Installing MythTV on Fedora

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Revision as of 03:44, 21 April 2011 by Paulsid (talk | contribs) (NVIDIA: Added FC14 section)

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This "How-To" guide is for installing MythTV on the latest release of Fedora.


This guide is shamelessly based on Jarod Wilson's how to guide which no longer exists.

Fedora provides updates for a release until two releases after that(N-2). The current release is Fedora 12, which means support for Fedora 10 was discontinued a month after it was released. Thus, it makes sense to update to the latest release at least every other version, if not every verson.

You are welcome as a MythTV user and general wiki participant to add and modify this document that will help the community the best way possible.

Getting Fedora

ISO images

The latest version of Fedora can be downloaded from the Fedora Download Page.

Physical media

CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs can be purchased from online and local vendors.

Installing Fedora

Anaconda is the Fedora installer program and will launch a GUI by default.


Among the MythTV community it is highly recommend to use a custom partitioning scheme rather than auto-partitioning, with a dedicated /video (or similar) partition for storage of all your recordings. If possible, for best efficiency, the video partition should be on a separate physical drive than the operating system partitions. Software RAID and LVM for your video partitions will only slow it down and should be avoided. LVM is no longer necessary for MythTV due to Storage Groups.

Previously, XFS was the recommendation for the file system to use for such a purpose, but with EXT4 now the default in Fedora and other distributions, many have migrated to using it as the partitioning scheme. Barring that, XFS is still an option, as is JFS, or even ReiserFS. An example partitioning setup can be found below.

Partition Mount Point Size Format
/dev/sda1 /boot 100-200MB ext4
/dev/sda2 swap same as RAM (ex: 512MB) swap
/dev/sda3 (for the OS) / 8-12GB ext4
/dev/sda5 /video Everything else

At the Installation Type screen, you want to choose a Custom installation (rather than Personal Desktop, Workstation or Server), because none of the defaults give us everything we need and/or add junk we don't need.

On the Disk Partitioning Setup screen, choose to Manually partition with Disk Druid. A suitable custom partitioning setup is as follows (assuming a single IDE hard drive):

Note that there's really no point in using anything but ext4 on / and /boot.

Network configuration

On the Network Configuration screen, it is highly recommend setting a static IP address (could either be truly static, or a statically mapped DHCP address). It really isn't a huge deal if you only have one Myth box (though you probably don't want MythWeb to be a moving target), but it could cause major headaches once you have more than one machine, since non-primary systems wouldn't know where the master backend was anymore if the address changed.

Package selection

Note for FC14 Users: Packages marked with a * were likely installed by default.


On the package selection screen, select (at least) these package groups:

If you enable options under the install to install from additional repositories, you'll also have alternate desktop environment and window manager options such as XFCE, fluxbox or ratpoison, which are more lightweight and thus may be better for a dedicate frontend.

  • Servers


Some other packages that might be of interest, but are not required:

  • Applications
    • Graphical Internet* (includes Empathy and Firefox)
    • Sound and Video*
  • Development
    • Development Tools — if you want or need to compile anything
  • Servers
    • Network Servers (under details, select vnc-server)
    • Windows File Server (includes Samba)

First boot

At this point Anaconda will ask you to remove the disc from the drive and reboot the system. Once your system has finished rebooting you will be prompted to accept the license agreement and a few more installation configuration options.


A basic MythTV box should not have any problems running with the firewall turned on however you will probably save yourself a lot of headaches if you disable it completely. This is especially recommended for new users. If you do need to enable the firewall, you will at the very least want to enable SSH, Secure WWW (HTTPS) and WWW (HTTP) checkboxes to enable those services.

If you plan to run separate front end and back end servers you will need to allow those ports through on under "Other Ports". Add TCP ports 6543 and 6544 to allow the MythTV protocol access through the firewall, and TCP 3306 for mysql.


It is strongly recommended that SELinux is disabled or run in "permissive" mode. There are a few things that will not work properly if you set SELinux to "enforcing" such as the MythWeb plugin. If you think you might want to run with SELinux in enforcing mode in the future, choose the permissive mode which will only warn you of problems. This will enable you to quickly and easily set SELinux to enforcing mode at a later time. Fedora Core 6 comes with the excellent setroubleshoot tool which will notify of denials whilst permitting you to leave SELinux enabled on your system.

If you insist on running enforcing SELinux with mythweb, the following commands may be helpful:

$ /usr/sbin/setsebool -P httpd_can_network_connect=1
$ /usr/sbin/setsebool -P httpd_ssi_exec=1
$ chcon -R -t httpd_sys_content_rw_t /var/www/html/mythweb/data
$ semanage fcontext -a -t  httpd_sys_content_rw_t /var/www/html/mythweb/data

Note for FC14 users: Disabling SELinux may cause the system to have a long boot time or crash upon reboot. Use the permissive mode instead.


Here you should adjust the date and time of the machine to the current date and time. Once you have done this, select the "Network Time Protocol" tab and select the "Enable Network Time Protocol" checkbox. Making sure the system is running to the correct time is important for timely scheduling of recordings.


The Setup Agent should have detected your video card and your monitor. Select the screen resolution that is best for your monitor.

Switch user

Create a user on the system with the username "mythtv". You can set the password for this user to anything you want. This should be be a Strong Password that is different than the root password.

Fedora setup

The next section will require you to be logged in as the mythtv user. Some commands will need to be executed from the command line. In GNOME, this is under Applications > Accessories > Terminal. Under KDE, you can run commands with the "Konsole" program. To start Konsole, right-click on your desktop and select "Konsole..." and a new Konsole window should appear.

Some commands will need to be run as mythtv and some commands will need to be run as the root user. The boxes below will indicate with a prompt which user a command should be run as. Commands with a "$" prompt should be run as the mythtv user. If you see a command that starts with a "#", you will need to use the su command to become the root user.

To execute commands as the root run "su -" and enter the root password you set when you installed Fedora.

[mythtv@machine_name ~]$ su -
[root@machine_name ~]#

Notice the way the username changes from mythtv to root and the prompt changes from "$" to "#". Be sure you run all of the following commands as the correct user. If you do not, you will likely run into problems sooner or later. To become the mythtv user again, type "exit".

[root@machine_name ~]# exit
[mythtv@machine_name ~]$

Your screen should clear, and your prompt will be a "$" sign again. If this is not the case, keep typing "exit" until it is.

Set $KVER variable

To make life simpler after we've rebooted and are prepared to start installing drivers for some of our hardware not supported natively by the kernel, we're going to set up a custom environment variable, KVER, that will help avoid problems from typos, user error, confusion, and so-forth. Simply drop a file in /etc/profile.d, like so:

# echo "export KVER=\`uname -r\`" >> /etc/profile.d/

(Note: those are back-ticks, not single-quotes.)

If you are using an nVidia graphics card, read the notes below under NVIDIA. The changes to grub.conf should be done before rebooting. Now you're ready to reboot into that new kernel and start installing kernel modules for your tuner card(s), remote, and so-forth.

# reboot

Add a few important yum packages


To ensure that yum always uses the fastest available mirror for a repository (if it has more than one mirror) you can install the package yum-fastestmirror. This will decrease the time for downloads in many cases.

yum install yum-fastestmirror

If the above command does not work you get something like this: (this was using Fedora 8)

yum install yum-fastestmirror
Existing lock /var/run/ another copy is running as pid 21830.
Another app is currently holding the yum lock; waiting for it to exit...


Yum-presto is another useful package to install. It downloads only the deltas (changes) between the installed and new packages, and rebuilds an installable rpm on your machine. The data required to be downloaded is cut to an amazingly small proportion of what would otherwise be required.

yum install yum-presto


You may see this listed as one of the loaded plugins when you run yum. It is installed through 'PackageKit-yum-plugin' as part of the PackageKit group of programs. It is this package (I think!) which allows you to click on an rpm package on a web-page and install it directly.

Yum Priorities

Optional: To prevent packages from the Fedora repositories from being overwritten by ones from secondary repositories, edit the /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora.repo and /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora-updates.repo files by adding a priority=1 line like below:

name=Fedora $releasever - $basearch
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-fedora file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY

Add a priorities line to the secondary repository, giving it a lower (higher-numbered) value:



yumex is a graphical version of yum. Its advantage is that you may see the pacakges, select them, and read notes.

yum install yumex

Configure package repositories

A very helpful guide is available here: [ yum repositories on fedora.

Configuration of yum is needed to use ATrpms or RPMFusion package repositories. Both offer MythTV packages, but you must use either one or the other as they do not work together. ATrpms tends to be updated more frequently though. Pre-configured files can be downloaded and run from the desktop. Follow the links below and install the RPMs for the latest version and correct architecture.



Note: You will need to download the packages rpmfusion-free-release and rpmfusion-nonfree-release and install with rpm -ivh *.

Generally, any problems encountered with ATrpms and ATrpms packages should be addressed on the atrpms-users mailing list before being taken to the MythTV list. You can subscribe to the ATrpms lists here.

Many MythTV installations require additional kernel modules to make all the hardware work. The ATrpms repository offers a package which downloads new kernel modules when the stock Fedora kernel is updated. You should wait a few days after the new kernel appears to update, giving the packagers time to create kernel module rpms. You can get this package with the following command

# yum install yum-plugin-kmdl

As with any other mailing list, please search their respective archives first.


We recommend you use a card that supports VDPAU for video acceleration. See

You can install binary drivers from NVIDIA, but in most cases it's simpler to use yum to get and install them from ATrpms or RPM Fusion. It is essential to get the proper version of the drivers. Start by running

/sbin/lspci -nn | grep 'VGA\|NV'

This will give you the chipset name and the PCI id (which is after the colon inside the bracket set before the rev number). Compare these to the NVIDIA docs Unless your card is in one of the legacy lists, you can install the latest drivers. If you have one of the legacy products you will have to modify the yum package name to get the proper drivers. The newer drivers will NOT work on "legacy" cards.

If you chose ATrpms as your repository, run:

yum install nvidia-graphics

If you need a legacy package from ATrpms look under your proper core version at

If you chose RPM Fusion as your repository, run:

yum install kmod-nvidia

If you need a legacy package from RPM Fusion consult the available packages table at

Note for FC12 Users

Fedora 12 uses the nouveau driver by default and a copy of the driver is included in the initrd file used for booting. We have to avoid that. Before rebooting, edit (as root) /boot/grub/grub.conf to append the following to the end of the kernel line:

rdblacklist=nouveau vga=0x318

The first entry disables a driver that conflicts with nvidia, and the second allows the graphical boot screen to show. Also run


To allow automatic switching of the X-server drivers. After installing the nvidia driver, if you run 'yum update' any new kernel installation will create its own initrd which does not contain the nouveau driver. Note that if you use nvidia's install package, you will have to re-install it on every kernel upgrade (you will see an error in Xorg.0.log saying 'No screens found')

Note for FC13 Users

This thread may have useful information: (You may need to add vmalloc=256m after the nouveau blacklist on the grub.conf kernel line.)

If X does not start, consider hitting <ctrl> <alt> <F2> to get to a login screen.

Then use the following to see if the required components are loaded:


rpm -qa |grep nvidia

cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf

To see if the nouveau blacklist worked try:

lsmod | grep nouveau

To see if the nvidia driver loaded try:

lsmod | grep nvidia

If glxinfo returns nothing.


nvidia-config-display disable

nvidia-config-display enable

Or try using nvidia settings:


Note for FC14 Users

Edit /boot/grub/grub.conf as root and add the following to the end of the kernel line before rebooting:

rdblacklist=nouveau vga=0x318 vmalloc=256M

NOTE: Depending on your hardware, you may not need to set the vmalloc amount. However, many systems will need this, and it's easier to experiment with taking it out later if needed, after you know everything is working. For more info see the link above in the FC13 section.

Sound setup

Fedora uses PulseAudio by default, as do many Linux distributions. MythTV does work with Pulseaudio, however, if you wish to remove it, you can run the following command to revert to using ALSA only.

yum remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio

Note for FC 13 Users

You may have sound by using the test feature found in the GUI gnome-volume-control, yet none while running Mythtv. Consider using the solution found in this bug report

Alternatively, if you have pulse, try

Audio output Device ALSA:pulse   or ALSA:front

in "Setup" "General" in the frontend.

Install MythTV

Now, here's why we really like yum… MythTV has numerous required dependencies to function correctly, which are automatically taken care of with one simple command, using either repository:

# yum install mythtv

You may run into some problems with dependencies. These can usually be resolved by removing the offending package and re-running the above command. Dependency issues can be mitigated be keeping additional (third-party) repositories to a minimum. MythTV on Fedora requires only the default repositories plus ATrpms and Freshrpms to fulfill all requirements.

Note for Fedora ...

ATrpms has a dependency issue that requires removing python-imaging that was installed by default with the distro. After removing python-imaging, mythtv installed smoothly.

Setting up drivers/Modules

Install capture card drivers

Some capture card drivers have been included by default with Fedora. The IVTV drivers required for the PVR-150/250/350 and the drivers required for the Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212 are included, for example.

Install LIRC

Note for Fedora 12 + users the default LIRC socket file name has changed to /var/run/lirc/lircd , so you will need to update MythTV Settings -> General from /dev/lircd ->/var/run/lirc/lircd and then restart mythfrontend.

Check first if lirc is installed before proceeding below...(eg find / -name lircd)

# yum install lirc

This will install the Linux Infra-Red Control package. This is a daemon which translates infra-red key presses into keyboard events, therefore you will need to configure your remote control accordingly. Some examples of the lircrc file can be found under /usr/share/doc/mythtv-$VERSION/

Update Fedora

To get your system fully updated, simply run the command:

# yum update

When you see the Transaction Summary, you will need to press "y" to begin downloading the packages.

Transaction Summary
Install      20 Package(s)
Update      79 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)
Total download size: 902 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y

Since this is your first upgrade, you will also need to import the GPG key when prompted. You should only need to do this once.

Retrieving GPG key from file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-fedora
Importing GPG key 0x4F2A6FD2 "Fedora Project <>"
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Key imported successfully

Kernel upgrades

  • Note: Fedora is shipped with a specific kernel, over time bugs are discovered and corrected in new versions. If possible update your kernel to the newest one.

Among the packages upgraded just a minute ago with yum should be your kernel, to the very latest errata release. Additionally, your boot loader should have been automatically updated to use the new kernel, so all you need to do is reboot to start using the new kernel, which you'll want to do in just a minute. As of January 2010, is the latest released kernel. You should be using the latest released kernel available for your distribution.

Generally speaking, you should always install the latest errata kernel, shortly after the release of which Axel should have all the needed kernel modules available. Kernel modules are not maintained for older kernels, because of two things. First, a new kernel from Red Hat usually fixes some flaw in earlier kernels (security hole or bug fix), so it is good practice not to use the flawed kernel and second, building kernel modules for every kernel would take forever and a day and cause assorted other headaches for Axel. To make providing kernel modules feasible, only the very latest one or two kernels are supported

Setup MySQL

We'll need to enable MySQL to load at startup, set some passwords, and create the MythTV database, which we'll populate shortly. The population of this database is handled by mythtvsetup in the next step, and all MythTV add-on module database additions must be done after running mythtvsetup at least one time.

# /sbin/chkconfig mysqld on
# /sbin/service mysqld start 

Set the MySQL root password.


Now we create the MythTV database (called mythconverg) to get us started:

$ mysql -u root -p < /usr/share/doc/mythtv-docs-0.22/database/mc.sql
Enter password:

At this point, enter the password you just set above (ROOT_PWD) when prompted. Also note, "mythtv-0.22" refers to the version of MythTV you are have installed, in this case version 0.22.

Again, all subsequent database population for MythTV's add-on modules must now be done after running mythtvsetup at least one time. It's worth customizing some parameters in /etc/my.cnf for optimal performance with MythTV.

These adjustments to my.cnf under the [mysqld] section improve performance with both MythTV (especially in the GUI) and MythWeb:

key_buffer = 16M
table_cache = 128
sort_buffer_size = 2M
myisam_sort_buffer_size = 8M
query_cache_size = 16M 

Does /dev/video* exist?

Before going further it is wise to check whether things have worked so far. Has a /dev/video entry been created for an analog video source?

$ ls -la /dev/video*

If not, either you have a digital tv tuner (in which case you will have some entries in /dev/dvb/, and you should be reading, or you have an analog source yet something has gone wrong with installing it (in which case you should look at /var/log/dmesg, and check whether udev, ivtv, and so on are working, and required modules are loaded). A useful quick test for USB video sources is to unplug them then plug them in again and look at the ends of whatever /var/log files get updated.

Setup MythTV

Recall what your video device was set up as (likely /dev/video0 for analog video sources; if you have a digital tuner see: Note that the actual device number is not what determines what order MythTV will use your cards in. What matters is the order that you enter them in mythtvsetup, so your best card doesn't have to be /dev/video0. Set up /dev/video8 first, and it'll be the first card used for recordings.

If you are in the US, you will need a paid account with []. The current pricing is $20 per year. This will give you television feed data that your myth box uses for scheduling once you have localized your acct to your zip code, chosen a content provider service and then set your channels from the webpage. There are a few other ways to get your data, but these are outside this document support scope and the lsitings are not as accurate or as reliable.

Now on to launching the MythTV setup utility. For this part, you need to have an X session started up, as the setup utility is an X application. Fire it up like so:

$ mythtv-setup 

I'm told that non-U.S. folks may have issues correctly getting through the tv_grab_xx/xmltv part of the setup if "focus follows mouse" is already set (in KDE's Control Center), so keep that in mind. Just set "focus follows mouse" when everything else is already configured.

Note: If you receive an error involving permissions on a .so library, you may have SELinux installed and preventing you from accessing these libraries. You can either turn off SELinux, or allow access to the libraries with the following command as root:
chcon -t texrel_shlib_t /usr/lib/libmyth*.so*

Those using a dedicated /video partition, per my example, should obviously set /video/recordings for storage of recorded shows. However, you can do pretty much whatever you like here, such as recording to an NFS or Samba mount, a software RAID array. Just make sure your mythtv user has permission to read and write to whatever location you choose.

It is highly recommended that you go through the setup steps in order. Follow the on-screen instruction, with aid from the MythTV website's documentation on this page:

Note: your system may appear to hang at step 3; give it time, it isn't locked up, that part just takes a while!

Once you've gone through the setup, you have to populate the MythTV database with some program info. I spent a good long time tweaking my channel lineup on schedulesdirect's site to remove all the junk channels I didn't really care to have show up. Once you have your listings to your liking, you're ready to fill your database with programming info. You must start up the backend first, we'll set it to autostart later.

$ mythbackend &

Assuming all goes well and the process doesn't exit on you (if it does, check out the troubleshooting section below), lets get some guide data:

$ mythfilldatabase 

If you're using a guide data source other than SchedulesDirect (i.e., anyone outside the U.S. and Canada), you may well need to add a "--manual" flag to the end of that command to get it to work. Look at the output of "mythfilldatabase --help" for more clues if you have problems.

Also, be patient! This step can take a fairly long time, depending on your internet connection speed and how many channels your service provides... To get automatic updates of programming data daily see below for configuration in mythfrontend.

Now start up the MythTV front-end (I recommend doing this in a separate shell window, so you can distinctly see the different output for the backend and frontend processes)...

$ mythfrontend 

There are various options within mythfrontend that you can tweak...a lot of this is covered by other parts of the wiki.

It is recommended to use the built in features of MythTV to have mythfilldatabase updated automatically. After starting up mythfrontend, enter the Setup > General screen and advance to "Mythfilldatabase", the fourth screen. Select the checkbox, then complete the options as you see fit. If using SchedulesDirect for programming data, selecting the option to allow the scheduler to recommend the next mythfilldatabase option and changing the allowed update time to be from 0 to 24 is best as it allows SchedulesDirect to balance the load on their servers. After setup the mythbackend program will now run mythfilldatabase for you.

Configure startup

The necessary init script for the MythTV backend to automatically start at system boot is already in place for you, just simply turn it on:

# /sbin/chkconfig mythbackend on

If the backend isn't already running, save yourself a reboot and issue this command:

# /sbin/service mythbackend start 

You can list which scripts are started by issuing the command:

# chkconfig --list

It might be worthwhile to kill a number of scripts that you not used. Each script in /etc/init.d contains a short explanation of what they do. You can prevent the scripts from starting by issuing the command:

# chkconfig --del <name>

Now, because I have a few things that don't seem to want to play nice anymore (i.e., nvidia-settings don't load like they should, alsa volume levels aren't restored), I decided to create a quick little shell script in ~/.kde/Autostart/ to handle loading up all the extra goodies I need/want to auto-start, as well as force stubborn things to work. This script loads my nvidia settings, restores alsa volumes, launches irexec for my little power button script (on the Tips 'n' Tricks page), then launches mythfrontend, all in one fell swoop. Just copy and past all this into ~/.kde/Autostart/ (adjust accordingly for different desktop environments):


# Only do this stuff if we're on the main display
# (i.e., don't do this in a vnc session)
if [ `echo $DISPLAY | grep -c ":0"` -ge 1 ]
    # Load nVidia driver custom settings
    nvidia-settings --load-config-only &
    # Restore audio settings
    /usr/sbin/alsactl restore
    # Launch irexec for myth power button stop/start
    irexec &
    # Launch myth welcome 
    mythwelcome &
    # Disable dynamic power management (screen blanking)
    /usr/bin/xset -dpms
    # Disable screen saver
    /usr/bin/xset s off

Don't forget to make it executable:

$ chmod +x ~/.kde/Autostart/ 

You'll also have to set autologin for your mythtv user. You'll have to get a root terminal open then:

Add the following lines to /etc/gdm/custom.conf

AutomaticLogin=mythtv (or whatever user you want)

If you want a timed login, try:

TimedLoginDelay=1 (Or however long you want to wait)

Fedora Version Specific Tips

Fedora 12/13

If analog sound doesn't work, try changing the audio device to ALSA:front, and change the ALSA:default mixer to control the Master control rather than PCM.