FreeBox

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What is Freebox recorder ?

Freebox is the name of the "box" used by the french ISP free.fr. This box provides internet access, a telephone line (VoIP) and television.

Since december 2005, the TV channels are available via rtsp: protocol (MPEG2-TS), allowing free.fr's customers to receive the channels on their computer (using VLC). The Freebox recorder was added in MythTV-0.20. It allows MythTV to record/watch the rtsp: channels.

How to use the recorder ?

Simple case, with the Freebox modem

1. Create a new FreeboxRecorder capture card using mythtv-setup.
2. Keep the default mrl (http://mafreebox.freebox.fr/freeboxtv/playlist.m3u)
3a. Link your new capture card to an input video source (see http://www.mythtv.org/docs/mythtv-HOWTO-9.html for details)
3b. Uncheck "Unencrypted channels only" to avoid partial locks (LAm)
4. If you have enough bandwidth, multiple "capture cards" may be added

Complex case, without the Freebox modem

TODO (see http://svn.mythtv.org/trac/attachment/ticket/1704/freebox.readme)

How Channels are mapped

One complex and not obvious aspect of the FreeBoxRecorder is the way channel numbers and names are matched from the M3U playlist to create actual channels in mythtv, since those IPTV channels do not contain any channel frequency or callsign.

After quite a lot of tests, I finally found out that the FreeboxRecorder parser matches on the "Channel Name" field , not the Channel number or Callsign: this means that when you are in the "Channel Editor" in the mythv-setup utility, you cannot rename a channel - otherwise it cannot be found anymore - , but you can modify channel numbers or change their callsign, this is not taken into account by the FreeboxRecorder.

Beware, though: upon initial channel scan, the FreeboxRecorder card still creates a Channel number and a callsign (identical to the channel name). The channel number is the number that is listed in the "playlist.m3u" file that is downloaded by the FreeboxRecorder, with one particular issue: in case a channel is listed several times with the same number (like channel 12 which is listed twice, once for 5.1 and one for Stereo), the last occurence of the channel number only is stored.

This also means that in case you have a mythtv setup with both a DVB dongle and a FreeboxRecorder virtual capture card, you should make sure that channel callsigns are identical for the channels that are the same on DVB and TNT, but you should not modify the Channel names. For example: the channel name for ARTE is "ARTE" within the French DVB system (aka "TNT"), but is "Arte" for the FreeboxRecorder card. You cannot change "Arte" for "ARTE" as the channel name, but you should use the same callsign in both capture cards so that EPG data is not duplicated in the program list.

Work in progress

1. The FreeboxRecorder has been extended to support more protocols. The current patch (http://svn.mythtv.org/trac/ticket/2152) adds udp:, rtp: and file: support.
2. H264 support is in progress, but is still not stable.

External links