With the release of Windows Vista, using your PC to watch and record TV has become a whole lot easier. Now, for the first time, Windows Media Center comes bundled with Home Premium and Ultimate versions of the standard Desktop operating system. However vista is not just costly but buggy stuff loaded with DRM. If you want full control over your Home Theater PC (HTPC), and don’t want to have to pay Microsoft for it, then Linux is a more than capable alternative base for building a system of your own.
Currently, the two dominant players on Linux are Mythtv and, to a lesser extent, Freevo. We'll take a look at both of these applications (via OSNews) as well as others you can use to create a fully functional Linux HTPC.
On a related news, Linux.com compares three MythTV based Linux distros:
My Series 1 TiVo is getting old, so I am planning an escape route based on MythTV, a free software system that turns an old computer into a personal video recorder. This week I tested three MythTV-specific Linux distributions: KnoppMyth, MythDora, and MythBuntu. I found MythDora the best overall fit for my needs -- but there are important distinctions between the three that may lead you to a different decision.
Personally I'm using MythTV under Ubuntu Linux and it worked like a charm.