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MythTV is a homebrew PVR [1] project started by Isaac Richards ( MythTV is currently on v0.21 (released 08 Mar 2008) and contains many features that take the system way beyond the original design of just a PVR. However, the heart of the system remains the PVR functionality, which allows the user to view real-time and recorded TV. The system itself supports a huge amount of functionality because of its modular nature[2]. Once configured, full TV listings are available for many regions via the import of XML data listings.


As of v0.16, support for DVB cards was brought into the core system (previously, a recompile was required specifically selecting the DVB options). Therefore, once the card has been installed and proven to be working it is added via the MythTV setup program as just another video source.

Since Version 0.17 it also features a full automatic Scan of the DVB Channels.

MythTV can work very easily with multiple video sources, and they can be UHF or DVB in any combination. Many examples of systems with UHF and DVB cards working together exist and some people have been known to have up to 8 TV cards with terabytes of data storage. Basic system requirements, however, are also very modest. I am currently running Redhat Fedora Core 2 on a 900Mhz Celeron system with 80Gb data, and one DVB-T card (Avermedia DVB-t 771) and a Hauppauge PVR-250 and it works without any problems. Obviously, a UHF card that doesn't have a hardware encoder built-in will need a faster processor as the video data will need to be encoded in realtime, but the joy of a DVB card is that the realtime MPEG2 datastream means that practically no CPU is required for video capture.

Many guides exist to assist in the installation of MythTV, but the most detailed and well supported is Jarod Wilson's Fedora MythTVology [3]. This is very detailed and is extensively used. This current mintained version is specifically aimed at Red Hat's Fedora Core 4, although previous (and non-maintained) versions exists for Fedora Core 3 [4], Fedora Core 2 [5] and Fedora Core 1 [6]. Section 7 of the guide discusses the installation and configuration of the capture cards and is aimed at UHF capture cards such as the Hauppauge PVR-350. At this point, there is a separate guide compiled by Martin Smith specifically aimed at the DVB community [7]. As of writing, there isn't much detail with respect to the 2.6 kernel so it may be necessary to visit the LinuxTV DVB mailing list website [8] to help with resolving any DVB related issues. Update 30.05.07: The mythtv Wiki is a good resource for finding guides for using Mythtv with DVB cards [9]

Once the DVB card has been configured and MythTV has been installed, possibly the most difficult task for the DVB owner will be the population of the MythTV database (mythconverg) with the relevant channel information. Luckily, a utility is available to make this easier [10]. Although aimed at the UK this could be tailored to suit your local region by changing the command to run your local input file for the scan command. Once complete, a utility is available to actually download the TV listings for DVB-T [11].

MythTV is also available in a ready-built distribution called KnoppMyth[12].

MythTV also functions with a discrete frontend and backend configuration. The benefit of this, is that the frontend can exist as totally separate system. The backend is also able to support multiple frontends. The most obvious frontend is the standard MythTV installation itself with both front and back running on the same system. However, as well as other Linux based frontend systems, it is also possible to run the frontend on Windows[13], an Xbox running Linux [14] with MythTV installed [15] and also an Xbox running XBox Media Centre [16] with Python and MythTV installed [17]

S2API Support

The Linux DVB API version 5 (also known as S2API) is now supportet in the Trunk Version. It also will be supportet in the release of 0.22!

MythTV and multiple DVB frontends

Note on terminology: in this section "frontend" refers to the hardware receiver electronics in DVB cards, not the MythTV graphical user interface.

Some DVB cards have multiple hardware frontends. The Hauppauge_WinTV-HVR-4000 has (in one physical PCI card) one frontend capable of receiving DVB-S/S2 transmissions, and one capable of receiving DVB-T transmissions. For hardware reasons they cannot be used simultaneously to watch two channels at a time, but they can be used consecutively within the same program. They are represented in the Linux filesystem as




MythTV v0.21 does not properly support these frontends, but see Hauppauge_WinTV-HVR-4000 for a possible workaround and details of a possible fix in SVN.

External Links

Mailing lists

Myth oriented distros