Watch TV

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Software-update-available.png This page is up-to-date as of MythTV version 0.28, the current release is 32.0


For watching Live TV you have a choice. Either watch it directly from your antenna, cable box, satellite receiver etc., or watch it through MythTV.

Advantages of watching through MythTV

  • MythTV allows you to pause Live TV, rewind it and fast forward past commercials when resuming after pausing or rewinding.
  • If you get a cable card device in the USA, you can save on your cable bill by not renting a set top box.
  • If you have a cable box or satellite system where MythTV must record from the same tuner, watching through Myth TV will ensure that you are warned if there is a potential conflict between what you are watching and what is scheduled to record.

Advantages of watching TV Directly Connected

  • You do not have to wait for your MythTV system to boot up.
  • Channel changes will be faster.
  • If you are not relying on a tuner used by MythTV, you can watch Live TV even if all MythTV tuners are in use.
  • Program will be slightly closer to real-time than through MythTV. Viewing through MythTV is delayed by a few seconds.

Basic Usage

Starting Live TV

You can start Live TV different ways.

When you select Watch TV from the front page, MythTV will automatically go to the last channel that you viewed in Live TV. The first time you ever start Live TV it will go to the default channel you setup in Setup Input Connections. You can also have it go directly to the program guide. See Configuring Frontend#Program_Guide 1.2F2.

Changing channels

While watching Live TV you can change channels various ways. You can type a channel number using the number keys to go directly to that channel. You can press up or down arrows RemoteUp.png RemoteDown.png, and this will display the name of another channel and the program running there.

Press RemoteUp.png RemoteDown.png to browse the program information on the next/previous program with the OSD. Then when you see the program you want, press RemoteSelect.png and MythTV will jump to that channel. While in Browse mode you can also use RemoteLeft.png RemoteRight.png to see what shows are coming up next, by scrolling the program guide earlier and later in time.

There is a pause of several seconds while MythTV buffers the new channel. You can change a frontend setting (Uncheck Always use browse mode in Live TVConfiguring Frontend#Playback OSD)to cause up/down arrows to immediately select a new channel but this may be frustrating as it is slow if you are moving through several channels.

Controlling Playback

All of the controls that exist for playing recordings are applicable to watching Live TV. See Watch Recordings#Play Recordings.

Music Choice Channels

Music choice is a service supported by many cable providers. See Music Choice for information about watching those channels.

Live TV Capabilities

MythTV offers some of the most sought after features of modern Media Centres.

Pause Live TV

Pausing live TV is great when the phone rings during a show or your little ones need a comfort break during a movie.

By pressing RemotePause.png on your remote the picture will freeze but MythTV will continue to record to the hard drive. The OSD will appear showing seconds behind the real-time broadcast.

Live TV is treated as a recording and it is saved in your media list. The live TV recording will auto expire when the hard drive nears being full.


While the picture stream is paused:

Press RemoteRight.png RemoteLeft.png to move forwards / backwards by 1 frame

Press RemotePause.png a second time to un-pause live TV, you will now be watching 'behind' live TV. This is sometimes referred to as Chase TV Playback for obvious reasons.

Chase TV Playback

With Chase TV Playback the system can be recording live TV while you are watching the same program behind realtime. It is sometimes referred to as Timeshifting TV.

Press RemoteRight.png RemoteLeft.png to move forwards/backwards in the stream (default is 5 seconds)

Press RemoteFF.png RemoteREW.png to jump forward/backwards by the configured number of minutes (default is 10). This is great to skip quickly over commercials

If you are coming to MythTV from using a Video Recorder, you might want to enable the "sticky" keys option. This keeps the fast forward or rewind on even after you release the key. Subsequent presses of RemoteLeft.png or RemoteRight.png will increase the speed of the rewind or playback. When you reach the point you want to watch, press RemoteSelect.png to resume normal playback.

Time Stretch Playback

This allows the user to adjust the playback speed slightly, but keeps the audio at the same pitch. If you're recording a lot of shows, timestretch lets you get through them faster. So now you can watch a 1 hour show in 40 mins without feeling like you are listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks. You can also use this feature to play the TV Stream in slow motion, nice for instant reviews of sports events or following a difficult foreign language movie.

Press RemoteSlow.png to toggle the Time Stretch playback.


Press the RemoteLeft.png RemoteRight.png to set the Time Stretch speed.

This can also be accessed with the Menu, by pressing the M key and selecting the time stretch option.

Electronic Program Guide (EPG)

The Electronic Program Guide will allow you to get more detailed information on what is being broadcast currently as well as scheduled programs that are coming up.

You can go directly to the Program Guide, by pressing Guide.png

Press RemoteInfo.png and the OSD will show information on what you are currently watching. The OSD will stay up for a few seconds and then fade out. You can set the duration in

TV settings->Playback Settings->OSD


Press RemoteMenu.png and the On Screen Menu will show.

Use RemoteUp.png/RemoteDown.png to move up and down the menu. Use RemoteSelect.png to Select.


Select the Program Guide and the Full EPG will show.


Use RemoteUp.png RemoteDown.png, RemoteLeft.png RemoteRight.png to move around the EPG

Use RemoteSelect.png to switch to full-screen Live TV on the channel you selected, or just press RemoteExit.png to go back to watching Live TV on your original channel.

The EPG also allows direct channel jumping by entering a channel number. When you press a number key MythTV gives you 2.5 seconds to enter additional digits, (These are displayed on screen as you press), after which it will jump to the closest channel it can find that matches the digits you have pressed.

Concurrent Channel Watching

If you have multiple tuner cards you can watch two channels at once using the Picture in Picture (PIP) facility. You can record one programme while you are watching another. Turn on the PIP via the Onscreen Menu by pressing the RemoteMenu.png key while watching Live TV.


Press the RemoteAVInput.pngkey to switch between your various tuner cards.

PIP is CPU intensive, so you may find that the picture becomes jerky and the audio interrupted when using it.

Recording Live TV

While watching Live TV press the RemoteRecord.png key, MythTV will start recording the show from the point that you started watching it until the show is finished, according to the Guide schedule. This might cause some rescheduling of later recordings.


The Tuner card being used to record from will be locked until the recording has finished or you explicitly cancel the recording. If you have multiple Tuner cards you can now change channels with the RemoteUp.png RemoteDown.png keys. MythTV will continue recording the current show and switch to the next available Tuner card. If there are no more available Tuner cards then the RemoteUp.png RemoteDown.png keys will just jump back and forth in the recording.

Press the RemoteInfo.png key, and the OSD will show the position in the recording.


Use the RemoteLeft.png RemoteRight.png keys to move backwards and forwards in the recording.

You can exit the watching recordings with the RemoteExit.png key.

If you try watching live TV and all the Tuner cards are busy recording, you will get the following screen.