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Customizing Key Usage

Most people use a remote control with MythTV. Many remote controls emulate a keyboard and send keystrokes in response to button presses. The keystrokes sent may not match desired operations in MythTV, and in that case you will want to modify the key assignments. In some cases the remote may have few buttons and you will need to decide which operations to map to the available buttons.

Edit Keys

In the MythTV frontend Edit Keys screen you can assign up to 4 keystroke combinations for each action. Any of those keystroke combinations will invoke that action from the appropriate place in the system. When assigning keys to a remote control device, press the desired key on the remote when prompted, to get that key assigned to the required action.

When editing a key, you may be rejected because the key is already assigned to another task, for example when setting up Fast Forward on an Ortek remote it tells me that this is already assigned to night-time mode. Since it makes no sense for fast forward on the remote to invoke night-time mode on MythTV, search for the night-time setting and remove the assignment there, then you will be able to add it to the correct action.

Long Press

Long Press is new in Version 30

If your remote supports it, you can assign actions that are invoked on a Long Press of a key or key combination. If you assign a Long Press action, then repeat action on the key is disabled. With Long Press you can assign two actions to a key or key combination, one that gets invoked on a short press and another that is invoked on a long press. You can select up to 16 keys or key combinations that support Long Press.

Remotes that emulate a keyboard support long press. Others may not support it. If your remote does not support long press, remove all entries from the Long Press context.

In the Long Press context add the keystrokes you want to use with long press. You can add them to any of the 4 LONGPRESS actions. Save your changes and then go back into Edit Keys. Now you can navigate to an action that you want to use with Long Press and assign by pressing the key or key combination until it registers on the screen. Long Press key combinations are shown as Meta+key which is the same as is generated by pressing the Windows key with another key. The Action of long pressing a key simulates the action of pressing it with the Windows key, even where you have no windows key on your remote or keyboard.

By default, Long Press of Enter is assigned to the global menu action. If you associate Enter with Long Press, then a long press of Enter will bring up the menu associated with the screen you are in at the time.


Some systems support CEC, which allows the TV remote to control MythTV through the HDMI interface. Some examples are:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • NVidia Shield
  • Pulse-Eight CEC adapter

You can use the "Edit Keys" frontend setting page to choose what actions are triggered from your TV remote, just as you can customize actions for a keyboard remote.

Minimal Remote Controls

There are some remote controls with very few buttons.

  • NVidia Shield TV has a remote with 4 directional buttons on a ring, select, back and home buttons.
  • CEC through the TV may only provide access to a few of the available buttons.

Some features have been added to the frontend to enable use of these remotes.

OSD Navigation

OSD Navigation is new in Version 30

There is an on-screen navigation display that can be configured. By default no key is assigned to it. The on-screen navigation display can be invoked while playing a recording or video. It shows a row of icons with commonly used navigation actions. By default it is not assigned to any key. You can assign OSD Navigation to the main button of your minimal remote, enter or select. As long as you have left and right buttons available, this will give access to skipping, fast forwarding, and a number of other actions.

OSD Navigation is themable and additional actions can be added with no code change. For details see osd.xml.


During playback the menu provides access top most actions that are not on the OSD Navigation screen. It is accessed from the M key, Long Press Enter, or an icon in OSD navigation.


During playback, Zoom can be accessed from the menu. If you use zoom to get rid of tickers on the screen or for other reasons, you will know that normal page up and page down are used to change the size of the picture. If using a minimal remote, assign Left to Zoomin and Right to Zoomout in the TV playback context. Normal zooming does not involve moving the picture left and right and you can use left and right to better advantage this way. This does not affect other uses of left and right keys.

Also note there are icons in the OSD Navigation for Aspect Ratio and Fill that use a preset series of screen stretching parameters. One of the presets may be suitable for your use instead of using the Zoom controls.

Default Keyboard commands

The keybindings.txt file was called keys.txt in versions prior to 32.

The file keybindings.txt in your documentation directory (typically /usr/share/doc/mythtv/ or /usr/local/share/doc/mythtv/) describes what the various keyboard commands are. You can change the keys in frontend setup "Edit Keys".


Keys Action
Arrow keys used to move the highlight point around
ALT-F4 exit out of the application
Space/Enter take action on the item under the highlight point
P play in both "Watch a Recording" and "Delete a Recording"
D delete in both "Watch a Recording" and "Delete a Recording"
I edit recording options from the EPG, "Program Finder", "Program Recording Priorities", or "Fix Scheduling Conflicts" screens. From the Playback and Delete screens, 'I' presents options for recorded shows such as Auto Expire or Stop Recording. Pressing 'I' while on the Recording Options screen will take you to the Advanced Recording Options screen.

Watching TV or a recording

Keys Action
Up or down keys change the channel
num pad Type a number to enter a channel number or jump amount (HHMM format)
P pause / play
C change inputs on TV Tuner card
ESC quits
I puts the On-screen Display up again. During playback, 'I' toggles between position and show description info. If a jump amount is entered, jump to that position (e.g., '75I' or '115I' will jump to one hour and 15 minutes after the start).
M brings up the menu. While in LiveTV the first item is the EPG, while watching a recording, the first item is Edit Recording.
S brings up Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
Page Up jump back the configured number of minutes (default is 10)
Page Down jump ahead the configured number of minutes (default is 10)
End or Z skip to next commercial break marker
Home or Q skip back to previous commercial break marker
T toggle close caption support. If you find the T key is ineffective and does not toggle the appearance of subtitles or closed captioning support, you may wish to see (the currently out-of-date page) [[1]] for some context. In short, subtitles or closed captions can be rendered by only some playback profiles. In one Version 0.31 installation, the default playback profile of:
  • NVDEC Normal
left the T key ineffective, but selecting any of:
  • OpenGL High Quality,
  • OpenGL Normal,
  • OpenGL Slim,
  • V4L2 Codecs,
  • VAAPI Normal, or
  • VDPAU Normal
supported the intended effect of the T key. To inspect or change this choice within MythTV Frontend, select Settings, then Video, then Playback Settings, and then select from the list of choices for the Current Video Playback Profile.
F rotate between the various Picture Adjustments (Colour, Hue, etc.) While Picture Adjustment is on-screen, use Left and Right arrows to adjust. These settings adjust the look of the video playback, and are independent of the G-key settings used at record-time. The Xv picture controls must be enabled in the Playback settings.
[ or F10 decrease volume
] or F11 increase volume
| or F9 toggle mute
/ jump to the next "favorite" channel
? mark/unmark the current channel as a "favorite"
U increase the play speed
J decrease the play speed
W cycle through 4:3 aspect ratio, 16:9, 4:3 Zoom (like Pan and Scan), 16:9 Zoom, and 16:9 Stretch (eliminates black sidebars in TV signal)
Left (if a jump amount is entered) to jump back that amount
Right (if a jump amount is entered) to jump ahead that amount

Without the stickykeys option selected

Keys Action
Left rewind the configured number of seconds (default is 5)
Right fast forward the configured number of seconds (default is 30)
< starts rewind mode as if stickykeys are selected
> starts fast forward mode as if stickykeys are selected

With Stickykeys option selected

Keys Action
Right starts fast forward mode
Left starts rewind mode
In fast forward or rewind mode
Keys Action
Left/Right increases the ff/rew speed
0 plays at normal speed, but leaves the time indicator on screen
1 or 2 plays back more slowly than normal ff/rew speed (1 is slowest)
3 plays back at normal ff/rew speed
4-9 plays back faster than normal ff/rew speed (9 is fastest)
Space exits fast forward or rewind mode

While video is paused

Keys Action
Left rewind 1 frame
< rewind 1 second
Right advance 1 frame
> advance 1 second

Watching TV only

Keys Action
G rotate between the various Picture Adjustments (Colour, Hue, etc.) for recording. These values affect the look of the resulting .nuv file, and are independent of the playback picture settings. While Picture Adjustment is on-screen, use Left and Right arrows to adjust.
H Channel history. Each repeat steps back through the previous channels.
O Turns on 'Browse' mode, allowing user to browse channels and program info while watching current show Full Screen.
Alt-F7 Bring up the signal meter
F8 toggle the sleep timer 30m->1hr->1hr30m->2hr->Off
Y switch between multiple capture cards. NOTE: you lose your LiveTV buffer on your current card. Useful for different-sourced cards (such as Dish Network on one, HDTV over-the-air on another card.)

Watching a recording only

Keys Action
Space/Enter set a bookmark at that point. Next time you start the recording, you will automatically jump forward to this point and clear the bookmark. In Version 0.30 and subsequently in the default configuration, you will find the B key is ineffective (at least for this purpose; as long as PictureInPicture function is disabled, it is ineffective for any purpose) and does not place a bookmark in a recording. Should you wish to have this capability, you will first need to remove the default configured action for the B key, and then configure it to place a bookmark. In MythTV Frontend, expanding upon the clues in [[2]] select:
  • Setup, Edit Keys, TV Playback [select in the Contexts list of choices],
  • NextPIPWindow [select in the Actions list of choices]
  • B [select this command button], and from its context menu select Remove Binding
  • SETBOOKMARK [select in the Actions list of choices]
  • select a blank command button. and in the resulting
  • Press A Key dialog select e.g. the B key, and then the OK command button
  • Save Changes as you depart from these configuration steps.
This creates a single-use bookmark that will be cleared the first and only time you use it. Attempting to choose the Return key for this purpose as in the days of yore yields the observation: This key binding conflicts with SELECT in the Global context. Do you want to bind it anyway? Cancel OK
X queues the current recording for transcoding
O brings up menu to allow toggling settings such as Commercial Auto-Skip, Auto-Expire, etc.
E or M enters/exits edit mode.

In edit mode

Keys Action
Left/Right move forward and backward
Up/Down alter the amount of time you jump forward and backward. Increments are: nearest cutpoint, nearest video keyframe, 1 frame, 0.5 seconds, 1 second, 20 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Page Up/Page Down move forward and backward to the nearest cut point
< or > move forward or backward by 10 times the normal jump amount
Space/Enter allows you to set or delete a cut point
Z loads the commercial skip list (if one exists) into the cutlist
C or Q clear all cut points in the cutlist

LiveTV Browse Mode

Keys Action
Left browse program prior to current listed program
Right browse program following current listed program
Up browse program on channel above current listed channel/program
Down browse program on channel below current listed channel/program
/ browse program on next favorite channel
0-9 enter a channel number to browse
Space/Enter change channel to channel of current listed program
R/r Toggle recording of current program (cycles through types)
ESC/O Exit Browse mode

Playback Recording Zoom Mode

Keys Action
Left Move video to Left
Right Move video to Right
Up Move video Up
Down Move video Down
Page Up Zoom In
Page Down Zoom Out
Space/Enter Exit Zoom mode leaving picture at current size and position
ESC Exit Zoom mode and return to original size

If you have two or more tuner cards

Keys Action
V toggle Picture-in-picture on or off
B toggles the window focus (lets you change channels on the PiP window)
N swaps the two channels by changing channels on both cards

Electronic Program Guide

Keys Action
Arrows are used to move the highlighted program point around
A, D, S, W perform the same as left, right, down and up
Page Up/Page Down move the channel list up or down a page
Home/End move the highlight left or right by one day
Ctrl+Left or < move the highlight left by one page
Ctrl+Right or > move the highlight right by one page
9, 3, 7, 1 (like a numeric keypad) perform the same as Page Up, Page Down, Home and End
I bring up more information about a show, and allow you to schedule a recording. If you select "Record this showing" while watching Live TV you can "Instant Record" a program.
Space/Enter allow you resolve conflicts or change overrides. If the program is not already scheduled to record, it will instead act like pressing 'I'.
M when on a channel will change to that channel
ESC or C exits without changing the channel
R change the current item from Recording/Not-Recording. Successive keypresses cycle through the scheduled recording type list.
X change the channel to the currently selected channel without leaving the EPG (Most useful in the alternate EPG)
? mark/unmark the current channel as a "favorite"
/ cycle the guide listing between all channels and channel groups

Setting Program or Channel Recording Priorities

Keys Action
Right increases priority value
Left decreases priority value
1 sorts by title
2 sorts by priority
Home/End toggle sort priority
I edit recording options
ESC commits changes and exits

Viewing Scheduled Recordings/Resolving Conflicts

Keys Action
1 show all recordings
2 show only important recordings
Home/End toggle show showing all/important
I edit recording options
Space/Enter resolve conflict or override

Viewing Search Listings

Keys Action
Home change to the previous view if applicable
End change to the next view if applicable
M select another view if applicable. In the title and description search popup, press M again to edit or delete the selected view.

Recording Profiles Setup Screen

Keys Action
D on a custom profile group displays a popup to delete the group
M on a custom profile group displays a menu popup to delete the group

Recording Groups

In the Watch Recordings screen, Recording Groups allow you to separate programs into user-defined categories, such as "Kids", "Alice", "Bob", etc. This can be used to reduce clutter, or to segregate content if you use the PIN function.

Keys Action
M change the view or to set a group password
I move a program from one Recording Group to another

Remote Controls

If you are using MythTV with just a remote control then it is suggested that you map the remote control keys as described below. Your remote control may not have the same set of keys as those named below, the names are only a suggestion that roughly correspond to the function.

If you are adding new key bindings to the program then consideration of this suggested list will help users with remote controls.

This list assumes a minimal remote control that only has 20 keys, nearly all features can be used with this configuration. If you have more keys then you can access all of the features. With only 16 keys most features are usable.

Remote Control LIRC Keystroke Function
0 - 9 0 - 9 channel selection, EPG navigation, ff/rew speed setting (with stickykeys)
Left Arrow Left scroll left, rewind
Right Arrow Right scroll right, fast forward
Up Arrow Up scroll up, channel change up
Down Arrow Down scroll down, channel change down
Page Up PgUp scroll up one page
Page Down PgDown scroll down one page
Select / OK / Play Space Select item, play (with stickykeys) set bookmark
Cancel Escape Cancel, quit playback
Menu m Show menu
Pause p Pause
Other key 1 i Information
Other key 2 c Change tuner card input

More information

You can control just about any program with your remote control from MythTV by using Lirc. With this you can bind any key or combination of keyboard keys to an remotecontrol button. - Lirc