The future of MythTV

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jfabernathy
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by jfabernathy »

paulh wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:04 pm
Hi jfabernathy,

What version of MythTV do you use? Mainly want to know if master is the same.

Mark Kendell was doing a lot of work to the video output some of it is in v31 but there are also a lot of changes to master what will be v32. Unfortunately Mark has vanished without trace we've tried emailing to make sure he is OK but have got no reply. Hope the dreaded lurgy hasn't got him :( so not sure if his work will ever be finished now.
I'm using v31 on both backends. Not planning on moving to v32 anytime soon. V31 mythfrontend is very good on Shield TV and FireTV 4k stick. Leanfront is perfect on both.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by Lost Dog »

paulh wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:59 am
Thanks for the replies.

Help me to understand why the hate for mythfrontend and the love for Kodi :?
What does Kodi do that mythfrontend doesn't :?:
I would not say it's hate for mythfrontend. I'm a fan of the simple interface. It's easy to use and for someone like me, all I need to do is watch recorded TV (sometimes live, but not often) and watch movies (.iso, mkv). I have however, found many frustrations with it (going back MANY years). Right around 0.29 or so, it started to get buggy.
  • Something seems to have changed with RGB output (full vs limited) and with the MythTV frontend I cannot get whitepoint / blackpoint color bars to display correctly which leads to either a very dark image or washed out.
  • Smooth playback of video can be frustrating. I often experience judder. Not sure if it's dropped frames or a problem with refresh rate syncing.
  • Playing back dvd's (either disk or .iso) often has menu issues (or crashes).
  • Unencrypted bluray is an exercise if frustration with a LONG wait while it loads and problematic menu support.
I've brought up these issues on the -dev mailing list and the group there is great. Sometimes things get fixed but other times there are different priorities (I understand how tough it is to make everything work on the variety of hardware). Still, for the past few releases I've experienced more frustration than in the past. I've just learned to live with issues I'm seeing.

As for what does Kodi do that mythfrontend does not... You could make a MASSIVE list there. I'm only starting to play around with Kodi but it seems the main focus is on features relating to playback. It's essentially nothing BUT a frontend. Point it to directories of files or a server and it will play anything you throw at it. Playback quality (color, white point / black point, frame rate matching) has been much better than MythTV as of late. Bluray playback (unencrypted) works pretty well as do DVD's.

It's flexibility is both a blessing and a curse. The user community is huge and there are plugins for nearly anything you want to do with it. The UI is so flexible it can be configured however you'd like. There also is the drawbacks... It's so customizable that it can be a headache to get set up how you want. It's fine out of the box but is not intuitive and I'm much more of a fan of the simple MythTV.

The MythTV backend is solid and I'm really happy with it. I think this is why many MythTV users are starting to move to Kodi as the frontend and use the MythTV backend for the DVR capabilities. I'm not totally ready to make the switch but it's starting to go that direction.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by Eauwwooo »

I pretty much only use MythTV for OTA live TV and DVR. I'm less interested in new features than having the thing ...just work. When I built my first MythTV system, it was kind of fun to troubleshoot and get things working. Now, many years later, I just don't have the same desire to spend a Saturday afternoon making my TV system work. And it's becoming more and more complicated. Configuring SchedulesDirect XML was very easy and worked just fine, but the new way is "better" so v30 removed XML support and I now have to find the instructions and figure it out again any time I need to do a channel scan (I asked in another thread a while back why XML couldn't remain an option and no one seemed willing to answer, only saying I should have read the release notes more carefully before updating).

More generally, the Mythbuntu package was a good approach to making things work more easily and it's unfortunate it wasn't able to continue.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate all the effort that people have put into this project over the years. Where I am now though, I'm seriously considering switching to something like Amazon FireTV Recast, even with some very obvious limitations that it has.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by loddonlily »

I use MythTV for recording UK OTA. It's true that I also use Netflix and iPlayer and occasionally other streaming, but my preferred method for TV is still MythTV and, TBH, I don't need you to change a whole lot except keep up with new distros. The big advantage for me is that I can skip adverts on the commercial channels, and keep recordings for later - long after they've been retired from the streamers. I do have Kodi but never use it as the frontend for Myth because I prefer the Mythfrontend UI - I find it simpler to use, especially when it comes to setting recordings.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by gedakc »

I use MythTV for recording 1080i/720p OTA. I'm a big fan of Mythfrontend on x86-64 hardware as I can run the whole stack using Free Software (*buntu) with correspondingly less privacy issues.

The big wins for me of Mythfrontend versus Kodi with the MythTV.PVR add-on are:
  • Commercial skip with full manual control.
    I use commercial skip, which is about 80% effective for me. I manually invoke commercial skip forward. If the skip is wrong then I can quickly commercial skip back and then use 30 second skip forward with 5 second skip back to quickly find where the show picks up again.
  • Schedules Direct TV search lists of upcoming new-to-me shows.
    These are under Manage Recordings -> Schedule Recordings -> Search Lists -> New Titles / Movies
  • Extremely flexible and powerful recording rules.
    When I used Kodi with Tvheadend in the past, Tvheadend was nowhere near as capable compared to the number of options available for building recording rules in MythTV.
  • Excellent support for Closed Captions.
    Basically this just works. With Kodi it is hit and miss whether CC will work or not. I've had numerous recordings where CC does not work with Kodi, but does work with mythfrontend.
Overall Mythfrontend provides the most capabilities versus Kodi or even Leanfront.
Last edited by gedakc on Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by heyted »

My preference is MythTV Frontend but only if it is installed using Mythbuntu Control Panel :D. I have tried Kodi and MythTV Frontend with Comcast cable using a cablecard, and I have had a better experience with MythTV Frontend. I use Leanfront for movies on my projector, but I most often use MythTV Frontend. I have a cheap Zotac with an Atom processor and integrated NVIDIA graphics along with a Fire TV stick connected to the TV my wife uses most often, and she prefers MythTV Frontend on the Zotac over the Fire TV stick.

I paid $168 in 2013 for the Zotac board which included the processor and integrated NVIDIA graphics card, and it continues to run fine. I paid a tiny amount for a used TiVo Premiere (included a TiVo IR remote) at the same time, took the Premiere apart, tossed the TiVo board in the garbage, and used the case and hard drive. The hard drive in this frontend box continues to work fine.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by yawlhoo »

I've been running MythTV for years on NUC back- and front-ends. One tiny beef is when something goes wrong on the frontend, the system cycles into a black hole: you get a screen that the frontend can't connect to the backend which is difficult to dismiss.

For example, when the screwup is the networking, you can't get to the desktop or the command line to fix it: if you exit the frontend, the usual setup is to almost instantly recycle the frontend, and there you are again.

I wish there was a way to tell the frontend "stop already!"*

Truth to say, such are tiny concerns, the system is great, the developers have done an awesome job!

* I've never had much luck with getting a virtual terminal, you can't ssh in without networking, yadda-yadda...
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by wesnewell »

To stop the cycle, pull up a terminal, type killall mythfrontend.real and then killall mythfrontend. You will have to do this multiple times as fast as you can to get it to stop, but it can be done. You can also do this via ssh if you have another connected machine.
BE/FE-Asrock AB350 Pro Ryzen 3 3200G, 6 atsc tuners. FE's-GF8200's Athlon II, Ryzen 3 2200G. Mythtv user since 2005.
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paulh
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by paulh »

yawlhoo wrote:
Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:40 pm
I've been running MythTV for years on NUC back- and front-ends. One tiny beef is when something goes wrong on the frontend, the system cycles into a black hole: you get a screen that the frontend can't connect to the backend which is difficult to dismiss.

For example, when the screwup is the networking, you can't get to the desktop or the command line to fix it: if you exit the frontend, the usual setup is to almost instantly recycle the frontend, and there you are again.

I wish there was a way to tell the frontend "stop already!"*
To be fair that's not MythTV doing that it's how your distro has set things so that mythfrontend will restart if there is a problem. Like you have found that's not always the best thing to do. I would guess you are using Ubuntu or one of it's derivatives and you have it set to run mythfrontend which in Ubuntu mythfrontend is actually a script that runs the real mythfrontend executable which they renamed to mythfrontend.real in their packages.

So basically don't run mythfrontend run mythfrontend.real and you wont have the endless restarting ever again. ;)
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by yawlhoo »

Thanks for the suggestion, I made the suggested change and am looking forward to life outside the black hole (the next time there is a problem with MythTV, which is rarely.)

And thanks again for a great piece of work!
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by luc5588 »

I used MythTV for eight years, then TVHeadend for a few years. Currently I don't watch/record live tv.

MythTV is far better at scheduling/conflict resolution than other DVRs, but suffers in a few aspects. I'll offer comparisons with TVHeadend that I think it does better. I could also do a list of all the things MythTV does better than TVHeadend so this is not intended in any way as a disservice to the great job the MythTV devs have done. I apologize if these have been fixed in the latest release.

Where I live, channels regularly change frequency or new channels added/removed. Having to run a separate setup/scan every few weeks was annoying.
(See KingOfSat 28.2E for idea of how channels move and rename).

TVHeadend would scan channels automatically and could auto-map channels so old channels would get removed and new ones added. Technically it allows mapping of "bouquets" (collections of services) but I'm not sure if USA broadcasts have that concept. TVHeadend's scanning also used all tuners and I think that when you record it also used the information to update its channels on that mux.

Also, with multiple tuners, sometimes one DVB-T tuner has a poor quality signal compared to another brand of tuner on the same machine with the same aerial. TVHeadend would keep quality stats and would prefer the better tuner with the better signal for that frequency and could immediately re-schedule on to a separate tuner if there wasn't a quick lock, so, it might use adapter0 and try to lock for ten seconds then would fail over to adapter1 and continue recording. This meant few failed recordings.

Whereas with MythTV often a satellite channel would be moved by the provider to a different frequency so recordings would fail, then get rescheduled for the next day's repeat, and fail again since it picked the same tuner. A whole week may go by before you notice you have to manually retune, and by then you've missed a mid-season episode.

Many grabbers will provide images/posters for programmes, but MythTV only grabs images after a record. I quite like on TVHeadend being able to see the posters so I can determine what to schedule. They also had full details like cast.

Backward compatibility also seemed awkward with MythTV. So, I upgraded my server which then meant my android kodi box could no longer connect, and the kodi couldn't be upgraded. Whereas with TVHeadend there is backward compatibility and core functionality of "here are programmes you have recorded" is available.

I have several hundred channels so had to have numerous shell scripts to patch the DB, for example hide channels by regex. Having that feature would be nice.

I liked in TVHeadend that there was a GUI where you could start to enter a programme name and it would dynamically filter the programmes.

I think the reason TVHeadend gained some traction is that its API is easier to link to new setups like Jellyfin. So, you can "get EPG with dynamic updates", and get dynamic updates for current recordings, etc., whereas last time I looked, the MythTV non-binary API was fire-and-forget so didn't provide real-time updates.

We stopped using MythFrontend in preference for Kodi because Kodi runs on $30 hardware with no problems whereas MythFrontend required graphics cards that cost twice that (at the time) for HD and the "noisy" computer in the living room. The WAF for MythFrontend was quite low due to Terra being the default skin. Kodi with TVHeadend shows nice posters as you browse and is "good enough", even if it has poor scheduling.

My impression was always that MythTV probably works better in USA with HDHomeRun where things like retuning and hiding channels probably aren't so much of an issue.

Again, none of this is meant as a criticism. The problem with all software is that many people use it completely differently.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by jfabernathy »

With an interest on an integrated platform for TV viewing that included Mythtv recordings and streaming I've been evaluating some solutions.

1. The easiest is using an Android TV device as a frontend since all the streaming services have an app for their service. Then you add Leanfront for mythfrontend to pull recordings from the remote backend.

2. This morning I took a Ryzen 3 5600 PC I have connected to my TV for gaming and installed Kodi 19.1 along with the addons for mythtv, Amazon Video, Netflix, and SlingTV. If you don't mind the Kodi interface this all worked very well as far as video quality is concerned.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by John Bergqvist »

I could never get to grips with TVHeadend as I felt it's scheduling and EPG provider were very basic to the point of being unusable - having to install a 3rd party add-on in order to view a standard Horizontal EPG for all channels, was a pretty big red flag for me. Also I feel MythTV's scheduler in terms of not re-recording stuff I've seen before, and ensuring it gets all episodes of a series, are second to none, TVHeadend had none of that IMO. I'm glad Mythbackend has support for Freesat Bouquets now, as for me that makes channel scanning a *lot* quicker. However, an auto-scanning functionality once a night might be good.
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by PhilB »

I’m currently working on the replacement for my 2009 vintage AMD hardware with PCI tuners running Ubuntu 14.04/ Myth 0.27 setup and this thread seems particularly pertinent.

I only use Mythtv for its the video recorder facilities and have no real big earth shattering requests – just stability, continuity and consolidation are my concerns. My main problems have been with the components other than Mythtv and so what follows are all little gripes really!

I’ll echo the sentiments of others – the developers and those who help support it are great and the support we all get via the forum is first class too!

New Blood : The very long term future of Mythtv will depend on whether we can attract new blood. There are some very capable recording boxes out there and I am continually asked why I’m ‘wasting time’ on Myth when we could buy a Humax. Myth needs to be easy to implement and be well documented.

Mythtv Control Panel is great and we all need to get behind it!

Graphics stability has really bugged me over the years. nVidia worked great when little else did about 10 years ago but I still could not move beyond Ubuntu 14.04 with my existing hardware. We now have a very promising set of options including Intel, Pi and Android and I know that this has been a hard-won battle. I can now see my way forward but instability it is a situation I would not like to see again.
Also, the graphics options, parameters and plain jargon are confusing – I feel it is only working by chance rather than me understanding any of it and it could all be snatched away at the whim of a manufacturer or operating system upgrade. I’m not sure how to resolve that one though!

Choice of hardware/operating system is an interesting question. Perhaps we need to encourage the documentation of new installations and give clearer advice?

Streaming stuff has taken the world be storm but I’m not sure that Mythtv is the right vehicle for this, especially as both Kodi and cheap streaming sticks like the Firestick do it so capably.

Credentials: I think that we need some consolidation with the backend credentials. They are held in two places with a conf.xml for the backend and one for the frontend. That’s confusing enough for novices, but then we have UPnP planted on top of it and a screen in frontend setup which together confuse! I’d like to see changes to the frontend setup:
1. It isn’t clear what the ping option is – it is more subtle than pinging the backend and needs explanation.
2. It needs a new button with a clear explanation: either use UPnP to get credentials from a zero-pin backend on the LAN - or – ignore UPnP and use the credentials in the other fields on the page.
3. The exit needs to be respected in Ubuntu environments. There should not be a demarcation dispute between *buntu and mythfrontend!

Kodi - There is a lot of interest in Kodi with some preferring Myth frontend but Kodi streaming. How about a mechanism for peaceful coexistence - a menu after switchon / wakeup to choose your frontend of choice? Probably fairly easy to do but not for a novice.

Mythshutdown
It’s tricky to set up but works well once going. We can also trigger a backup just before closedown via the ‘set wakeup time’ file. A request though – when idle, don’t scroll through listing the tuners which are not busy – just list those which are!

Disks
I am used to the concept of mixing media to optimise the speed/ cost constraints. I grew up with optimising 500KB core store, 2MB drums, 30MB disks and magnetic tapes and it seems we have a new mix with SSD vs shingle disks. I think I am going to need a file migration mechanism whereby I record to SSD but move mature recordings to shingle. It can be managed via the API interface though I think that if the existing recording expiration code could be triggered by an API that would really help. “Please release X MB from storage partition Y”.

This isn’t necessarily a list just for the developers to whom we owe so much – we all have a part to play!
Thanks again everyone!

Phil
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paulh
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Re: The future of MythTV

Post by paulh »

PhilB wrote:
Sat Aug 21, 2021 5:04 pm
New Blood : The very long term future of Mythtv will depend on whether we can attract new blood. There are some very capable recording boxes out there and I am continually asked why I’m ‘wasting time’ on Myth when we could buy a Humax. Myth needs to be easy to implement and be well documented.
I've yet to meet a developer that likes to do documentation ;) Peter did a bug cleanup of the docs some time back but it can always be improved. The wiki is user editable so anyone can correct/update/improve it as needed. As you probably can tell most old time developers have mostly lost interest or don't have time to work on MythTV but we have added a few new developers in recent years so while it's not exactly a thriving project it is still limping along.
Mythtv Control Panel is great and we all need to get behind it!
I've never used it but it is good it managed to survive the MythBuntu distro closing down.
Graphics stability has really bugged me over the years. nVidia worked great when little else did about 10 years ago but I still could not move beyond Ubuntu 14.04 with my existing hardware. We now have a very promising set of options including Intel, Pi and Android and I know that this has been a hard-won battle. I can now see my way forward but instability it is a situation I would not like to see again.
Also, the graphics options, parameters and plain jargon are confusing – I feel it is only working by chance rather than me understanding any of it and it could all be snatched away at the whim of a manufacturer or operating system upgrade. I’m not sure how to resolve that one though!
nVidia was always a good choice especially for smaller NUC style systems with embedded graphics. It' a shame they decided to only produce chips for the larger add on cards and abandon the embedded market. If you want good embedded graphics then the newer Intel processors with embedded graphics based systems seem the way to go.

Mark Kendell was working hard to update the video playback code to support the latest options including better support for Android , Pi and I believe some other SOC based systems but he mysteriously disappeared last February and no one has seen or heard from him since :cry:
Choice of hardware/operating system is an interesting question. Perhaps we need to encourage the documentation of new installations and give clearer advice?

Streaming stuff has taken the world be storm but I’m not sure that Mythtv is the right vehicle for this, especially as both Kodi and cheap streaming sticks like the Firestick do it so capably.
It would be great if all providers provided a common API and UI that MythTV could use but that is never going to happen :( Best you can do is have a "Launcher" that starts the various streaming services but that limits you to only use providers that have a web interface and most of those aren't keyboard/remote friendly UI's and some limit the quality to SD.

As a family we use YouTube a lot so my own personal FE has support for that baked in. We also use Netflix, BBC iPlayer etc but like you say it's easier to use devices like the Firestick since they have the proper remote friendly interface and support HD resolutions.

It may be possible to capture the output of say a Firestick or Shield and display that in a FE with a common interface and pass on remote control commands etc. I believe Peter was working on something like that but it is a slightly dodgy topic :!:

Credentials: I think that we need some consolidation with the backend credentials. They are held in two places with a conf.xml for the backend and one for the frontend. That’s confusing enough for novices, but then we have UPnP planted on top of it and a screen in frontend setup which together confuse! I’d like to see changes to the frontend setup:
1. It isn’t clear what the ping option is – it is more subtle than pinging the backend and needs explanation.
2. It needs a new button with a clear explanation: either use UPnP to get credentials from a zero-pin backend on the LAN - or – ignore UPnP and use the credentials in the other fields on the page.
3. The exit needs to be respected in Ubuntu environments. There should not be a demarcation dispute between *buntu and mythfrontend!
The credentials thing is something that confuses a lot of users and we all know it needs to be improved. I wont go into details but technically you don't need to have two conf.xml files you can have just one copy if things are set up properly.

If UPnP worked properly then that could potentially solve a lot of problems at least for frontends but you still need to configure the backend somehow.

A lot of users like the flexibility the current system has so keeping those users happy while simplifying set up for first time users is easy to say but not so easy in practice. Everything can be fixed but that takes a lot of time and energy that's hard to find.

Myth used to shutdown when asked by the system but for some reason it was changed to block shutdown. I have no idea why. There should at least be a user option to change a setting to allow it to shutdown if that is what they want.
Kodi - There is a lot of interest in Kodi with some preferring Myth frontend but Kodi streaming. How about a mechanism for peaceful coexistence - a menu after switchon / wakeup to choose your frontend of choice? Probably fairly easy to do but not for a novice.
Yes I use a Launcher to do exactly that :D
https://mythqml.net/img/whatsnew5.png

I get the impression few users use MythTV like it should be as a dedicated system connected to a TV controlled by a remote control. I think most users seem to use it on multi purpose desktop system and {cringe} run it in a window :roll:

Mythshutdown
It’s tricky to set up but works well once going. We can also trigger a backup just before closedown via the ‘set wakeup time’ file. A request though – when idle, don’t scroll through listing the tuners which are not busy – just list those which are!
I did all the initial development for MythWelcome and MythShutdown and the reason why it's not better integrated into the FE is because most of the devs at the time saw no need for a system that could sleep when it wasn't being used "My uptime is over a year and that is only because I needed to upgrade something" was the usual comments at the time so it was added in a way that would'nt give those devs any reason to complain. That's why MythWelcome is separate and some of the setting appear to be duplicated.

Times changed and Stuart Morgan later added the Idle Screen into the FE making MythWelcome somewhat redundant but the two aren't exactly equal yet. We no longer use either and not sure if any other dev does either so doubt if anything will change.

MythTV is a open source and any user can contribute ;)
Disks
I am used to the concept of mixing media to optimise the speed/ cost constraints. I grew up with optimising 500KB core store, 2MB drums, 30MB disks and magnetic tapes and it seems we have a new mix with SSD vs shingle disks. I think I am going to need a file migration mechanism whereby I record to SSD but move mature recordings to shingle. It can be managed via the API interface though I think that if the existing recording expiration code could be triggered by an API that would really help. “Please release X MB from storage partition Y”.
Search the mailing list I have a vague recollection of a discussion about this with someone providing a script :?:
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