AmazonVideo

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Setting up your MythTV system to watch Amazon Instant Video requires some extensive customization. This topic documents one way to achieve it. A Firefox browser will be launched from within MythTV, and it will respond to the remote control. This setup will also allow convenient viewing of other Internet content, such as Comedy Central shows.

Caveats

The modifications here are a little hackish in nature. They are not up to MythTV's coding standards. In particular, the modified configure script does not perform proper dependency checking and error reporting. It's not worth it to polish these changes either, as the correct long-term solution would be to extend MythBrowser instead of using Firefox. That said, these modifications should work on any MythTV installation.

Alternatives

The MythNetvision grabbers are able to display lots of different content from the Internet. For example, see Comedycentral.py. However, there is currently no grabber for Amazon Instant Video. (A promising email thread on the subject exists, but it has trailed off). Also, for content like on Comedy Central, parts of the episode are frequently not available, so the grabber is a less desirable option.

The Firefox topic describes several Firefox customizations that make any Internet pages accessible. The instructions on this page follow a similar strategy. The advantage to using this page is that some of the steps have been automated.

Features

  • The LIRC configuration supports mouse acceleration. When you hold down a direction button, the mouse pointer starts slowly and then speeds up. This is ideal for both fine and large pointer adjustments.
  • Options for Amazon Instant Video, The Daily Show, and Colbert Nation are added to the menus.
  • If you are using the Terra theme, then the new options all have icons.
  • The display power management (DPMS) is disabled while the browser is running.

Amazon-screenshot.png

Prerequisites

You should install MythTV from source before you follow these instructions. While it would be possible to perform surgery on a binary installation, these instructions assume that you have cloned the MythTV Git repository.

Other packages that should be installed are:

  • lirc, (which is normally present for any MythTV installation)
  • Firefox, (and see Firefox#Firefox_configuration for some optional configuration options)
  • Full Fullscreen Firefox add-on, (optional)
  • xdotool, (on many systems: sudo apt-get install xdotool)
  • pylirc, (on many systems: sudo apt-get install python-pylirc)
  • MythNetvision, (while not strictly required for this feature, having it enabled made these instructions more convenient)

Installation

The patches are available on GitHub: https://github.com/chadparry/mythtv/tree/firefox. To download everything, just pull down the firefox branch into your local sources.

cd /usr/local/src/mythtv # Substitute your own MythTV source directory here
git remote add chadparry git@github.com:chadparry/mythtv.git
git pull chadparry firefox

Then build and install MythTV with the regular steps

cd mythtv
./configure
make
sudo make install
cd ../mythplugins
./configure
make
sudo make install

The first time you use the Amazon Instant Video, you will have to log in. Then, let it remember you for future visits, so that later on you will be able to access your video library using only the remote control.

The first time you use each of the Comedy Central pages, you can adjust the volume level, and it will remember it on future visits.

Customization

The menu options can be customized in your sources by modifying some XML files. If you use the default menus, then you should edit mythtv/themes/defaultmenu/library.xml. If you use the classic menus, then you should edit mythplugins/mythnetvision/theme/menus/netvisionmenu.xml. (If you aren't sure which one you use, then it doesn't hurt to edit both).

The following snippet from the XML shows the Amazon Instant Video option.

    <button>
        <type>AMAZON_VIDEO</type>
        <text>Amazon Instant Video</text>
        <description>Amazon.com: Your Video Library </description>
        <action>EXEC lircfirefox.py 'https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/library'</action>
    </button>

You can add new menu options for different web pages. Just copy those lines and change the type and text and description to whatever you want. The action line should start with EXEC lircfirefox.py and then include the URL for your desired page.

After you make any changes, run sudo make install again. You should run the installation from the mythtv directory if you made changes under it, and from the mythplugins durectory if you made changes under it.

Purchases

It can be difficult to purchase content on Amazon Instant Video with only a remote control. Instead, it's easier to purchase the content using a different computer that has a keyboard attached. Just make sure that both computers are logged in as the same Amazon customer. Then the content will appear in the video library on the MythTV system. The remote control is more than capable enough to select a video from the list.