MythTV Chapter Ready: The Hard Way: Installing MythTV From Source

The Hard Way: Installing MythTV From Source is now ready. In fact, its been ready for quite a while, but I have been trying to blog about the finished chapters in the right order, so it has been trapped in the queue. This chapter discusses how to compile MythTV from source code, which is useful if you’ve either had problems with a packaged version of MythTV, or want more control than you’ll get from packages.

The awesome Michael Carden did the review for this chapter once again.

How I plan on handling Ubuntu and Mythbuntu 9.04

Ubuntu and Mythbuntu 9.04 have recently been released, and this makes some of the current content for the online MythTV book out of date. The way I plan on handling this is to keep going with the current version 8.10 content, and then update chapters to 9.04 later. This way I don’t delay the overall book because of the new release, and people who haven’t upgraded still have relevant content. For those using 9.04, the current content should be “close enough” to get you going. Please comment on this post if you see problems which are new to 9.04 so I can make a note of them.

MythTV Chapter Ready: The Hard Way: Installing Ubuntu

The next chapter, The Hard Way: Installing Ubuntu is now ready. This chapter took a lot longer than I wanted because I was distracted by some stuff in my personal life, but I am hoping that the authoring process is now back on track. This chapter covers how to install Ubuntu so that you can setup your own MythTV system exactly how you’d like it. That’s also the way to go if you’re using an existing Ubuntu system and just adding MythTV to it.

Thanks to Michael Carden for yet another excellent chapter review.

MythTV Chapter Ready: The Easy Way: Installing MythBuntu

The The Easy Way: Installing MythBuntu chapter is now ready. This chapter provides an overview of a basic MythBuntu installation, which is something which wasn’t covered at all in Practical MythTV, as MythBuntu wasn’t ready at the time. MythBuntu provides a simple installation and configuration option for those people who want to build a new MythTV system from scratch, and want to hide the normal Ubuntu install.

Thanks to Michael Carden and Jost Stewart for their reviews of this chapter, as well as Paul Wayper for his comments.

MythTV Chapter Ready: Selecting Hardware

The Selecting Hardware chapter is now ready. This chapter details the benefits of starting small, how to select the right hardware for a MythTV system if you’re building one from scratch, and what the authors use for their MythTV systems.

This chapter was originally written by Stewart Smith, and this version was reviewed by Josh Stewart. Thanks as well to Julien Goodwin and Michael Carden for their helpful comments.

MythTV Chapter Ready: Introduction

The Introduction chapter of the online MythTV book is now ready. This chapter covers the definition of a personal video recorder (PVR), the components of such a system, the various alternatives that are available, why MythTV might be the right choice, and briefly explains the MythTV version number scheme.

Thanks to Michael Carden for doing a review on this chapter.

Introducing the online MythTV book

When parts of the first edition of the MythTV book became out of date, I decided to take the book online and ask others to help me improve it and bring it up to date. There is a blog for announcements, at and if you’re interested in helping out, please visit the Help Wanted page.

This book does not aim to be a complete reference to MythTV or a guide for how to develop plug-in modules for MythTV. Although we include a brief overview of the major features of MythTV, we explore only those parts of MythTV that are relevant to the projects in this book, which will include all the parts of MythTV that an average user will be interested in. It will also give you an excellent grounding for further projects with MythTV as well. This book is intended as a hobbyist’s project guide, providing suggestions about what sort of projects you could take on and how we went about implementing our own versions of those projects.

Instead of including exhaustive coverage of features that few people use, we’ll provide pointers to how to find out about those features, and we’ll cover the 80 percent of MythTV’s functionality that everyone will find useful. That way, this book will be genuinely useful to people setting up MythTV, instead of being a boring reference manual.

However, because the book is a wiki, anyone can add content if they want to. If there is genuine interest in the book being something other than what I envisage, then that is fine. The only barrier I have imposed is that chapters which become “official” (in other words are listed in the table of contents on the front page of the wiki) must go through both a technical review and a copy edit review. This will ensure that they’re technically accurate, as well as being sufficiently well written. I am applying the same review criteria to my own chapters as well. I like to think of this as much like a code review before a patch is committed to an open source project.

You can follow along with the progress of the project at the current events page, and if you’re interested in helping with the authoring or review process, I suggest that you join the editors mailing list, which is much like the core developers list for a coding project.

This is the first time I’ve tried a collaborative authoring project like this before, so I am very open to suggestions and comments. Additionally, I’d love some help getting the work done, and wouldn’t mind some help with graphic design tasks as well.


It’s time for Catherine and I to start thinking of packing for the move, and as ever it’s a barrel of laughs. We’ve made the decision that there is a bunch of stuff which we’re not going to bother to take with us… Mainly things like reference books which I haven’t used in years, but can’t bear parting with. We’ve therefore entered the exciting world of boxing and listing everything which we’re leaving. We’re also doing something similar for the things with a lot of value which we’re moving to the US.

I decided that it was time to roll out an official stillhq wiki to hold this sort of documentation, as well as other things which seem like they should be documented over time.

This is the first time that Catherine has used a wiki, and so far it’s working well.