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Installing vdr and XBMC on Ubuntu Karmic
A few years back i decided to build myself a pvr with Open Source software. The first try was with MythTV which worked ok. But MythTV was all that a few years back and it's great for TV playback (cutting out the commercials) but it had terrible support for multimedia.
At that time a lot of people including myself were getting really frustrated by the fact that there still wasn't a great accelerated video playback on Linux. This all changed on november 14th 2008 when Nvidia decided to release a new drive which added support for vdpau. Vdpau is the API to accelerate video playback on Unix systems. This was great news and many multimedia applications started to support this API.
At the beginning of this year (2009) when searching for a new multimedia application I came across XBMC. That was because Phoronix (my favorite benchmarking/video driver site) mentioned XMBC to be getting mainline support for vdpau. So I clicked the link and soon after I was installing XBMC. After the installation the investigation began.
As I was getting used to the interface I started looking for the pvr options within XBMC. I must say I was fairly disappointed when I found out that there was only a Gsoc article for adding a pvr framework to XMBC, but that it was still pre alfa and nothing worked for now. But when I searched the forums I stumbled across a post form Freezy which mentioned a patch from Alwin Esch for introducing pvr through an add-on with vdr as a backend. After following the howto I patched XBMC manually and made a first install of vdr. Freezy provided a step by step guide and I got everything up and running after 24 hours and a LOT of coffee.
Form this point I started compiling everything from source (which I still do).
When I had the feeling I was getting familiar with the system I thought, now I need to do something about the power consuming hardware so I can lower my electrical bill.
So I bought two new Intel Atom systems. One from Intel itself and one Zotac Ion system. The Zotac Ion system is a fanless system with an Nvidia chipset which supports the vdpau API. Currently I have setup the Intel system as a backend and I use the Ion system for a XBMC/vdr combination as my pvr setup. In the howo below I try to explain how I did this.