ECS LIVA: Gentoo-based MythTV Backend & Frontend Setup Guide

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Important.png Note: These instructions are a work-in-progress, and are not yet completed.
I will continue to update this page as I work through transcribing my notes, and capturing the setup configuration details from my completed and running Gentoo LIVA MythTV systems.
- DStulken (talk) 19:29, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

ECS LIVA: Gentoo-based MythTV Backend & Frontend Setup Guide

(Start instructions part way through:
see also:

Important.png Note: This is *not* a step-by-step walk through that follows the Gentoo Handbook docs, nor is it a general-purpose guide for Gentoo on the LIVA, MythTV on Gentoo, or MythTV on the LIVA.
Instead, it is a condensed refinement of my setup notes and long list of lessens learned, which have been re-arranged and simplified to produce the easiest set of instructions sufficient to replicate my results from a new LIVA to a working BE+FE system in the shortest amount of time possible.  :-)

Installation Goals:

  • Absolutely bare-bones minimimal "lean-and-mean" OS and software installation
  • As optimized as possible for the LIVA's specific hardware
  • Full MythTV backend with multiple HD tuner support
  • Full MythTV frontend with hardware-accelerated playback, LIRC remote, etc.
  • Wireless networking using the wifi card that comes with the LIVA

Despite being out-of-order per the Gentoo Handbook, I'll try to leave enough comments that you can tell what is being done (and why), and also know the jumping off points for where to go for different installations for your own needs.
Feel free to make corrections, additions, or improvements, as long as you think they fit the theme and intent of my installation.  :-)

- DStulken (talk) 19:58, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Prerequisites & Setup

  • Lots of time. This installation will take SEVERAL DAYS to complete.
  • Previous experience with Gentoo, or a commitment to learn.
  • Gentoo live media won't boot on EFI system...
    • Recommendation: Use the Linux Mint 17.1 XFCE LiveUSB instead.
  • A first-generation ECS LIVA from the SECOND or later production batch.
    • First generation first production batch has N2806 CPU (Not recommended)
    • First generation second (and later) production batch has N2807 CPU, and is the one to get.
      • The low-end version with 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash is plenty. (No need to spend nearly twice as much for the 64GB version.)
      • At the time of this writing (May 2015), these regularly come up for sale online for $99.
    • Second generation (called the "LIVA-X") has different hardware (CPU, wireless, BIOS, power method, etc, etc), and is not covered by this guide.
  • Assemble the LIVA from the parts included in the box
  • Create the LiveUSB stick
  • Ensure you have a WIRED network connection available (wireless will not work within the Mint live environment or initial Gentoo until later on).
    • Setup of Gentoo without a network, using 'sneakernet' of packages, is possible...
  • Configure LIVA BIOS options as follows:
 * ???? (copy from other machine)
  • Boot the Mint USB
  • Open a terminal window

Disk (eMMC) Partitioning

  • Partition the LIVA's eMMC:

Using GParted:

  • The LIVA's eMMC is /dev/mmcblk0
  • Use a GPT partition table (Device -> Create Partition Table -> GPT type)
  • Ignore the "fix something" warnings if they come up.

Suggested partition layout:

(sda1) /dev/mmcblk0p1  128MB    fat32  'grub'      BIOS boot partition  (bios_grub flag)
(sda2) /dev/mmcblk0p2  128MB     ext2  'boot'      Boot partition
(sda4) /dev/mmcblk0p3  26.87GB   ext4  'rootfs'    Root partition
(-na-) /dev/mmcblk0p4  2GB       ext4  'tempData'  Data Partition (NOT SWAP!)

Apply, and close GParted.


  • The 2GB 'tempData' partition is one I created so that I can save copies of database backups and config files on a separate partition in case anything happens that corrupts the root filesystem. Consider it optional.
  • No swap partition on the eMMC! (It will quickly kill it!)
  • No data partition on the eMMC! (32 or 64GB is waaaay too small.)
  • Create a reasonable size (4-8GB) swap partition on your USB hard drive that you are going to use for your recordings.

Set partition 1's type to EF00 using gdisk (gparted will call it "boot" after this)

sudo apt-get install gdisk
sudo gdisk /dev/mmcblk0

Initial Gentoo Installation

Wi-Fi Network

MythTV Setup

Reference Information

Hardware Information