MythTV Lives On

Many of the LILUGgers will remember that I talked about uncertain times coming up in the future of MythTV. One of the companies (Zap2it) that provided all the channel information was pulling the plug on the service. Well I just heard great news.

A bit over a month ago I sent an email to Zap2it thanking them for their great service and support of the MythTV community.

From: dotCOMmie [mailto:####@#####.###]
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 9:44 PM
To: Zap2It-Labs
Subject: Thanks for the great service.


I'm relatively new to the mythTV community, and it is how I got to know zap2it. Non-the less I think you were a crucial part to the tremendous growth of this community, and I'm saddened by your recent decision to stop providing the channel listing service.

The reason I'm emailing you is to convey my deepest thanks to your company for providing such an excellent service to the hobbyist community. I often wish we had more companies like you.

Best Regards

And here is the reply I received today:

From: "Roberge, Andy" ########@#######.###
To: "dotCOMmie" ####@#######.####
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 21:17:44 -0500
Subject: RE: Thanks for the great service.

August 8, 2007

Zap2it Labs received many emails inquiring if television listings could be provided on a paid for basis once the current service is discontinued. Today we are pleased to announce an agreement that will allow for many of you to continue to have access to your personal television listings data.

In collaboration with Schedules Direct, a non-profit organization created by founding members of MythTV and XMLTV, an agreement has been reached that will continue to support the open source and "freeware" communities. As of September 1, 2007, there WILL BE an alternative television listings source for certain Zap2it Labs users who become members of Schedules Direct, which includes a membership fee.

While Schedules Direct will continue to support the open source community and the users of "freeware", it will not support users of "commercial" products, such as DVRs, that were purchased from either a retail outlet or a company that used Zap2it Labs as its television listings source.

For those of you who lived by the original spirit and intent of Zap2it Labs and wish to continue to have access to listings, we encourage you to visit Schedules Direct at to set up your personal Schedules Direct membership today!

Labs Admin.

I honestly have to say I wasn't expecting a reply let alone such good news. Thank you once again, Zap2it.

Lilug  MythTV  News  Software  2007-08-07T22:37:12

LIRC is a software package under linux which allows you interface with remote control/controlled devices. LIRC is pretty much a must for any 1/2 decent MythTV configuration.

For my Myth setup I use LIRC both to change the channels on the cable-set-top- box and as a way to control the mythtv interface from the couch. Although this is a quite common configuration its annoying to get working.

The first thing you have to decide when setting up LIRC is what hardware you want to use. You can build your own receivers/transmitters but the simple plans make for quite crappy and unreliable devices; for something more sophisticated the cost of parts adds up to exceed the cost of kits/ready-to- use devices.

I had a (X10 based) RF serial receiver and remote (that I got a while back with my Nvidia PC cinema card). It worked with better LIRC than it ever did under windows. To control the set-top-box I first got an iguanaworks USB transceiver but it would not work since it only transmits at 36khz (It can be flashed to transmit at 58khz with a non-existing utility) and all the devices I needed to control only worked at 58khz. Money down the drain. So I decided to try again, this time I got the Serial Iguanaworks transceiver this one interfaces with LIRC more like the home-made transceivers except it has greater range (thanks to a .3f capacitor (think battery) which stores energy for transmissions).

Alright so I'm thinking I have the hardware configuring should be a breeze. I already had the controlling software installed, all I needed was to compile the drivers. I downloaded the debian driver source package it looked all very nice and neat, it allowed me to select the drivers I want and even attempted to compile the drivers automagically.. except it failed. The sources it provides are too old and were no longer compatible with my kernel. No big deal, I'll compile the vanilla drivers from LIRC -- wrong.

LIRC can't be compiled with just any combination of drivers you want, the configuration scripts compile either any ONE driver or all of them. No big deal, I thought, I'll compile all and install only the onces I need.. except all the drivers don't compile. Compilation broke on some driver that I didn't need. So I decided to hack the config scripts a bit. I downloaded the CVS version of LIRC opened the file and around line 1207

if test "$lirc_driver" = "all"; then lirc_driver="lirc_dev \ lirc_atiusb \ lirc_serial"

Trimmed down the list of drivers to only the ones that I needed. I then ran autoconf to generate all the needed Makefiles and ran ./configure --with- driver=all --with-port=0x3f8 --with-irq=4 --with-timer=65536 --with-x --with- transmitter && make && make install and things built correctly with only the drivers I wanted.

From then on configuring LIRC was a breeze, I modified the debian /etc/init.d/lirc script to use start 2 lirc daemons, one for each driver and configured them to talk to each other.

Finally I made my lircd.conf and lircmd.conf using irecord and configured MythTV, xorg and channel changing script. YAY, working mythbox.

Brief overview of all the programs and devices that make up my mythbox
A/V Hardware: Nvidia MX440 (vga/svideo out), Happauge150 (rca audio/svideo in), CHAINTECH AV-710 (optical audio out), RCA dvd/audio system
Remote controlled devices: RCA TV, Scientific Atlanta Explorer 4200 (cable box), Nvidia branded X10 RF remote

The last problem I had was the cable box being off while mythtv was trying to record, Its a nasty one. But it turns out the cable box has this nice feature where it will turn on when any numerical key is pressed on the remote (can be enabled in the settings menu). So when mythtv changes channels the cable box is either already on or is turned on auto-magically.

More of my config files.

Debian  LILUG  MythTV  Software  2007-06-29T00:04:25

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