Report: Open Source PVRs?

PVRs rock, plain and simple. Whether it is ReplayTV or TiVo, you always know that you will have something on the ol’ tube when you have a hankerin’ for a good flick to watch. For quite some time, I have been a happy TiVo w/DirecTV subscriber and I don’t know how I ever managed without it! Recently however, I have found myself wondering what other PVR ideas are coming up on the horizon.

As most of us already know, there are a variety of PVR software solutions for the PC available out there. They range from SnapStream to Freevo for those who are willing to build their own DVR using a computer instead on a standard DVR tuner. The PC PVR software that caught my eye the most was called MythTV. An Open Source project, MythTV does all of the things that we would normally expect from a PVR, but it also offers a whole lot more.

Cool, new features include:

  • Weather information from the Web right to your TV set. MythTV offers its users a full weather module that brings the latest weather information from the Web directly to you on your TV. You can receive current conditions, the forecast, everything you might expect from a weather feature like this.
  • DVD ripping module. Since this is basically a PC that you are using to run MythTV, you have the option to rip DVDs right from your TV set while relaxing comfortably in your easy chair.
  • RSS feeds right on your TV set. You read this correctly, folks. Get RSS feeds sent right to your TV! Read your favorite blogs right before sitting down to watch that movie you recorded. This feature alone is just too cool if you ask me.
  • Distributed architecture for multiple recording machines. This means that you can have MythTV record or playback to/from more than one PC. Imagine a network of DVRs, each with their own designations for different genres of your choice!

For an Open Source project that you can get for nothing, I’d say that MythTV has a LOT to offer. I have not decided whether or not I will be trying it out anytime soon, though. I guess it depends on my schedule and whether I can justify the time spent on getting it working. Besides that, there is my “practical side” that will nag me with the knowledge that I already have a perfectly good TiVo and do not really have a need for another PVR. For now, I guess I could just look into options such as RSS for TiVo. Sure, it means that I would have to install and run TiVo Control Station, but it might just be worth it to get RSS on my TV set.

What do you think? Have any of you had any experience with RSS for TiVo or MythTV? If you have, I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences. Shoot me off an e-mail and tell me all about it. :o)

Let’s get digital,
Matt Hartley

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Our resident "Bob" (pictured here through the lens of photographer Jason DeFillippo) is in love with a woman who talks to animals. He has a fondness for belting out songs about seafaring and whiskey (arguably inappropriate in most social situations). He's arm-wrestled robots and won. He was born in a lighthouse on the storm-tossed shores of an island that has since been washed away and forgotten, so he's technically a citizen of nowhere. He's never killed in anger. He once underwent therapy for having an alien in his face, but he assures us that he's now feeling "much better." Fogarty also claims that he was once marooned along a tiny archipelago and survived for months using only his wits and a machete, but we find that a little hard to believe.