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Revision as of 06:40, 20 February 2007 by Dswimboy (talk | contribs)

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MythTV is awesome for my roommates and I. We love the commercial skip! While I always hoped to experiment with MythTV, my roommates endorsed the idea in November 2006. My experiment has become quite a practical establishment in our house.

My Setup

Combined Frontend/Backend.


  • Cheap Mini-ITX black case from Directron
  • VIA EPIA 5000 Mini-ITX motherboard
  • 512MB SDRAM
  • 160GB Western Digital 7200rpm Hard Drive
  • Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 Tuner Card


  • Debian Etch
  • Kernel v2.6.18-3-486
  • v7.1.1
  • IceWM window manager v1.2
  • ivtv drivers v0.8.2, firmware v1.18.21.22168
  • lirc version v0.8.0
  • MythTV v0.20.20060828-3

What's working for me

What's not


I tried quite a few distros before figuring out how to upgrade Debian to Etch. Here's what I can remember that conflicted with my setup, mainly the EPIA motherboard. See the Operating system page for more distros and information.

  • KnoppMyth
  • MiniMyth
  • MythDora

I think I tried some more, but ran into some other probelms.

  • Fedora: trouble burning and then installing. I might have been lazy.
  • AMICUS: I looked into, can't remember why i didn't use it.
  • PlutoHome: I think it conflicted with EPIA. Also might have been a little heavy for my 500Mhz processor.

On-Screen Program Guide

The On-Screen Electronic Program Guide stopped working for me at some point. The focus seemed to be screwed up. To get Myth working again, I had two options: restart or telnet. the telnet option required a

killall mythfrontend
ivtvfbctl /dev/fb0 --globalalpha off --localalpha off
mythfrontend &

I haven't spent much time diagnosing the problem though. when watching LiveTV I use comcast's digital cable EPG. I use MythWeb to schedule my recordings. Any suggestions are certainly welcome, though!


I used many resources to help me with the installation. I pieced the story together myself, without following one set of directions and having it work. here's what I used, in no particular order.

  • This Wiki!
  • MythTV Installation Guide for Debian helpful for some Debian specific stuff, but not as good as I was expecting.
  • Another Debian Guide once again useful for Debian specific. the guide is down. email me if you want a is outdated.
  • Jarod's Guide great for WinTV-PVR info and other mythtv concerns. biggest difference is using apt instead of yum.

The PVR-350 is awesome for this puny system. Before I had tested the hardware mpeg-2 decoder, I tried playing a recorded mpeg-2. the video was very, very, very choppy and slow. I was a little worried that I may have spent money on a useless machine. The reviews on the hardware decoder lived up to everything the should have, though. I am able to record a show, commercial flag two shows, and watch a recording without noticing anything.

Switching to IceWM was a big help on cutting down login time.

MythWeb is pretty darn slow. Searching and TV listings especially.

I'd Love to see MythWeb transcode files after recording

I don't have any updates/modifications planned.

Useful config info


Important xorg.conf excerpts for PVR-350 and TV-Out

Device BusID is in hexadecimal.

Section "Device"
	Identifier "Hauppauge PVR 350 iTVC15 Framebuffer"
	Driver "ivtvdev"
	Option  "ivtv" "/dev/fb0"
	Option  "fbdev" "/dev/fb0"
	BusID  "PCI:0:20:0"
	Screen 0

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "TV"
        Device "Hauppauge PVR 350 iTVC15 Framebuffer"
        Monitor "NTSC Monitor"
        DefaultDepth 24
        DefaultFbbpp 32
        Subsection "Display"
                Depth 24
                FbBpp 32
                Modes "720x480"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier "NTSC Monitor"
        HorizSync 30-68
        VertRefresh 50-120
        DisplaySize 183 122
        Mode "720x480"
                # D: 34.563 MHz, H: 37.244 kHz, V: 73.897 Hz
                DotClock 34.564
                HTimings 720 752 840 928
                VTimings 480 484 488 504
                Flags   "-HSync" "-VSync"

(Re)-Start Myth Frontend

startmythfrontend script to restart MythTV via irexec.


# (Re-)starts mythfrontend
# This script gets executed when the "Go" button on the remote is pressed
# Torsten Schenkel, edited by Matt Burke

# Reset the alpha values for ivtv-fb so we can see the X desktop (not always done automatically)
ivtvfbctl /dev/fb0 --globalalpha off --localalpha off

# Kill and start mythfrontend
killall mythfrontend

# Restart mythfrontend
echo "`date` RESTART" >> /home/burkemw/mythfrontend.log
export DISPLAY=:0.0
mythfrontend >> /home/burkemw/mythfrontend.log &


the .lircrc file (buttons as per the DVICO remote, which I think are now standard in the lirc distribution)

## irexec
	prog = irexec
	button = GO
	config = sudo -u mythtv /home/burkemw/bin/startmythfrontend &


myth2ipod script. modified from myth2ipod. I use ffmpeg directly, instead of nuvexport to transcode files. i haven't enabled removing commercials. transcoding takes at least as long as the recording is. i've added functionality for ffmpeg to update progress in mythconverge table. (ffmpeg takes the longest by far)

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
# VERSION: 1.0b2 - myth2ipod
# Get the latest version, and change log at
# Author: Chris aka Wififun - email: 
# Contributions and testing by Paul Egli
# modified to use nuvexport by starv at juniks dot org

# Includes
	use DBI;
	use Getopt::Long;
	use File::Path;
	use Expect;
# User variables
	my $portable = "ipod";
	my $feedfile = "/var/lib/mythipod/feed.php";
	my $feedpath = "/var/lib/mythipod/";
	my $wwwloc = "/var/www/";
	my $feedurl = "";
	my $nuvoptions ="--mode=iPod --nice=19 --cutlist --nodenoise --nodeinterlace --nomultipass";
# Some variables
	our ($dest, $format, $usage);
	our ($db_host, $db_user, $db_name, $db_pass, $video_dir);
	our ($hostname, $db_handle, $sql, $statement, $row_ref);
    our ($chanid, $start, $nuvfile, @nuvarray);	
	my $rebuild = '0';
	my $encode = '0';
	my $debug = '0';
	my $setup = '0';
	my $cut = '0';
	my( $rightnow ) = `date`; 

GetOptions ("rebuild" => \$rebuild,
			"encode"   => \$encode,
			"debug"	=>	\$debug,
			"setup" => \$setup,
			"cut" => \$cut);

if ($setup == 1){
		print "Setup will do everything needed to run this script.\n";
		print "This has only been tested on KnoppMyth R5A22.\n";
		print "make sure you have edited the variables for your conguration.\n";
		my $cksetup = &promptUser("\nAre you sure you want to procceed?","n");
			if ($cksetup =~ "y") {
			print "Setup exited. Nothing done.\n";
elsif ($rebuild == 1){
		print "Rebuilding of RSS feed is complete.\n";
else {
		print "$title is ready for your $portable\n";
		# Check to see if the feed file exists; if not, create it.
		if (! -e $feedfile) { 
		print "No feed file found. I will make one for you.\n";
		print "All done.\n";

sub Encode4Portable{
	if ($#ARGV != 1) { 
		print "Encoding requires options.\nusage: myth2ipod <options> DIRECTORY FILE\n"; 
	# Get the show information
	$directory = $ARGV[0]; 
	$file = $ARGV[1]; 
	@file = split(/_/, $file);
		$chanid = $file[0];
		$start = substr $file[1],0,14;
		if($debug == 1){ print "$chanid\n$start\n"};
	if (! -e $directory."/".$file){
		print "Opps, the file ".$directory.$file." does not exist.\n";
	# Connect to the database
	$db_handle = DBI->connect("dbi:mysql:database=$db_name:host=$db_host", $db_user, $db_pass)
	or die "Cannot connect to database: $!\n\n";
		$sql = "SELECT title, subtitle, description, category, starttime FROM recorded WHERE chanid = $chanid AND DATE_FORMAT(starttime,'%Y%m%d%H%i%s') = $start";

		$statement = $db_handle->prepare($sql)
			or die "Couldn't prepare query '$sql': $DBI::errstr\n";
		or die "Couldn't execute query '$sql': $DBI::errstr\n";
		$row_ref = $statement->fetchrow_hashref();
		if($debug == 1){ print "$row_ref->{starttime}\n"};
	$title = $row_ref->{title}; 
	$subtitle = $row_ref->{subtitle};
	$recorddate = $row_ref->{starttime}; 
	$description = $row_ref->{description};
	$category = $row_ref->{category};
	$filename = $title."-".$subtitle."-".substr $start, 0, 8;
	$filename =~ s/ /_/g;
	$filename =~ s/&/+/g;
	$filename =~ s/\047//g;
    $filename =~ s/[^+0-9a-zA-Z_-]+/_/g;
    $filename =~ s/_$//g;
	printf("Starting nuvexport...\n"); 
	printf("Nuvexport completed, starting xml generation...\n"); 
	printf("XML file created for \"$filename\" : Yipeee\n"); 
	printf("Cleaning up temporary files\n"); 
		$cmd = "rm -f $feedpath$chanid\_$start.temp.mp4";
		print $cmd."\n";
		if(system($cmd)) { print "Removing nuvexport temp file failed\n"; }
		# remove the cutlist incase we added it.
		if ($cut == 1){
		printf("Generating cutlist\n"); 
		$cmd = "/usr/bin/mythcommflag --chanid $chanid --starttime $start --clearcutlist";
		print $cmd."\n"; 
		if(system($cmd)) { print "It looks like I was not able to generate a cutlist.\n"; } 
	return 0;

# Encode for Portable
sub EncodeIt { 
	# Create cutlist from commercial flagging if -cut was passed to the script
	if ($cut == 1) {
		printf("Generating cutlist\n"); 
		$cmd = "/usr/bin/mythcommflag --chanid $chanid --starttime $start --gencutlist";
		print $cmd."\n"; 
		if(system($cmd)) { print "It looks like I was not able to generate a cutlist.\n"; } 
	# Use nuvexport to do the work
#	$cmd = "/usr/bin/nuvexport --chanid=$chanid --start=$start $nuvoptions --filename=$chanid\_$start.temp --path=$feedpath";
	$cmd = "ffmpeg -vcodec xvid -b 300 -qmin 3 -qmax 5 -bufsize 4096 -g 300 -acodec aac -ab 96 -i /$directory/$file -s 320x240 -aspect 4:3 $feedpath$chanid\_$start.temp.mp4";
	print $cmd."\n";
	# Now clean up the output so iPods with firmware 1.1 and above can use it
	$cmd = "/usr/bin/MP4Box -add $feedpath$chanid\_$start.temp.mp4 $feedpath$chanid\_$start.$portable.mp4";
	print $cmd."\n"; 
	if(system($cmd)) { print "MP4Box cleanup seems to have failed\n"; } 
	return 0;

# Use Expect to update database on transcoding progress
sub ffmpegExpect {
	$command = Expect->spawn($cmd);
	$update = 1;
	($hrs, $min, $sec, $msec, $seconds,$frames) = (0,0,0,0,0,1);
	if ($command->expect(2, '-re', "Duration: [0-9]{2,2}:[0-9]{2,2}:[0-9]{2,2}.[0-9],")) {
		$command->exp_match() =~ /([0-9]{2,2}):([0-9]{2,2}):([0-9]{2,2}).([0-9])/;
		($hrs, $min, $sec, $msec) = ($1, $2, $3, $4);
		$seconds = $msec/10 + $sec + 60 * ( $min + 60 * ($hrs) );
	} else { $update = 0; }
	if ($command->expect(2, '-re', ", [0-9]{2,2}.[0-9]{2,2} fps")) {
		$command->exp_match() =~ /, ([0-9\.]{5,5}) /;
		$frames = $seconds * $1;
	} else { $update = 0; }
	# `jobqueue`.`chanid`='%s' AND `jobqueue`.`starttime`='%s'
	if ($update) {
		while ($command->expect(undef, '-re', "frame= *[0-9]+ q")) {
			$command->exp_match() =~ /frame= *([0-9]+) q/;
			$completion = ($1) / ($frames) * 100;
			$sql = sprintf("UPDATE `jobqueue` SET `comment`='%.3f%% Completed (ffMPEG Transcoding)', `statustime`=NOW() WHERE `jobqueue`.`chanid`='%s' AND `jobqueue`.`starttime`='%s' LIMIT 1 ;",$completion,$chanid,$start);
			$statement = $db_handle->prepare($sql) or die "Couldn't prepare query '$sql': $DBI::errstr\n";
			$statement->execute() or die "Couldn't execute query '$sql': $DBI::errstr\n";

# Create XML with <ITEM> tag for this video file
sub CreateItemXML {
		open(ITEM, ">$feedpath$chanid\_$start.$portable.xml");
			print ITEM "<item>\n";  
			print ITEM "<title>".&encodeForXML($title." - ".$subtitle)."</title>\n";
			print ITEM "<itunes:author>MythTV</itunes:author>\n";  
			print ITEM "<author>MythTV</author>\n";  
			print ITEM "<itunes:category text=\"TV Shows\"></itunes:category>\n";
			print ITEM "<comments>".&encodeForXML($file)."</comments>\n";  
			print ITEM "<description>".&encodeForXML($description)."</description>\n";  
			print ITEM "<pubDate>".$recorddate."</pubDate>\n";  
			print ITEM "<enclosure url=\"".&encodeForXML("$feedurl$chanid\_$start.$portable.mp4")."\" type=\"video/quicktime\" />\n";  
			print ITEM "<itunes:duration></itunes:duration>\n";  
			print ITEM "<itunes:keywords>".&encodeForXML($title." - ".$subtitle." - ".$category)."</itunes:keywords>\n";
			print ITEM "<category>".&encodeForXML($category)."</category>\n";			
			print ITEM "</item>\n";
			print "\"$filename\" has been added to the feed.\n";
	return 0;

# Generate the RSS feed by combining the ITEM XML Files
sub GenerateRSSFeed {

	open(RSS, ">$feedfile");
		print RSS "<?php\n"; 
		print RSS "header(\"Content-Type: text/xml\");\n"; 
		print RSS "echo \"<?xml version=\\\"1.0\\\" encoding=\\\"UTF-8\\\"?>\"; ?>\n"; 
		print RSS "<rss xmlns:itunes=\"\" version=\"2.0\">\n"; 
		print RSS "<channel>\n"; 
		print RSS "<title>MythTV - <? if (\$_GET['title'] == \"\") { \$title = \"*\"; echo \"Recorded Programs\"; }\n";
		print RSS "else { \$title = \$_GET['title']; echo str_replace(\"_\",\" \",\$_GET['title']); } ?> </title>\n";
		print RSS "<itunes:author>MythTV - myth2ipod</itunes:author>\n"; 
		print RSS "<link>".&encodeForXML($feedurl)."</link>\n";
		print RSS "<itunes:subtitle>Transcoded recording for your iPod Video.</itunes:subtitle>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:summary>Myth TV Recorded Programs for the iPod v.1</itunes:summary>\n"; 
		print RSS "<description>Myth TV Recorded Programs for the iPod v.1</description>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:owner>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:name>MythTV</itunes:name>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:email>mythtv\@localhost</itunes:email>\n"; 
		print RSS "</itunes:owner>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:explicit>No</itunes:explicit>\n"; 
		print RSS "<language>en-us</language>\n"; 
		print RSS "<copyright>Copyright 2005.</copyright>\n"; 
		print RSS "<webMaster>mythtv\@localhost</webMaster>\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:image href=\"\" />\n"; 
		print RSS "<itunes:category text=\"TV Shows\"></itunes:category>\n"; 
		print RSS "<category>TV Shows</category>\n";
		print RSS "<itunes:image href=\"\"/>";
		print RSS "<image>"; 
		print RSS "<url></url>\n";
		print RSS "<title>MythTV 2 iPod</title>\n";
		print RSS "<link>".&encodeForXML($feedurl)."</link>\n";	
		print RSS "<width>200</width>\n";		
		print RSS "<height>200</height>\n";		
		print RSS "</image>\n";
		print RSS "<? foreach (glob(\$title\.\"*\.$portable\.xml\") as \$file) {include \$file;} ?>\n";
		print RSS "</channel>\n"; 
		print RSS "</rss>\n";
	if($debug == 1){ print "I created a feed file, was I supposed to?\n"};

	return 0;

# substitute for XML entities
sub encodeForXML {
	local $result;
	$result = $_[0];
	$result =~ s/&/&/g;
	$result =~ s/</</g;
	$result =~ s/>/>/g;

# This code taken from one of the scripts to get MySQL information
sub PrepSQLRead{
# Get the hostname of this machine
    $hostname = `hostname`;
# Read the mysql.txt file in use by MythTV.
# could be in a couple places, so try the usual suspects
    my $found = 0;
    my @mysql = ('/usr/local/share/mythtv/mysql.txt',
    foreach my $file (@mysql) {
        next unless (-e $file);
        $found = 1;
        open(CONF, $file) or die "Unable to open $file:  $!\n\n";
        while (my $line = <CONF>) {
        # Cleanup
            next if ($line =~ /^\s*#/);
            $line =~ s/^str //;
        # Split off the var=val pairs
            my ($var, $val) = split(/\=/, $line, 2);
            next unless ($var && $var =~ /\w/);
            if ($var eq 'DBHostName') {
                $db_host = $val;
            elsif ($var eq 'DBUserName') {
                $db_user = $val;
            elsif ($var eq 'DBName') {
                $db_name = $val;
            elsif ($var eq 'DBPassword') {
                $db_pass = $val;
        # Hostname override
            elsif ($var eq 'LocalHostName') {
                $hostname = $val;
        close CONF;
    die "Unable to locate mysql.txt:  $!\n\n" unless ($found && $db_host);
    return 0;

sub promptUser {
   local($promptString,$defaultValue) = @_;
   if ($defaultValue) {
      print $promptString, "[", $defaultValue, "]: ";
   } else {
      print $promptString, ": ";

   $| = 1;               # force a flush after our print
   $_ = <STDIN>;         # get the input from STDIN (presumably the keyboard)
   if ("$defaultValue") {
      return $_ ? $_ : $defaultValue;    # return $_ if it has a value
   } else {
      return $_;

sub DoSetup {
	print "\nNot ready yet. How do you send the cd command from perl?\n";
	return 0;