Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

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IrY100Fan
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Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by IrY100Fan » Sun Jan 01, 2023 4:34 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am putting together a MythTV system (separate back-end plus four front-ends) and was hoping to use a few small Single Board Computers (SBC) for my front-ends. My requirements are playback of Over The Air (OTA) HD digital recordings and ripped DVDs and Blu-Rays. I have tried both a Raspberry Pi 4 and a Libre Computer "Le Potato".

The Pi 4 seems to work well enough with DVDs and HD OTA but stutters when playing back Blu-Rays plus they have become impossible to acquire at a reasonable price. (Raspberry Pi Foundation's last few updates on the status of production leads me to believe they wont be available for a few years.)

The "Le Potato" is also not meeting my needs as HD OTA video playback is jerky and ripped Blu-Ray playback is like a slide show.

Has anyone had any experience with any other SBCs that might work? Would like to keep the price to under $100-$150 per unit. I have started investigating the Odroid N2+ as a possible alternative.

Thanks.
-Brian

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by gedakc » Sun Jan 01, 2023 7:41 pm

The only SBC's I've tried as frontends for MythTV (v31 most recently) are Raspberry Pi 2/3/4s. I was able to get acceptable performance, but not excellent because interlaced content (1080i MPEG2 in my case) still showed some judder (image jumps in video playback). This was most noticeable in sports programming.

My best playback has been with x86_64 computers. Most recently I picked up a Beelink Mini S (Intel Celeron N5905) for $200 CDN and my testing with MythTV v32 so far shows it to have perfect playback.

IrY100Fan
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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by IrY100Fan » Sun Jan 01, 2023 11:36 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I will check out the Beelink Mini S.

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by LinuxGeek28 » Mon Jan 02, 2023 3:01 pm

Though I have not tried it, a used Dell Wyse 5070 (1 liter PC) can be found on ebay with an Intel Pentium Silver J5005 and 8gb of ram for about $100 US. Onboard video for the J5005 is pretty robust.

There are plenty of guides on youtube explaining how to turn this thin-client into a full fat linux client.

My main front-end is a ShieldTV which seems to run the full android client just fine and since I only have one TV, I haven't bought a 5070 to experiment with, yet.

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by jfabernathy » Fri Jan 13, 2023 10:46 am

If you have a remote backend, then the best frontend IMHO is the FireTV 4K stick running Mythtv Leanfront. The picture quality is perfect. Just as good as any other streaming app like Netflix, Prime Video, etc. And it's cheap, $25 right now.

I reserve RPI4s for Combo FE/BE use. The raspberry pi 4 video has improved a lot recently. If you run Raspberry PI OS 64 bit and run mythfrontend from the console and not the Desktop Environment it's pretty good now. To build that follow viewtopic.php?f=46&t=4799

A step up in video quality is Ubuntu 22.10. This just came out and shows lots of improvement in video. Follow this install thread viewtopic.php?f=46&t=5225

But in my opinion the absolute best video quality on a RPI4 4GB is EndeavourOS, which is built on Archlinux, but a whole lot easier to install. Follow this thread for more information: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=5000

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by cliveb » Sat Jan 14, 2023 3:24 pm

I started thinking about other SBCs when my RPi4 died (USB system failed), but all the advice was that I'd have to build MythTV from source.

I have just successfully set up a new frontend machine using a Lenovo M625q Tiny that I got from eBay for £85 (about $100).
It has a higher spec than the RPi4 and I think it works better as a frontend.

There seem to be plenty of ex-corporate tiny PCs of this type (HP, Dell, etc) going for quite low prices, but you need to be careful about which ones have fans if noise is an issue for you. Lots of the Lenovo ones have fans - the M625q is fanless.

I was temporarily using a Firestick 4K Max running the full MythTV frontend, and it worked OK but you could tell it was borderline - sometimes playback of recordings (UK Freeview HD - I believe it's 1080i) could get briefly choppy before recovering, and it seemed to be content specific - the same bit of video caused the choppiness, so I'm guessing that particular sequences of frames confused the Firestick's decoding? I did try Leanfront but don't like the interface. Oh, and you can't play DVDs through a Firestick, of course. We like to play our DVDs through MythTV so you can bypass all that preliminary guff that you have to sit through on a DVD player.

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by warpme » Sat Jan 14, 2023 10:01 pm

IrY100Fan wrote:
Sun Jan 01, 2023 4:34 pm
Hi Everyone,

I am putting together a MythTV system (separate back-end plus four front-ends) and was hoping to use a few small Single Board Computers (SBC) for my front-ends. My requirements are playback of Over The Air (OTA) HD digital recordings and ripped DVDs and Blu-Rays. I have tried both a Raspberry Pi 4 and a Libre Computer "Le Potato".

The Pi 4 seems to work well enough with DVDs and HD OTA but stutters when playing back Blu-Rays plus they have become impossible to acquire at a reasonable price. (Raspberry Pi Foundation's last few updates on the status of production leads me to believe they wont be available for a few years.)

The "Le Potato" is also not meeting my needs as HD OTA video playback is jerky and ripped Blu-Ray playback is like a slide show.

Has anyone had any experience with any other SBCs that might work? Would like to keep the price to under $100-$150 per unit. I have started investigating the Odroid N2+ as a possible alternative.

Thanks.
-Brian
Brian,

If you look for SBC then it means for me small device.
Small device means we need HW video decoding for all expected video formats (mpeg2, vp8, h264, hevc, vp9)
In this context rpi3 serves only h264; rpi4 offers h264/hevc
It you look on rockchip (3328/3399): it offers mpeg2, vp8, h264, hevc, vp9
The same for Allwinner: H6 offers mpeg2, vp8, h264, hevc, vp9

So thing is in budget: cheapest are H6 TV boxes (20-40Eur) - but be prepared for thermal issues. If you are ready for simple HW mods for thermal - go for H6 box/SBC. It does rounds around rpi4 as media player...

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by dochawk » Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:50 pm

It seems that, at $129 to $149, the appletv and a $10 app costs less than many combinations of parts for a front end. I'm picking up one in a bit, I was tottering on buying it anyway.

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by yawlhoo » Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:20 pm

I have a new, late model Apple TV 4K. After reading this, I got the MythTV app. Compared to my frontend on a modest NUC it's a bit buggy, after skipping forward several times in a commercial there's a slight lag and the audio frequently drops out. There's no macro skip, 10 min forward and back. I don't know what kind of hardware an Apple TV 4K has, maybe it just doesn't have what it takes to perform the necessary tasks. The interface to the recorded programs is serviceable if spartan. In terms of MythTV versioning I'd call this version 0.03.

Although it's nice to see such efforts in this space, I've gone back to my NUC frontend.

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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by pvr4me » Wed Jan 25, 2023 1:52 pm

The AppleTV 4K has an A15 Bionic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A15

That should be lots of grunt...I suspect the app could use some tweaking.

Craig
Formerly the MacPorts guy.

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dochawk
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Re: Recommendations for SBC Frontend.

Post by dochawk » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:54 pm

ah, swell.

On the bright side, an excuse to build another gadget!
:lol:

but then, I'm out of hdmi inputs, having only two!

So, yeah, a $20 switcher but that's one *more* remote control.

And once we've watched everything off the old TiVo, I guess it would just be the myth front end and the appleTv, since the dvd only gets used every year or two. and the Wii hasn't been used since the kids got their own for their room.

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