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OK. In the last installment, we installed Mythbuntu — and rebooted. You also signed up for schedulesdirect.org so you will be able download TV program listings for your area.

In the latest version, Mythbuntu runs the “backend setup”  or recording configuration script on the first run of the system. On older versions like mine (Mythbuntu 14.04, running mythtv .27) it boots right into the “front end” menu.

These screens are small — but you can click on them and get a larger view.

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Use your your keyboard for the configuration, navigating using the arrow keys. Use the escape key (esc) to exit MythTv — and you’ll arrive at the Mythbuntu desktop.

The Applications menu works kinda like the Windows start menu (hanging upside down, hilarious). Here you can see all the programs installed “under the hood” of your MythTV DVR appliance. Go to Applications > System > MythTV Backend Setup.

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To make configuration changes, you’ll need to stop the recording system, also known as “mythbackend.” Click “Yes” when the box to the right appears.

Next you’ll be asked for your system password (the one you set with your user name during installation).

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1. General Settings

The “General” section contains a bunch of somewhat cryptic configuration options for the MythTV recording system, but they are not too hard to understand. In many cases we just keep the defaults in place and skip to the next screen. So using your keyboard, choose 1, and hit ENTER or the RETURN key as some folks call it.

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1.A) Host Address Backend Setup

The screen to the right is where you tell your computer (or network) where the DVR  “server” is located. In this example, the server is running on the same computer as the DVR playback software or “frontend.” In this case, the IP address for the “local backend” is given as the “loopback address’ or 127.0.0.1, which geeks recognize as “localhost.”  Jargon… whatsit mean? 127.0.0.1 is the address of the computer you installed mythtv on … which should be obvious. This kind of configuration detail is both a pain, but also part of the charm and beauty of this program. It lets you customize to your hearts content. This page, https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Setup_General gives all the nitty gritty on each section of every screen. For now. I’m going gloss over some things and focus on getting things up and running.

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1.B) Locale

I’m proud to live in the United States of America. Yes, we have our issues. Not all of our citizens or leaders are rational, I get that. Could stand to lose a few pounds, and we can get a tad preachy. All in all, a good place to live. Our TV format is NTSC, we don’t use the VBI (Vertical Blanking Interval) and what’s the Frequency Kenneth? us-bcast for the trusty antenna.

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 1.C) Miscellaneous

Most of these settings trip the jargon alarm — and some seem plain weird. LEAVE THE DEFAULT SETTINGS alone and click next.  On thing that is worth learning more about is the reason why they have an option for delete files slowly. If you want to plunge into the deep end, and learn the differences between linux file systems you may never be the same afterwards. Bottom line, use the ext4 file system on your linux computer and leave this unchecked.

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 1.D) EIT Scanner Options

In theory, TV shows are broadcast along with some extra data in the EIT (Event Information Table). MythTV can theoretically scrape this info from the digital stream and use it to build a recording schedule. Maybe this works better in other parts of the world, but most users of MythTv find it lacking in detail and accuracy … so NEXT.

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 1.E & F ) Shutdown/Wakeup Options

If using the MythTV computer as a DVR “appliance,”  like a TIVO for example, most people would expect the DVR to be in some kind of standby state, then awaken to record a show, or to be used to watch recordings. When not in use, it should conserve power by sleeping in a low power state or even shutting down. All this logic is built in to the TIVO, but in this world, all that stuff is configurable — and for some of it, working as expected depends on the computer hardware you have selected.

For now, skip these two screens and come back after you succeed in getting the thing to record shows.

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 1.G, H, I & J) Backend Control and Job Queue stuff

We’re leaving these alone, NEXT,

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 NEXT, general-jobqueue-global
 NEXT and general-jobqueue
NEXT.

 

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 2. Capture Cards

This section is where you specify the device that will capture the TV signal for recording. In the past, just about everyone used a computer add-on card or USB device, like the Hauppauge WinTV cards. Today, I prefer a capture card that is not really a capture card — it’s a networked TV tuner called the Silicon Dust HDHR Connect. 

See all the detailed info on capture cards here https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Setup_Capture_Cards

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 2.A) Add a New Capture Card

The user interface for this set of screens works best using a keyboard … so highlight “New capture card” in green and press ENTER.

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 2.B) Capture Card Setup

Use the “Card type” drop down menu to choose your recording device. I use a HDHomeRun network turner, so two tuners appear on my network, both associated with one network IP address (10.66.77.27 in my case).

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 The tuners appear as device ID 1043B0A4-0, and 1043B0A4-1 — each requiring configuration.  2-capture-4

 2.C) Recording Options

I’ve set the max recordings to “2” for each tuner because it’s rumored that the HDHR Connect can “multiplex”? Which sounds like one of those multi-screen cinema places. As far as I can figure, the ability to record two shows at once on one tuner depends on a number of conditions for it to actually happen — such as recording from digital channel 4.1 and 4.2 at the same time. So … it could happen.

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3. Recording Profiles

It’s possible to setup and customize different settings for each type of recording device and type of program you want to record. You can also setup trans-coding if you have a need for that you computer genius you. Most people will skip this section and move on …

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 4. Video Sources

By now it seems like we should have configured the video sources, right? What this poorly named section is really about is setting up TV channels and schedule data. This is where you will use the account you created with Schedules Direct http://www.schedulesdirect.org

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 4.A) Video Sources

This screen shows that I have already created the video source “ota”  named for my “Over the Air” antenna and HDHR tuners. Create your own by selecting “New video source” and pressing ENTER.

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4.B) Video Source Setup

Remember to give the video source a name at the very top of this screen.

Listing Grabber is North America (dchedulesdirect.org) (Internal). Add your schedulesdirect.org username and password — then retrieve lineups and choose the one you set up that matches the channels broadcast in your area. Leave EIT scan unticked, and keep the default frequency table. FINISH.

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 5. Input Connections

Here is where we link the capture cards/tuners to the “video sources,” associating the program and schedule data with the recording devices.

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 5.A) Connect source to input

In this example, I’m linking my first network tuner to the “ota” channel guide data. On the first tuner, I chose “Fetch channels from listings source” — you only need to  “Fetch” for the first tuner (you will repeat this setup for the second tuner  and the channel data will be there) … I have 2_1 for my starting channel. Then click NEXT.

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 5.B) Interactions between inputs

I have a faint clue what this does or why mucking with priorities is good idea. There is more info here for you ocd types https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Setup_Input_Connections

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6, 7 and 8 … config fatigue setting in big time

6. Channel Editor — here you delete the channels you never want to use. Also delete them from your schedulesdirect.org lineup too.

7. Storage Directories — here you can add multiple directories to the “default” storage group and the program does a very nice of balancing the use of multiple hard drives.

8. System events is a menu I’ve never used.

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Use your Esc key to leave the “backend setup”

Start the mythtv backend when offered a chance to do so…image54

Password … and the run the mythfilldatabase script.

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That is the end of the beginning. Go back and start the Frontend and begin using this wonderfully torturous free program.

As you saw, there is a veritable plethora of configuration options … letting you geek out in so many ways. Just don’t hurt yourself.

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