Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My Move From Windows 8.1 Pro With Media Centre To Ubuntu 13.10 (Part 6)


Since I started my transition from Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Centre last Wednesday I thought I'd try the Linux alternative to Myth TV. In this part I document my brief encounter with Myth TV.


Myth TV is the Linux alternative to Windows Media Centre, but it's far more powerful than Windows Media Centre, & with all the extra power and features it makes it more complex to setup. I found this oout the hard way when I tried to set it up yesterday evening.

Unlike Windows Media Centre MythTV is split into two separate parts:

  • Part 1 is the Backend that can be thought of as a Server (and I guess in some way it is a Server) this means that you can setup the MythTV Backend & presumably the TV receiving Hardware & then put it in a Cupboard or in a Loft out of the way as long as you've got an Ethernet Connection to your Network where you have got the MythTV Backend machine.

  • Part 2 is the Frontend, the Frontend is the UI of MythTV, this can be setup on another Machine and placed in your living room, bedroom, kitchen or Home Theater room and act as a Set Top Box. The Frontend can also be setup on your Laptop or Desktop Computer as well.

MythTV can have both the Backend & Frontend, this method is probably going to be the most common way of setting up MythTV as it's the cheapest method as it only needs one Computer. The HTPC method is probably one of the easiest routes to go as it doesn't require a Backend Server & separate Frontend STB to work, which is in keeping with how Windows Media Centre works.


If you're building a dedicated MythTV HTPC the you can't go wrong with MythUbuntu. Mythubuntu combines a stripped down veersion of XUbuntu with MythTV and can be used as Both an All In One Ubuntu HTPC or as a separate MythTV Server & separate MythTV STB. MythUbuntu also allows you to try out the MythTV Client Server model by having a MythUbuntu Computer & using the MythUbuntu Disk to boot any Desktop or Laptop into the MythUbuntu Frontend, this is ideal if you want to try out the Client Server model of MythTV/MythUbuntu without having to install it onto you existing Windows Media Centre HTPC.


I installed MythTV from the Ubuntu Software Centre & instantly found out the hard way that MythTV is a complex beast, but with all the power of MythTV it wouldn't be able to have the Client Server model that it does.

Once installed I went into the MythTV Backend setup and couldn't get past the first 3 dialogues before it went back to the beginning after 3 attempts with the Backend setup I tried the Frontend setup and got the same result, but this time with a constant Unity Notification that MythTV had restarted & no amount of Quitting MythTV would stop it from re-starting, and I was forced to unlock MythTV from the Unity Dock & Uninstall MythTV to be able to have a working Laptop back.

On reflection of my brief experience with MythTV maybe I should have gone to the MythTV website and downloaded the pdf version of the MythTV documentation to actually find out what I was supposed to be actually doing to correctly setup MythTV.

In no way is my brief experience with MythTV a knock on what I'm sure is an excellent Media Centre service, but compared to the ease of use of Windows Media Centre (Microsoft have done an excellent job of making Media Centre mimic as close as they possibly can the Firmware on a Consumer DVR STB whilst taking into account the extra power that a HTPC has over a traditional DVR STB.

I'll definitely give MythTV another look, but this time I'll use the MythTV Documentation to assist me in setting it up, and it'll make for another article in the future, maybe part 10 or 11 maybe eariler than that depending on how much free time I've got later this week to dedicate to having a concentrated attempt at setting it up.


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  1. I've been thinking about using mythTV when I have the money spare for the hardware - I hope you have more luck when following the docs and I look forward to reading your post about it!

  2. I think my problem was that I was expecting it to be as easy to setup as Windows Media Centre, so didn't think to look for any documentation.



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