MythTV on Mac OS X
MythTV works just fine on OSX (but see the backend gotchas below).
- 1 Hardware Requirements
- 2 Pre-built Downloads
- 3 Using MythFrontend
- 4 Installing MythTV Backend
- 5 Setting up MythWeb
- 6 Gotchas and Warnings
- 7 Troubleshooting and Monitoring
- 8 Tips and Tricks
- 8.1 Remote Control
- 8.2 Surround Sound in 7.1 Channels
- 8.3 GPU Acceleration
- 8.4 Display Scale Hacks
- 8.5 Playback Settings
- 8.6 MythGrowl Notifications
- 8.7 Performance Tweaks for Underpowered Systems
- 8.8 Shutdown
- 8.9 Disable Bluetooth Keyboard setup
- 8.10 VNC Server
- 9 For more information
- 10 Help Improve This Page
To watch TV at acceptable speeds, you'll want at least an 800 MHz G4 or better. For HDTV nearly any Intel-based Mac released from 2006 onwards will suffice, though newer machines will allow the use of better deinterlacers for 1080i content.
The backend takes very little CPU power, except when marking commercials. Any Mac capable of running OSX 10.5 Leopard or later will work fine.
|0.15 through 0.24||Old||
Want to contribute builds? Read more at the Mac OSX Release Build Contributors Page.
MythFrontend is a normal OSX app that has no special dependencies to run. Version 0.25 and later are officially supported on 10.5 to 10.7. Older versions are compatible with versions of OSX from 10.3.x (Panther) through 10.6.x (Snow Leopard).
The first time you run MythFrontend, it will enter a setup mode where you must configure the details of its access to the backend, and its display options. Currently for v0.25 the frontend must be configured to use OpenGL. See here for instructions.
See the User Manual for more information on configuring the frontend.
Installing MythTV Backend
The MythTV backend and its MySQL database run smoothly on OSX. Setting up the backend is somewhat more complicated than when using prebuilt Linux distributions such as MythBuntu. Inexperienced users who run into trouble may wish to gain experience with MythTV on Linux as training for setting it up on OSX.
The main additional complexities of installing the backend on OSX are
- Installing MySQL
- Setting initial MySQL database and permissions
Set Up MySQL
The MythTV backend relies on having a MySQL database available for storing information about upcoming and past recordings, channel setup, and the like.
Download and Install
Grab and install MySQL 5.1 for Mac OS X from the Mysql site. Either the 32-bit or 64-bit version is fine, except for Australian users running OSX 10.7 who will need 64-bit libraries to run shepherd for TV guide data.
For controlling the MySQL database server, you can choose one of the following options:
- Set up the database server without locking it to a user account by installing MySQLStartupItem.pkg. More information for the curious is here.
- Choose a user account responsible for running the database server, then install MySQL.prefPane for that account. You will almost certainly want to use System Preferences -> Accounts to make that account automatically login.
After installation, the MySQL server needs to be started.
- Reboot and the server will start automatically if you used the Startup Item.
- If you have installed MySQL.prefPane preference pane instead
- Go into System Preferences and select MySQL in the Others category
- Check Automatically Start MySQL on Startup
- Click on the Start MySQL button.
Initial Database Setup
Open Terminal. Type in the following and press enter:
shell> cd /usr/local/mysql/bin/
shell> characters indicate the shell prompt, not something you need to type.
Configuring Default Database Users
Enter the specialized MySQL shell
shell> ./mysql -u root
which should start and prompt you for input with the
Delete the anonymous MySQL accounts by entering the following command:
mysql> DROP USER ''@'localhost';
If you don't know your machine's hostname, look it up in the table produced by entering
mysql> SELECT Host, User FROM mysql.user;
Then, set passwords for the root account by entering the below commands and substituting your desired password for newpwd and your backend machine's hostname for host_name.
mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('newpwd'); mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'127.0.0.1' = PASSWORD('newpwd'); mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'host_name' = PASSWORD('newpwd'); mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'host_name.local' = PASSWORD('newpwd');
This root password is not one you will generally have to share, but you should definitely make a record of it.
Database Privileges and Character Set
Finally, create the mythtv user and
mythconverg database in MySQL, substituting your desired password for that user where it says mythtv-password:
mysql> CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS mythconverg; mysql> GRANT ALL ON mythconverg.* TO mythtv@localhost IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv-password"; mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES; mysql> GRANT CREATE TEMPORARY TABLES ON mythconverg.* TO mythtv@localhost IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv-password"; mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES; mysql> ALTER DATABASE mythconverg DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
This MythTV password will be given to any frontend you use, and is therefore going to be kept relatively insecure, so don't choose a password that is important to you. The customary choice for this password is mythtv.
The above commands are equivalent to the setup script that runs automatically when you install MythTV on Linux distributions.
If you will be watching TV on other computers using this backend, you will need to create database permissions for them as well. One common invocation is
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mythconverg.* TO 'mythtv'@'192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0' IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv-password";; mysql> GRANT CREATE TEMPORARY TABLES ON mythconverg.* TO 'mythtv'@'192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0' IDENTIFIED BY "mythtv-password"; mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
See the MySQL manual if you need more information on permissions.
Finishing Backend Setup
Now download the backend (from one of the servers above).
Launch MythTV-Setup.app and go through the configuration steps.
- Specific instructions for the common case of an HDHomeRun in the USA
- Detailed explanations for other variations can be found in the User Manual.
You're done! Watch and record TV using MythFrontend.app.
Automatic Backend Startup
Method 1: Login Item
Make MythBackend a Login Item for the DVR user, using the Accounts section of System Preferences.
Method 2: Launchd
MythBackend is really a daemon, and it is nice to control it as such. The approved way to automatically start processes in OSX is to use
launchd. Placing the following property list in
~/Library/LaunchAgents/MythBackend.plist of the relevant user account will cause MythBackend to be started whenever that user logs in, and restarted if killed or crashed.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"> <plist version="1.0"> <dict> <key>KeepAlive</key> <true/> <key>Label</key> <string>MythBackend</string> <key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>/Applications/MythBackend/MythBackend.app/Contents/MacOS/MythBackend</string> <string>--logpath</string> <string>/var/log/MythBackend</string> </array> </dict> </plist>
where we have assumed that MythBackend.app resides in a
MythBackend subfolder of
To have MythBackend run as a specific user, insert the following under
</array>, substituting mythtv with the username of your choice.
Also, don't forget to create and set the correct permissions for the log file
sudo touch /var/log/MythBackend sudo chown mythtv /var/log/MythBackend
Note that the path to the MythBackend application binary should be set to where you happen to keep it. If you need to stop the process, you cannot just
kill it. Instead use
launchctl unload -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/MythBackend.plist
and once you are ready to start it again type
launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/MythBackend.plist
in a Terminal window.
Setting up MythWeb
MythWeb is a convenient collection of website code that lets you set up recordings, browse the schedule, and review existing recordings without having to start the complete frontend. Since Macs have a built-in webserver, it's pretty simple to get MythWeb going as well. For complete setup instructions, please see the OSX-specific instructions.
Gotchas and Warnings
Most PCI video capture cards lack OSX drivers, so the Mac OS X backend does not support the majority of tuners listed as being supported by (the Linux version of) MythTV.
The HDHomeRun network tuner is well known to work using the Mac version of Myth backend. Recording via firewire from set top boxes such as the Motorola 6412 or Motorola DCT 6200 is also known to work. There are no current plans for additional hardware support.
(As of mythtv 0.21-fixes-20090316) There is one important note if trying to record via FireWire on an Intel Mac. The MythBackend cannot get a LAM lock signal when recording TV via FireWire. The solution is to check the "Open with Rosetta" checkbox on the Get Info panel of MythBackend.app. See this post for information.
Because of this, it's important to open MythBackend.app from the Finder and not from a Terminal window because it won't open with Rosetta. There must be some PPC-specific FireWire code in there.
This method had successfully been used to record HD over FireWire on a Intel Mac Mini (Macmini3,1) on a Motorola DCT 6200 cable box.
Troubleshooting and Monitoring
Process View and CPU Usage
To see if you have processes running, you can use the
ps command in a terminal, or even better, you can use the Activity Monitor supplied by Apple (usually found in
/Applications/Utilities/). Sort by process name. You should see MySQL as
mysqld and MythBackend as
By default, MythBackend and MythFrontend log to standard output (often
It is convenient to separate the backend log from the general system log. If you launch the backend with the
-l logfilename directive then it will log to logfilename instead. You can view the logs with
tail in a command-line window, or more conveniently using Console.app, also in
MythFillDatabase sends messages both to the standard output and the standard error. You may like to similarly redirect that output.
Tips and Tricks
The Apple Remote can be used to control the most common MythTV functions:
- Directional keys: arrow keys
- Play/Pause: Enter
- Menu: Escape
Holding down buttons will generate alternate inputs:
- Hold Play/Pause: P (play/pause playback)
- Hold Menu: M (Menu in playback)
- Hold Left/Right: Home/End
See the Keybindings page for what these key equivalents will do in any given situation. Keybindings can be altered in the settings menu using MythWeb. For example you may wish to try changing the "Pause" setting for TV Playback from P to P,Enter to support the play/pause button on the Apple Remote.
Other Infrared Remotes
The android app Mythmote can be used to control your mythtv frontend. Enable the Network control under Setup -> General -> Network Control.
Computer To Computer Network Control
If you want to try controlling MythTV from another Mac (perhaps by a PowerBook from the couch), Generally Helpful Software has released an early beta of a remote control application, Remote Remote GH for MythTV http://web.mac.com/grhowes/iWeb/Generally%20Helpful%20Software/Remote%20Remote%20GH.html
Another Mac OS X network remote control is available at http://ignasiak.googlepages.com/mythremote
Surround Sound in 7.1 Channels
To activate 7.1 audio (using either HDMI or DisplayPort); make sure to first launch the Audio MIDI Setup in
/Application/Utilities and configure HDMI audio as 8 channels-24 bits (the default is just stereo). It is recommended to disable DTS and AC3 passthrough as it would reset the hdmi audio in two channels mode, which would break future multi-channels playback.
Note that for the time being, E-AC3, TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreaming do NOT work under MacOS. That's until Apple provide the required 192kHz digital sampling rate (the hardware supports it!).
The frontend can accelerate H.264 video using Video Decode Acceleration (VDA) GPU library. This does not include accelerating the MPEG2 streams used by cable and over-the-air broadcasters in the United States.
Display Scale Hacks
Menus, titlebars and other text may be cut off on high-resolution televisions driven by your Mac, or be too small to see from a distance, which interferes with the ability to use your it as a standard computer. You can change the display scale to make applications appear better. To do this, modify the global scale factor
shell> defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.25
(To reset the scale just run the above commands both with a scale of 1.0.)
The scale factor (1.25) increases the OSX system fonts by 25%. Myth won't like this (and doesn't need it) so you need to force the scale factor for Myth back to the default 1.0. For MythTV and any other app you wish to render on the with normal fonts, you can modify the app-specific scale factor like this
shell> defaults write net.psychosis.MythFrontend AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.0
In the setup screens, explore the "TV Settings" -> "Playback" options. You'll find two pages of Mac-specific settings there. If your machine isn't fast enough, you can choose to drop frames here. If you have cycles to spare, you'll find fun settings like video in the Dock, on the Desktop, or in a floating (and optionally translucent) window.
There is an application for Mac OS X called MythGrowl that generates Growl notifications when your MythTV backend starts or finishes a recording. Not part of Mythfrontend but worth a mention. It can be downloaded at http://mythgrowl.sourceforge.net/
Performance Tweaks for Underpowered Systems
Performance with interlaced 1080i video is significantly affected by the choice of deinterlacer. Builds preceding v0.24 do not properly support the "2x" deinterlacers for 1080i60 (but they do for 480i), so if you are using one of those, try the "normal" version. Underpowered systems may do best with the Kernel deinterlacer, or Linear Blend if that's still taxing your CPU. Newer systems should be able to run Yadif or Greedy HIghMotion, which provide significantly better deinterlacing than the previous options.
Running TV playback in a smaller window can also improve performance, as can customising your backend recording settings. (E.g. Smaller capture from analog cards, 44.1KHz audio is a better match to some Macs than 48KHz.)
Under General, enter the following to properly shutdown under OSX. You might also have to "sudo chmod +s /sbin/halt /sbin/reboot" to be able to execute the command as a non-super user. To Shutdown: /sbin/halt To Reboot: /sbin/reboot
Disable Bluetooth Keyboard setup
When a keyboard and/or mouse isn't plugged in the Bluetooth setup wizard will be displayed. To shut this off under OSX, go to settings->bluetooth->advanced, uncheck the keyboard wizard.
Install an alternative VNC server if your VNC clients have trouble connecting to the built in one. I use VineVNC server.
For more information
If you have problems with this guide, the mythtv-users mailing list is the best place to start. Check the searchable archive to see if your problem has already been discussed. Also, you can check the mythtv-dev list to see if it's a problem with SVN; if you can't compile MythTV, you may just have to wait a few days and try again.
- The user manual at User_Manual:Index has a lot of material, though it is Linux-oriented
- For MythTV on Mac OS X on Intel machines, there is also also Myth on Mac x86. (However, that page is very out of date in many respects.)
- Some suggested technical innovations for Myth on OSX are at Technical_Directions_On_OSX
Help Improve This Page
Finally, remember that this is a Wiki. If you find an inaccuracy, or have advice that may be helpful to others, improve this guide by adding your information!