Building your own Linux Media Center? Try MythTV first.

I was over at, and there was an article about building your own Linux Home Media Center. It makes me realize that there is a strong perception that MythTV is hard. And while it can be difficult/challenging, and yes… hard. It can also be used in a simple way as just a Media Center with no recording (no backend capabilities). I would strongly suggest anybody considering rolling their own media center give the MythTV route a shot first, because it’s such a short jump to wanting a full-fledged PVR, and MythTV is up to the task.

Good Luck folks

4 Replies to “Building your own Linux Media Center? Try MythTV first.”

  1. I’m pretty new to Linux and definitely struggling with Myth. I installed it (I think?) and when I try to run it (what I’m assuming is the frontend) I get an error saying something about not having the backend running and then nothing.

    Of all the info I’ve found regarding MythTV, none of it has been terribly clear. If you wouldn’t mind expanding/explaining your post a bit, I would greatly appreciate it!



  2. First, let me explain that the frontend is the ‘side’ of MythTV that allows you to view content. Much of the content can be located on the machine that you are using as the ‘frontend’.

    Examples of content you can access, without using the backend side of mythtv (off the top of my head) are: videos (recorded from somewhere else), pictures, music, news feeds, weather, mythphone.

    What you can’t do without a backend is record/schedule/view regular television. The backend is what manages recording the shows.

    Now.. on to your problem. In order to run mythtv as a frontend only you need to have MySQL installed, once you have installed that and have it running you need to have set up the database. After that the front end will connect to the MySQL server for configuration information. Also, you can (for extra credit 😉 edit the MythTV menu structure, and remove all entries that have to do with recording/watching live TV.

    At any time, if you are interested in watching/recording/time-shifting TV with MythTV, then you will need to set up a front end, and a backend.

    Check this link: for a bit more info.

  3. I’ve heard good things about knoppmyth, and for folks new to MythTV and/or Linux, I would agree that it’s really the way to go. I personally perfer a bit more ‘control’ over the configuration, but I’ve got over almost 20 years of Unix/Linux Systems Administration experience.

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