Hulu Desktop Integration

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This guide will walk you through the installation and integration of Hulu Desktop for Linux. Hulu only officially supports Ubuntu 8.04+ and Fedora 9+, but most other distros should work. This guide was written for Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope). It assumes that you're running as the user that as your Mythfrontend, and that you have already configured LIRC to work. Full LIRC setup is outside the scope of this article.

Please note that the guide doesn't fully integrate Hulu into your Mythfrontend--it configures it to launch Hulu Desktop from Myth and sets up LIRC.


Installation of the Hulu Desktop app itself is fairly trivial, assuming you have the necessary prerequisites. You will need Flash installed.


sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

Now, download the .deb for your architecture and distro from Hulu Labs. To install using the command prompt:

sudo dpkg --install filename


emerge -uav \>=www-plugins/adobe-flash-9.0.124 \>=x11-libs/gtk+-2.12 \>=dev-libs/glib-2.16 x11-libs/cairo app-arch/rpm2targz

Grab the .rpm from Hulu Labs and turn it into a .tar.gz with rpm2targz. Unpack it with tar and gzip and copy the huludesktop.arch/etc/huludesktop directory to /etc (where arch is the architecture you downloaded, x86_64 or i386). For example:

rpm2targz huludesktop.x86_64.rpm
tar -xzvf huludesktop.x86_64.tgz
cp -rv huludesktop.x86_64/etc/huludesktop /etc

The only important thing to copy from huludesktop.arch/usr/ is huludesktop.arch/usr/bin/huludesktop - copy it to somewhere in your $PATH (/usr/local/bin or /usr/bin). Copy the rest as you desire:

cp -urv huludesktop.x86_64/usr/share/* /usr/local/share


The next step allows you to launch Hulu from your Mythfrontend. We're going to edit the XML files for your theme for this. Copying XML files from /usr/share/mythtv into ~/.mythtv allows you to customize menus and prevents them from being overwritten during an upgrade.

Get a command line, and enter the following:

cp /usr/share/mythtv/themes/defaultmenu/mainmenu.xml ~/.mythtv
# (or library.xml or wherever else you want to put the hulu command)

This assumes you haven't already edited your Mythfrontend's appearance. If you have, edit your existing copy of mainmenu.xml. In my case, I wanted Hulu available on the main menu. You can add it to wherever you like, you just need to copy the right XML file and edit it.

Now, open up mainmenu.xml (or whatever file you copied over) in your favorite editor. Add the following lines where you want your Hulu button to live.

       <text>Hulu Desktop</text>
       <action>EXEC /usr/bin/huludesktop</action>

The next time you run your Mythfrontend, the button will appear on your main menu.

If you experience your X mouse cursor showing over hulu desktop try installing unclutter:

sudo apt-get install unclutter


First, open ~/.huludesktop in your favorite editor and find the lirc_remote_identifier line. Replace mceusb with your remote. If you don't know it, exit the editor and run irw. Hit a few buttons on your remote, and you'll get output similar to the following:

squeaker@myth:~$ irw
0000000000001795 00 Down Hauppauge_350
0000000000001797 00 Right Hauppauge_350

Whatever is in place of Hauppauge_350 in your output is your remote. Edit ~/.huludesktop accordingly.

Hulu Desktop requires the -r (--release) option for proper operation.

If you are using Fedora, you can edit the line:


to read


in /etc/sysconfig/lirc

If you are using Ubuntu, edit /etc/lirc/hardware.conf and change




Now, restart LIRC. If all goes well, LIRC is now running with the -r switch. You can verify this:

squeaker@myth:~$ ps aux | grep lircd
root     26192  0.0  0.0   3116   584 ?        Ss   14:22   0:00 /usr/sbin/lircd --device=/dev/lirc0 -r
root     27575  0.0  0.0   3336   804 pts/0    S+   14:49   0:00 grep lircd


As usual, YMMV. The arrow keys worked for me immediately, since they happened to have the same names as my lircd.conf file. In order to make the menu appear, I had to make an edit to ~/.huludesktop:

button_name_menu = Home


button_name_menu = Menu/i

for everything to work correctly. If you don't know what name LIRC has for your menu key, fire up irw and press your menu key. You should see output similar to the following:

squeaker@myth:~$ irw
000000000000178d 00 Menu/i Hauppauge_350
000000000000178d 00 Menu/i_UP Hauppauge_350

Edit ~/.huludesktop accordingly. Repeat as necessary to adapt other keys.