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July 22, 2014

mythtv

Could the Netflix Player by Roku be used as a MythTV frontend?

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 11th 2008 8:57AM
Netflix player by Roku naked
Roku, the company behind the $99 box that lets you stream Netflix movies over the internet to your TV has released the source code for the set top box. And the hacking has already begun. Some folks have already reported they can access the box via telnet.

MythTV News raises an interesting question: Could the Netflix Player be a cheap frontend for the Linux-based MythTV media suite? MythTV's backend software requires a full computer with a decent CPU, hard drive, and RAM to run. But it might be possibel to shoehorn the frontend software, which lets you access media stored on the backend, onto a less powerful device.

As Dave Zatz points out, the software used on the Netflix Player is signed. What that means is that modified code will not run properly, and the box should automatically revert to the last good version of its software if it encounters hacked or modified code. But it is at least theoretically possible to send software updates to the box, and to update the bootloader. And that means it's possible that someone might be able to find a way to run MythTV or other software on the Netflix Player. Just because a platform is locked doesn't mean it can't be unlocked. Just look at the iPhone.

[via eHomeUpgrade and Hack A Day]

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Hauppauge HD-PVR drivers for Linux/MythTV

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 25th 2008 5:57PM
Hauppauge HD-PVRThe Hauppauge HD-PVR may be the first device capable of recording HDTV through the analog hole by basically capturing high definition video from your TV screen and compressing it using the H.264 codec into something you can watch on your PC. But if the box doesn't work with the operating system of your choice, what's the point?

Fortunately, members of the MythTV community have figured out how to make the box, which was designed for Windows, work with Linux. Setting up an HD-PVR to work with Linux and MythTV isn't quite as simple as getting it to work with Windows. You need to compile the driver from source. And the driver is still in alpha, meaning it hasn't been tested very widely yet, so there's a good chance it simply won't work on your system. But if the early reviews are anything to go by, there's a good chance it won't work perfectly with your Windows system anyway.

[via Brent Evans]

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MythTV iPhone FrontEnd released - VIDEO

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 23rd 2008 9:57AM
MythTV iPhoneChris Carey has released a MythTV FrontEnd for the iPhone. What that means is you can use an iPhone to watch live and recorded television programs recorded on your Linux computer running the MythTV BackEnd software. In other words, this just might be the coolest third party application for the iPhone. Ever.

Users can browse recorded shows, check out program information, and stream videos to your iPhone. I'm guessing you'll need to have a WiFi connection, as the iPhone's cellular connection probably won't be fast enough to stream high quality video.

While Sling Media is considering developing a version of its SlingPlayer software for the iPhone that will let Slingbox owners stream content from their home TV or PVR to a handset, Carey's MythTV FrontEnd application is the first tool I'm aware of that actually lets you stream live and recorded TV to an iPhone.

Update: Dave Zatz reminds me that Elgato's EyeTV software also supports streaming recorded programs from a Mac to the iPhone.

[via Automated Home]

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MythTV 0.21 released

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 9th 2008 8:58AM
MythTV A new version of open source Linux-based media center MythTV was released this weekend. It's been half a year since the last major MythTV release, which means there are a ton of bug fixes and new features in MythTV 0.21.

The latest version includes support for ClearQAM recordings using the HDHomeRun. That means if you have the proper hardware you can record unencrypted HDTV streams from your cable company. MythTV 0.21 also includes several new official plugins including MythMovies, which displays movie showtimes based on your zipcode, and MythZoneMinder for monitoring security cameras.

Here are a few more highlights:
  • MythFrontEnd memory consumption reduced by up to 75%
  • Automatic discovery of MythTV servers and frontends
  • Enables multiple recordings with one DVB or ATSC card if the channels are in the same multiplex
  • You can now choose to record main audio, a secondary audio channel, or both
[via Missing Remote]

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Entertainer: Upcoming media center suite for Linux

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 10th 2008 1:57PM

While there's no shortage of applications that make it easier to access your media on a Mac, PC, or Linux computer, there's always room for one more, right? Entertainer is a newcomer to the Linux media center world, and while it's more of an Apple Front Row replacement than a Windows Media Center clone, it certainly looks like a promising application for home theater enthusiasts.

Entertainer is not available for download yet, but according to the project web site the software will let users manage movies, downloaded TV shows, music, images, and RSS feeds. There's no support yet for recording television programs from a TV tuner, which makes Entertainer a bit less functional than MythTV or Windows Media Center. But digital TV recording is something the developer says will be added down the road.

[via Digg]

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Mythbuntu 7.10 released

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 25th 2007 1:29PM
Mythbuntu 7.10
Want to try MythTV, but don't know the first thing about Linux? Mythbuntu 7.10 is to Windows Vista Media Center what Ubuntu 7.10 is to Windows. Or something like that. Anyway, Mythbuntu makes installing and configuring MythTV about as easy as it gets.

This is the first full release of Mythbuntu. We first looked at a public alpha this summer.

Mythbuntu is not distributed by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. But it is recognized as a community supported project. Basically, Mythbuntu is a stripped down version of Ubuntu Linux, with MythTV frontend and backend software thrown in. You can either download and run/install Mythbuntu from a LiveCD or you can install Mythbuntu packages on an Ubuntu machine to convert it into Mythbuntu.

Like Ubuntu, you can expect regular updates to Mythbuntu every six months.

[via Digg]

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ReplayTV getting back into hardware game (kind of)

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 17th 2007 1:00PM
ReplayTV HDRemember ReplayTV? Once upon a time the company was about as well known as TiVo, which is to say not very. While TiVo eventually became synonymous with "personal video recorder," ReplayTV stopped making set top boxes a few years ago.

Last year the company emerged from the ashes to relaunch as a desktop software maker. ReplayTV PC Edition is a complete desktop PVR solution that lets you turn your computer into a video recorder. There were just two problems:
  1. A ton of other companies already had a stronger foothold in this space
  2. It's not really a complete solution if you still need to buy hardware to make your PC record TV shows.
Point number 2 is a problem for pretty much anyone who sells desktop PVR software, Microsoft included. When I tell people how easy it is to turn their computer into a PVR, the first question they ask is "great, but where do I plug my cable box in?" And there's the rub. You don't, unless you get a TV tuner. For a computer geek that's hardly a deal breaker. But until TV tuners begin coming preinstalled on all computers, ReplayTV, BeyondTV, SageTV, and other PVR packages will have a limited audience of people who are savvy enough to buy hardware to go with their software.

Does the fact that ReplayTV is getting ready to launch what looks like a standard USB 2.0 HDTV tuner change any of this? Probably not. But it does give the company a way to package an all-in-one solution. Buy a retail package with the ReplayTV hardware and software all in one box. We're guessing this tuner will probably work just as well with BeyondTV, SageTV, or free software like Media Portal or MythTV.

It's probably worth noting that the ReplayTV HD looks an awful lot like the Hauppauge WinTV HVR 950 recorder with a red and white paint job. So you can probably expect it to sell for about $100.

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Monolith upgrades its Linux based Media Center PC

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 3rd 2007 11:29AM
MonolithMC We haven't heard anything from Monolith Media in a while. The company puts together affordable Linux-based home theater PCs running MythTV software.

But this weekend the company announced its second generation of MonolithMC computers. MonolithMC v.2.0 will include:
  • Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04
  • MythTV 0.20.2
  • Schedules Direct integration (which replaces Zap2it Labs program guide data)
  • 1GB RAM standard
  • Prices starting at $599.
  • Hard drives up to 750GB
The MonolithMC looks like a great deal for anyone who doesn't want to futz with putting together their own MythTV system. It's not clear what kind of processor or TV tuner you get for $599. And one of the problems with any Linux-based media center is that you won't get CableCard support. But throw a few standard definition tuners and an over the air HDTV tuner in there, get a good antenna, and you've got a great low cost open source media center.

[via Darknet]


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MythTV 0.20.2 released

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 27th 2007 11:39AM
MythTVThe folks behind MythTV pushed out a new release this weekend. As you can probably tell from the title, this is a point release, moving from version 0.20.1 to 0.20.2. But don't let those low numbers fool you. MythTV is a powerful media center application for Linux.

The update includes two major changes:
  1. Support for Schedules Direct program guide updates
  2. Reduced MythTV front end memory consumption by up to 75%
There's a slew of smaller updates and bugfixes as well, including faster startup of the MythTV frontend, improved default theme images with better scaling and anti-alias, and fixes for ATSC channel scanning.

Probably the main reason to update your system is the support for Schedules Direct. In a few days, Zap2it Labs will stop providing the free program guide data that earlier versions of MythTV relied on. Unlike the Zap2it Labs data, Schedules direct program guides won't be free. You'll need to shell out $15 for 3 months of data. It's not clear if MythV 0.20.2 will support CT TV guide data which is available for $30 per year.

[via Digg]

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Schedules Direct and CT TV appear to be waging a price war

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 23rd 2007 7:30AM
Schedules DirectZap2it Labs is about to shut off the free TV guide listing service used by MythTV, GP-PVR, Media Portal, and other free PVR software applications. As we've been reporting, two separate groups are stepping up to continue offering TV listings.

But neither Schedules Direct nor CT TV will be giving the data away for free. That's because unlike Zap2it, (which is a subsidiary of Tribune Media Services), both groups have to pay to license the data.

Schedules Direct announced earlier this month that their program guide information would be available at a price of $15 for 3 months. As more customers sign up, they're hoping to bring the cost down to $20 per year. This week, CT TV announced that it would charge either $3.50 per month or $30 per year (which comes to $2.50 a month).

Considering CTpvr has long been an also-ran in the world of software-based PVRs, CT TV could become a real money maker for the company. That's assuming free PVR users are willing to pay for TV listings at all and don't just find a way to improve applications that scrape the same data off of online TV guide pages for free.

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Free PVR software users will have to pay for program guides

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 8th 2007 12:25PM
MythTVThere's good news and bad news for users of free PC-based PVR suites like MythTV, Media Portal, and GB-PVR.

While Zap2it Labs plans to cease offering the free television program guide data used by these programs in September, there are at least two groups planning to offer similar data. And both are close to having tools in place to pick up where Zap2it leaves off in September. That's the good news.

The bad news is that neither group will be able to offer this data for free. It's not surprising. Zap2it was offering the TV episode data in an XML format in addition to its online TV guide. The company was is owned by Tribune Media Services, so providing data to the open source community cost Zap2it nothing.

That's not true for CTpvr or Schedules Direct, the two new groups planning to offer TV episode data. Both now say that they will be charging users for access to the data, although pricing has not yet been set.

Most users of commercial PVR applications like BeyondTV, SageTV, and Windows Media Center won't be affected. Those companies get their data from alternate sources. So you have a choice. Pay for the software, received the program guides for free. Or get free software and pay for the program guides.

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CTpvr aims to fill program guide data void left by Zap2it - for a fee

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 7th 2007 1:18PM
MythTV EPGCome September, MythTV, Media Portal, and GB-PVR users could be stuck staring at a blank screen. That's when Zap2it Labs will stop offering free program guide data in the easily parsed XML format used by those and other PC-based PVR applications.

The developers of CTpvr, another software-based personal video recorder are developing a product that will offer data that is nearly identical to that currently offered by Zap2it. TV listings will include data like genre, cast, crew, advisories, and original air dates.

CTpvr hasn't announced pricing yet, but the company will charge users a monthly or annual fee for access to the data. For that reason alone, I suspect that this system will be used by CTpvr customers, while free and open-source applications like MythTV will look elsewhere.

Several MythTV, XMLTV, and MacProgGuide developers have already come together to form Schedules Direct. The group, previously known as EasyTV Data, is looking at alternatives to the Zap2it Labs data that can be easily plugged into PVR software to provide you with that electronic program guide goodness you've come to rely on.

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EasyTV Data to pick up where Zap2it Labs leaves off

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 14th 2007 12:55PM
MythTV EPGA few weeks back, Zap2it Labs announced that they would shut off their free XML TV listings in September, due to abuse of the service. This could spell big trouble for MythTV, GB-PVR, and other personal video recording software packages that rely on Zap2it for their electronic program guide data.

A group of developers from MythTV, XMLTV, and MacProgGuide have formed Easy TV Data in response to the announcement. The group is engaged in some super-secret behind the scenes development to provide reliable TV listings after Zap2it cuts the cord on September 1st.

The simplest alternative is to use screen scraping software that would visit TV listing web pages and grab the data. But this is not as reliable as the XML data Zap2it currently provides, since web services can and do frequently change their site design. Hopefully the Easy TV Data group have something a bit more exciting in mind.

[via Download Squad]

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GB-PVR 1.0.8 released

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 10th 2007 2:00PM
GBPVR 1.0.8
Windows Media Center, BeyondTV, SageTV, and MythTV get a lot of attention when it comes to PC-based personal video recorder software.

But the first PVR software I installed on my computer was GB-PVR. It's always been a bit rough around the edges, but GB-PVR is a full-fledged and highly customizable PVR package. And best of all, it's free, making it an ideal program for anyone who wants to see what this PVR stuff is all about, without having to "upgrade" to Windows Vista.

GB-PVR's developer released version 1.0.8 last week. The biggest change is a redesigned user interface. It should be comfortable to older users, as it uses most of the same ideas. But it's been completely rewritten. That means new graphics, and perhaps more importantly, improved screen rendering. The old version was always rendered at a fixed resolution of 720 x 480 pixels, and stretched to fit your computer's screens, which looked pretty funny on a lot of HDTV displays. The new version is designed to display your screen's native resolution.

A few features have been left out of the new version, such as support for FM Radio, online radio, and YouTube videos. They may find their way back into future releases, and can almost certainly be added via plugins.

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Zap2it Labs will discontinue free TV listings in September

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 20th 2007 10:04PM
Zap2it labsZap2it Labs has announced that it will no longer offer free television listings after September 1st. You may be wondering what the big deal is. After all, there are a million web sites where you can get your TV guide data.

But Zap2it Labs provided listings in an easily indexable formula, making it the program guide data source of choice for MythTV, GB-PVR, and Media Portal. These programs are also capable of handling XMLTV data, but there aren't really any good programs right now for scraping program guide data for U.S. television listings. We can probably expect to see that change in the very near future.

There's an active discussion taking place in the GB-PVR forums about alternative data sources, such as Yahoo! TV or TitanTV. But GB-PVR's lead developer says he doesn't have plans to design a program to scrape the data. Rather he suspects the much larger developer community working on MythTV will lead the way.

[via Brent Evans]

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