Introduction to MythTV

Install MythTV Screencast

Screencast: Watch Parts 2 and 3...

Open source software for Linux that turns your computer into PVR (Personal Video Recorder), which may also be referred to as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder.) Basically, it's a smart digital VCR, similar in many ways to Tivo.

It's not produced by a company, but rather a group of users who created and maintain it on a volunteer basis because it's something they care about and have a personal interest in. Being open source, it has some features that PVR users want than commercial companies won't include, such as the ability to automatically detect and skip commercials.

Being an Open Source and Linux based product, many aspects of the operation and functionality can be modified by users with Linux and either programming or scripting experience.

At a very basic level you tell MythTV to record a show which you then watch later, similar to a VCR, although MythTV is really much more than that.

I've heard some people say that the current state of MythTV from an end user perspective is actually better than a Tivo. I use to be sceptical, but the more I use it the more I agree.

TV Listings

From the "programming the VCR" side of things, it downloads TV listings from the Internet and lets you browse the listings. More interestingly, it has a built in webserver where you can browse and even search the TV listings from any other computer in your home. This is usually a much more efficient method of interacting with the scheduling and management side of things.

Like a Tivo, you can setup a show to record on a regular basis. You can choose from eight different sets of rules like "Record at any time on channel 62" and "Record this program in this timeslot every day" that cover most types of TV show schedules. MythTV is smart enough to detect if it has previously recorded a specific TV episode and not re-record it unless otherwise told to.

In the US, the TV listings are provided by Schedules Direct, a non-profit started by members of the core MythTV development team to purchase and distribute TV schedule information to MythTV users. There is a nominal fee for the listings (a 7 day free trial is offered) to cover the costs of purchasing and distributing the data.

Rip and Store DVD's

Another great piece of feature is the ability to RIP DVD's for later playback, complete with their menus and other extra content features.

You can digitize your entire DVD library, and play the titles back without have to go find or switch discs. Commercial products to do this can cost thousands of dollars.

Commercial Skipping

Once MythTV has recorded something you need to watch it, right? Well, MythTV offers one nice feature that the commercial products wouldn't dare include. Commercial detection and flagging. We're not just talking a 30-second skip button (which MythTV does have), but it actually detects and flags commercial breaks. If enabled, after a show is recorded, it is analyzed using a few different methods to try and figure out where the commercial breaks begin and end. When a commercial break comes on when watching a commercial flagged show, you are one button press away from skipping right to where the show begins again. Although not perfect all the time, this feature works suprisingly well and can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to watch a show.

See my Commercial skip demo for a short video of it in action.

MythTV Screenshots

Centralized or Distributed Media Server

One of the more powerful features of MythTV is its' client server nature. Basically that means you can have one MythTV server in your basement or office, and more than one MythTV Frontend (client) throughout your house for every place you want to watch MythTV recorded content. What this gives you is a central place in your house for all of your media storage.

MythTV Backend

The MythTV Backend is the software that acts as the server. The TV Tuner(s) and storage are here, as well as the scheduling and recording related brains. In complicated setups, it's possible to have more than one mythtv frontend distributed in different physical locations all acting as a single system.

MythTV Frontend

The MythTV Frontend is the software similar to a set-top box your cable company might provide. It plays back media from other sources (even in that other source is on the same computer.)

Any program recorded on the server, or any other media for that matter, can be instantly watched at any MythTV frontend on the local network. Of course, it's also possible (and most common for new users) to install and run both the "frontend" and "backend" on a single machine that is only connected to one TV or monitor.

MythTV Appliance

Similar to a traditional commercial DVR, it's possible (and common) to install everything on one computer and have it act like a dedicated appliance, which won't even act like or appear to be a standard computer.

MythTV Hardware

The MythTV hardware you need is a somewhat recent PC and a TV Tuner card. This site has a MythTV Hardware section, mainly related to hardware I have used myself.

Getting started with MythTV

If you've read this far, you probably want to move on to the Getting Started with MythTV guide. Welcome to the world of MythTV!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

MythTv Player

Hi, I would like to contribute to your review of the MythTv Player. Since your review there were several improvements to this software. Configuration is now interactive, no need to edit a config file. Commercial skipping works now properly and LiveTv is also rather stable. While the original developer has run out of time so support this project, there are efforts to develop it further. So stay tuned... kind regards Florian


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I think Myth TV is really

I think Myth TV is really great open source software especially because of the fact that it can turn the computer into a personal video recorder also known as Digital video recorder which I believe has not yet been done by other software’s for Linux. I think we can compare it to a digital VCR except for the fact that it does everything better in a more modish and practical way, in my arguable opinion! Multivariate Testing


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Nice Article!

Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before. Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written. I will be referring a lot of friends about this. Keep blogging. snap guns

Thank you so much.

Thank you so much.

MythTV is the best more powerful features

I think this is the one of the best more powerful features of MythTV is its' client server nature.Basically that means you can have one MythTV server in your basement or office, and more than one MythTV Frontend throughout your house for every place you want to watch MythTV recorded content.

Thanks for sharing this.

Thanks for sharing this.


I do agree with you! thanks!

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I have had the opposite

I have had the opposite problem I had already set up a mythdora 4 set up and got the remote from amazon. I hooked it up to computer then re did the set up in mythdora to select the streamzap remote and rebooted and bingo now have remote that works flawlessly. term papers


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I've been using MythTV for a long time and have to say I've really fallen for it, it's great when watching Sasha Grey videos! She is afterall my favorite actress ;)

If you want to build

If you want to build yourself a MythTV box (there isn't really a great way to use MythTV unambiguously as a noun; that's my compromise), you can build it from your scrap box, or buy new components. custom essay writing

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thanks a lot for the post!

thanks a lot for the post! very interesting!

Will this be reliable for

Will this be reliable for use?
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A MythTV system consists of backends, for recording and storing TV, and frontends for watching the TV. These can be on multiple computers or combined onto a single PC.

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My combined FE/BE uses a Sempron 140 CPU, which I understand is capable of 64 bit computing. I believe I am running it with a 32 bit kernel.

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MythTV is capable of capturing HDTV streams from any source that will provide unencrypted video. This means broadcast ATSC and DVB content, as well as encrypted DVB content when using a tuner with an integrated CI module.

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Hope to pick up some new things to learn. I'm sorry but the topic is not well discussed.


After reading the above article about the myth tv i am now feeling a lot interst of having one and it also has a simple installation process.


myth tv is one of the famous tv that has being used by the people very largly all around the world . cheap lcd monitors

MythTV is great for TV. And

MythTV is great for TV. And DVDs. But all of the other features are pretty lame. To me, my media center needs to be controlled by a remote and simple and pretty to look at. Pretty isn't just for looks but also for accessibility. The music plugin for MythTV plays fine, but it looks horrible and lacks interface features to make it easier to sort and find music with a remote.

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