Installing MythTV

October 19, 2008

I chose to install Knoppmyth (R5.5) since it’s Debian based and it’s somewhat familiar to me from having messed around with it three years ago.  There’s also a good community forum built around Knoppmyth for support.  Mythbuntu also looks nice and I will probably try it out later when I have more time to see how each distro compares with one another.

Installation on the new system was a breeze but I did run into some minor snags.  The installation was done with the HTPC connected to my Westinghouse 22″ LCD, and subsequent tweaks are being done via VNC on my Window’s box.  Once I feel comfortable with the install, I will reconfigure xorg.conf to play nice with my Sony KDS-55A2000 HDTV @1080p.

A nice feature of the Knoppmyth installer is the remote control script.  During installation, I was prompted to select a remote control to use with Myth, and I choose the Imon-Pad option to match the Moneual’s Imon pad remote.  Without any issues, I was able to use my remote immediately without hassling with recompiling LIRC or config files – nice!

Soundgraph Imon VFD
The VFD wasn’t working out of the box.  A few minutes on the Knoppmyth forum yielded a quick solution.  As root, running this script brought the VFD to life:


When prompted to configure, hit “y”.  A reboot was then required before the VFD would activate.  Note: the large clock mode isn’t compatible with my VFD’s two line display so I had to disable this option under the Appearance > LCD settings within MythTV.

EDIT: The VFD install script has broken the pad function on the Imon remote.  All other buttons function normally, however the pad is no longer responsive.  The “pad” on this remote provides up, down, left and right navigation and is essential for myth menu navigation.  After spending several hours trying to resolve this, I gave up and mapped some other buttons to perform the same function by editing:


DVD Playback
DVD’s aren’t working out of the box with my system either.  Xine throws this error at me when trying to play a DVD (both unencrypted and encrypted):

Per Myth’s general settings, the DVD device is set to /dev/dvd which didn’t exist on my system:

Creating a symbolic link fixed the problem allowing me to view a DVD when inserted in the drive:

ln -s /dev/scd0 /dev/dvd

with “scd0” being my optical drive and “/dev/dvd” the location of the DVD device as defined in Myth’s general settings.  However, when rebooting the machine, the symbolic link is lost every time.  I fixed this by modifying (as root):


The lines that contained the string “SYMLINK+=”cdrom1”  were changed to “SYMLINK+=”cdrom”, and similiarly for SYMLINK+=”cdrw1″SYMLINK+=”dvd1″, and SYMLINK+=”dvdrw1″ – the “1” had to be dropped from each instance.

EDIT: After writing the above, and after a fresh “re-install” (long story), the DVD issue did not manifest itself and the DVD functionality works as expected the second time around.  I have no explanation for the DVD problem on the initial install…

Fix Myth Gallery mount failure messages

When myth starts, I was greeted with the following each time:

“Failed to mount device /dev/sde, showing default myth gallery directory”

This is probably caused by myth trying to mount the empty slots of the USB card reader.  For the meantime, I disabled them by adding the following to the “Ignore Devices” list:


Make Samba autostart on reboot so I can copy files to the HTPC at anytime from a Window’s box.  From a terminal as root:

update-rc.d samba defaults

Connecting from Window’s, the default username and password are both mythtv 

X11VNC  – get it working correctly with Nvidia and install TightVNC on my Window’s box.  I’m using VNC on my Window’s box to control the Myth frontend while I setup and tweak things.  Remember, I don’t have xorg.conf configured yet to communicate with my HDTV, and I don’t have a spare monitor sitting around to use to connect to the HTPC.  The HTPC at this point is a headless box – meaning it does not have a monitor, keyboard, or other peripherals connected to it at this point.  VNC is not practical for video streaming but well suited to navigate the myth frontend menus. There are issues with nvidia, so first edit:


uncomment and alter the following line (change is in red):

[startup] {/usr/bin/x11vnc -nap -wait 50 -noxdamage -passwd fubar -display :0 -forever -o /var/log/x11vnc.log -bg}

Next, turn off OpenGL flipping by right clicking on the Fluxbox desktop & Apps > Tools > nvidia-settings to bring up the settings panel.  Uncheck “Allow Flipping”:

Results: Remote access to the new headless HTPC from Windows: