MythTV consists of a suite of GPL-licensed applications designed to convert a middling system into a fully-fledged mythical convergence box complete with all of those capabilities one might wish for from a media center, including some features no other such systems possess. For newcomers to MythTV, installation and setup is much easier than in years gone by, as older more experienced users can confirm. Better packaging of MythTV components is now available, and years of development improvements have eased implementation for both experienced and inexperienced users of Linux and MythTV.
On the surface, MythTV provides all the features you would expect from a digital video recording solution: pause, fast-forward and rewind live television, with support for multiple tuner cards (thus, multiple simultaneous recordings) and support for native RTjpeg, MJPEG and MPEG-2 real-time compression for better integration with popular hardware decoders. MythTV can also process Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) data from compliant cards and pcHDTV tuner cards where applicable. An on-screen display provides rich contextual meta-data when browsing channels, also includes key bindings for quick interactive keyboard input and allows for changing and importing of global menu themes and theme-able semi-transparent on-screen displays.
Beyond its glossy surface, MythTV also contains functionality for automatic commercial detection and removal, picture-in-picture support for applicable tuner cards, comprehensive recording scheduling with built-in conflict resolution and a wealth of modules that can enhance any personal entertainment experience. Several auxiliary features come from various modularized components: DVD video and CD audio playback/ripping support, weather forecast information, ROM game emulations, slideshow gallery rotation and electronic program guide support primarily for use with XMLTV-based program guide feeds such as DataDirect.
MythTV is also scalable in the sense that one system may contain multiple tuner cards, or multiple systems can contain one or more tuner cards, where all of them work in concert from a single unified recording schedule to optimize recording capabilities. This is made possible through a well-designed, distributed network architecture that compartmentalizes functionality according to media handling roles: MythTV consists primarily of a single back-end server and one or more front-end clients. Here, a single server can serve double duty as both a front-end client and a back-end master or slave media storage device.
Additionally, the latest MythTV version (0.20, available through subversion revision control or SVN) is better designed to draw menus based. It uses the OpenGL graphics library, contains improved DVD player support and menus, and comes equipped to handle hot-plug removable media and universal plug-and-play (UPnP) devices for introducing new audio and video content.
Typical features include the components listed in the table that follows.
|MythBrowser||Browser front-end for MythTV|
|MythDVD||DVD playback/recording front-end|
|MythGallery||Slideshow gallery application for MythTV|
|MythGame||Game emulator front-end for ROM games|
|MythMusic||Music playback/recording front-end|
|MythNews||RSS news feeder front-end|
|MythPhone||SIP videophone front-end|
|MythVideo||Video playback for non-MythTV content|
|MythWeather||Weather forecast module|
|MythWeb||Web browser back-end for MythTV|