Video Library

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Revision as of 12:49, 5 March 2010 by Opreat0r (talk | contribs) (Local Video Storage)

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MythVideo allows for cataloguing and playback of a variety of video file formats. It can perform automatic metadata look ups on or The TV DB as well as retrieve poster, fanart, banner, and screenshot artwork. You can also add your own Meta data to your own videos and add custom poster artwork to videos.


Setting up Video and Image Folders

Storage Groups

Videos in Myth can now be stored on the backend and streamed to the frontend without a NFS or Samba mount. It is critical to note that the Storage Group implementation is not complete, and to take that into consideration when weighing whether to move to MythVideo Storage Groups. Hopefully the transition to Storage Groups will be complete for MythTV .23, so this should be taken as a technology preview release only.


  • Adding new frontends means zero configuration for videos, recordings, and metadata images.
  • Can dynamically add space to your video library without using RAID or LVM. Loss of one drive does not mean loss of the entire library.
  • Can spread video hosting across many/all backends.
  • No need to set up network mounts of any kind.


  • External Video Players (mplayer, xine, VLC) will not work with videos hosted on an SG.
  • ISO/VIDEO_TS Playback does not presently work in Storage Groups.

Setting Up Video/Image Storage Groups

  1. On the backend to host the videos, stop the backend process and run mythtv-setup.
  2. In Storage Group configuration, set up directories for each of the following: Videos, Trailers, Fanart, Banners, Screenshots, and Coverart.
  3. Optional Step: If you would like to use a combination of Storage Group and locally hosted video, you can do the following. On the frontends, go to Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General. Change "Directories that hold videos" to point at a directory that is not the same as the one the Storage Group points at. If the local video setting and the Storage Group setting point at the same path, MythVideo will prefer the Storage Group path and ignore the local one.
  4. Enter MythVideo. Press the "M" (MENU) key and choose "Scan For Changes."
  5. You will find that your metadata is reset, but should see all of the Storage Group videos. You will need to regrab metadata, but there are multiple new options to grab it all quickly in .22, as explained below.

Local Video Storage

If you choose not to use Storage Groups then simply don't define any of the above mentioned Storage Groups and set up your directories for videos and artwork on each individual frontend. On remote frontends the directories will need to be mounted locally via NFS or Samba. As always, the mount points need to be identical on all frontends. Then go to Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General and point to the appropriate directories for Videos, Trailers, Fanart, Banners, Screenshots, and Coverart.

local playback dirty hack replace the 6543/\/var\/lib\/mythtv\/videos with your port and path

  1. !/bin/bash

IFS=$'\n' foobarpath2=`echo $1| sed -e 's/^myth.*6543/\/var\/lib\/mythtv\/videos/g' -e 's/\[/\\[/g' -e 's/\]/\\]/g' -e 's/'\/\\'\/g' -e 's/(/\\(/g' -e 's/)/\\)/g' -e 's/\&/\\&/g' -e 's/;/\\;/g'` mplayer -fs "$foobarpath2" >> /var/log/mythtv/mythfrontend.log

Folder Images

You can place a file named folder.(png | gif | jpg) into a folder that is accessible to MythVideo and it will be used when the gallery view is displayed instead of a plain folder icon. As a fallback, you can place any image in the folder and it will be used. In absence of one of these images, myth will descend into the directory and find the first valid poster on an item contained within and use it as the folder image.

Scanning for Videos

When you add new videos to your storage directories, you can trigger a scan from any MythVideo view by choosing MENU->Scan For Changes.

In versions of MythTV prior to .22, it was necessary to enter the Video Manager screen to initiate a scan. This is no longer the case.

Parental Controls

Configuration of Parental controls is found at Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General.

MythVideo supports the ability to limit what videos maybe viewed without a password/pin. There are 4 different levels to choose from. You can select a default level and a password/pin for each level. Any videos/files at or below the current level will show up in the list. You can modify Parental Levels on-the-fly from within the Edit Metadata menu in MythVideo itself. Note that if you set the parental level to a high value, when someone enters MythVideo, even if they fail the PIN prompt, they will get that parental level. Thus, it is best to set the parental level to the lowest level you want publicly accessible.

To change parental level within MythVideo, Press the numeric value of the level, from 1-4. If you have set a PIN for that value, you will be prompted it at that time.

MythVideo remembers that you entered the pin for 2 minutes, so once you've entered the pin for a given level, you can freely switch between that level and all lower levels without a pin until that two minutes is up, after which you'll need to enter a pin again to switch to a higher level.

Internal Player

The MythTV Internal player is the default (and recommended) player for Video and DVD. It will also play DVDs and DVD isos with full menu and subtitle support. It uses the same OSD, settings, remote bindings and audio configuration as playback of recordings making it much easier to setup and use than an external player. It supports almost all video formats and content including High Definition and in addition a wide range of easily accessible features including configurable aspect ratios, picture fill modes, timestretch, bookmarks, video editing, automatic locale based or manual selection of subtitle and audio streams and much, much more.

Rebuild seek table

Some files require a seektable in order to skip/seek properly. If the Internal player is behaving strangely, please try building a seektable before resorting to an external player. To create a seektable, run the following command on the file:

 mythcommflag --rebuild --video filename.ext

The symptoms are the internal player not displaying the correct time in the OSD, not seeking at all, partially corrupt playback, or restarting playback on any attempt to seek.

External Player Configuration

Configuration of Parental controls is found at Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General.

(Trunk/.23 location: Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->Player Settings)

This screen is largely self-explanatory. You can configure default players for Videos, DVDs, VCDs, as well as (optionally) an alternate video player. To use the Internal player as your default player, simply enter "Internal" (without quotes) as the string.

Trailer Playback

MythVideo can both associate a single trailer with a film as well as play a user-specified number of trailers before all films.

To configure a film's specific trailer, open the edit metadata screen and click on the trailer button. Select the trailer you want to associate with the film. Once you have done so, to play a film's trailer, highlight the item and choose INFO->Play...->Play Trailer.

To set up randomized trailer playback, navigate to Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General.

(Trunk/.23 location: Utilities/Setup->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->Player Settings)

Within these settings, you can enable randomized trailer playback before a film. For a Theater-like experience, enable this option and select the number of trailers to see before the film. With this setting enabled, you will see the specified number of trailers when pressing the SELECT key on a movie, as well as having the option INFO->Play...->Play with Trailers.

Editing Video Metadata

To edit video metadata, highlight any item in MythVideo. Then press INFO->Metadata Options->Edit Metadata.

For films that have no listings, home movies, or films whose metadata simply needs some "massaging," MythVideo provides an Edit Metadata screen. Which options are offered will vary slightly by theme, but editing basic metadata is possible in all themes.

The edit metadata screen is fairly simple. It provides a series of text edits, spinboxes, and button lists to modify the metadata for the selected item. You can also enter a specific player command for an item if necessary, a file to play afterwards, toggle whether an item is visible, and toggle the items watched status.

Change the metadata as you wish, and select "OK" or "Done" (varies by theme) to commit your changes. If you wish to cancel, press Escape of the Back key on your remote.

Metadata Lookup

MythVideo includes numerous grabber scripts for handling both Film and Television content. these scripts download plot, length, cast, and other textual information, as well as provide access to high quality poster, fanart, banner, and screenshot images. Note that not all scripts provide all image types. The default grabber scripts are for movies and for television.

MythVideo parses as much information as it can from a file's filename. Under ideal conditions, MythVideo will parse the Title, Subtitle, Season, and Episode (where applicable) of a file. New users will want to read MythVideo File Parsing to see the acceptable naming conventions for files. File naming traditionally associated with pirated material will prevent parsing from working properly, and will prevent metadata lookup from succeeding. Additionally, it is the position of the project developers that pirated material is unwelcome and unsupported. Please don't open bugs because MythVideo doesn't parse stolen material properly.

MythVideo determines whether something is film or television material based on the season and episode values. If MythVideo does not find an season or episode number while parsing a file, and the user does not set one, the movie grabber will be used. If the season or episode are greater than 0, the television grabber will be used.

When you are ready to perform a metadata lookup, multiple options are available. You can highlight an item and press the DOWNLOADDATA keybinding, which is "W" by default. This will automatically start a metadata query for the selected item. This same query can be started from the menu, by selecting INFO->Metadata Options->Download Metadata.

For some television material, you may have a television show with title and a subtitle, but not know the season and episode information. In this unique case, you can do a search by Title and Subtitle by selecting INFO->Metadata Options->Search TV by Title/Subtitle. Note that this will only work if you have filled in the title and subtitle fields in metadata. Films cannot be looked up by title and subtitle.

Metadata Grabbing with Storage Group Files

Doing a metadata lookup on a Storage Group homed file will work. It will download the images to the Fanart/Banner/Screenshot/Cover Storage Groups on the backend that hosts the video in question, so they must be defined. If they are not defined, the images will be downloaded to the Video Storage Group instead.

Metadata Grabber Troubleshooting

If you find that the wrong grabber is being used, it is almost certain that one of the following occurred:

  • You are attempting to grab metadata for a legacy television item but have not removed and re-added it to the database to re-parse the filename. (eg: The subtitle/season/episode fields are all crammed into the title field) You can also fix this in "Edit Metadata" by setting the correct Title, Season, and Episode. Subtitle is not required for a successful grab.
  • Your file is not named using one of the path/filename combinations that MythVideo recognizes. See MythVideo File Parsing.

If the grabber *itself* fails, and you have checked the source to be certain that the item you are trying to search exists, then consider the following possibilities:

  • For the TMDB (Movie) grabber, the item at TMDB must have the IMDB number set in its details, and the API will need four hours to update after having done so.
  • The title contains some punctuation (hyphens, commas, apostrophes, etc.) that is not present in your local record, or vice versa.

To correct local metadata information to improve a metadata grab, select the item, press "I" (INFO), Metadata Options->Edit Metadata. From here, you can correct the title/subtitle/season/episode to make it match the source and complete your metadata grab successfully.

If, after looking at the frontend logs, you see a crash in the grabber, or after having tested all of the above you are unable to complete a grab for an item in the TVDB/TMDB library, bring your concerns to #mythtv-users on freenode before opening a bug in trac. If nobody is able to help you on IRC, then please open a bug in trac.

Mass Metadata Grabbing

As of .22, MythVideo includes Jamu, Doug Vaughan's excellent script for automating mass metadata grabbing of your entire mythvideo library. It supports Storage Groups, TVDB, TMDB, and everything the Myth interface supports. It may be an excellent option for those looking for a "batch" method of updating their library.

Note that Jamu also parses the filename of the item, so if you have a "legacy" record where title = "Lost 1x01 - Pilot", and you have filename = "Lost s01e01 Pilot.mpg", Jamu will "correct" the metadata and move the title/subtitle/season/episode values into their own DB fields.

Custom Movie Artwork

You can select artwork in the Edit Metadata screen. Click on the button to browse the configured directory for fanart, banner, screenshots, etc. You can use custom artwork for an item by placing it in one of these directories and selecting it from the file browser.

Using MythVideo

To view or play your videos, navigate to Media Library->Watch Videos.

If you don't see any videos, you probably need to scan. If you still see no videos, you probably haven't properly set up your folders or storage groups.

Playing an item in MythVideo is as simple as highlighting it and pressing Enter or the SELECT key on your remote. In some views, you will see an intermediate Item Detail screen before playback. If you see this screen, select "Play" to start your film.

Viewing Item Metadata

To view specific item metadata, highlight an item and press INFO->Video Info. You will see a small selection of information views to view the plot, cast, or item detail screen for the selected item

'Development/.23 only: MythVideo grabbers now return a homepage for the item at the grabber source. You can choose "View Homepage" to spawn a browser and view or edit the metadata at TMDB, TVDB, or your grabber's site.

MythVideo Views

MythVideo features four different "views" on your collection:

  • Browse View
  • Tree View
  • Gallery View
  • Manage View

Each view will vary by theme, so try out different themes to see which interface you like best. You can toggle between the views from within MythVideo by choosing MENU->Change View->Name of view.

Metadata Browse Modes

In MythVideo .22 or greater, you can browse the library by metadata rather than folder structure. First, enable metadata browse modes by going to Utilities->Setup->Media Settings->Video Settings->General. On Page 2, enable the checkbox called "Enable Metadata Browse Modes." You can select the default view ("Folder" is the classic view by file structure), or toggle them on the fly in MythVideo.

To change Metadata Browse Modes in MythVideo, Press the "M" (MENU) and select "Browse By...". You can then select which metadata browse mode to switch to.

Currently available Metadata Browse Modes include:

  • Folder (Default)
  • Cast
  • Genre
  • Category
  • Director
  • Year
  • User Rating
  • TV/Movies

Incremental Search

In large libraries, it can quickly become unwieldy to browse from the top of the list to the bottom. You can now invoke the Incremental Search (Ctrl+S by default) to bring up a list of everything in the current view. You can then enter the first letter/few characters of the item you are looking for, select it from the list, and jump straight to the item.


Importing DVDs

There are multiple ways to import DVD's to your MythTV system.

To import a DVD, select "Import DVD" from the "Optical Disks" Menu. For more information see the DVD Ripping page.