Video Library

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Important.png Note: MythVideo has been merged with core MythTV as of .25. It is no longer a separate plugin.


The video library 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 Video Storage Groups.


  • 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.
  • ISOs played back via storage group must be unencrypted.
  • (0.24 and previous) The UPnP server takes its configuration from the old local video definitions.

Setting Up Video/Image Storage Groups

  1. On the backend that will 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, unpredictable results may occur. While the system will attempt to prefer the Storage Group path and ignore the local one, there have been reports of complete loss of this functionality when both the frontend and backend settings are set to the same paths (MythTV Trac Ticket #8608).
  4. Enter the video library. Press the "M" (MENU) key and choose "Scan For Changes."

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.

Folder Images

You can place a file named folder.(png | gif | jpg) into a folder that is accessible to the backend 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.

The video library will also descend into folders looking for valid metadata to assign when a folder is highlighted. By default, it will descend one level in this search, but will descend up to twice if the intermediate directory contains folders starting with the (translated) word "Season" and the items inside those folders have titles which exactly match the grandparent folder's title. So a folder structure like "Stargate/Season 1/" with Items called "Stargate: SG-1" will fail to descend twice, but "Stargate: SG-1/Season 1" with items called "Stargate: SG-1" will produce imagery from the top level.

Scanning for Videos

When you add new videos to your storage directories, you can trigger a scan from any library view by choosing MENU->Scan For Changes. (Press the menu key on your keyboard/remote to bring up the menu).

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.

You can trigger an update from the command line by calling:

mythutil --scanvideos

Parental Controls

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

The video library 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 the UI itself. Note that if you set the parental level to a high value, when someone enters the library, 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 the UI, 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.

The video library 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.

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

The video library 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->Metadata 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 your library. Then press INFO->Change Video Details->Edit Details.

For films that have no listings, home movies, or films whose metadata simply needs some "massaging," the video library 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

The video library 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.

The video library parses as much information as it can from a file's filename. Under ideal conditions, MythTV will parse the Title, Subtitle, Season, and Episode (where applicable) of a file. New users will want to read about filename 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 MythTV doesn't parse stolen material properly.

The video scanner determines whether something is film or television material based on the season and episode values. If the scanner 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->Change Video Details->Retrieve Details.

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 the scanner recognizes. See the documentation for supported file naming schemes.

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:

  • 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), Change Video Details->Edit Details. 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 Libera Chat - irc:// before opening a bug in GitHub Issues. If nobody is able to help you on IRC, then please open a bug in Issues.

Mass Metadata Grabbing

As of .24, the video library can (and will, by default) automatically attempt to grab all metadata for items as they are inserted into the library. The default name-matching algorithm is set to a low tolerance to prevent false positives as much as possible, so some items may need a manual query if there are multiple items of the same name or multiple very closely named items.

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.

Episode Images/Screenshots

Depending on your theme, Coverart may be the default imagery in MythTV button lists. For Television material, the UI will display screenshots instead - but only if your episodes are stored in a certain way: The directory containing the video files must have the exact name as the series title in metadata - or it must begin with the word "Season" (or the localized translation of the word Season). Display of screenshots is contingent upon having a screenshot downloaded and assigned to the video item. Alternately, it is possible to modify a theme to always display screenshot, or always display coverart, regardless of this fallback behavior.

Using the Video Library

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. If, after checking both, some or all videos are still missing, you may need to define an extension in the "file types" dialog-- by default, most common filetypes are supported.

Playing an item in the video library 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

Video Library Views

The video library 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 MythTV's video library by choosing MENU->Change View->Name of view.

Metadata Browse Modes

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.

To change Metadata Browse Modes, 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
  • Studio
  • 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.


Third Party (unsupported) scripts

Windows MediaBrowser metadata importer for MythTV - A removable media management script


Automatic ripping and import is available through makeMKV-Autoripper. It is python script that will automatically lookup disc information on IMDB and then rip titles to a directory named after the movie title. This fork has features specific to MythTV installations.

Some nice features include:

  • Rips both BluRay and DVD
  • Automatic lookup
  • Queueing of makeMKV files into Handbrake for re-encoding to save space.
  • Support for calling mythutil to rescan your video collection after the rip is complete.
  • Prowl notifications to iOS devices, allowing you to walk away and come back when everything is done. Notifications include:
    • Rip Start
    • Rip End and total time.
    • Errors in the process.
  • Automatic Eject when

Installation and usage instructions are in the Readme.