I've always found mythtv to be rather... bloated. A bit of a clone of devices like tivo's, with the same limitations. Not really sure what the objective is on this, since it doesn't actually DO anything that you can't do better using a regular desktop system and lightweight media players like mplayer, xine, or vlc. Right, plugins with stuff like a web browser. Something wrong with firefox? Client server model... mediatomb+djmount. What am I missing? What is its PURPOSE? To look pretty?
Not really sure what the objective is on this, since it doesn't actually DO anything that you can't do better using a regular desktop system and lightweight media players like mplayer, xine, or vlc.
You're right, you're completely missing the point. It should not be seen as a desktop application and should not be compared with standalone media players, as they have their own purpose (to play back media on regular desktops/laptops with a screen, a keyboard and a mouse). If mplayer, xine or vlc fits your needs, good for you But if you have three or more TVs, you likely want something more advanced/centralized/bloated than mplayer + xine + vlc + a bunch of home made Bash scripts, to deliver content, services and intelligence to your TVs.
I'm tempted, but last time I tried installing MythTV I almost throw my computer out the window. I've heard XBMC is implementing proper TV recording. If that happens, I don't think MythTV has much future. It's just too complex to install and manage (even for geeks).
If you found it somewhat challenging, you're not totally mistaken- it can be challenging and seem needlessly complicated compared to other TV recording devices you've used or interacted with. Digital TV recording in the US requires two key parts: channels plus their metadata, and guide listings. Any commercial device makes this look easy, because they can take full advantage of CableCards and guide data listings. With the CableCard, you get every channel you subscribe to, with their proper names and channel numbers. The guide service is rolled into your monthly fee or as part of your purchase price, and is integrated, configured for your exact area (needing only a zip code perhaps), and automatically updates itself.
With something like MythTV (or really any non-Windows PVR program), you and or the program have to configure all of this yourself. In addition, to those items, you have to handle the tuners, and the program needs to be able to handle anything you can throw at it, across the world's different broadcast and equipment standards.
"somewhat challenging" is a hell of an understatement. Uninstallable would be much closer...
It's pretty easy to do Digital TV recording in Europe. The Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) is embedded in the stream and its easy to decode. For recording all you have to do write that stream to disc untouched. The same you would with an HTTP stream or any other.
I guess most complexity in MythTV comes from the client/server orientation and its old codebase. But the installation complexity has no excuse whatsoever.