My MediaMVP and GBPVR experiences

The following page details the initial woes which I experienced with MediaMVP/gbpvr.  The issues had been resolved after this page was written, and the current status can be found here.

I had initially installed and run LinuxMCE on my newly assembled HTPC back in April ‘07; however, shortly after I decided to upgrade to a Blu-ray drive to watch movies in high-def, and Linux is not BD ready.  (The studios' overly- and foolishly-restrictive end-user policies will probably never allow Linux to natively playback high definition videos by just dropping them in a hi-def DVD drive and hitting play.)  So I used an unregistered copy of XP home that I purchased a few years back for my wife’s old laptop, which died just after installation but prior to activation.  I then found GB-PVR perchance and decided to get rid of my Panasonic DMR-E20.

First off, let me say that GB-PVR is wonderful and I highly recommend it.  Although my recent upgrade to ver1.15 was problematic,  the problems were not attributable to GB-PVR.  As of February 2008, only the automatic EPG update does not work consistently--but it's no trouble to manually run yapi2xml once or twice a week.

Prior to GB-PVR ver1.15, I was running 0.99.12 on the HTPC as my PVR to time-shift, using the Zap2it EPG.  Two other things happened concurrently with my upgrade:

1)    I decided to set-up the MediaMVP in the family room in order to minimize DVD damage by The Wifetm and kids and secondarily to reduce the clutter.  (I bought the MediaMVP in January 2007, but finally got around actually taking out of the box in early November 2007.)
2)    Zap2it went under and I switched to yapi2xml.

I upgraded the GB-PVR s/w with the prerequisite vcredist first, ran the configuration for the GB-PVR, and set up yapi2xml.  (I stress that the Hauppauge s/w was installed, but the appropriate tasks were set to manual start.  And the GB-PVR s/w was installed to its default location.)  Again, GB-PVR had been working properly ‘till this point.

So, what happened?  In no particular order:
1)    When actually achieving a connection and having media streamed to it, the mediamvp refused to play divx files.  (I have the divx codec, as a long-time registered user of divx-pro and dr. divx, installed.)  The file extension was “.avi”.
 2)    GB-PVR, on the HTPC, played the divx files in an upside-down mirrored image (most odd) or with audio at the wrong pitch.  How, I haven’t a clue.  (I was able to stream and playback the divx files on another pc without a problem.)
3)    In spite of selecting the analog-only listing for Time-Warner through the yapi2xml setup, the EPG in the GB-PVR had listings for what turned out to be the digital version of analog channels.  (The yapi2xml.xml file was ok.)  Thus, when I set up a timer recording of a channel, the digital channel would be tuned-in and the resulting recording would be static only.  Watching live TV worked fine.
        a.    On a side note: when I deleted the digital channels in the capture sources, the analog channels could not be viewed live, and the TV Guide listings were blank.
4)    TV guide text sizes were inordinately large.  Easily rectified by editing the xml file, but why the increased default sizes?
5)    The biggest migraine-inducing issue was the MediaMVP not finding the server—or even acquiring an IP address—most of the time

The MediaMVP and server headache:

My home network, as it was configured when I upgraded to GB-PVR 1.15, consisted of a residential wireless-gateway, configured as a DHCP server, with all machines on my network having static IP addresses.  (DHCP for addresses in the range of  The MediaMVP, located upstairs, was connected to one of the ports on the 8-port hub.  The HTPC motherboard, Asus P5 DH Deluxe, has three NICs (two wired, one wireless).  The GB-PVR configuration was set for one MediaMVP.
Again, the Hauppauge s/w was installed and had the appropriate tasks set for “manual” start so that they would not conflict with GB-PVR's recording service.  The MediaMVP would take a long time to find a server and boot after having to restart the GB-PVR recording service.  Well, sometimes it took a long time.  Most of the time, it could not find the media server or even get an IP address.

In order to troubleshoot, I installed the GB-PVR s/w on the PC in my office and connected the MediaMVP to the office hub.  Here the MediaMVP worked more often than not.  (Oh, divx files also worked properly on the office machine, when selecting them through GB-PVR.)  There was obviously something amiss on the HTPC.

After uninstalling then re-installing GB-PVR a number of times, and having a similar success-to-failure ratio of booting the MediaMVP, I decided to go a bit of a different route.  I modified the cat-5 line to be a cross-over, re-routed the line, and connected the MediaMVP directly to the second NIC on the HTPC instead of the 8-port hub.  (See diagram for current configuration.)  I set the HTPC for Internet Connection Sharing.  The success-to-failure ratio increased significantly, but no-where near 1.0: probably about 0.8.  It also took a long time to boot the MediaMVP --nearly 2.5 minutes—when it did boot.

At this point I uninstalled the GBPVR s/w, edited the registry to remove all references to the GB-PVR software, and re-installed GB-PVR.  Success!  I probably should have edited/cleaned up the registry at the beginning…..but then again, the HTPC doesn't have a lot of software installed, un-installed, etc.  If you're having issues with the update, I would recommend editing the registry in addition to un-installing and re-installing the newer version.

MediaMVP has been booting all the time, and in less than 15 seconds.  Also, divx files play flawlessly for the most part.  I’ve had a few divx files playing abnormally on either the gbpvr or MediaMVP.  Re-encoding those few videos solved the problem.

I am now serving xvid- and divx-encoded files to the MediaMVP without a hitch.  Well, there’s one hitch: The Wifetm is not too happy about having a new box, though diminutive, in the Family Room.  The kids (6 and 8), on the other hand, have adapted quite nicely, thank you.  

And DVDs are now safe in their jewel boxes.

An annoyances/bugs/fixes:

When displaying pictures in “slide show” mode on the MediaMVP, the screen blanker kicks in.  GB-PVR explicitly states that the screen saver will not activate when playing videos, but the slide shows mode is not playing videos: It's following the letter of the law.  Also, sometimes videos served to the MediaMVP are out of sync with the audio: simply hit pause then play and all is well again.

Current Status

February 2008
I love it!  Again, other than the GB-PVR not automatically updating the EPG consistently, everything is working fine.  The boys love having access to their favorite shows (Pre-historic Planet is the latest favorite) and home movies via the wife is even getting used to it.

I added Media Portal and purchased a Harmony One remote in mid-March and late March, respectively. Media Portal consistently crashed and I eliminated it.

A humorous, and somewhat frightening note about my six-year old:  I showed him how to boot the MVP, running mvpmc, in emulation mode and then goto the video library to watch his favorite movies.  And that's all I showed him.  Well, one day I setup PVRX2 to record a couple of TV shows.  A few days later I decided to watch them.  Nothing!  What the blankety-blank??  Geez, did some recent application mess up GBPVR?  I quickly discovered the problem.  My six-year old had recorded over 100GB of TV programming in three days!  Everything from Disney Channel & Cartoon Network programming to Dirty Jobs.  When I asked him about it the next day he was very proud of his discovery.  "Dad, you didn't know this but, there's this thing on the box (the MVP) that, if you hit this thing called TV Guider (yes, "guider"), then you can press this button and then......."  Damn! He figured out how to record shows.  Now I have to check the drive every night, delete shows, and tell him that the hard drive is out of room......

February 2009
All has been working for the passed six months or so--I connected the MediaMVP to the HTPC directly, and use Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) to serve as the DHCP server to the MediaMVP.

Questions, comments, concerns? e-mail me, Greg Kimnach (non-hyphenated American)

Why do young people drive like they're days are numbered, and old like they've got all the time in the world?

website last updated February 2008.