I’ve blogged in the past about my exploits with MythTV, and playing around with Personal Video Recorders. Over Christmas we bought ourselves a new TV and DVD player, to replace our aged tv, freeview box and dvd player, all of which had faults. However, our video recorder is also showing some signs of age – it was a wedding present – and I recently saw that eBuyer now have the Acer Revo “nettop” PCs for only Â£120, and I began investigating the world of PVRs again.
Here’s what I would really like:
- something that can (at least) mimic the functions of the video recorder, ie recording and playing back shows from TV
- something that can handle our library of DVDs
- something that can give easy access to online video content, ideally iplayer and seesaw as they now cover most of the stuff I’d want
Other items (picture viewing, other video plugins, etc, etc) are a bonus that is a consideration, but not a deal breaker.
So I started to look around at some of the current popular offerings. As far as I can tell, MythTV is still the one to beat for straight PVR, although there’s a certain amount of confusing online as to whether or a not a Revo could handle it as a combined backend/frontend. (The dual-core model seems like it might, unsure about the ‘bargain’ box).
When it comes to the online content, there are 3 big boys out there – XBMC, Plex (which is only for MacOS) and Boxee. I’ve looked at all three, and here are my conclusions:
- XBMC – the code upon which the other 2 are based, but seems to be nice. The interface is usable and looks a lot like plex. However, the browsing for plugins is rudimentary, and the list of plugins only had a couple of things I wanted. A search online seemed to come back with a lot of ‘this can’t be done because of DRM’ replies, and yet the plugins exist for Plex, so why not….?
- Plex – pretty nice, although it did have one or two annoyances, not least the reliance on OSX which would make the Acer Revo a more difficult prospect (if a prospect at all)
- Boxee – the new kid on the block making a lot of noise, but, in my opinion, not yet delivering. They need to sort out getting more plugins in there, and it needs an interface to MythTV too It had a whole load of “social” stuff built into it, but, frankly, I don’t think I want/need that. (Reminds me a bit of the Flock browser)
I _want_ to like Boxee, but I find myself leaning towards XBMC more at the moment. Alternatively, there are a load of plugins for MythTV itself, so maybe that is a better option?
I’d love to hear from anybody who has similar needs, and also anyone who’s running Myth on a Revo.