Some points of interest about real world MythTV use:
- Recording from a cable box is more haphazard than you would wish -- the most reliable way to record anything you've paid to be able to watch is to get the Hauppage HD-PVR which lets you plug in the composite video cables from the cable box and use an IR blaster to change the channels. Modern cable boxes have a firewire output, which should let you both record digitally and change the channels, but it's fairly haphazard what channels your cable company will let you see unencrypted on the firewire output. Also, the HD-PVR will allegedly record in either 720p or 1080i, but there are some issues with the linux drivers for interlaced video, so you're currently safer sticking to 720p.
- Most of the USB remote control boxes on the market, including the HP branded one that I inherited from Bonnie, are essentially the same as the Windows Media Center one.
- If you're setting up a filesystem partition for mythtv, XFS is currently stable and designed for large files. ext3 is usable; ext4 is a bit bleeding edge and people have lost data using it.
- If you can't handle the volume on the mythtv users mailing list, there's an indexed archive that you can search.
- The speaker repeated the common wisdom that an NVidia graphics card with the NVidia binary-only driver "just works". This has been very much not my experience, but it must be true for lots of people.
- He admitted that his first install of MythTV took a week of hard work before it "mostly worked". He says that once you have the setup working, using it (even for the non-technical) is no harder than a commercial system (such as Tivo), and administering it is a couple of minutes a week for an experienced Linux user, but setting up is definitely harder than it should be.