HDTV and Kodi in your living room - based on Nvidia VDPAU, VDR and Ubuntu Linux

June 03, 2012
01:42 PM CEST

Announcing yavdr-0.5.0-alpha1

There is good news and bad news. Bad news first: On this blog, we have failed to inform you about all the exciting stuff that happened since the release of yaVDR 0.4 in October 2011. Shame on those of us who claim to be able to write regular blog postings in an adequate English... ;-) But now for the good news:

Without giving you any clue about the progress of our work on the next yaVDR version, we would like to announce the release of yavdr64-0.5.0-alpha1.iso today. The members of the yaVDR team are happy that the public can now join in with testing, improving and extending what we have been working on hard over the last eight months.

The name of the release gives it away: This is without any doubt an alpha release. It is not stable or polished or feature-complete. Brave testers or developers who fear no risks may download it via our download page and evaluate it. Inexperienced users should stick with our stable releases yaVDR 0.4 or yaVDR 0.3.2 until a stable release of yaVDR 0.5 is available.

The new features and improvements of yaVDR 0.5.0-alpha1 are:

Frontends

New default frontend softhddevice: vdr-plugin-softhddevice is a new approach of developer "Johns" (VDR portal user name) to offer a VDR frontend that supports both VDPAU and VA-API. We have chosen it to be the new standard VDR frontend of yaVDR 0.5. On the long run, this means that it may become easier to use the hardware decoding features of GPUs from Intel and AMD besides Nvidia GPUs. But there are strong indications that AMD / XvBa is the most problematic candidate to develop for. If you want to learn more about this new VDR frontend, please visit the following pages (most content is in German language):

The other frontends that are part of yaVDR 0.4 (xine, xineliboutput/vdr-sxfe, PVR350, TT S2-6400 and SD-FF with TechnoTrend hardware) are still available and can be activated using the web frontend.

XBMC as a frontend is also available, but still seems to be the most experimental frontend of them all. The XBMC version that ships with alpha1 is based on the Eden PVR branch.

Changes in the foundation

yaVDR 0.5.0-alpha1 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit (Precise Pangolin) with Kernel 3.2.x (currently 3.2.0-24). As with our previous stable release, no 32 bit ISO image is planned. Also, no upgrade from yaVDR 0.4 (Natty Narwhal) to yaVDR 0.5 is possible. A fresh installation is required.

For the installation of yaVDR we continue to make use of the alternate installer of Ubuntu. There are some changes that should make the installation easier:

  • WLAN configuration: yaVDR users now have the opportunity to set up a WLAN connection during the installation process (untested).
  • Partitioning: Logical Volume Management (LVM) ist not the default setting any more regarding partitioning the hard drive. Instead, the classic way is offered. Two hints on partitioning:
    • The experience shows that users who have never used LVM before should not use it with yaVDR for the first time. It involves a learning curve and makes things more complicated.
    • The folder /srv should be assigned to an own big partition to store the recordings separately from the system. This makes upgrades much easier.

The upstart scripts were refactored to a great extend. User-mods of yaVDR 0.4 may not work any more with yaVDR 0.5. Please check first how the upstart scripts have changed before pasting any modications into them.

The Launchpad package repositories used by this alpha version are testing-vdr, testing-yavdr, testing-xmbc and main. Whenever a final stable release of yaVDR 0.5 will be available, the repositories will then become the ones with "stable" in  their name.

Updated VDR core

The first alpha of yaVDR 0.5 ships with VDR developer version 1.7.27.

Device bonding (also known as LNB sharing), satellite channel routing (also known as SCR, Unicable, EN50494) are now part of the VDR core. With yaVDR 0.4, those features were only incorporated into VDR core using 3rd party patches. The consequence is that the new configuration file scr.conf succeeds the now obsolete configuration file unicable.conf that was introduced in yaVDR 0.4.

Livebuffer support was dropped: We have decided to drop the support for the livebuffer patch that was introduced in yaVDR 0.4 because maintaining it involves an extraorbitant amount of work. The patch for the VDR core has to be refactored for each and every new VDR developer version. At the same time it is unclear what features the users really expect from a Livebuffer. Please check this German language discussion if you are interested to learn more about it: http://www.vdr-portal.de/board16-video-disk-recorder/board55-vdr-plugins/111788-wunschkonzert-livebuffer-plugin/

Fresh DVB drivers

If the DVB drivers shipped with kernel 3.2 don't contain the drivers you need, you may want to use our updated linux-media-dkms package: This package backports the latest development improvements regarding DVB drivers to be used with kernel 3.2. Driver packages known from earlier yaVDR versions (v4l-dvb-dkms, s2l-liplianin-dkms) are discontinued and now obsolete.

VDR plugin updates

Improved support for remote controls and receivers

  • lircd2uinput binds all daemons with lirc socket (LIRC, ir-server). It may also be manually configured for daemons like activylirc or irmpserver (those daemons are not shipped with yaVDR but are reported to work with it)
  • eventlircd: Integration of new keymaps and evmaps for various remote controls. A big thank you to all users of yaVDR who created those configuration files and sent them to us!
  • udev rule for Home-brew devices (16x50 UART compatible serial port) to compensate for the change of  LIRC device IDs caused by some drivers
  • Support for yaUsbIr which can be easily enabled in the Web frontend. yaUsbIr is a new LIRC-enabled USB IR receiver/sender that supports to power up an HTPC. For more information on this receiver, please read this German language discussion.
  • alpha1 ships with pre-configured lircd.conf configuration files for the profiles KLS and MCE. Those files can be easily selected via the yaVDR Web frontend to be used with a yaUsbIr or Home-brow receiver (16x50 UART compatible serial port)
  • alpha1 ships with a standard profile for CIR-receivers + MCE
  • Support for the Playstation3 PS3 BD Remote added. Initial pairing via terminal is necessary: See http://www.yavdr.org/documentation/0.5/de/ch02s03.html for further details.

New features regarding Zeroconf and Avahi in the Local Area Network

  • Sundtek DVB device detection added: Sundtek DVB devices that are available on the local area network on a different machine are detected automatically. Sundtek drivers are installed automatically on device detection.
  • Improved Avahi-Mounter for dynamic zeroconf mounting of NFS shares. Works with all yaVDR versions as of yaVDR 0.4. Other servers/NAS devices can also be included in this scenareo if their shares are announced via Avahi in the same way.

Updated documentation

Updated German language documentation: www.yavdr.org/documentation/0.5/de/ (still a bit incomplete)

How to report a bug

Please post bug reports on our bugtracker: https://bugs.yavdr.com/. Thank you!

Have fun with yaVDR64-0.5.0-alpha1!

 

hepiPermalinkViews: 142836
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chessplayer
June 12, 2012
11:16 PM CEST
Good to hear

Hi guys, since you have been busy working on the new release instead of blogging, I did not really expect to find anything interesting here tonight. Indeed, it seems that your announcement has gone largely unnoticed for almost ten days now, as I seem to be the first one to comment ;-) Anyway, looking forward to testing this on my ZOTAC as time permits and THANKS for all the work you guys put into this! Cheers, chessplayer (a satisfied user of yaVDR0.4 + voldemoert-plugin)

Kumo
July 02, 2012
09:58 AM CEST
Awesome

Exactly what I needed. I wanted to have a small, fast booting Linux distribution that was flexible enough to comfortably (i. e. not much more hassle than with a dedicated) watch TV but still be able to run Firefox for browsing. I know this is alpha, so I won't complain about those little problems I encountered. But I thought I'd note them here ;). I love XBMC and with Live TV it's nearly perfect for me. Even the "experimental" XVDR-Plugin works nicely, except that I always have to reenable it, once the system was booted. Btw, is it possible to start firefox from XBMC? Like running Linux commands? That's what I'm still missing... Also, XBMC doesn't seem to shut itself down. I can't manage to shut my computer down (be it to S3 or S5) by the menus. Of course it works per SSH. The web frontend is veery nice. With the SoftHDDevice plugin I often get crashes (at least until it has managed to start properly). It's great that one can stream other channels through the VDR live webpage, but it'd be even better if that would be possible with other frontends like xine or even xvdr (I know, that's probably the wrong place to note this, sorry). On top, I can't seem to get the HDMI-Audio working with anything other than XBMC. I have to admit however, that I didn't spend too much time reading manuals about the configuration and bugs yet. Thus: Keep up the good work :).

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