Thursday, August 6, 2020

Installing MythTV Using Mythbuntu Control Panel on Ubuntu

Mythbuntu Control Panel (MCP) is installed after installing Ubuntu or Xubuntu, and it is used to install MythTV and perform MythTV related administration tasks. It aims to minimize the need to perform tasks using the command line to configure the system. Also, MCP aims to be compatible with the most recent stable version of MythTV. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform some additional manual configuration tasks, such as using an additional method of ensuring the network is available before the backend starts. Ubuntu can be downloaded from https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop. When installing Ubuntu, the minimal install option can be chosen to avoid installing applications that are not needed, such as a word processor.


Instructional Video



Installing Mythbuntu Control Panel


A PPA for MCP is available at https://launchpad.net/~mythcp/+archive/ubuntu/mcp. Add the PPA to your system if you want automatic updates for MCP. If you want to install MCP without adding the MCP PPA to your system, MCP can be installed using the deb file as shown below. In either case, MCP can be used to add a Mythbuntu MythTV Updates PPA to automatically receive MythTV updates.

Adding a Mythbuntu MythTV Updates Repository


Using a Mythbuntu MythTV Updates PPA is recommended as it is updated more frequently as compared to the version of MythTV found in the Ubuntu Software application.

Add a Mythbuntu MythTV Updates PPA:
  • Start Mythbuntu Control Panel by clicking on the icon in the Ubuntu or Xubuntu applications menu.
  • Click on the Repositories tab.
  • Click on the check box to activate the MythTV Updates repository.
  • Select the MythTV version to be installed.
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.
  • Close MCP, start Software Updater, and install any updates found.

Installing MythTV


If you want to watch and record content using the computer being configured, install the primary backend and desktop frontend. If the computer will be used for recording and not viewing content, install the primary backend. If the computer will be used for viewing and not recording content, install the desktop frontend.

Install MythTV:
  • Click on the System Roles tab.
  • Select the applicable roles.
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.
  • Close MCP, and reboot the computer.

Performing System Setup Tasks


Some of the items on this tab may have already been completed when installing MythTV. If a method other than using MCP was used to add the user to the MythTV group, it may be necessary to use MCP to remove the user from the MythTV group, and add the user to the MythTV group again using MCP. If only the frontend was installed, the bottom two items will remain grayed out. The third item will remain grayed out until the backend is running. The option to have the backend wait for the network to be active will also allow other devices on the network to access the backend.

Perform applicable setup tasks:
  • Click on the Setup tab.
  • Select the option to add the user to the MythTV group.
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.
  • Close MCP, and reboot the computer.
  • Select the option to add a link to config.xml
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.
  • If the backend was installed, click Launch Backend Setup.
  • Configure the backend depending on what you want MythTV to do and what hardware you have as described in the wiki.
  • Exit the backend setup application without running mythfilldatabase and without running the backend when prompted.
  • Close MCP, and reboot the computer.
  • If other devices on the network need to access the backend, enable the option for MythTV Backend to wait for an active network.
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.

Setting MythTV Frontend to Start Automatically


If it is desired to have the frontend start automatically when the computer boots, enable this option. It is also common to access Settings in the Ubuntu or Xubuntu menu, and set the computer to log in automatically.

Set the frontend to start automatically:
  • Click on the Startup Behavior tab.
  • Select the option to enable MythTV Frontend to start automatically.
  • Click on Apply, and confirm the change.

Mythbuntu Control Panel Development


Additional unstable configuration tabs are included with MCP, and they are disabled by default. The unstable modules can be enabled using the Developmental tab. Enable these on a testing computer or virtual machine. Please help make MCP better by testing these features. If you are familiar with Python, please help make MCP better by contributing code edits. The MCP code is available at https://github.com/mythcp/mythbuntu-control-panel.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mythchromium - Add a Menu Button in MythTV that Launches a Web Browser

Mythchromium is a small script that adds a Chromium menu button and optionally a Chrome menu button in MythTV which launches the browser full screen.  HTPC Browser Launcher is used to launch the browser and optionally control the mouse cursor using a TV remote.  Additionally, it optionally automatically opens lv.tedsblog.org which contains links to video streaming websites.  Mythchromium is for Ubuntu Linux and other similar Linux distributions.

MythTV Menu with Chrome and Chromium Launcher Buttons

Mythchromium Instructions

  1. Install HTPC Browser Launcher by following the instructions at htpc.tedsblog.org/2020/03/htpc-browser-launcher.html.
  2. Navigate to github.com/heyted/mythchromium/releases, and download the latest tar.gz file.
  3. Put the tar.gz file in your home folder.
  4. Open Terminal, and enter "tar -xvf mythchromium-20200326.tar.gz -C /tmp/ && cd /tmp/mythchromium-20200326 && ./mythchromium.py" without the quotes.  Change the version numbers if needed to match the downloaded file name.
  5. The downloaded tar.gz file can be deleted.
  6. Restart MythTV Frontend.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Linux Friendly Video Streaming Websites

The website lv.tedsblog.org contains links to video streaming websites that meet the criteria listed below.  The site is intended for use with a computer or other device that is connected to a TV and running a web browser.  It uses a large font size and is navigable using the arrow and enter keys in addition to using a mouse, and this makes it suitable for use with a TV remote from approximately 10 feet away from the TV screen.  The site consists of three pages -- an internet only sites page, a broadcast channel sites page, and a cable channel sites page.  Also, the site does not use cookies, and no login is needed.

Linux Compatible Video Steaming Websites

Website Inclusion Criteria


Please help with additional links to other video streaming sites.  If you know of a website that meets the criteria below and is not included or one that is noncompliant, please let me know in the comments below.  Also, if you notice an error or one of the included websites is not working, please let me know.
  • Contains streaming video and works with Ubuntu and other similar Linux distributions
  • Works with Chrome, Chromium or Firefox with no significant modification to the browser needed
  • Accessible in the United States
  • Not a local only website such as a local news website

Noncompliant Websites


There are millions of Ubuntu users worldwide according to ubuntu.com, and that is just one Linux distribution.  Despite the large and growing number of Linux desktop operating system users, the owners of the sites below have made it impossible or difficult to stream video using a browser on Linux.
  • Hulu
  • Comcast (video on demand)
  • Peacock
  • Vudu

Using a Browser with Hardware Video Acceleration


As of the writing of this blog post, Chrome and Firefox do not support VA-API hardware acceleration for Linux.  A Chromium beta build that is kept updated, however, is available with VA-API enabled for Ubuntu from launchpad.net/~saiarcot895.  Chromium beta builds are not officially intended for regular use.  To install Chromium beta with VA-API, open a terminal and enter the following:
  1. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:saiarcot895/chromium-beta
  2. sudo apt-get update
  3. sudo apt install chromium-browser