After talking about for quite a bit, I finally have a computer setup running MythTV.
I decided to go for MythDora. It has the advantage of being straight forward to use and still leaves me with a fully functional desktop computer (which KnoppMyth doesn’t really do. It did leave me one slight headache - I didn’t have a spare DVD drive (MythDora is 1.2GB) so I had to borrow the one from Windows desktop). The hardware I have is pretty moderate (well, really low end for most applications - a Sempron 3200 and on board GeForce 6100 with a Hauppauge HVR 1300) but it runs as a combined backend/frontend without any problems, even when recording, transcoding and viewing TV (an “advantage” of living in a country where HDTV is still not a thing).
On the subject of transcoding, there was one stumbling point - specifically it just didn’t work at first (I got the illuminating error message “Failed with error code 0”). After posting the output to the MythTV-Users mailing list someone pointed out it was a MythDora packaging problem - libmp3lame hadn’t been installed.
The only thing that isn’t working now is the MCE IR blaster for controlling my Sky box (I’m just using Freeview though the DVB tuner on HVR 1300). lirc seems to be setup right since when I run
irw and press buttons on my remotes (either the MCE remote that came with the HVR or the Sky remote) it detects them properly. Running
irsend doesn’t do anything though (there’s not even an error). But at the moment I’m recording more than I can watch with just Freeview anyway.
Next time, less rambling.