Updated MythTV Guide

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I’ve finally got round to updating my MythTV guide:

This is the most major change yet, with a complete new look for the site. I’m going to release site’s graphics as an Ubuntu desktop and usplash theme, so if you like it then watch this space!

As far as the guide goes, it’s had a thorough overhaul to make it more relevant to the new Feisty packages and it now focuses on the EIT TV listings rather than the Internet based XMLTV stuff, mainly because this is so much easier to get working and now has some advantages such as listings for digital radio.

25 thoughts on “Updated MythTV Guide”

  1. Thanks so much for your guides. They’re a great start for someone who had no Linux knowledge a few months back and now I have a decent Mythtv system, thanks to your help!


  2. Hi Alistair,

    Thanks for the feedback. I hope you get as much use out of your system as I get out of mine!


  3. I also want to second Alistair’s comments. I built my first MythTV system about 2 years ago on a spare 800Mhz using Fedora (initially on Ubuntu but this was too slow) using your guide. I’ve now got a spare 2.8Ghz so I’m giving it another go. I’d ask for you to wish me luck, but your documentation is top notch so I don’t think I’ll need it!

  4. Hi Garry,

    Cheers for a great guide , Ive been using it over the last week or
    so to build a myth box in a punditS.

    Pretty much all working now , just a few more remote control tweaks needed!!

    Thanks Again

  5. Great guide! Thanks very much for such clear and concise work, it really made the whole thing very easy for someone who’s not well versed in ubuntu.The one place that I’m still lost is the final section of part 2 that talks about setting up the remote. I had no problems installing lirc etc. however I did get lost with the lircrc file – it wasn’t clear where this file should be created or copied to – this one final section wasn’t quite as idiot proof as I needed it to be! :-)

    But apart from the remote, my old pundit is working like a dream!

    Thanks again

  6. Hi Jon,

    Glad it’s mainly working! I know what you mean about the lirc stuff. The problem is, it’s a bit of a pain to get working, full stop. The guide does say where to copy each file if you read it carefully. If you have a specific question then I’ll try to help.

  7. Excellent guide, used it to setup MYthTV on a spare box as an experiment. Am now about to upgrade my server & install on that. Thanks for the guide.

  8. Excellent guide. I’ll have to give it a try to see where I’ve gone wrong.
    I’ve only tried installing MythTV using KnoppMyth and MythDora.
    In a nutshell, it works on my old Athlon 1000MHz pc, but it is slow.
    My main problem is that it takes 3-5 seconds to change the viewing channel. Is this normal or is there any way of improving this?
    My pc spec is Ath1000Mhz, 512MB, Geforce2, Nova-T pci 90009.
    I also have a hollywood plus dxr3, but can’t figure how to make use of it yet!

  9. Hi Richard,

    A number of factors can affect the speed it takes to change channel. Your CPU, tuner card and the strength of the signal can all play a part. I’ve found that slow machines can really spoil the responsiveness of Myth on other things, too – one reason why I’m not a big fan of low-power frontend systems.

    You’ll find that a faster PC helps with channel changing, but it will never be as fast as the built in tuner on a digital TV. You’ll find that a lot of people, me included, watch live TV through their TV’s tuner and only recorded stuff through Myth… not that I watch much live TV anymore.

  10. Thanks for the response Garry.
    I did wonder if I’d done something wrong.
    I placed the Nova-T into a P4-2.4 Celeron, 512MB system and still find the channel changing slow.
    I was hoping to use a MythTV PC to replace my current Freeview PVR (I don’t have a digital TV), but it looks like I’ll have to modify my plans a little.
    Maybe a consumer Freeview receiver for my channel hopping duties & live TV and a MythTV for recordings.
    Just out of curiousity, how long does it take to change from BBC1 to BBC2 on your HTPC using chan+? And what about from BBC2 to ITV1, also using chan+?
    I haven’t got the funds source a system as grand as your HTPC, but I was wondering how responsive it is!

  11. Hi Richard,

    My system currently takes about 5 secs to change from channels 1-2 and 2-3. It takes 3 secs from 3-4 and 2-1. That’s with a signal strength of just 20% – I live in a fairly bad area for Freeview reception. Still, it’s pretty poor. Although, like I said, I never use the feature.

    Another way you can get around slow channel changes is to enable “browse mode”, with which you can browse through the programme descriptions and hit OK to select the channel.

    Also, my system isn’t so grand. It’s just got a few “silent” components, which aren’t that expensive.

  12. This is a brilliant self-contained web site for those who want to make a MythTV Ubuntu box. I built a near clone of the system described here – excellent.
    Of course there are always things to sort out.
    In my case, I have 2 identical tuner cards fitted (Hauppauge Nova-T DVB-T), so the prescription in the MythTV Tips section for making the Lirc Device Static doesn’t quite work – the vendor id’s for the cards are identical, but only one has an IR sensor plugged in. I added an extra test in /etc/udev/rules.d/10-local.rules so mine now reads:
    I found that that the first part of the ID for the card with the sensor is the same between boots, but the last digit varies. Though if the hardware is modified, this would need reconfiguring. Still, it works for now.

    Another little problem with the remote is cross-talk from other remote handsets (TV, VCR etc) causing Suspends and many other other unwanted actions. I haven’t solved this yet. Help!?

  13. Hi Richard,

    Ah, I have 2 *different* Hauppauge cards, so I didn’t spot that one! Thanks for the tip.

    Cross talk from other handsets? That’s a new on on me. Have you tried running irw to capture which keys it thinks it’s receiving? Maybe they can be remapped – as long as you don’t want the suspend functionality!


  14. Hi Garry,

    I’m just about to start my first HTPC self-build and your guide looks like it’s going to be a big help.

    Before I found your site I posted http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=3407988.

    Can you give any advice / opinion on using a PC for both dev / gaming / etc. and as an HTPC? Is it going to cause more problems than solutions?

    Any suggestions for wireless connection between PC and TV?



  15. Hi David,

    Technically, you should be able to use a system for both MythTV and gaming/web development. The only concerns I’d have would be:

    - by gaming, do you mean dual-booting to Windows? A MythTV system really needs to be up and running Linux all the time so that it can schedule recordings. If you were dual booting, you’d have to be very careful you weren’t in Windows when you wanted to record something!

    - HTPCs are usually located in your front room connected to the telly. I guess this would be OK for gaming, but wouldn’t work too well for web development.

    Maybe if you gave me some more info about how you intend to use your system and where it will be located I could be of more help. It is possible to have a distributed MythTV architecture with separate machines for recording and playback, but it really depends on your circumstances.


  16. Hi Garry,

    Thanks for the reply.

    - gaming may / probably will involve dual boot (although ever hopeful that Wine will take care of things).

    - I was originally planning to build a dedicated HTPC box, but it seems silly to have a powerful desktop PC sitting idle when it could be taking care of my TV / DVD / video requirements.

    As I’m just beginning to look at this whole new-fangled HTPC thing, I don’t know enough to ask the right questions! However, this is the plan:

    1. I build a new desktop PC with everything needed for TV, media storage, gaming, web dev, music library and playback, etc. I’ll hook this up with a 24″ LCD.

    2. I’m going to buy a 42″ plasma TV for watching movies and TV which I want to hook up to the PC. I can then stream DVD, video (avi, mpeg, etc), JPEGs, etc. to the TV from the PC.

    3. I also want to use the PC as a PVR which I can then stream to the TV

    4. the TV will probably be in the same room as the PC (I’m moving in to a new apartment tomorrow, so not 100% decided on this yet), although a wireless connection would be nice so I’m free to locate PC and TV where I want.

    Is it realistic to have one box doing all of this? Will I be able to record TV while working / gaming / listening to music on the PC?

    Appreciate your opinion.


  17. Hi David,

    I’m afraid that if you want to play any half decent PC games that you’re stuck with dual-booting. So, that’s going to affect your setup. I can see a few options:

    - A PC running Ubuntu could be setup to have both your TV and monitor in a “dual-head” arrangement. I’d recommend a graphics card with two DVI outputs for this (although native HDMI outputs are becoming available, I’m not sure how well these are supported yet). You can link the PC to the TV using a DVI to HDMI cable.

    - You’d need a tuner card in the PC to allow it to record TV. These are available for Freeview, Sky and Cable, although I only have experience of Freeview (DVB-T) myself. A dual tuner or two cards will allow two things to be recorded at once.

    - A decent PC will be able to record two TV shows whilst doing other stuff such as watching a recording, surfing the web, etc.

    So, one machine could do everything including dual boot for gaming. Alternatively, you could have a dedicated machine for MythTV and another for gaming. The gaming machine could still access your content.

    There are even more options, such as a low-spec frontend machine only used for playback. NAS storage is also an option.

    I’d go for two machines myself, but it’s up to you and your budget.

  18. Thank you So much for your guide. Ive been a Windows developer for some 20 years now and have tried to switch to Linux several times, but it always takes me 10 times as long to do anything because I know Windows so well; it always pulls me back

    I have been using GBPRVR as my DVR on Windows however, its a family PC and we end up fighting over it. Determined to get past this I decided to create a standalone DVR PC to sit next to the telly. Ive had a spare 1Ghz AMD p4 class motherboard with 756 MB ram.
    Wanting to get the max out of the hardware, I plumbed for Mythbuntu (as mentioned on your site)

    Installed the CD, followed the instructions for setup and after a few teething troubles (me not reading the manual !). I got it setup OK.

    However I noticed that only the arrow controls (up down etc) on my remote worked, so an the ‘irw’ executable, but instead of seeing keycode I saw 1 for the 1 key and 2 for the 2 keys.

    I did a bit of reading replace the lirc.conf and lircrc, but no luck (even after 2 days trying !)

    Now I abandoned Linux and tried a cut down version of XP.
    Now to this I had to ad driver for my ATI radeon 9200, Hauppage drivers, sound driver, .Net frame work and GBPVR.
    I tried to get a picture for 2 hrs nothing, squat.
    Went back to MythTV
    NOW followed your instructions replacing the hardware.conf as well as lirc.conf (lirc.conf.2), made sure I had permissions to the new files.

    Now I ran sudo /etc/init.d/lirc start
    AND GUESS what i saw ?

    000000008001004f 00 1 hauppauge_nova_t_uk
    0000000080010050 00 2 hauppauge_nova_t_uk
    0000000080010051 00 3 hauppauge_nova_t_uk
    000000008001001c 00 OK hauppauge_nova_t_uk
    00000000800100ae 00 Back hauppauge_nova_t_uk
    00000000800100cf 00 Play hauppauge_nova_t_uk

    So thank you so much, I’m now a Unbuntu convert !

    Just a couple of questions before I Go:

    1 My TV card is a Hauppage DVB card this about as bog standard as it gets, why does it not work out of the box ?

    2 When when I ran irw originally did I get things like 1 (pressing the 1 key) and not 000000008001004f 00 1 hauppauge_nova_t_uk.

    3 I have yet to connect this to the TV, im using a 9200ATI radeon. I followed Select System->Administration->Restricted Drivers Manager as mentioned as selected the detected card (ATI). I check the driver but saw no ‘instructions’. Is this significant, does this mean TV out does not work.

    any help that can be offered would be great .

    Thanks once again :)

  19. Hi Tony,

    Interesting story. I hope you stick with Ubuntu. Once you get used to it you’ll start to see the power – the ability to set recordings over the web, stream media around the house, archive to DVD and handle pretty much any media you like to name but a few.

    To answer your questions:

    1. The DVB card does work out of the box. It’s just the remote which is a bit tricky. Hauppauge tend to change their card firmware and remotes very often and I guess it’s just hard to keep up. The Mythbuntu guys are working to make this easier, but I guess there’s some way to go yet.

    2. That’s because your lirc wasn’t configured properly. The lirc.conf and hardware.conf files sorted that out.

    3. I had a 9250 card which I threw in the bin when ATI dropped support for it in their restricted drivers. I bought an nVidia ared and it works perfectly (5200, 6200, 7100 all work fine). Maybe now ATI have open-sourced their drivers (thanks to AMD) that will change, but I left ATI a long time ago.

    My advise would be to at least plug it into your TV and try it. If worst comes to worst, you may have to shell out £20 for an nVidia card.

  20. Hi Sorry Gary
    On point 1 that’s what I meant the remote.
    Yes sold on Linux now Kubuntu in perticular, I also like the variety this distro gives you. Lean and mean (Xbuntu) ,pretty and easy to use Kubuntu)

    One thing that always naffed me of before was the lack of a standard installer for Linux and horrible dependancy chains (like dll hell on Windows) but I must say the Synaptic package mangager is a absolute breeze

    On the AMD front, Ive been to there website and it looks promising. Ill keep you posted

    Regards T

  21. Hi
    Looks like the Radio Times channels info has changed and is preventing mythfilldatabase from working.

    2009-02-07 07:55:55.644 Connected to database ‘mythconverg’ at host: moya
    Bad channel entry seen in RT channels.dat: at /usr/bin/tv_grab_uk_rt line
    2009-02-07 07:55:58.585 FAILED: xmltv returned error code 6400.
    2009-02-07 07:55:58.586 Error in 1:1: unexpected end of file

    In short, if you run:

    tv_grab_uk_rt –list-channels > tv_grab_uk_rt_list_channels-output-2009-02-07.txt

    it complains saying:
    Retrieving channels: 0% [* ]Bad channel entry seen in RT channels.dat: at /usr/bin/tv_grab_uk_rt line 490.

    which might be due to the top of the following downloaded file channels.dat saying this:

    root@moya:/tmp# wget http://xmltv.radiotimes.com/xmltv/channels.dat
    –09:33:40– http://xmltv.radiotimes.com/xmltv/channels.dat
    => `channels.dat’
    Resolving xmltv.radiotimes.com…
    Connecting to xmltv.radiotimes.com||:80… connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
    Length: 5,027 (4.9K) [text/plain]

    100%[====================================>] 5,027 –.–K/s

    09:33:40 (304.62 KB/s) – `channels.dat’ saved [5027/5027]

    root@moya:/tmp# vi channels.dat

    In accessing this XML feed, you agree that you will only access its contents for your own personal and non-commercial use and not for any commercial or other purposes, including advertising or selling any goods or services, including any third-party software applications available to the general public.
    22|National Geographic Wild
    24|ITV1 Anglia
    25|ITV1 Border

    i.e. is that notice at the top of the file causing grief???

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