Frontend control socket

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Release 0.19 of MythTV introduced the ability to control mythfrontend via a socket interface. Commands are sent and replies are received in text mode, there is no fancy xml interface or anything - it is meant to be able to be used via something as simple as netcat. This feature has to be enabled in the general settings of the frontend setup. The default port is 6546, so after restarting mythfrontend, you can test by netcatting to localhost on port 6546

netcat localhost 6546

See also MythTV docs on control socket

Warning.png Warning: The frontend control socket does NOT implement the telnet protocol. It is a raw text-based TCP socket. The Telnet protocol expects certain behaviors and enforces 7-bit ASCII text, which the control socket does not follow and will cause complications if used. netcat exists as a nearly drop-in replacement for telnet, and will work fine for this purpose.

Supported Commands

For a list of supported commands, type "help". For help on a specific command, type "help COMMAND" (where COMMAND is the name of the command like "help jump").


Usage: jump JUMPPOINT

Where JUMPPOINT is one of the following:
channelpriorities    - Channel Recording Priorities
channelrecpriority   - Channel Recording Priorities
deletebox            - TV Recording Deletion
deleterecordings     - TV Recording Deletion
flixbrowse           - Netflix Browser
flixhistory          - Netflix History
flixqueue            - Netflix Queue
guidegrid            - Program Guide
livetv               - Live TV
livetvinguide        - Live TV In Guide
mainmenu             - Main Menu
managerecordings     - Manage Recordings / Fix Conflicts
manualbox            - Manual Record Scheduling
manualrecording      - Manual Record Scheduling
musicplaylists       - Select music playlists
mythgallery          - MythGallery
mythgame             - MythGame
mythmovietime        - MythMovieTime
mythnews             - MythNews
mythvideo            - MythVideo
mythweather          - MythWeather
playbackbox          - TV Recording Playback
playbackrecordings   - TV Recording Playback
playdvd              - Play DVD
playmusic            - Play music
previousbox          - Previously Recorded
progfinder           - Program Finder
programfinder        - Program Finder
programguide         - Program Guide
programrecpriority   - Program Recording Priorities
recordingpriorities  - Program Recording Priorities
ripcd                - Rip CD
ripdvd               - Rip DVD
statusbox            - Status Screen
videobrowser         - Video Browser
videogallery         - Video Gallery
videolistings        - Video Listings
videomanager         - Video Manager
viewscheduled        - Manage Recordings / Fix Conflicts


key LETTER           - Send the letter key specified
key NUMBER           - Send the number key specified
key CODE             - Send one of the following key codes

Supported keys:

#, $, %, &, (, ), *, +, ,, -, ., /, :, ;, <, =, >, ?, [, \, ], ampersand, asterisk, backslash, backspace, 
backtab, bar, bracketleft, bracketright, colon, comma, delete, dollar, down, end, enter, equal, escape, 
f1, f10, f11, f12, f13, f14, f15, f16, f17, f18, f19, f2, f20, f21, f22, f23, f24, f3, f4, f5, f6, f7, f8, f9, 
greater, home, insert, left, less, minus, numbersign, pagedown, pageup, parenleft, parenright, percent, 
period, pipe, plus, poundsign, question, return, right, semicolon, slash, space, tab, up, |


play volume NUMBER%    - Change volume to given percentage value
play channel up        - Change channel Up
play channel down      - Change channel Down
play channel NUMBER    - Change to a specific channel number
play chanid NUMBER     - Change to a specific channel id (chanid)
play file FILENAME     - Play FILENAME (FILENAME may be a file or a myth:// URL)
play program CHANID yyyy-MM-ddThh:mm:ss
                       - Play program with chanid & starttime
play program CHANID yyyy-MM-ddThh:mm:ss resume
                       - Resume program with chanid & starttime
play save preview
                       - Save preview image from current position
play save preview FILENAME
                       - Save preview image to FILENAME
play save preview FILENAME WxH
                       - Save preview image of size WxH
play seek beginning    - Seek to the beginning of the recording
play seek forward      - Skip forward in the video
play seek backward     - Skip backwards in the video
play seek HH:MM:SS     - Seek to a specific position
play speed pause       - Pause playback
play speed normal      - Playback at normal speed
play speed 1x          - Playback at normal speed
play speed SPEEDx      - Playback where SPEED must be a decimal
play speed 1/8x        - Playback at 1/8x speed
play speed 1/4x        - Playback at 1/4x speed
play speed 1/3x        - Playback at 1/3x speed
play speed 1/2x        - Playback at 1/2x speed
play stop              - Stop playback
play music play        - Resume playback (MythMusic)
play music pause       - Pause playback (MythMusic)
play music stop        - Stop Playback (MythMusic)
play music setvolume N - Set volume to number (MythMusic)
play music getvolume   - Get current volume (MythMusic)
play music getmeta     - Get metadata for current track (MythMusic)
play music file NAME   - Play specified file (MythMusic)
play music track N     - Switch to specified track (MythMusic)
play music url URL     - Play specified URL (MythMusic)


query location        - Query current screen or location
query volume          - Query the current playback volume
query recordings      - List currently available recordings
query recording CHANID STARTTIME
                      - List info about the specified program
query liveTV          - List current TV schedule
query liveTV CHANID   - Query current program for specified channel
query load            - List 1/5/15 load averages
query memstats        - List free and total, physical and swap memory
query time            - Query current time on frontend
query uptime          - Query machine uptime
query verbose         - Get current VERBOSE filter
query version         - Query Frontend version details
query channels        - Query available channels
query channels START LIMIT - Query available channels from START and limit results to LIMIT lines


Terminates the session.


message message to be displayed      - Display a popup message


notification message to be displayed - Add a notification to notification center (from 0.27)

Limitations & Workarounds

Some limitations exist in the front-end control protocol; especially with implementations that exist for plugins to MythTV. For instance it is not possible to list artists, albums or tracks in MythMusic, neither is it possible to add tracks to the current queue or change playback to something else without emulating key-presses, which requires knowledge of the exact position of the cursor by the application.

MythMusic Rescan Workaround: It is not possible to have MythMusic re-scan for music; although it is possible to emulate this behaviour. Using MythWeb, go to settings -> MythTV -> Key bindings and select the host (or hosts) from the drop-down you would like to be able to initiate a rescan programatically. Look up the row called "Scan Music". add a Key you would like to use (make sure it isnt a key you require elsewhere in the application as this is a global key-binding. Save the changes, you may need to restart the front-end in question. send the relevant key-press via the network control port to initiate music-rescan. i.e. nc localhost 6546 then if you used F6; # key f6

The above can also be done from a script, like so:

nc localhost 6546 -i 1 <<EOS
key f6

IP Address availability

As of 0.25, this feature now follows the IP settings for the current machine's profile, if configured in `mythtv-setup`. These are the BackendServerIP and BackendServerIP6 settings on the first page of the General section. If these settings are left blank, as would be the case on a dedicated frontend if the user had never run `mythtv-setup`, or if the defaults in those fields were intentionally blanked, this feature will automatically be available on all IPv6 address, and all private network IPv4 addresses. Per RFC1918, those addresses are:

  • -
  • -
  • -

Most users will find themselves within that last group of IP addresses.

If one wishes to restrict the addresses that the control socket is available through, defining those fields in `mythtv-setup` will cause the control socket to only be available on those two addresses. Similarly, those can be used to select an IPv4 address outside those private network ranges. If one wants to unrestrict where the frontend listens, but is running on a combination frontend/backend, where `mythbackend` required those options be set for proper operation, the frontend can be forced to run on an independent machine profile. That value defaults to the current machine hostname. In 0.25, that value can be overridden using the LocalHostName parameter in mysql.txt as follows:

Script.png ~/.mythtv/mysql.txt


In 0.26 and later, mysql.txt has been removed in favor of config.xml, which can be configured as follows:

Script.png ~/.mythtv/config.xml


Some configurations are only able to setup a listener on (MythBuntu). A workaround for this issue is to forward external connections to localhost (

  • This example assumes network facing IP address of
    • Modify this example as needed
    • Do NOT use this example for servers facing the Internet
  • You will need to have root permissions to perform these steps
  • Modify kernel to allow forwarding to localhost (
    • sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.all.route_localnet=1
  • Modify iptables to direct all connections on tcp port 6546 to go to port 6546
    • iptables -t nat -I PREROUTING 1 -p tcp -d --dport 6546 -j DNAT --to-destination
    • The above example leaves an issue with connectivity while on the server to port 6546. This can be solved with some extra iptables commands or just use connectivity to port 6546

Used By

Python bindings Python class for interfacing with the frontend socket.
tkmythremote Simple graphical interface implemented in wish/tk Curses based remote written in python
MythWeb On screen and passthrough keyboard available in MythWeb
MyMote Remote control and scheduler for the iPhone.
Mythetomer Graphical remote for Nokia Internet Tablets and Smartphones
MythMote Graphical remote for Android powered devices
MythTV Mobile Remote Graphical remote for Nokia N80
WebMyth Remote and scheduler for HP webOS phones (e.g. Palm Pre)
MythMe Remote and scheduler for windows Phone 7
Asterisk Remote control using any touchtone phone through Asterisk.
MythTV Web Remote Simple graphical web-based remote
iPhone Remote Another simple web-based remote
MythControl Remote control and recordings manager for iPhone
MythRemote Homebrew Nintendo DS remote
Windows Mobile via MythControl Windows Mobile remote
irreco A remote control application for Nokia Internet Tablets.
MythRemote Graphical remote for OSX
DirectTV D11 Channel for controlling mythtv with a D11 remote
RemoteKommander Graphical remote for KDE
MythRemote Control Graphical remote written in Python/PythonCard
RocketRemote Graphical remote written in Adobe Flex
MythRemote CLI remote written in Perl (handy to bind to keyboard keys); Graphical remote written in Perl/Tk.
cmdline-mythremote Very simple command line remote written in C


Changeset [v0.17-2759-g7f3dcda]

The initial implementation.

Changeset [v0.20-1001-gd86cf6e]




Network Control socket interface changes.

Add some new valid keys. The list:
home, end, return, tab, backtab, insert, delete, plus, comma, minus,
period, numbersign (aka poundsign), dollar, percent, ampersand, parenleft,
parenright, asterisk, question, bar, pipe, and F13 through F24. This also
adds the ability to use the actual symbol for mose of these such as "key +"
instead of having to type "key plus".

Add the ability to send key combinations such as CTRL+B, ALT+F, etc.. The
four supported modifiers are CTRL, ALT, SHIFT, and META and they can be
used individually such as CTRL+B or together such as CTRL+ALT+B.

Fix some minor bugs related to case conversion, previously the code would
lower() the whole input command and then uppercase the few places that
needed it such as when passing a Qt::ISODateTime, now we just lower() when
comparing things that need case-insensitive comparisons.

For debugging purposes, add the ability to sleep in the middle of a key
combination. You can now use the keyword 'sleep' to sleep one second in
the middle of a key command. Here's a not-so-useful example:
"key down down sleep down enter"

Changeset [v0.20-8059-g4f40c42]

Control socket now supports multiple simultaneous connections. Previous behavior was to terminate existing connections when a new one was made.

Changeset [v0.25pre-446-g7422f24]

Add playback functions for control of MythMusic.