The Raspberry Pi is cheap and can be a decent frontend for a MythTV backend.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. The SoC is a Broadcom BCM2835. This contains an ARM1176JZFS, with floating point, running at 700Mhz, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s. It has a fast 3D core accessed using the supplied OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenVG libraries.
How to make it work
Installing a complete MythTV frontend from scratch can be a difficult task and might result in slow performance. What will work is to use XBMC/Kodi as frontend for MythTV backend. A lot of work has been done to make XBMC/Kodi perform well on Raspberry Pi.
The steps you have to do are:
- Install MythTV backend (0.27+) on a separate computer on your LAN.
- Make sure you set a PIN for the API or set it to 0000
- Install OpenElec version of XBMC to your Raspberry Pi.
- Find (scroll down the list) and download the image file
- Write the image to the SD card using say dd in Linux
- On first boot Openelec will resize partitions
- Run through the first run wizard to set host name etc
- Connect your Raspberry Pi to your LAN and your TV.
- Turn on the MythTV backend, Raspberry Pi and TV.
- From within the XBMC/Kodi menu set up the PVR client to point to your MythTV backend.
Normal video playback runs smoothly. Menu navigation and TV program can be a bit laggy. One trick to increase Raspberry PI performance is to overclock the CPU/GPU. On the PI 2 this is unnecessary.
This is a good guide to enabling the PVR (MythTV) front end: kodi.wiki/view/MythTV_PVR#Connecting_Kodi_to_MythTV. Note that you must set a PIN on the backend or set it to 0000. If you don't use 0000 you will need to use the PIN to connect to the backend. The PIN is set in the General section of mythtv-setup.
Finding the plugin can be a bit challenging. On Openelec it is already installed but listed in the "disabled" plugins until you enable it.
You can purchase an MPEG2 hardware decoder license. Depending on your tuner this may help your recordings play. I have been able to play 1080p live TV from a DVBS2 connected backend on a PI 2 model B running current Openelec out of the box with no additional licenses or over clocking (Gerdesj (talk) 21:55, 30 August 2015 (UTC))
Native Mythtv Frontend
There are efforts to have a working native mythtvfrontend for Raspberry Pi 2 or better. You can follow the discussion on the mailing list, search for raspberry.
Official support for running mythfrontend on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B or better is anticipated with the MythTV 0.28 release.
Meanwhile, several unofficial and experimental builds are available.
- Debian Packages by Peter Bennett
Built upon Raspbian Jessie for MythTV 0.27 and 0.28 using QT 5.3.2. Also Ubuntu Mate.
See MythTV Light.
- Tarballs by Lawrence Rust
Built upon Raspbian Wheezy and Jessie for MythTV 0.27 and 0.28 using QT 5.4.0.
- Tarball by Curtis Gedak
Built upon Raspbian Jessie for MythTV 0.27 using QT 5.4.0.
See Mythfrontend Setup Tutorial (with MCE Remote Control).
- MicroSD Image by Piotr Oniszczuk
Built upon ArchLinux for MythTV 0.28 using QT 5.5.1.
See Beta of MiniMyth2 RPI2 edition.
These builds work with High Definition (HD) 720p and 1080i content on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B or better. There have been reports that earlier Raspberry Pi models might work with Standard Definition (SD) content and a lower gpu_mem setting.
How to set up mythfrontend using debian package
The debian packages use the native QT package found in Raspbian Jessie and can be considered less experimental. As such these steps focus on the debian packages. Installation steps for the other builds can be found in the above links.
- Download and install a Raspbian Jessie full desktop image on a microSD card.
- Boot Raspberry Pi with microSD card.
- Purchase and install an MPEG-2 License Key from the Raspberry Pi Store.
- Download a MythTV Light debian package that matches your Mythbackend version (e.g. 0.27 or 0.28).
- Install the debian package using, for example,
sudo gdebi mythtv-light_0.27.6-67-g070378a-0_armhf_jessie.deb
- Start mythfrontend from the menu using Sound & Video -> MythTV Frontend, or from a terminal window with
- If you encounter video or audio issues you might need to experiment with different mythfrontend Setup values, and /boot/config.txt values.