Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


How to get rich

Okay, not being a technogeek (please keep reading!) this article came as a suprise to me.

My first thought - Boris could make a ton, a ton I say, of money building and installing these open source digital video recorders for people. Everything’s not as open-standardsy as they suggest here - XMLTV my ass. Not something the average person would have the patience to fool with, but boy would they (I) enjoy a cheap DVR customized for my digital system (LOOK TV in my case). Of course, my 15 year old, 13” TV set would probably need to be upgraded. Enough blather - read on…

wired article

Thanks to several open-source projects, you can build your own digital video recorder that will blow boxes from TiVo and ReplayTV right off the shelf.

About a dozen collaborative software projects are in the works that will transform a spare computer, or one built from off-the-shelf parts, into a homemade digital video recorder, or DVR. They also can record multiple shows simultaneously, archive shows to video CD, play digital music and computer games and display photographs and local weather forecasts.

Thanks to the combined expertise of about half a dozen hackers from all over the world, the project is close to assembling a complete software package for homemade DVRs. Version 0.9 of the MythTV software is due out next week.

Based on Linux, the free software features an easy-to-use graphical interface, which can be navigated with a standard remote.

The MythTV software offers all the basic DVR features – it can pause and rewind live TV, and fast-forward through shows and ads. It supports multiple tuner cards (and multiple simultaneous recordings) and boasts picture-in-picture capability if there’s more than one tuner card installed. It also offers basic video-editing capabilities and allows shows to be archived to video CD.

MythTV grabs programming information from the Net using XMLTV, an open-source project that scrapes television listings off the TV Guide website.

For example, Raffi Krikorian, author of a forthcoming book called TiVo Hacks, is planning to build a MythTV DVR from scratch that will record two shows at the same time, store about 250 hours of programming, play DivX movies downloaded from the Net and archive shows to video CD. The DVR also will record radio and play MP3, Ogg Vorbis and other audio formats, while grabbing free programming information from the Web.

MythTV has a nifty distributed architecture that allows multiple machines to work in concert, recording and streaming shows to each other over a network.

There are about a dozen home-brew DVR projects, all based on Linux. Others include Freevo, eBox and the Dave/Dina Project. Krikorian said MythTV was probably the most complete and up-to-date. A list of the projects can be found at the Linux PVR Depot, which also maintains a database of the hardware used by various people.