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The MythTV HOWTO I Wish I Had
When I made my MythTV Box in April 2006
(And if you're reading this today, be comforted in the fact that nowadays the install is much easier with some of the latest builds.)
This is the document I wished I had when I started building my MythTV box.
I recently decided I wanted a PVR (Personal Video Recorder - also called a DVR for Digital Video Recorder) in my living room to make TV watching more efficient. I gathered hardware to make an appliance-like MythTV box. Unfortunately the install was far from smooth. Took too long and encountered too many gotchas.
I took pains to record what I had to do to make it work. So, should you want the same thing I have (which is a pretty straightforward setup, I think) you can follow this guide to be up and running in a minimum of time assuming you are using the same hardware as me (if you are making a brand new box this should not be an issue. Everything I used is pretty ordinary.)
Since some parts of this guide depend on software hosted by other people elsewhere, I can't guarantee any particular version availability or results with them. But it worked for me.
What I Made (and what this is a HOWTO for)
I wanted to build it in an off-the-shelf no-OS system, and upgrade later to silent fans, etc if needed. Pretty straightforward, I thought. But as mentioned it wound up taking too long and I needed to go through a lot of problems needlessly.
Here is the guide I wish I had when I started. If you get the software I did, the hardware I did, and follow my directions you should be able to have a MythTV appliance up and running in a minimum of time. It will be functional enough to be an effective PVR - the rest (all other configuration and tweaking) will be up to you.
Materials and Requirements
If you are using other hardware, I hope this is still of some use but you're on your own. This is not the ideal hardware configuration - it's just what worked for me and how I did it.
out and buy this system hardware, or hardware similar to it:
Whether the hard drive is SATA is significant during the install.
(Just know whether you have it.) If you have the choice between
ATA and SATA drives, you should probably actually go with ATA.
this capture card:
**The silver remote might not be too significant, but you need the PVR-350 if you're going to follow my guide. It produces great-looking video, by the way.
This distribution is some excellent work, despite the fact that my MythTV building experience was far from plug-and-play. Things would have been even rougher without this distribution. If you use this guide and find KnoppMyth useful, please donate to them with either your money or your brain power (by supplying documentation updates or bug reports/fixes). The KnoppMyth forums have plenty of useful information for alternate hardware, too.
Also make sure
First - Why make ANOTHER MythTV Guide?
I looked around and followed guides I could find, but I still wound up with a lot of hassle. Quite frankly, had I not been so determined I would have just thrown in the towel. So I decided to write the guide I wish I could have had when I sat down to do this.
If you follow what I did and have hardware identical (or identical enough) to mine, these directions will get you to what I was aiming for.
This document assumes you are in Canada or the USA.
Sign up for a Schedules Direct account (it was Data Direct when this guide was originally written, but after a long time providing an important service, they are no longer around for use with MythTV.)
Schedules Direct is where your TV listings will come from.
Set your hardware and materials up like this:
1. Put the
PC by the TV with a Monitor, a Keyboard, a mouse, and an ethernet
connection with Internet access.
WARNING: All of the directions below (and the output from the install programs) are important. Please make sure to read carefully both the instructions as well as output from the screen.
For the steps below, keep these two things in mind:
Phase 1 - Install From CD-ROM
the computer from the KnoppMyth CD. Begin with:
Phase 2 - Configuration
The next part you will be asked about will be the configuration of LIRC (the remote control software). The remote control should be included with the PVR-350, mine was silver. This is selected with  Hauppauge, then [c] for Silver Remote. If you have a different color remote with your PVR-350, you are on your own but you should find an appropriate option for it.
After this, you will be asked for what kind of modules to use for LIRC, XvMC, XvMC-VLD. I used i686.
Now the graphical install will start. You can use the keyboard (arrow keys up and down select field, arrow keys left and right change options. Space bar selects and ESC backs out) or the remote.
(Option number 2)
(Option number 3)
(Option number 4)
Hit ESC, then OK. You will exit the graphical setup tool and setup will continue.
Enter your postal code (or zip code if you are in the USA) when prompted. (I don't know if it matters but I did not include a space in my postal code when I entered mine).
You will then get the MythTV interface on your monitor (the display will not be on your TV screen yet).
Phase 3 - Test Video, and More Configuration
Select WATCH TV (either use the remote or the keyboard). You should get live TV on your monitor. The PVR-350 will provide nice, smooth, great looking video. Sound out from your stereo speakers (ie the sound from the PVR-350) will not yet work.
After verifying that the video works, press ESC (or the back/cancel button on the remote) to exit back to the menu.
default fonts for the UI are too big to see all option text
properly. The following change will help you later:
Phase 4 - Test TV-Out, and More Configuration
Go to TV Settings -> Playback (there are two called "Playback"; pick the first) -> Next -> Next -> Next -> Next. Check off these options (checkmark toggle is left/right arrow):
[X] Use PVR-350's TV-Out [X] TV-Audio through PVR-350 (this option shows up after you check the previous)
Then hit ESC twice to get back to the main menu.
Hit CTRL-ALT-F2 to get to a terminal window. Log in as "root" with the administrative password you entered during the ins tall from the CD.
prompt, type "modprobe ivtv-fb".
You should get no errors.
Now turn on your TV and select WATCH TV again. Video should come out of your TV, and sound should be coming out of whatever you plugged the sound into. Again, notice how the PVR-350 gives great video.
But we are not done yet! You may have noticed that while Video and Sound are going to the TV, the user interface is still going through your Monitor (hit ESC to exit Live TV and you'll see what I mean.) With a bit more work we will have MythTV automatically displaying the UI as well as the video output on the TV.
But if you want the UI *and* Video to both go to the TV we have more to do.
Phase 5 - Enable TV-Out for both Interface and Video
Again, it is very important to do this next part carefully. Read all the directions and do not attempt to jump ahead. Starting at the MythTV interface:
somewhere on the screen. Select XShells -> New XTerm.
cd /usr/local/bin ./getpvr.pl
(This command will fetch some software and manage the installation thereof, but it will need some help.)
At the "does this look proper?" prompt, answer 'no'. Enter the following: 'http://dc1.snapperworld.net/files/mythtv/pvr.pl'. Then continue with the install). Once it's done, run the downloaded file with:
pvr.pl will detect KnoppMyth version R5 Beta 7. When it asks if this is correct, answer NO (even though it is in fact correct ).
Next you will be directed to pick the version manually. Choose R5A30.2 (number 7). This will download the appropriate script for you to run in the next step.
Afterwards, enter the following commands:
cp R5Alpha30.2-pvr350.pl /root cd /root perl ./R5Alpha30.2-pvr350.pl -i
the installation, let it run but once it's done DO
NOT HIT ENTER TO REBOOT (yet).
the window you were in alone, right-click on the desktop and
select XShells -> New XTerm.
cd /usr/src/ tar zxf ivtv-0.4.3.tar.gz cd ivtv-0.4.3/driver make install cd ../utils make install update-modules
The above should happen without errors.
Go back to the original window (the one that says "Press ENTER to reboot now...") and press ENTER to reboot.
system is back up:
-> XShells -> Xterm
cd /root perl ./R5Alpha30.2-pvr350.pl -i
Yes, that's not a typo - we're doing it again. After it completes, type 'reboot' to reboot.
When the system comes back up, you should have the UI on the TV! Go to "Watch TV". You should have TV output, but no sound! The sound is the last thing we need to get back up and running.
Either SSH to the MythTV box (hope you know its IP...) as root, or exit MythTV again (ESC at main menu -> Exit MythTV) and use the mouse to open an XTerm again (Right-click -> XShells -> XTerm) and 'su - root' again. You're probably getting good at that part by now.
Once you are logged in as root (either by local XTerm or SSH) then do the following:
Comment out the line that contains
"simple=1" (it should look like "options msp3400
box should come back up with:
You can now disconnect your Monitor! But note that the TV output doesn't happen until everything is up and running - so if you ever run into a problem you migh t need to haul the monitor out to get to the console.
Now that your PVR is working, you can read the KnoppMyth forums, the MythTV docs, and fiddle with the settings!
leave you a couple tips:
Appendix A and B
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