is a free Unix
application which turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder
, a digital multimedia home entertainment system
, or Home Theater Personal Computer
. It can be considered as a free and open source alternative to Tivo
or Windows Media Center
The MythTV project was started in April 2002 by Isaac Richards
. Richards explained his motivation:
I got tired of the rather low quality cable box that AT&T Broadband provides with their digital cable service. It's slow to change channels, ridden with ads, and the program guide is a joke. So, I figured it'd be fun to try and build a replacement. Yes, I could have just bought a TiVo, but I wanted to have more than just a PVR — I want a web browser built in, a mail client, maybe some games. Basically, I want the mythical convergence box that's been talked about for a few years now.
MythTV development is coordinated on a publicly accessible SVN server. Several official and unofficial active IRC channels and mailing lists permit communication between developers, and support for users. In early 2007, Apress published Practical MythTV on MythTV and its installation.
Bundled with an operating system
There are several projects which include a Linux distribution that is bundled with MythTV (and associated libraries) to make the installation, configuration and maintenance easier and faster:
- KnoppMyth is a bootCD derivative of Knoppix. Its MythTV frontend can be run from the CD. An entire installation to the hard disk can take place in minutes.
- Mythbuntu combines Ubuntu distributions with MythTV. The Ubuntu community has built extensive resources for installing, configuring and troubleshooting MythTV.
- Mythdora is a Red Hat Fedora distribution with MythTV.
- iMedia MythTV Linux distribution is a showcase of the larger iMedia embedded Linux distribution featuring an easy way to install MythTV and turning your system into a personal video recorder.
- MiniMyth is a small Linux distribution that turns a diskless computer into a MythTV frontend.
- LinuxMCE bundles MythTV with Kubuntu as the Linux distro.
- Xebian is a distribution of Debian Linux for the Microsoft Xbox game console and includes MythTV.
- A backend server and frontend client architecture, allowing multiple frontend client machines to be remotely served content from one or more backend servers. A single computer can perform as both the frontend client and the backend server.
- Analyzes recorded shows for optional commercial skipping
- Plays recordings at an accelerated or decelerated rate, adjusting the audio pitch as necessary.
- Intelligently schedules recordings to avoid conflicts.
- Interfaces with free TV listing sources such as XMLTV or PSIP.
- Interfaces with subscription listings service Schedules Direct in the United States and Canada.
- Pause, skip, and rewind live TV shows.
- Completely automatic commercial detection/skipping
- Schedule and administer various system functions using a web browser-based interface.
- Supports ATSC, QAM, and DVB high-definition television.
- Controls a decoder/STB using an infrared remote (Irblaster).
Supported tuner cards
The MythTV software supports TV tuner cards fully compatible with Video4Linux
or Video4Linux2 kernel
drivers. Using drivers from the IVTV project
, (currently under heavy development), MythTV supports Hauppauge
WinTV-PVR 150/250/350/500 PCI and similar tuner cards incorporating iTVC15/16 hardware MPEG-2
compression processors. DVB and pcHDTV
cards with Video4Linux drivers are supported.
MythTV also supports program capture via FireWire from digital set-top boxes. These include the Motorola DCT-6200, the STB used by Cogego Cable in the USA and Shaw Cable in Canada for its HD services.
MythTV's add-on modules (plugins) include:
- MythVideo plays various video file formats
- MythMusic a music player, jukebox, collection manager, and CD ripper
- MythDVD DVD manager and ripper
- MythGallery online photo gallery manager
- MythNews RSS feed news reader
- MythWeather fetches weather forecasts - including weather radar - from the Internet
- MythBrowser small web browser
- MythGame frontend for game console emulators
- MythWeb controls MythTV from a remote web browser
- MythPhone Internet telephony from a TV via SIP
- MythFlix Netflix queue viewer
- MythArchive DVD burner
- MythStreamTV allows for placeshifting, similar to a Slingbox
- UPnP AV MediaServer v1.0 compliant server: share media files with UPnP-clients
The base system integrates well with its modules. A system can be controlled with an infrared remote control using LIRC, or radio remote control using kernel modules.
The default file format for software encoding is a RTJPEG
video stored in a slightly-modified version of Roman Hochleitner
(.nuv) container. NUV files are also playable in VLC media player
, but can occasionally exhibit problems in A/V synchronization due to the MythTV-specific modifications. It also appears that MythTV is now the single authority on the NuppelVideo file format, since the original author's website now appears to have been deleted.
MythTV can also record via hardware-encoder cards and other sources of MPEG-2 digital TV streams like DVB, ATSC and Firewire (from HDTV cable boxes in the United States), so many users of MythTV rarely see NuppelVideo files unless they choose to transcode their files to NuppelVideo to save disk space. In earlier releases, such files were labeled as .nuv, even though they were raw MPEG streams; this has been corrected in recent releases.