How to build a Linux DVR

By Techwalla Contributor

The growing trend in home theater entertainment is a PC DVR. In my opinion building a Linux DVR offers flexibility, performance, and features that are far better than commercial competitors. The best thing about a Linux DVR is that software is totally free. This article will detail how to get started to build a Linux based DVR.

Things You'll Need

  • PC assembly required
  • Internet to download software

Step 1

Get quiet or silent PC hardware. The main thing to get for your Linux DVR is storage and a decent video card. Storage would require at least 160GB and for HD content it is recommended to go more since it is about 1-2GB/hour of recording. It is recommended to use an Nvidia based video card for Linux. Nvidia has good Linux support and the newer Nvidia cards have VDPAU which is hardware enabled video encoding for better TV performance. Also if you plan to do HD content it is recommended to have a 2GHz processor and at least 2MB of RAM.

Step 2

Get a TV capture card that is Linux compatible. There are numerous TV capture cards that are available for a Linux DVR. They include TV capture cards from Hauppauge, AverMedia, and Pinnacle. TV capture cards vary from the number of tuners supported, PC adapter type, number of channels it can store, and performance. Identify what your PC can handle and search for TV capture cards that fit your Linux system.

Step 3

Install Linux DVR software. The Linux DVR software may be the most complicated procedure in this article. Yet in recent years the install process has gotten a lot easier. There are numerous types of Linux DVR software available including MythTV, LinuxMCE, XBMC, and Freevo. There are also different "flavors" of some of these types of software including Mythbuntu, LinHES, Mythdora which are all based on MythTV. Search each of the websites to find the Linux DVR software that will suit your needs.

Step 4

Sit back and enjoy the Linux DVR experience. Some features that you can expect from a Linux DVR include recording TV, pausing, watching movies, watching home videos, home picture galleries, music playlists, web browsing, games, home automation, weather updates, RSS feeds, Youtube, Hulu and more. The Linux DVR is a feature rich home theater PC that will give you hours of entertainment.