Saturday, June 21, 2008

Legendary Content with MythTV

Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a little over hyped. Myself, I blame the guy who called the Linux PVR software "MythTV".

As a geek, Mr. Richards should have known the pun potential he was letting loose on the world. ;)

But enough of that. Here's what I did. It's nothing revolutionary or untried before, just a little tweak on what others have done before, as well as a plug for Myth.

Long story short, there's a new and free site out on the Internet called which provides free, legal TV and movies, for free.

Did I mention it's free?

Oh, yeah...there are advertisements. One thirty-second commercial every fifteen to twenty minutes.

Yeah, I know the die-hard Myth users are probably turning up their noses (the commercial skipping feature of Myth is amazing, I use it all the time ;). However, you can't argue with free TV and movies.

How is that different than what we get on the airways? Well, go to Hulu and see for yourself. Simply put, they provide content that you can't find on TV anymore. Good shows, too, that were on major networks, a few years ago.

How's it work? Well, it uses Flash to provide the content. Since Linux runs Firefox, and that lovely browser has a Flash plug in, it was fairly trivial to get up and running.

First, I followed these instructions on my R5F1 install of Knoppmyth. Then I took the remote and went to "Utilities / Setup" -> "Setup" -> "Info Center Settings" -> "Web Settings".

From there, I did two things. I created a "New Bookmark" for, and I changed the Browser from "/usr/bin/mythbrowser" to "/usr/bin/firefox".

After having configured the built-in browser to be Firefox, I again used the remote and went to "Information Center" -> "Web". There was the link I created, so I just selected that.

Firefox loaded quite nicely, but I had no way to control it using the remote. So, I had to make use of the mouse and keyboard. Mainly the mouse. It was a bit of a pain, but it works, so it'll do for now.

As it turns out, the instructions didn't quite work for some reason. I was told that I needed a more current Flash plug in. Thankfully, because Firefox works so very well on Linux, all I had to do was click the "Install Missing Plugin" button at the top of the brower's display.

At that point, it all worked. There's even a button inside of the Flash display to go full screen, which works perfectly.

The only other quirk is that the volume is appreciably lower than regular MythTV usage. I'm not sure yet how to fix that, but it's not a show stopper. It's just an annoyance.

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