no more mythtv

I’m sick of MythTV, and I’m finally going to get rid of it once and for all. The thing that has really ticked me off is that in trying to archive my shows, I have to jump through so many hoops just to get my video back out in a file format that isn’t a total hack and still manage to not get it to squelch.

That’s just my latest problem, though. Myth drives me insane for a lot of reasons. Here’s all of em:
Things I hate about MythTV:

  • Stupid file format incompatible with everything else in the world (hacked NuppelVideo)
  • Lame naming scheme of recording files (like it would be hard to save a file as “TV Show – Episode Name.mpg” instead of something like 1071_20061017220000.nuv)
  • How they reinvent the wheel on freaking *everything* — let’s ignore the fact that there’s already VLC, MPlayer and Xine, we’ll just write our own internal media player! Yah!
  • Subversion tree of the fixes release branch segfaults so much you have to have create a cron job to check every few minutes if its running

Things I like about MythTV:

  • Skips commercials for me

I could go on about all the stupid things that totally nag me about mythtv, but I’ll tell you this much — it’s worth the pain of having to fast forward every now to use something that isn’t going to screw me over when I try to do something *outside* of mythtv with my files.

Even then, instead of complaining, I’m actually going to do something about it. MPlayer is already working on adding native support for the IVTV cards, and I’m going to find out what I can do to get the Plextor ConvertX working as well. It’s about freaking time we had some options, and if it means me buying some hardware and giving it to developers, well I’m definately all up for that idea.

Plus, I’m seriously starting to think of just writing my own PVR system. Nothing too exotic (definately nowhere near the compelixty of MythTV or Freevo), but something simple to just setup a recording schedule. I was looking at the xmltv data that I grabbed from DataDirect, and there is a lot of stuff in there. It would be trivial to just setup some kind of combination of cronjobs, a webpage, and mencoder to record what I schedule. It’s not that hard to say “Foo Show” is on at 5:00, see if the file already exists, if not, record it.

I’m gonna see what I can whip up. In the meantime, I’m gonna downgrade back to 0.19 of mythtv so I can at least get nuvexport working again.

11 comments on “no more mythtv

  1. David Grant

    If you insist on running bleeding edge versions, that’s what you’ll get, unstable software. I have never had to set up a cron job to restart myth, but I’ve never run a version of myth that was less than a few months old. I’ve stayed with gcc 3.x and and old kernel and old version of ivtv. Riskiest thing I did was my upgrade to 0.19 (just a few weeks ago) and getting XvMC working.

    What’s so wrong with Nuppel? Can’t you convert it to other formats easily enough?

    Would it be very hard to write some python code to query the myth database to map episode titles to *.nuv file names and run mencoder on them. Or maybe I’m talking out of my ass… This might be a better option than doing it yourself as myth does all that conflict resolution stuff and the UI (and MythWeb which rocks) to set up what to record. I don’t know easy it would be to look up anything in the myth database… just thinking aloud here. I don’t have an interest in archiving things so I don’t know much about this.

    I think reinventing the wheel by having an internal video player was a good idea, if only to make it simpler to set up my lirc file. I still have not set up lirc for mplayer or xine yet. Setting it up for mythtv was enough for me. I assume they didn’t reinvent the wheel completely, but wrapped something??? You yourself said that there is Xine, VLC, mplayer…all of them reinvented the wheel as well.

  2. Jason

    My roommate has expressed the same gripes as you, add to it a slew of other complaints such as how multi-user and network STUPID Myth can be.
    He was thinking of just writing some perl-based timing, recording, and his own personal PVR (no idea about commercial support).

    I don’t believe he’s yet hit a starting point, nor should I be ‘recruiting for him’, but if you’re serious about doing something about it, I figured I’d ask and see what you thought about working up an alternative, using all the tools that already exist! (zomg!)

    Drop me a line or something, I’ll be around :). (I should probably add the RSS comments feed to my aggregator for this post, then you can just respond here and I’ll grab it… I think I’ll do that. Feel free to just comment and I’ll snag it.)

  3. Jason

    @David Grant:
    I don’t consider stable releases “bleeding edge”.
    When Myth puts out a stable release, it’s infered that there was testing behind it before the ofifical release took place. Or at least I would hope that was the case.

    Now, if he used live SVN (or whatever Myth uses) versions daily, I would agree with you.

    The point is, so many of these problems have been in Myth for a long time, not just this newest .20 version and what have you.

  4. David Grant

    I think with myth as soon as a version like 0.20 comes out, I still consider it bleeding edge. Just because it is a “stable” release, it is still bleeding edge, until enough people start using it. I guess the difference between me and you is that I don’t assume that there is a whole lot of testing of something like 0.20 before it is released. Tested by core developers and some users but by no means covering all use cases. Keep in mind that these people who try 0.20 before it is released know what they are doing and minimize user error.

    Anyways, my point is with ANY OSS software if I want stability I wait until the last released “stable” version has been out for a while.

  5. bhattact

    I cant agree with you more, I might just end up writing my own app aswell, Vistas media center is far more superior then mythtv it autodownloads guides all you do is provide postal code, it has program look ups and is fairly stable. It doesnt have native support for my plextor hense why I chose mythtv. I dont have any bias for windows or linux I use them both for differnt things. the media center although does create TV Show – Episode Name.msdvr and a program called autoconvert automatically converts them to TV Show – Episode Name.mpg unfortunately you cant use it with plextor convertx, so I bought a 30USD angel usb tuner to fall back on when mythtv screws up which seems to happen a lot especially stupid SQL errors, and filesystem issues with huge HD files.

    HOnestly I have been playing with mythtv for about a year so I am not talking from just a few days of experience with it… even 0.20 is flaky as hell the whole db connect between front end and backend is pathetic it almost never works

    almost everything you have expressed here is what nags me about mythtv, to further it .. I got nuvexport working to export some of my encoded shows but instead I just got my plextor to encode them at a 960bitrate which produces 550Mb nov files natively. Althought I admit I like the commerical autoflaging mythtv does. It is a hopeless pain in the ass to do lossless translation to avi, I have even tried to create a graph for nov to avi conversion its works but is still a pain in the ass. I am pretty sure Mythtv chose Nuv to avoid getting sued as it does not compress some of the video possibly due to patents etc.

  6. Henrik

    I’ve been thinking about this too, shouldn’t be too hard to hack something together that uses already built utilies like dvbstream.

    The only thing that’s stopping me is lack of time and not being a GUI guy.

  7. mat

    Go for freevo, with it you can avoid the nasty forced timeshift feature and
    also use directly your mencoder command line for scheduled recordings.

    Shame that MythTV is so bad…. at TV recording!!!!

  8. Joe Wilson

    You really need to give the Mythbuntu 0.22 a try, or better yet wait until 0.23 comes out if you havent already completely dumped the idea of mythtv… the damn thing rocks these days.. Add your hulu, Boxee etc.. and your good to go..


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