Don't have a lot of money for a new Home Theater PC? No problem. Mythbox is open source, free and runs great on a cheap PC. It's perfect for a HTPC if you're on a budget!
If it's new to you, check out the Wikipedia description of MythTV... it's a "Unix application which turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or Home Theater Personal Computer. MythTV is free software licensed under the GPL. It can be considered as a free and open source alternative to Tivo or Windows Media Center."
So for our Home Theater month, we drug our resident MythTV mavin, Brendan White, out of the IT department and in front of a camera to walk us thru configuring a MythTV machine, from CPU to tuner cards.
You can use it as a DVR, watch DVDs, and, of course, enjoy videos downloaded off the web -without- the hassle of file conversion or worrying if your player supports that particular codec.
Brendan's favorite way to build a MythTV box is using the Mythbuntu distro... an Ubuntu OS install customized for MythTV.
The MythTV Wiki has a ton of useful info on hardware.
The MythTV on Ubuntu Wiki can help you sort out any OS issues.
Looking for DVB drivers? Check outLinuxTV.org!
Thanks to Brendan for taking the time to walk us through this!
Wondering where the DIY projector episode of Systm is? It's coming... we've just had quite the comedy of errors getting it built. Our apologies on the delay!