My Home Media Server Project Update

Welcome back to the continuing chronicle of the creation of my home media system. In addition to the Linux operating system there are three primary functions that the system must perform, download content from the internet, host it up to the set top boxes, and provide a pretty front-end for the television. These functions have been relegated to three specific applications:


When you’re talking downloading video, bittorrent is a no brainer. The only issue here was which bittorrent client to use. In windows I use Azureus for two main reasons: first, it manages all the torrents in a single window, second, it moves the completed torrents to a specified directory. For some reason I could not get it working in Linux. It installed and ran, but none of the torrents would ever begin downloading. BitTornado, my second fav in windows also had the same problem.

The original bittorrent client does work fine though, it also has one distinct advantage in that it will scan a directory for new torrent files and download automatically. So, after hours of trying to get the others to do anything, I had no choice but to use the original. There are two problems, at the moment, with this setup:

  1. There is no obvious way to programatically move completed downloads.
  2. There is no way to monitor downloads from a remote terminal.


I decided to use samba as my file server simply because it can interface with my windows machines. While the goal is to go set-top, right now I’m primarily viewing the content in windows media player. During the Linux install I created a 100gig partition to store all of my files. That partition has two primary directories /data/matt and /data/public. I used Samba to create network shares for the two directories. “matt” would store all documents and backups, “public” would store all media files. On a side note, I managed to hack together a shell script that uses rsync to back up the MyDocuments folder on my laptop with /data/matt/MyDocuments.


Of course, MythTV is the software this project is based around. I downloaded and installed MythTV and have the front-end running on my server for testing. Installation wasn’t going well for a while, until I found some Red Hat specific directions on installing MythTV. From
what I’m told, by far the easiest way to install MythTV is with the KnoppMyth installation CD. KnoppMyth is an all-in-one MythTV package complete with their version of Knoppix, a form of Linux. The problem is that in order to use KnoppMyth I would have to give up Red Hat, which would complicate things tremendously for me. I am however thinking that KnoppMyth will be perfect for the set top box; though I’m still not sure what the implications of this will be since I plan on using a Mac Mini.

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6 Responses to My Home Media Server Project Update

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