[vdr] VDR server(/client) options

Luis Palacios luis at derqui.net
Wed Feb 15 13:21:28 CET 2006


I would like to share the options I know about building a vdr box as  
server + clients (Analog TV/LCD Display) versus having the vdr box  
close to the
TV/Monitor (I guess most of you have), so It can help others. I  
appreciate if
you add your comments.

VDR unattended server with clients (Analog TV or LCD Display)

       |   |             Normal
    +--------+          Antenna
    |  vdr   |            _///
  +-|  box   |            |\\\
  | +--------+            |
  |    |    |             O
IR    |    |             |
/RF  net  tvout/audio   /
       |   +-+-------+  /
       |   |modulator|_/
       |   +-+-------+
       |     |
       |     |        +------+
       |     antenna  | TV   |     remote+
       |     cabling--|      |  +  IR/RF
       |              +------+
       | +------+
       +-|vdr   |
            +----+or  TV |

I have this setup because I want my vdr box in a separate central  
site (i.e.
in the garage) and want to see the selected channel in any of the  
TV's. Remote control is done using IR to RF converters (1 base  
station at
server site).

Option (A) is the most simple/cheap I've found, it's based on reusing  
antenna cabling of your house. Connect the tvout+audio into a modulator
and add the signal into a selected vhf or uhf channel, then select that
channel into any of the TV's. Obviously quality is the bad thing  
here, but
it's simple and all of the vdr capabilities/features work (osd,  

For Option (B) there are several options and all based on using the  
or wireless network of the House.

B.1: Where the "VDR client" is a Hauppauge MVP.
(note, I'm not doing any advertising here, just sharing info,
any other suggestion regarding a cheap vdr client network based,
wireless enabled, and eventually with a DVI or VGA output
instead of a scart connector, is welcome)

You need an extra box (small) close to your TV, connected to the
network and to the tv via SCART. It's a bit challenge to install but
I'm pretty happy with this solution. It's almost like having the  
VDR close to your TV. It has it's own menus and you can access video 
mp3, videos, pictures in the vdr box.

The advantage versus (A) is the quality, which is almost perfect  
The disadvantage I've found is that It can't use the original menus from

B.2: Where the 'VDR client' is a Win/Mac/Linux and MPlayer or similar.
The you need the vdr-streamdev plugin (http://www.magoa.net/linux I
recommend the CVS version).

In this case you simply connect your MPlayer(or similar) to
http://yourserver:3000/channel and output on your your laptop/pc/...  
or you use the VGA/DVI out to a LCD.

This option is the one with the best quality, however I've found it
a bit unusable due to: 1) you need a PC close to your TV 2) for non- 
users (i.e. kids) as you don't have the OSD Menus and channel change  
is slow,
then it's difficult to use.

B.3: Where the 'VDR client' is again Win/Mac/linux and you use  
streaming technologies

1.- vlc (http://www.videolan.org/). In this case you have two options:
  - Run VLC server in the VDR server together with streamdev
  - Have 'FF Card' and Run VLC server in the VDR server without  
  The problem is that with streamdev you loose again the OSD menus  
and without
  it you need a FF Card. In both cases similar disadvantages as in B.2

---and info received recently by Stephan, that I haven't study yet---
2. ffserver+ffmpeg:
   I have tried this but with no success :-(
   If you get this working: Please tell me!

3. xawtv: It can display the decoded picture of your FF-card.
    That works, but without sound.

4. kvdr: http://www.s.netic.de/gfiala/
    It can display the decoded picture of your FF-card, too.
    That works only on the same machine where the FF-card is located and
    additionally can control VDR. Very smart solution!


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