MythTV itself is a Digital Video Recorder for Linux which records from various television sources. To make it a complete media center HTPC, it also needs playback of video files and DVDs.
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MythVideo is a plugin that handles all of your video needs. Over time, it has become more and more an integrated part of MythTV. With the new 0.22 version of MythTV, MythVideo is dramatically expanded with support for new metadata information, TV Series handling, Fanart, Banners, Screenshots, and a host of new browsing features.
The biggest change is that MythVideo now supports storage groups, a feature previously introduced for recordings. The feature is still in a preview phase, but it means videos can be watched with zero configuration on the frontend. Under the older system, each frontend had its own video directory settings. Thus, if you wanted to share files from a central server, you needed to set up an NFS share.
Read on for a rundown of MythTV with MythVideo with many screen-shots
We’ve been using the new system, which unfortunately doesn’t work for DVD ISOs, but otherwise works flawlessly. External players, such as mplayer or xine for unsupported file types also does not work. Both the iso issue and the support for external players should work in the next version (0.23).
Metadata can be very important to media file storage. As of 0.22, MythVideo uses TheMovieDB as its primary movie grabber. It also includes support for TV series handling with fields for season, episode, and subtitle, and support for TheTVDB to fill in the information. To determine if an item is a movie or a TV program, it parses the filename.
In additional to searching within the interface, MythTV now includes JAMU. We’ve done some basic testing on JAMU, which stands for Just Another Metadata Updater. JAMU provides for mass updating and regular maintenance of associated graphics and text meta data. It can even reorganize the directory structure based on the metadata.
In version 0.22, MythTV unveiled MythUI, which is a complete rewrite of the Myth user interface. New themes were released and several old ones modified. We did a series of screenshots to show off some of the theme magic available.
On the DVR side of things, MythTV has significant attraction. But as a media center application for the playback of video files, the competing software packages change, to software like XBMC and Boxee.
But what about Internet-based content? Enter MiroBridge. The MythTV wiki defines MiroBridge as a script which “enables Miro to emulate a MythTV recording device.” However, we feel this is rather inaccurate.
MiroBridge doesn’t appear as a recording device. It does create a channel, defaultly assigned to 999, to assign the Miro recordings to, but it is more an importer of Miro downloaded programs. You configure Miro with your desired online programs, and then set up a cron job to have MiroBridge run.
Miro is an Internet television application that downloads videos from RSS-based channels, manages them, and plays them. It does incorporate a Bittorrent client, but torrent features are disabled in MiroBridge for legal reasons.
MiroBridge will let Miro download new episodes, then it will symlink the downloaded episodes into the MythTV recordings directory and import the details of the program as a Recording. It can also move the episodes to MythVideo.
This is an amazing addition to MythTV. Scripts to do this have existed before. We used MythNetTV, which takes RSS feeds for Podcasts and imports them into MythTV. It has never been an official part of MythTV though. MiroBridge is now becoming official, and relies on
Miro, which is a popular piece of software in its own right, and well maintained.
If you think about it, with cable becoming more expensive, a MythTV box with a broadcast based system, adding in internet produced programming. If you don’t have cable, at the very least, in the news department, the websites of various cable networks offer limited versions of their programming as RSS feeds you can incorporate in.
Youtube can be distributed as an MP4-based RSS feed as well, using some secondary sites, and thus incorporated in as well. Essentially, there is nothing you can’t do if you can find RSS-distributed video.
Terra (The New Default Theme)
Watch Recordings Screen Under Terra Theme
Now, Terra shows off the options for a Watch Recordings menu displayed in a manner other than traditional list style, using a horizontal scrolling menu for each program on the DVR side.
But what about for watching videos? As we mentioned, JAMU offers an automated method of getting metadata on video files based on their names. There was metadata support in MythTV before, but the inclusion of this new script and other frontend features greatly simplify it out of the ‘box’. A script already exists, but will likely be incorporated as part of version 0.23, that allows for recordings to be exported with metadata information to MythVideo.
A directory of TV show episodes with metadata under Terra Theme
If you enlarge the image, you will notice that JAMU has added the episode metadata, including description, to these episodes of St. Elsewhere. There is discussion of adding additional options for screenshots for MythVideo(the feature is there for Recordings). If you look at the above image, every episode is using a stock poster.
Graphite is being shown off as another new theme for MythTV 0.22 which demonstrates several of the new features you can enjoy, namely posters and fanart in the Watch Recordings menus. If you note the picture below, you’ll see the ABC show Castle, has a poster, and each episode has an autogenerated screenshot.
Watch Recordings Menu under Graphite Theme
The next two images show the background art available in this theme for shows. All of the art shown was imported by the JAMU script.
Daily Show Fan Art - Graphite Theme
The Big Bang Theory Fan Art - Graphite Theme
And, to show you how a MiroBridge imported program looks...
MiroBridge in Action
Here is the popup, with the extra art and metadata, for a movie we brought in, and a TV episode. It offers a lot of information, which can be used to sort videos by year, genre, season(if TV show), etc.
Single Video/Movie View in MythVideo
Single Video/TV Episode
Here is an alternate display of a directory of movies under the Metallurgy theme, also a theme newly included into MythTV 0.22. As you can see, the automated process didn’t bring in posters for everything. This can be corrected manually, by entering in additional information to better identify the item.
MythVideo Gallery of Movies
All in all, MythTV offers an exciting new and theme-able interface that brings it on par with XBMC and Boxee, products that are not in the same category as MythTV, but perform some of the same functions. MythTV still has a ways to go in some areas, but it has come a long way.
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