front end were:
- Must support 1080P output
- Low power
- Capable of running Myth Frontend and XBMC (I still prefer XMBC for non-live content)
- Cost effective – the total build price needed to be sub $300
Previous to this upgrade, our living room TV was hooked up to an AppleTV and ran XBMC for playback of stored content. The system worked, but with events like the Olympics, the Oscars we were getting tired of having to watch them on the basement TV which was hooked up to the Myth backend. So with my requirements and goals in mind, I started researching for a new box that would meet my needs.
After doing a lot of research I found the Acer Aspire Revo AR1600-E910L which has an Intel Atom 230, 1.6Ghz, 1GB DDR2 SDRAM, 160GB, Nvidia ION LE Graphics with HDMI, HD Audio, eSATA, Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Gigabyte LAN and a Card Reader. This box turned out to be a perfect fit – $250 at Canada Computers and the Nvidia ION Graphics gave me the ability to run VDPAU support in MythTV to accelerate the HD playback. The other cool thing I didn’t realize is that the box comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse included – nice for the times when you have to do some tuning of the setup that can’t be done over SSH.
The first task after getting the box home was to install Mythbuntu on the machine. I tried using the ISO to make a USB stick, but the machine didn’t want to boot off a USB drive. I found a thread on the Ubuntu forums where someone had the same issue. I tried the suggestions in the thread, but nothing would get the machine to boot from USB. Luckily I had an existing server in my house and was able to Netboot the system. I won’t get into all the details of how to do that, but Ubuntu has great “How to Netboot” wiki page.
After getting Mythbuntu installed the only issue I had was “jumpy” playback of HD TV. After playing with the MythTV settings for playback I found the following changes made things perfect:
Under TV Settings->Playback
Page 1: Enable OpenGL vertical sync for timing (This resolved the “Jumpy video” issue)
Page 3: I added a simple profile, with one setting for all resolutions
Decoder: NVidia VDPAU acceleration
Video Renderer: vdpau
OSD Renderer: vdpau
Primary Deinterlacer: One Field (1x, Hw)
Fallback Deinterlacer: Advanced (1x, Hw)
And everything was perfect – the live TV is streaming from my HD Homerun to my MythBackend and then to my new Revo frontend. I’ve still got some work to do like setting up the media center remote, but my first impressions are that this box really has what it takes to be a killer Myth frontend.